Home Insights & Advice The five best cars for road trips and Kenya wildlife safaris

The five best cars for road trips and Kenya wildlife safaris

by John Saunders
16th Nov 21 2:04 pm

More and more people are turning to self-driven safaris and road trips as a more liberal way to explore Kenya on their terms.

Self-driven tours not only come with a flexible way to move around, but they also allow you to pick your preferred mode of transportation.

Luckily, the Kenyan automotive industry has seen tremendous growth in recent years, with all types of vehicles now in the offing. 

For instance, as a car buyer, you can now import any car you want in Kenya at a bargain and without any hassle.

Similarly, consumers interested in hiring robust and tenacious vehicles for off-road safaris and other road trips now have a wide choice range. Today’s car hires consist of well-serviced machines with very competitive prices.

The following vehicles are your best options when you want to head out for a Kenyan road trip or wildlife safari. The vehicles in our list are made for rough terrain and will effortlessly get you across the African Savannah. 

1. Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is an off-road icon that epitomises adventure. It is the ideal choice for the conquerors who thrill from an adrenaline rush.

The car can scale all types of terrain with ease. Its mechanical specifications are designed to optimise performance in extreme off-road environments.

The car comes equipped with a live axle, meaning power is transmitted from the engine to the wheels, thus enabling you to experience greater control, stability, and better ride quality.

It also has a front stabiliser or anti-roll bar that prevents the car from swaying when taking sharp turns or off-roading in rough areas. 

To cap it all off are the front and rear locking differentials that control the wheels’ spinning even when some of the wheels lose traction. Simply put, if one of the wheels should lose traction (as often happens when driving on uneven surfaces), the rest of the wheels will nonetheless keep moving.

Coupled with the vehicle’s sturdy tyres and powerful engine, the Wrangler guarantees minimal likelihood of being stranded in the wild.

2. Toyota Land Cruiser

We would be remiss to talk of vehicles with impressive off-road capabilities without mentioning the Toyota Land Cruiser. 

For decades, Kenyans have embraced the Toyota Land Cruiser as a formidable all-terrain vehicle. So much so that occasionally you can still spot some of its older siblings ranging from the J70, J80, J100 and J200 series on Kenyan roads.

Of note is that the Land Cruiser remains a long-running official vehicle of choice for various governmental and non-governmental agencies, including security forces.

The vehicle’s off-road dominance is not by accident. It is backed by compelling reasons, most of which have to do with the specifications that this mammoth beast brings to the table. 

One of its most distinctive elements is the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS). It comprises a hydraulic suspension system that automatically adjusts the vehicle’s stabiliser bars, thus controlling the car’s body lean.

That allows the vehicle to maintain its stability no matter the terrain.

The current Land Cruiser models are built on this rich off-road heritage. However, designers have also re-rendered recent models to enhance ride comfort.

3. Land Rover 

Other modern vehicles that seamlessly combine off-road pedigree with luxurious comfort are the Land Rover Discovery and Land Rover Range Rover.

Overall, the Land Rover has historically served as a military vehicle due to its resilient nature and unwavering performance, whether on or off-road.

Although current models spot a more luxurious aesthetic, they still retain their traditional heart and spirit as off-road warriors.

In terms of ground clearance, the Land Rover Range Rover is the top contender, with a wading depth of 35.4 inches. 

It also boasts an Electronic Air Suspension system which allows the vehicle to glide over bumps and uneven road surfaces. 

That kind of suspension system also renders a more noiseless and vibration-free ride, making it the perfect car choice for your road trip and wildlife safari.

On the other hand, the Land Rover Discovery offers you hill descent control and a wading depth of 33.5 inches. 

The Range Rover typically comes at a higher price, given that it also has a relatively larger size and a sitting capacity of up to seven occupants compared to the Discovery’s five occupants. 

Nonetheless, they are both cars with impeccable on-road and off-road performance.  

4. Nissan Patrol

The Nissan Patrol comes with a powerful V8 engine and generous cabin space. The car also has immense proportions (5 meters long, 2 meters high and almost 2 meters wide).

Yet, despite its massive size, the vehicle is surprisingly agile thanks to its highly responsive engine and gearbox. Therefore, as a road trip vehicle, it offers plenty in terms of driving comfort.

Also, it has several drive modes designed to keep you covered regardless of your road conditions—these range from on-road, sand, snow to rock.

As an off-roader, it offers a wading depth of 27.5 inches,  and easily tackles Kenya’s remote, rugged terrain. 

5. Ford Everest

Ford Everest is a 7-seater family car. Each of its  two rear rows has separate dedicated air vents. The second-row seats also have a charging port, an added convenience feature for your passengers while on long road trips.

As an off-roader, the vehicle’s hill descent control mechanism means you need not worry about braking or brake pressure when on steep inclines as the car handles that for you. 

Even novice drivers will feel at home in the wild with this car. The freedom, confidence, and peace of mind it brings you is unparalleled. 

As for drive modes, rock mode is the most ideal for extreme bumpy terrain.

Another impressive off-road feature of the Ford Everest is the Torque-on-demand mechanism. 

It is a clever feature that automatically works out which tyres have the greatest traction and distributes the most power to those tyres. That keeps the car moving even when some wheels lose traction.

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