Car Hire in Nairobi
This information is correct as of July 2015.
The capital of Kenya, Nairobi is one of the prominent cities in Africa, in terms of tourism, among other things. Known as the Safari Capital of the World, Nairobi and its safari walks and other major attractions are best explored by driving on your own, giving you the freedom and flexibility to create your own itinerary and schedule.
Where to hire a car in Nairobi
Some of the major global car rental brands that serve Nairobi in Kenya include Avis, Europcar, Budget, Sunnycars, and Sixt. These car rental agencies are located in the airport, along Mombasa Road, and the downtown area. There are also reliable local car rental companies that operate within the city, including Central Rent A Car, Cyrus Car Hire, Hire N’ Drive Kenya, Nairobi Car Hire Services, Offroad Car Hire, NairobiCar, Market Car Hire, Afford Car Hire, and Elite Car Rental, among others. These agencies offer a wide range of car rental options. You can rent a car with a driver, or on self-drive basis. Some of the cars offered are saloon types, 4WDs, vans, buses, and safari vans and jeeps. If you intend to drive outside of the city – to the countryside and game parks, it is best to rent a heavy duty car or jeep like the safari vehicles or a 4WD with a GPS. Renting a car in Nairobi requires you to have an International Driver’s Licence, if you are a foreign visitor.
What to expect when hiring a car from Nairobi
Nairobi is served by highways that connect Mombasa to Kampala in Uganda and to Arusha in Tanzania. These highways are expected to somehow ease the daily traffic within and surrounding the metro area of Nairobi. However, traffic jams are still to be expected, with Nairobi being a national capital city. The quality of the roads within the city is good, though, with many of them tarmacked and adequately signposted. Driving is on the left side of the road.
Nairobi is served by Langata Road, which links the city centre to Ongata Rongai, Langata, and Karen and runs to the south. Waiyaki Way, on the other hand, links the city with Lavington, Riverside, and Westlands, among others. Kasarani, Eastlands, and Embakasi are connected to Nairobi by Thika Road, Jogoo Road, and Outer Ring Road. There are also highways that lead to Mombasa, Machakos, Voi, Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret, and the Namanga Border in Tanzania.
As of writing, the proposed Nairobi Bypasses are currently ongoing construction. The Bypasses include the Northern bypass (Limuru Road to Thika Road), Eastern bypass (Mombasa Road to Ruiru-Kiambu Road near Kamiti prison), and Southern bypass (Kikuyu to Mombasa Road via Ngong Road and Langata).
Parking in Nairobi is a challenge during the weekend and parking fees can be expensive. However, lifestyle and city council parking charge cheaper hourly rates. When parking at a city council parking, look for the attendant wearing a yellow jacket that says NCC-Nairobi City Council and get a receipt which you have to display on your windshield.
Getting to your destination
Nairobi National Park
Perhaps the most popular destination in the city, the national park is the only game reserve of its kind to border a major city. The Nairobi National Park is home to many game animals such as lions and black rhinos. The major attraction within the park is the Nairobi Safari Walk.
Just approximately 50 minutes to one hour away from Nairobi, the Nairobi National Park can be reached via Langata Road or via Mombasa Road/A 104.
Solar Ice Rink
Solar Ice Rink is the largest ice rink in Africa. Located within the Panari Hotel’s Sky Centre, the ice rink opened in 2005 and can accommodate up to 200 people.
Reach the Sky Centre in only 15-30 minutes via Mombasa Road/A 104 or via Likoni Road, starting from the city centre of Nairobi.
In Lake Naivasha, you can ride a boat and see the hippos, walk among the animals on Crescent Island, or ride on the horses and immerse with zebras, giraffes, and wildebeests at the Sanctuary Farm. Lake Naivasha also features Hell’s Gate National Park, where you can walk or ride a bike into the wild and appreciate the breathtaking scenery.
The lake is approximately two hours from Nairobi. Get here via A 104 and Old Naivasha Road/C88, via A 104 only, or via Old Naivasha Road/C88 only.