Hay all you African Travelers

Here is my trip report

Contact me for any info

This was published in the SA 4x4 Mag so i could only put it on now after they
published it


Affordable self drive safari in East Africa

Every 4 x 4 enthusiast has the same dream; “Packing the 4 x 4 and pointing the headlights north to explore Africa”. This is however easier said than done. Where will I find the time and money to explore Africa for 8 to 12 months? These were my biggest concerns and the reason why I decided to explore Africa bit by bit, and leave some for next year. I have traveled Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique & Malawi in the past 3 years since I discovered my love for Africa. If you have 2 to 4 weeks of travel time and can make use of your own vehicle, this is the ideal destinations to visit, not to mention Namibie and Zambie which is still on my “to do list”, as it is not too far to return back home in time for work. However, when planning to visit East-, West- & North Africa you will need much more time to explore these countries and experience the most that they have to offer, eg. Pretoria to Arusha in Tanzania is 3600km, a few days drive when taking into account African border crossings!

On my last self – drive holiday through Zimbabwe& Mozambique up to Malawi, I decided that my next trip in Africa must be Tanzania & Kenya to see the “Greatest show on Earth” – The Great Migration. I had 2 options: Self drive or with a tour operator. I am not someone for tour groups and preplanned schedules so decided that self drive is definitely the option for me to explore East Africa.

Any trip to Africa or any destination starts by pin pointing the places of interest you want to see and then gathering information about these places. I however found, after countless reading on 4 x 4 forums, books etc, that there are little or no updated information for self driving tourist in Tanzania and Kenya. Emailing and/or phoning tour operators delivered no information. Tour operators are not keen on providing information, and would rather try and sell you a tour package than sharing valuable information. I decided to use the latest information I could get, escalate it and adding a few dollars (for incase) and started planning a self drive safari to East Africa. Below are some planning details and up to date information for the 4x4 enthusiast, wanting to explore East Africa on their own and without tour operator’s strict schedules.

I planned this trip for April / May because the low season for tourists in East Africa is April to June. During April and May the parks of Kenya and Tanzania are fairly empty and accommodation costs are often quite lower. However this time actually offers the finest game viewing opportunities of the year. Wildlife concentrations are at their highest in the southern Serengeti.
With less crowding, lower prices and abundant wildlife, this can be the best time to go on safari!

Getting there

Before leaving South Africa, you need to sort out 6 important issues;


Tanzania requires you to have a Visa to enter their country. I purchased Visa’s at $47 per person at the Tanzania Embassy in Pretoria. The rate for a Visa changes every week. It’s best to phone them on the Monday and ask them what the amount is in rands and do an electronic transfer. You need to download the Visa application form from their website www.tanzania.org.za. You will need one colour passport photo, proof of payment, application form and your passport.

Visas take 24 to 48 hours, but get this well in advance. South Africa is still Africa!

Yellow Fever Injection:

According to the AA website you need a Yellow Fever Injection Certificate when returning to South Africa. This is available at any Travel Clinic or at O.R. Tambo International Airport. It’s best to get the injection well in advance. There is a possibility that the injection can make you feel a bit sick and you don’t want that on holiday.
The injection costs R 450.00 per person at the Hatfield Travel Clinic in Pretoria.

Money Issues:

The best is to take some cash in US$ and Visa Cards for back up. Kenya and Tanzania have different exchange rates for different denominations. The best is to take $50 notes and higher for the best exchange rate.

All Park-, Vehicle- and camping fees are paid in US$ in Tanzania and Kenya, but the fuel, food, and any other items are paid in Tanzania and/or Kenya Shillings.

Fuel can be purchased by Visa, but don’t depend solely on that. Take enough US$ and only take a Visa Card for emergencies.

Don’t exchange money at border posts with the locals. The rate is always lower. There are bureau de change shops at the borders. If they are closed, just exchange enough to get you through and to the next town. Every town we drove through had a bureau de change and or ATM, even the smallest that is not even on a map. They do exchange Kenya and Tanzania shillings back to US$ if you have some left on your return. So don’t worry about sitting with a few shillings when you back in South Africa.

