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Mon 19 Jun 2023

Kenya countdown: Route + Maps

Challenging dirt roads, stunning picture-postcard scenery and exotic African wildlife. Safari Rally Kenya boasts an adventure like no other, and this year will certainly be no different.

And it’s not just the rutted and rocky fesh-fesh-covered tracks that competitors must be mindful of. Thunderstorms are forecast from Tuesday onwards and, if that weather does arrive, the usually dry and dusty trails will be reduced to treacherous mudbaths.

Run for the third time in its modern format, Safari Rally Kenya covers 356.98km across 19 gruelling stages in the picturesque Great Rift Valley. Much of the route for this 70th edition remains similar to last year, with a series of minor tweaks included to keep the crews on their toes.

Thursday’s lunchtime start at Uhuru Gardens in the heart of capital city Nairobi, in the presence of President William Ruto, 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 near-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) which is followed by Geothermal (13.12km), a stage first introduced in 2022 which climbs over craggy rock-lined hills. Kedong (30.48km) rounds out the loop before all three are repeated after service, bringing the day’s total to 125.54km. 

Roads further north around Lake Elmenteita host Saturday’s monster 150.88km route, the longest leg of the weekend.

The day begins with Soysambu (29.32km), which is followed by a blast over Elmenteita’s (15.08km) oft-used tracks in the Delamere Estate. Sleeping Warrior (31.04km), set in the shadow of a hill that resembles a Masai warrior lying down, completes the trio, which are repeated once again after service. 

Sunday’s finale features three stages - each run twice - covering both sides of Lake Naivasha.

Last run in 2021, Malewa (9.0km) is back on the itinerary and opens proceedings on the fourth and final day. Up next are Oserian (18.33km) and Hell’s Gate (10.53km), both of which are run in a similar format to 2022.  

The second pass through Hell’s Gate, which finishes amid stunning scenery at Fischer’s 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.

19 stunning stages | Safari Rally Kenya 2023