Self Drive East Africa

by Greg Wiszniowski, Katie Nowak
(Europe, UK and Poland)

We didn't use a safari company - we do like to travel apart from the crowd. We do have a LOT of experience and we knew before this expedition how to avoid usual mistakes.

Independent Travel

We used the internet + LOCAL contacts (members of public not connected with tourist business) for our planning.

Bear in mind – if you are travelling alone, the best source of information regarding all technicalities are DRIVERS from all Safari Companies – will help you with road, trick how to cross border smoothly, which road to choose and so on.

Sorry for saying so but generally speaking Guides are just talking to you. Lot of noise – only in few individual cases information follows this noise.

I hope my pics can give an impression of the ATMOSPHERE - most important part of a self organised safari.


Our route took in Mt Kenya, Masai Mara, Victoria, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservatory, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanga, the Kenya Coast, Tsavo East, Tsavo West, Rhino Sanctuary. 4000km in total – 90% on local roads.

We stayed at various campsites – only government run in Parks (best located), and private campsites in the outskirts of every entry gate to the Parks (plenty of them everywhere).

Using a roof tent as it's CLEAN (no insects at all!!!), dry (good quality tent), elevated (allows to start observing from your own bed) and allowing you flexibility in choosing a place on your own.


LOCAL ONLY – we learned ages ago – Local People do eat as well!!! They do know where and what to eat – if a place is full of local drivers, sellers and workers - GO FOR IT.

Always local prices, typical dishes and real taste of country you are visiting. Not mentioning HOW FRIENDLY all restaurant staff and guests are – they do not see tourist a lot. Source of local information as well.


We saw all the Big 5, and small 5000.

The highlight was a night and accommodation in the Rhino Sanctuary in Tsavo. 100sq km sanctuary – and we were THE ONLY HUMANS there staying overnight. Ask how to arrange it if you wish to stay in Gov owned cottage on top of rock ;)

Typical Day

Get up a ½h to sunrise – toilet, closing tent, quick meal.

Drive to place of our choice (discussed with locals previous evening), sunrise photos, few hours of looking around.

Contact with locals, giving about 500 pens to local kids, endless conversations with workers, teachers, peasants.

Drive to next destination (usually we were moving between 50-250 km in a day).

Afternoon meal in local place – plans for next day and information from locals where is best place to stay overnight, ½h after sunset.

BBQ and preparing for the night.

Other Activities

2 days with Rangers in Rhino Sanctuary in Tsavo.

Thank God people like them are protecting animals – there is still chance to keep it for next generations.

We do not mix diving with safari – it's a separate trip.


Volcanic ash (4 days cut from 15th May) – best plan can be blown by nature in seconds.


I have read the e-book in Europe (originally came to me from America) to learn something about Photography in Central Africa. Modern world…

Must say it was my first help with this trip.

Few simple tricks I have learned (to mention one - bean bag – so simple and genius – will never travel without one) will help me to improve my travelling experience.

One of the few books I have read where practical aspects of photography are mentioned – bags, vests, type of equipment for this job and so on.

Tips and Advice

Contact me – but please do not waste my time asking for good 5* hotel with swimming pool in Africa : )

Our best asset on safari was the 4x4 with roof tent, and a new generation head lamp (150m range, 75 grams).

= = = = = =

Can anybody help me with trip around Lake Victoria? And how to meet gorillas in the mist?

Greg and Katie's Safari Details:

Rating: 11/10

Safari company used: Self drive

Parks visited: Mt Kenya, Masai Mara, Tsavo East & West (Kenya); and Serengeti, Ngorongoro (Tanzania)

Date of safari: 19th May to 06th June

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Comments for Self Drive East Africa

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May 20, 2011
car rental and game drive
by: ifan

Hi Greg and Katie,

Thanks for the information. Because I cannot find a safari package that matches my dream route, I am considering to rent a car and do it ourselves.

For the car rental, I am considering Landrover. Do you have any suggestion about the type of the car and where to rent it?

Inside the national park, I think we will need some guides to help us find the animals. I guess this is the so-called 'game drive.' In your article you did not mention any game drive. Did you try to find the animals yourselves? Are there local people willing to be the guides in the national park?

Thank you.

Dec 01, 2011
late but still answers...
by: greg and katie

sorry for delay - 4 whatever reason your question was not transferred to my mailbox

1. landrover is hard to find - we were using MitsuPajero - it done its job as it should. Bare in mind we are in Kenya, Tanzania - if anything will happen its better to have car easy to be repaired locally. can share address of rental agency if req

2. some park rules (like in ngorongoro) are of this type that you have to have physicly in your car guide from park to enter. Some other places (tsavo west, east) are not so strict - this gives you much more fun and freedom as you have to find out animals urself.

just to let you know - now we are organising regular expeditions 4x4 to morocco - not so many animals but similar fun :)

any questions? contact me directly

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