Exchange rates were as follows:

- 1$ = between 80 & 85 Kenya Shillings (using $50 notes and higher)
- 1$ = between 1490 & 1505 Tanzania Shillings (using $50 notes and higher)

Booking Flights

The starting point for the trip was Arusha in Tanzania. The closest airport is Kilimanjaro International Airport near Moshi. Moshi is also the base for the tourist wanting to climb the Mighty “Mount Kilimanjaro”. The problem I had is that the airplane ticket from O.R. Tambo International to Kilimanjaro International was R 2 500.00 more per ticket. We then booked return flights with Kenya Airways departing at 00:40am for R 5 000.00 to Nairobi. This specific flight is always over booked, so make sure you check in online 30 hours before departing time.

International Driver’s License

Very important to visit your nearest AA shop and get your international drivers license
to avoid getting fines. A Color passport photo is needed and your SA driver’s license.

Vehicles & Equipment

After a shipping company from South Africa provided me with an estimate of R 121 000.00 to ship 3 Land Rovers and two 4x4 trailers from Durban to Mombassa and R 100 000.00 back, it was clear that I would not be driving my own vehicle. The other problem was that the date of arrival of the vehicles at Mombassa is not fixed and you may be there and your vehicle might still be days away. Waiting for the vehicles can waste precious safari time. You have to get COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) insurance as well from the AA and that estimated at R 2300.00 for 3 months per vehicle. Instead of purchasing the Traditional third party insurance at each country’s border post, COMESA is an all-in-one insurance covering numerous African countries. Hiring a 4x4 was the only way I could afford a self drive safari to explore Tanzania and Kenya.

We hired fully kitted 4 x 4 vehicles including the vehicle cross border papers into Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda from “4 x 4 – Kenya Ltd” at $150 a day.

4 x 4 Kenya Ltd
[email protected]
Contact Person: George Muriuki

The best vehicle to hire is a Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota Hilux or Land Rover. These are the most common vehicles on the roads and you wont struggle to find parts or a mechanic to fix a broken down vehicle anywhere in Kenya and Tanzania.

4 x4 Kenya Ltd requires a 20% deposit when making a booking. You need to go to your bank and deposit the money at the foreqs counter by filling in an “Application for Overseas Transfer of Funds” by using the swift code provided. You cannot do an electronic transfer.

There are cheaper options of between $90 and $120 a day, but the vehicle is not equipped with a roof top tent. A ground tent is provided and it can be a frustration to pitch a ground tent every day.

My advice is stay with a roof top tent. It is easy and quick to set up and feels safer than sleeping at ground level.

Ask 4 x 4 Car Hire to e-mail you the camping equipment list. This list states all the camping equipment that is included in the vehicle rate per day. I added a few items that I usually take with and they included this in the vehicle rate per day at no additional cost. Make sure the vehicles are equipped with fire extinguishers as they ask for it at road blocks.

Additional items I took with that Kenya 4 x 4 could not provide (Kenya airways allows 30kg per passenger):

- Cooler boxes
- 2 way hand held radios for communication between vehicles – there is cell phone coverage almost everywhere in east Africa, but its easier and quicker to communicate with 2 way radio if you are traveling with more than 1 vehicle
- Inverter with crocodile clamps to fit onto the battery for charging camera’s, 2 way radios, laptops etc
- Sleeping bags and bedding
- Laptop with Garmin MapSource Trip planner software and Tracks4Africa Maps
- Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx gps
- Binoculars
- International electrical adapter (some camps has power, but you will need one of these adapters to make your plug fit)
- Medic kit, insect repellant and the all important malaria tablets
- Torches and headlamps with extra batteries

The vehicles can be picked up at Mombassa & Nairobi in Kenya, Moshi & Dar es Salaam in Tanzania & Kampala in Uganda.

The Trip, Day 1
Kenyatta Airport, Nairobi to Arusha

We arrived at Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi at 05:45 am (04:45 South African Time) and met with the team of 4 x 4 Kenya to get the vehicles.

