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Ultimate Guide to Self-Drive East Africa: Adventure through Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya

It is possible to self-drive as you tour East Africa’s tourism spots

SPECIAL FEATURE | THE INDEPENDENT | The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organization of six partner states, the Republics of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. A traveler requires one tourist’s visa to explore all the wildlife and primates within the region except for Tanzania and DR Congo that will require you to apply for separate tourists visas.

The youngest member state to join is Democratic Republic of the Congo was admitted as a member of the EAC on 29 March 2022, at a virtual Head of State summit chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya hence the admission of DR Congo as a member state which is known to hosting the eastern lowland gorillas.

However when it comes to adventure through the East African countries, Self-Drive Safaris is possible in few countries that have developed road networks like the Republic of Rwanda, The Pearl of Africa, Magic Kenya and Republic of Tanzania with few extensions into Burundi’s cultural Sites.

Among the top leading car rental companies that can offer self-drive in East Africa is 4×4 Africa which is a Kenyan based car rental company that has been offering self-drive trips for over 10 years covering the hard to reach destination that require a steady 4×4 Land cruiser.

Our car rental options come with exceptional add on like Rooftop tent rentals, camping gear, GPS hire, travel maps as well as free booking for gorilla and Chimpanzee Permit for your primate watching in various national parks.

What are the recommended 4×4 for Self-drive in East Africa.

When you’re planning to Self-drive in East Africa the best self-drive 4×4 car to discover across Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania are the Toyota Land Cruiser hardtop of 78 series which might look expensive compared to other land cruiser series of Prado but its reliable to adventure through the unexplored magic parks like Serengeti and Masai Mara Game reserve.  Few Companies offer Toyota Hilux Dual Cabin with rooftop tent which is a new development that is being imported from South Africa. These 4wd cars have a great track record and are the most capable to enduring self-drive in the wilderness of Africa.

Why select self-drive Safari in East Africa

The East African Region represents primate’s beauty with a wide number of untamed wildlife reserves that attracts travelers to discover the unmatched experiences that is available. In Uganda and Rwanda, DR Congo that holds the only world’s remaining population of the critically endangered mountain gorillas, inhabited in Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda), Virunga National Park ( Congo), Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, and Mgahinga National park in Uganda. Golden monkey are found in the Mgahinga , Volcanoes and Virunga although the active golden monkey tracking is carried out in Rwanda and Uganda where many tour operators are offering Primate Safaris with the theme of watching the gorillas, Golden monkey.

When it comes to the Eastern Lowland gorillas, these are only hosted in famous Democratic republic of Congo’s national parks of Kahuzi Biega National Park & Maiko National Park. Although self-drive is not recommended in Dr Congo, we do recommend that you select Car Rental Congo for unique experiences by hiring a car and driver for your Congo gorilla trekking to enjoy the adventure in Congo. If you rented a self-drive Car from Self-drive East Africa, you will park the land cruiser at the border (Rusisi 1) and cross into DR Congo independently with the help of the Congo driver that will be ready to collect you at the border. We recommend Primate Safari Experiences limited to help you plan your gorilla trekking Congo.

Apart from Wildlife watching, a lot can be explored during game drives in the wildlife National parks like Serengeti, Masai Mara, Kidepo Valley, and Lake Manyara & Tarangire National Parks.

Where to Start on your Self-drive in East Africa.

In order to safely and securely adventure east Africa on your own , we recommend that you start your adventure in Uganda since Car rental companies have reliable land cruisers compared to Rwandan exotic cars which cannot handle the rough roads within the region like the Serengeti and Masai Mara. So a combination of Congo guided safari and east Africa self-drive is the best way to go in this post Covid era of Travel.

How design a self-drive East Africa itinerary

The best self-drive East African itinerary will reward with a lot of wildlife and primate experiences , expect a memorable holiday once you select to self-drive with experts that offer 4×4 car rentals. The shortest time needed to cover east Africa on self-drive is approximately 38 days adventure safari.

 The Pearl of Africa- (Uganda)

Renowned as the pearl of Africa, Uganda is a destination like no other. It is located near Kenya in the east, Tanzania in the south, Rwanda in south west, DR Congo in the west and South Sudan in the north.

