As well as the rocky and rutted tracks, competitors will be wary of the heavy rain and thunderstorms which are forecast from Thursday afternoon onwards. If that weather does arrive, the usually dry and dusty trails will be reduced to treacherous mudbaths.
After returning to the championship in 2021 following a 19-year absence, almost a third of the stage distance is new for this year’s fixture.
Thursday’s lunchtime start in the heart of capital city Nairobi, in the presence of President Uhuru Kenyatta, is followed by a gentle appetiser for what is to follow.
The two-at-a-time Super Special Kasarani (4.84km), north-east of the city centre, sends competitors on the 100km journey back to the Kenya Wildlife Training Institute service park in Naivasha.
Friday’s opening leg spans the north and south sides of Lake Naivasha. It starts with Loldia (19.17km), followed by Geothermal (11.68km) - a brand-new stage which climbs over craggy rock-lined hills.
Kedong (31.25km) is the longest stage of the rally. It rounds out the loop before all three are repeated after service, bringing the day’s total to 124.20km.
Roads further north around Lake Elmenteita host Saturday’s monster 150.88km route, the longest leg of the weekend.
Video: Safari Rally Kenya route
The day begins with Soysambu (29.32km), which has been lengthened since last year. Next up is a blast over Elmenteita’s (15.08km) oft-used tracks in the Delamere Estate, followed by Sleeping Warrior (31.04km), set in the shadow of a hill that resembles a Masai warrior lying down. The trio are driven for a second time after service.
Sunday’s finale features three stages - each run twice - located on the southern side of Lake Naivasha.
Oserian (17.93km) and Hell’s Gate (10.53km) sandwich Narasha (13.30km) - another new test which rises from the arid floor of the Rift Valley across historic Maasai grazing lands.
The second pass through Hell’s Gate, which finishes amid stunning scenery at Fishers Tower, forms the Wolf Power Stage with bonus points on offer for drivers and manufacturers. The survivors will then return to Naivasha for the afternoon finish ceremony.
The 19 stages total 363.44km.
• Full coverage from Safari Rally Kenya will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park