Be sure to have a Visa credit card with enough credit availability as they hold R 12 500.00 on the card as security.

After we finalised all the paper work and had our quick course on how the vehicles work, we left Kenyatta Airport in the direction of Arusha. The plan was to drive directly from the airport to Arusha in Tanzania and do all the necessary shopping there. Hint : Avoid Nairobi Central, you will be stuck in the city for hours.

We filled up the vehicles near the Airport at 107 Kenya Shillings per litre

The road from Kenyatta Airport through Namanga Border to Arusha is a 95% complete new constructed tar road. Kenyatta Airport to Namanga Border is a 170 kilometers and from the border to Arusha is a 110 kilometers with a speed limit of between 80 and 100 kilometers per hour and 30 to 50 kilometres per hour in towns.

The scenery is awesome along the way and you get a glance at the Mighty Mount Kilimanjaro and the legendary Masai’s and their livestock.

The vehicles run at between 6 and 7 litres per kilometer at speeds of between 80 and 100 kilometers per hour.
(Toyota Land Cruiser 70 – 4.2 diesel and a 2.5l Toyota Hilux double cab)

The car hire company has a person at the Namanga border that helps you with the process to get the vehicles into Tanzania. We paid $20 tax per vehicle.

Do not take photos at the border post, the locals gets angry and if you want to have a photo with the Masai people, wait until you visit the village later, they demand a lot of money for a photo. Also remember to take off your sunglasses when communicating with the locals as they like to see your eyes.

After the border we headed straight to the Shoprite (S3° 22’32.1’’ E36° 40’44.7’’) in Arusha to buy all our food & beverages. There are many bureau de change shops so before you go to the Shoprite, get some Tanzanian shillings, or pay by Visa. The Shoprite is very clean and neat and you will find that everything you need is there. Food and beverages cost the same as down South, if not cheaper and their meat is really good. The Shoprite’s fruit & Veg is not that great, but take a walk across the road, and you will find a very nice fruit & veg market. It’s quite busy but safe, just don’t walk with handbags etc, take cash in your pockets. Shoprite is the only place that you can buy ice blocks in Arusha. You can try to buy at some of the lodges on your way to Serengeti, but don’t bargain on that. Fill the coolers to the maximum. There are a few very nice coffee shops near the Shoprite as well as a fish shop with very fresh cheap prawns, fish and crayfish.

There are 2 affordable options to overnight in Arusha :

- The Masai Camp Site at $10 per person per night camping with clean bathrooms and hot showers. (S3° 23’07.0’’ E36° 43’11.3’’)
- The Outpost Lodge bed & breakfast at $70 per room sleeping two, clean rooms, hot showers, internet café, laundry service, safe parking & a very affordable restaurant with awesome food. (S3° 22’48.6’’ E36° 41’52.7’’)

We opted for the B&B because we wanted to offload the vehicles, see what was packed where, pack how we wanted it to be and organize the vehicles for the next few days of camping. Try to make a booking, as it is a very popular B&B for tourists. You can also ask them to freeze your meat for you before putting it in the camping fridges. The camping fridges don’t freeze the meat on the 12volt adapter in the vehicle, but will keep it frozen for a while.

Out Post (Arusha) to Twiga Campsite (Lake Manyara) - Day 2

After breakfast and packing the frozen meat in the camping fridges, we stopped at Shoprite to fill the cooler boxes with ice and filled up the vehicles with diesel at 1999 Tanzania Shillings per liter. Out Post to Twiga Campsite is 112 kilometers.

If you have an extra day, visit Tarangire National Park before heading to Lake Manyara.
It is 108 kilometers from Arusha to the Park Entrance Gate. You can camp at Zion Campsite (S3° 41’55.9’’ E35° 56’53.8’’) very near the entrance gate at $10 per person with clean facilities, squatting toilets and hot showers. The next day you can proceed to Lake Manyara (Twiga Campsite). Zion campsite to Twiga Campsite is 61 kilometers away.

