Driving in Kenya


Recently I went to Kenya and Uganda to conduct training. When landed at the airport in the late evening, we found one out of all the Kenyan drivers that was willing to drive us to our hotel. It was a mere 25km away, just before the city centre in Kenya.


kenyan drivers

Source www.designindaba.com

In my head, I estimated that this journey would take us approximately 45 minutes with traffic at the most. I was horribly wrong. The traffic in Kenya is nonstop and is busy 24/7. The 25km trip took us… three hours. Yes, three hours.


Most places in Kenya do not have many traffic lights. Instead, they use traffic circles which should keep traffic flowing, but when you have so many vehicles and motorcycle in one place these traffic circles just become blocked. Blocked for hours at a time.


kenyan drivers

Source www.monitor.co.ug

Then there are the motorcycles. In local slang, these are called ‘boarder-boarders.’ They are taxis transporting passengers to and from work. Both Kenyan drivers and passengers do not wear helmets and can carry anything from a bag to a table or even a few chickens on their bikes.


These bikes travel at speeds that will make Valintino Rossi proud.  The locals did tell me that if one of these riders gets into a collision and injures themselves, they are transported to hospital. If they have a broken leg or foot, the hospital will not put the limb in a cast. Instead, they just amputate the limb. I do not know how truthful this is but it definitely should teach Kenyan drivers a lesson not to ride so fast.


Surprisingly, during my week-long stay there, I witnessed not one collision either with a vehicle, animal or pedestrian. Either the drivers are very skilled or are just very lucky. You need to be very brave to sit as a passenger in a vehicle in Kenya.


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