Entebbe international airport is not the capital city but the best tourist’s destination that can be explored once you land in Uganda. You will enjoy a number of Safari activities like white water rafting, bungee jumping, boat cruise, quad biking, tubing the Nile and visit the Uganda National parks, Sanctuaries and game reserves. Don’t miss places like Kidepo, Murchison, Queen, Lake Mburo, Kibale and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for gorilla trekking and Mgahinga National Park for golden Monkey or gorilla watching still since Uganda has two destinations for gorilla trekking.

Car Rental Companies that operate in Uganda are many but few offer self-drive in Uganda as many offer car hire with drivers but Self-drive Uganda is available for yourself drive in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.


After being in the south western park of Uganda, its close and ease to cross into the land of thousand hills and enjoy the visit to the Volcanoes National Park, and drive along the Congo Nile trail as you head into Nyungwe forest national park Planning to visit Rwanda for a safari adventure, business trip or research project but still wondering how you will be getting around. You can now rent a car for self-drive in Rwanda with Self-drive East Africa for a chance to explore the country’s vast attractions in the driving seat.

We understand how fascinating it is to drive yourself to a national park or around Kigali city with just a GPS to direct you and that’s why we will get you a car suited for both the smooth city streets as well as the rough off-beaten Rwanda Park tracks.

Planning to visit Rwanda for safari and still wondering what activity to do and how to get around, we have a wide range of safari cars in Rwanda suited for park tours plus our tour guides are professional and most importantly well experienced with good knowledge about Akagera, Nyungwe forest and Volcano parks plus Kigali city and neighboring destinations.

Since you’re Close to Akagera National Park the border point to cross into Tanzania is Rusomu which is close to Akagera game Reserve in Tanzania.


Tanzania is the second largest country in East Africa and one of the continent’s stalwart safari destinations. It lies on the idyllic Indian Ocean coast and shares borders with other incredible safari destinations like Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo.

You will head into the Bukoba and take a ferry to Mwanza which is the gate way for beaches on Lake Victoria in Tanzania as you warm up to enter into the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Craters, A drive around lake Victoria is an extra to add to the vast wilderness areas, this nation differs itself unique with diverse wildlife, marine parks, and the tropical islands of Zanzibar.

Tanzania is the destination that offers climbing Kilimanjaro Mountains which attracts a big number of travelers that decide to explore this mountain before or after Rwenzori Climbing. There is a lot to explore in Tanzania and many Tanzania tour operators offer Tanzania Safaris to enjoy combined adventure although the self-drive traveler selects when and what to adventure on his self-drive safari.

After the Unique experience in Tanzania you will head into Kenya which is also known for wildlife watching and a few primate watching.

Car Rental Tanzania: For car Rental deals reach out to the company offices in Arusha to secure the rental jeep for your adventure in Tanzania with rooftop tents and camping gears.


The best Kenya tours and safaris include Big 5 game viewing, incredible natural beauty and cultural encounters, often combining Kenya’s top attractions with Tanzania and the tropical beaches of the Kenyan coast.

Kenya is an extraordinary country for a self-drive safari and wildlife viewing boasting over 50 National Parks and Reserves. So you will be forgiven if you imagine Kenya to be vast plains littered with wildlife happily grazing on the savannah, lions shrouding in long grass stalking unbeknown to their prey and large herds of elephant gracefully gliding across the valley. Self-drive Kenya offers the magic adventure ways to discover the best wildlife and culture on Private guided Safari.

Never Miss the visit to the National parks like Masaai Mara, Samburu, Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha, Amboseli, and Nairobi  where we would recommend that if you’re a self-drive traveler with one way car rental option , drop off is Nairobi city at the office of Kenya.

If your flight is from Uganda, you will proceed to drive to Kampala to ensure that you can drop off the car in Uganda and take the flight back home.

From the experience point of view, we recommend one way car rental for clients that have taking a self-drive in East Africa since they will have secured the unique plan for their self-drive.


Note: Many car Rental Companies offer free travel advice to travelers that wish to self-drive in East Africa and help in booking add-on for your adventure in East Africa with hard to reach areas like DR Congo.

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