Twiga Campsite (S3° 22’28.3’’ E35° 51’54.6’’) at $10 per person is very neat, with swimming pool, restaurant, electricity, laundry service, clean bathrooms with hot showers, internet café and a nice local bar across the road, with ice cold beer for a sundowner and a African shebeen experience.

Lake Manyara National Park and Kudu Campsite - Day 3

Lake Manyara National Park Entrance gate is 3km from Twiga Campsite. At the village before the entrance gate are petrol stations and bureau de change shops.

Lake Manyara – and Tarangire National Park Fees

- $35 per person per 24h
- $40 per vehicle per 24h

Lake Manyara National Park host some tree climbing Lions, these are however hard to find. The park has an abundance of wildlife and picture perfect landscapes and vegetation. For a good view of the park, drive directly to Hippo Pools (S3° 24’50.6’’ E35° 50’17.3’’). Stay on the road that runs along the lake, it enters the woods now and then, but brings you back to the lake up to Endala Picnic Site (S3° 28’50.1’’ E35° 47’24.5’’). From here on there is a Hot Spring you can visit but requires a deep sand river crossing (not advisable). Take the top road back to the gate through the forest. This will give you the best view of what Lake Manyara has to offer.

After a day at Lake Manyara (Lake of Mosquito’s) we drove 30km up the escarpment to Kudu Campsite (S3° 20’52.4’’ E35° 40’10.6’’) in Karatu.

In Karatu we bought some fresh bread and filled up the vehicles with diesel at 2000
Tanzania Shillings per liter. The small towns offer food and beverages to buy if required, and is the last place you can buy food and beverage going forward. The campsite was $10 per person offering western toilets, hot showers and electricity. Kudu lodge is a few steps from the campsite with swimming pool, restaurant & bar. The campsite is out of town and 16 kilometers from Lodoare Gate (Ngorongoro Conservation Area) making it the ideal peaceful stop-over on the way to the Ngorongoro Crater.

Ngorongoro Crater, Day 4

The roads up to Lodoare Gate (S3° 17’56.4’’ E35° 35’32.8’’) thus far were tar roads all the way, except in Lake Manyara National Parks and 1 kilometer to Kudu Camp site. Speed limits are between 80 and 100 kilometers per hour & 30 to 50 kilometers per hour in the town areas. From Lodoare Gate to Seronera in the Serengeti it is gravel, and it is bad!

At the gate there is an information centre for some background on the Crater, Olduvai Gorge, Shifting Sands and other places of interest. Keep your doors locked and windows shut as the baboons are waiting to snatch your goodies.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area rates;

- $50 per person for 24h
- $30 per person camping per night
- $200 per vehicle per day to enter the crater
- 10 000 Tanzania Shillings per vehicle for 24h

It is important to get your timing right. If you would like to visit a Masai village, Olduvai Gorge and Shifting Sands the next day, you will need to get an extra 24h entrance permit per person and per vehicle to make it to Naabi Hills gate in time and avoid paying a fine!!!!

We did not pay for an extra day and had to wait untill 9:00am the next morning for the Ngorongoro Head Quarters (S3° 14’41.3’’ E35° 29’15.5’’) to open to extend our permits.

The drive from Lodoare Gate to the Seneto Descent road is a 30 km steep climb in mist and rain up the crater rim with tight corners in an amazing rain forest. There is only one road into the crater and one road out on the other side. On the way to the Seneto Descent road (S3° 09’16.0’’ E35° 28’38.1’’) you will pass the Lerai Ascent Road and Ngorongoro Head Quarters. Once at the gate at Seneto, you will need to present them with your permit. They will now allow you to enter the crater without a guide and send you back to the Ngorongoro Head Quarters to pay for and pick up a guide. At the Lodoare Gate they tell you that you need to pay for a guide to enter the crater, I however said I am the guide and that I bring tourists on a regular basis. You can try this as well, but insist that they write this somewhere on the permit. This is where I slipped up, and almost needed to drive back to the Ngorongoro Head Quarters to get a guide.

Once in the crater I was very disappointed to see so many Masai with their livestock gracing among the wild life. Each Masai village gets a turn to bring down their livestock to drink the alkaline enriched water of Lake Magadi or Makat, as the Masai called it, meaning salt. Due to deposition of volcanic ash, the lake became alkaline. The lake is a feeding place for Lesser Flamingo’s who rests and breeds at Lake Natron, a 100km flight from Lake Magadi. There are stories stating that the wildlife don’t leave the crater, but is not true. As the food gets less on the crater floor, the animals migrate out to find food, but return for water. There is not much water outside the crater.

The crater floor is buzzing with wildlife. It’s a matter of looking through the binoculars, spotting the animal you would like to see and driving there. If you see a lot of vehicles at one spot, there is definitely something interesting. $200 is expensive to enter the crater, but it provides amazing numbers of animal and an awesome backdrop for photos. Surely, the money is worth it. There is a picnic site near the ascent road with bathrooms. I picked up a radiator leak down in the crater and had to seek for a mechanic. It was no problem and after the help of some tour operators they directed me to the local mechanic in Ngorongoro at the filling station. An Hour and a half and $110, I was on my way again and very pleased. The people in Kenya and Tanzania are very friendly and helpful.

After the car was fixed we went for something to drink at Serena Lodge. The lodge is amazing and on the crater rim with the most amazing view of the crater. It’s a must-see and the food and beverages at the restaurant were very reasonably priced and nice. The barman also sold us some ice, so we topped up the coolers.

We set up camp at Simba A on the crater rim. They built a new ablution block on the far right on entering the camp site. Nice clean western toilets with hot showers. It gets very cold on the crater rim, so if it feels like packing warm clothes for one night is a waste of space, think again!!!

Olduvai Gorge, Shifting Sands to the Serengeti – Day 5

After we extended our permit and filled the vehicles with diesel at the filling station next to the Ngorongoro Head Quarters at 2140 Tanzania Shillings per litre, we headed down the gravel pass on the way to Olduvai Gorge.

Just before the Olduvai Gorge turn off, or Oldupai Gorge as the Masai call it, there is a local Masai Village (S3° 02’37.4’’ E35° 21’50.9’’) that you can visit at $15 per person. Here you can take photo’s (free) and experience their lifestyle.

Olduvai Gorge(S2° 59’45.9’’ E35° 21’08.3’’) is a steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley. This world-famous paleoanthropological site was studied for more than 40 years by Louis Leakey and his family. The 40 kilometer long ravine yielded numerous fossil remains from pliocene to pleistocene times (from about five million to 10,000 years ago), including the skull of the primitive hominid australopithecus boisei (or "nutcracker man") and homo habilis ("the human who used tools”).
The site has also produced remains of stone tools, animal bones, and other early hominid remains. The fossilized footprints, showing pre-human hominids walking in a upright position, found by Mary Leakey at nearby Laetoli, is considered one of the greatest paleoanthropological discoveries of the twentieth century. Based on findings at Olduvai Gorge, and other findings in Tanzania, scientists concluded that modern humans made their first appearance in East Africa. (http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Olduvai_Gorge - 23 May 2011)

A 3000 Tanzania Shilling per person fee is payable at the museum. They will again tell you that you need a guide, but once again insist that you are traveling through the gorge on the way to Shifting Sands and Naabi Hills Gate at the Serengeti. I struggled to find the road through the gorge to Shifting Sands but use this coordinates - S2° 59’54.7’’ E35° 21’05.9’’. This road will take you through the gorge to Shifting Sands (S2° 56’43.7’’ E35° 18’53.7’’)
Shifting Sands is the amazing migrating volcanic ash dune. These crescent-shaped mounds are a remarkable phenomenon. Technically they are known as barkan, and they result if there is sufficient dust on the ground and a unidirectional wind to blow it. The dust collects around a stone, and this collection accumulates more. The process continues, with the mound growing all the time, and then it begins to move. The crescents have their two sharp arms pointing the way the wind is going, and the whole shape is beautifully symmetrical

The dunes migrate about 17 meters a year around a small area. Amazingly, these dunes have been in this region, migrating around, for approximately 3 million
We pulled off the road about 2 km past Shifting sands and had lunch under one of the trees before leaving for Naabi Hills.
You enter the Serengeti National Park before you reach Naabi Hills Gate. At Naabi Hills you buy new permits. They don’t accept cash and you need to pay by Visa. Its here when they check if your permit is still valid for the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. We reached Naabi at 15:10.
At $50 per person per day entry fee, $30 per person camping per night and $40 per vehicle entry fee, we were on our way in search of “The Great Migration”. Our permits were valid for 2 days and we had to be back at Naabi before 15:10 to avoid a fine.
From Simba A campsite, past the Masai Village, Olduvai Gorge, Shifting Sands to Naabi Hills Gate is 90 kilometers, really bad gravel and sand road.
We heard that we will drive past the migration on the way to Pimbi Campsite (S2° 25’18.2’’ E34° 51’04.0’’), but with 55 kilometers of very bad corrugated gravel and with little time before dark we headed strait to Pimbi Campsite to set up camp. Pimbi is not the only campsite near Seronera, but its said to be the best there is. Here there are western toilets and cold showers. Pimbi is very popular because it’s the only campsite with a new ablution block and it’s very busy. My advice is arriving in the campsite at around 17:00 to get a nice stand and shower as quickly as possible. When the tourist groups arrive, the water in the tanks get used up very quickly and you will have to wait untill the next day at about 11:00 when they refill it.
When planning to go to the Serengeti, use this websites to determine where the migration will be at the specific time – ‘www.wildwatch.com/great_migration’ and ‘http://www.sunsafaris.com/serengeti-...on-route.html’. This will help you to plan which area you will use as a base camp from where you will do your game drives.
Serengeti – Day 6 & 7
The next morning we filled up the vehicles at the fuel station in Seronera (S2° 26’12.9’’ E34° 49’10.3’’) at 2349 Tanzania Shillings per liter. Nearby are a few shops where you can buy some basic items such as cold drinks, bear, soap, etc. According to the websites the migration should be in the Southern Corridor of the Serengeti by now (April). These two websites also indicate which campsites are the best to stay in which month to be the closest to the migration. I asked some of the tour operators and they advised that the migration is in the region of Moru Kopjes and Sopa Lodge situated in the Southern Corridor. We drove about 30km in the Serengeti from Pimbi Campsite when we reached the front of the migration, a sight you can not describe to any one. No camera or video camera can capture this view. After a few hours inside of the migration we stopped, got out the chairs and had lunch in the middle of the migration with hundreds of thousands of Blue wildebeest and Zebra. Around the migration you will see a lot of different species of animals enjoying the ride with the Wildebeest and Zebra. After a day that we thought was the migration, we headed back to Pimbi for supper and a good time around the camp fire.
The next morning we topped up the vehicles at Seronera filling station and headed back to Moru Kopjes to the migration. The previous day we thought we saw the migration, but to our surprise the next day, I took a road not on a GPS or Tracks4Africa and there it was the rest of the migration, and hundreds of thousands of Blue wildebeest and Zebra. None of the tour groups took this road and I wondered why? After less than a kilometer I got attacked by tsetse flies and it’s AK47. In the woodlands of the Serengeti there are many tsetse flies, but luckily we could turn up the windows and switch on the air conditioning. The tour operator vehicles are all open at the sides, and this is the reason why they didn’t drive further. A bit disappointing if you drive with one of them, because you would have only seen a tenth of the migration. We drove for hours in between the migration, but had to get back on the very bad corrugated main road to Naabi Hills before 15:00 to avoid a fine.
We made Naabi Hills in time and we were on our way back through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to Twiga Campsite near Lake Manyara. There is no in-transit permit to drive through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and you need to pay for a full day of $50 per person and 10 000 Tanzania Shillings per vehicle.
Day 8 & 9 – Twiga Campsite to Arusha
The next morning we packed up the camp at Twiga, filled the vehicles at 2000 Tanzania Shillings per liter and headed back to Arusha. On the road into Arusha just past Arusha Airport, is the wonderful Arusha Coffee Lodge (S3° 22’28.3’’ E36° 38’36.5’’). They have amazing, very affordable food, and it is a stunning place to have lunch and relax.
Just down the road is the Cultural Heritage and Craft Market (S3° 22’36.8’’ E36° 39’25.9’’) where you can buy some souvenirs. There is a very nice new art gallery and is a must to visit. We went back to Out Post B&B and decided to stay two nights in Arusha, because it is a very interesting and busy town. The next day we got a guide at Out Post that took us to the Masai Market. Here you can bargain and buy the cheapest curious, Masai blankets, paintings etc you will find in Tanzania. We also went to a shop to buy some of the legendary coffee they produce in and around Arusha and on the slopes of the Mighty Mount Kilimanjaro. A local guide can show you many tourists’ attractions in Arusha, eg the centre of Africa between Cape to Cairo is in Arusha at the CocaCola tower.
Day 10 & 11 – Arusha to Ambseli National Park.
Our next and final destination was Amboseli Nationl Park in Kenya. This is said to be the best photographical park because of Mount Kili that is in the background of almost every photo.
We headed back to the Namanga Border and it was an amazingly 15min to get through the border. Just as you are through the border into Kenya, there is a Kobil Fuel filling station (S2° 32’42.6’’ E36° 47’19.3’’) where we topped up the vehicles at 109 Kenya Shillings per liter. The road to Amboseli National Park is a very nice gravel road running east past the filling station. From the filling station to the Meshanani Gate (S2° 32’16.3’’ E37° 08’41.2’’) at Amboseli is 50km.
To visit Kenya parks you need to get a National Parks Card. This you can buy in Nairobi at the Park Head Quarters. They put money on this card and you swipe these when entering the different parks. We did not have one of these cards and were informed that we can get the card at the Iremito Gate (S2° 36’50.8’’ E37° 19’53.9’’) or drive straight to the Amboseli Airstrip (S2° 38’43.6’’ E37° 14’53.7’’) where we can pay by Visa card only, no cash.

Amboseli National Park fees;
$60 per person per 24h
$25 per person camping
300 Kenya Shillings per vehicle per 24h
We stayed at the KWS Campsite. The campsite had pit toilets, cold showers and, amazingly, electricity from 18:00pm to 23:00pm. They are busy upgrading the campsite and the kitchen was complete but the bathrooms will be completed in July 2011. The campsite has an awesome view of Mount Kili. Kilimanjaro is covered in a cloud blanket almost the entire day, but opens up and reveals its white snowy peak daily in the afternoon around 17:00pm.
The park has a lot of wildlife and especially elephant. They are the most researched elephants in Kenya. At the Amboseli Serena Lodge is a Filling Station (S2° 42’20.9’’ E37° 15’56.6’’) with diesel at 110 Kenya shillings per liter.

Day 12 – Amboseli to Nairobi
We took the road through the Kimana Gate (S2° 43’13.1’’ E37° 22’45.4’’) back to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. This is a 230km nightmare. This is the main road linking Mombassa and Nairobi and very busy and dangerous. I would suggest you take the road back to Nairobi as you came via Namanga. It is 13km further but a much safer road. Both roads have a filing station almost every 70km. We contacted George of 4 x 4 Kenya to arrange what time we will be at the airport. Give yourself more time than you think you need. It is Africa and everything happens slower. They were about an hour late to collect the vehicles and checking in happens in Africa time. You would want to check in as early as possible because the flights back to South Africa are always very full and overbooked. We checked in 4 hours early and got 4 of the last 6 open seats.
If you are planning a trip like this for the future I suggest you work out your budget with the info I provided above and buy US now, while its at about R7 to theUS$, otherwise it can be a very expensive holiday. I would strongly recommend that you visit this area in the low season. We did so and it was still very busy with tourists, I cannot imagine what it would be like or cost in high season.

Feel free to contact me with any questions at the forum www.4x4community.com, under the name Goose 23.

Safe Traveling.
Regards, Gustav Muller, Nadia Noome, Basie Muller & Annette Muller.