city skyline under white sky during daytime
Please note that some links on our site are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Refer to our Privacy Page for more information.

Yes, Uber is in Nairobi. But, beware cultural and economic differences can make using the app a little more challenging than elsewhere. Discover everything you need to know about Uber in Nairobi and other ways to navigate the city.

Welcome to Nairobi, the dynamic heart of Kenya and the vibrant gateway to East Africa. As you prepare for your journey to this bustling metropolis, you’re bound to have many questions about how to navigate the city, including one of the most common queries: Is there Uber in Nairobi?

This comprehensive guide aims to answer all your questions when it comes to navigating Nairobi, a journey that encompasses not only ride-sharing services but also reliable, traditional taxi options , public transport and even some unique and unconventional methods of getting around. Regardless of whether you’re here for business pursuits, wildlife safaris, or cultural explorations, this guide will leave no stone unturned in addressing your transportation-related queries.

Is There Uber in Nairobi?

Yes, Uber, has established a presence in Nairobi, enhancing the city’s transportation landscape. For both residents and travelers, this development marks a significant leap forward in terms of convenience and reliability when it comes to getting around the city. However, there are some limitations to Uber in Nairobi and Uber in Kenya, that you should be aware of.

Understanding Uber in Kenya

The Uber fares in Kenya are extremely low (around KSh 300 / $2 USD for a 5 km ride). Of that small amount, around 30% goes to Uber, and the rest must be divided between fuel, vehicle maintenance, and the driver. In many cases, the driver will work for the car owner who will take another cut. Because of this drivers receive extremely low incomes and need to calculate if each journey is worth it in terms of time, distance, and most importantly fuel.

After booking a ride, you may receive a phone call to confirm pick-up and drop-off locations. Be polite and confirm the pins marked in the app. If the driver cancels the ride, try again but consider offering an extra tip (200 Kenyan shillings or so) up front to sweeten the deal.

Drivers don’t like to accept rides that are paid for with credit cards. These payments take a week to be processed and can significantly disadvantage drivers living day to day or renting their vehicle. To get around this problem you can download the M-Pesa app, and transfer some funds from your card to the app, using this app as the payment method for Uber will increase your chance of scoring an Uber ride.

Drivers may not have enough fuel for longer journeys and may be less inclined to accept longer journeys. If this is the case, and you find multiple drivers cancelling on you you may need to seek other means of transport.

cartoon of man ordering a taxi, a large phone shows the different options for different taxis
Image by storyset on Freepik

Uber Boda in Nairobi

Uber has recently announced the introduction of the Uber Boda service in Kenya.  Bodas are bicycles and motorcycle taxis commonly found in East Africa. Uber boda will operate using electric bikes offering cheaper rides than their traditional car rides. If you are riding solo and feeling adventurous Uber boda will be significantly cheaper than a car ride.

How Much Does Uber Cost in Nairobi?

The minimum fare for a traditional Uber ride is KSh 170 which is equal to $1.11 USD, this is the minimum amount you will pay taking an Uber in Nairobi.

Uber total passenger fares are calculated using a base fare of KSh 65 shillings, a per minute rate which is 4 shillings per minute, per kilometer rate which starts at 29 shillings per kilometer (but may increase for long-distance rides to help off-set the driver’s return trip) and an 11% booking fee. Fares may also be affected by dynamic pricing which may multiply the fare during busy periods.

See the following example for a 5-kilometer, 10-minute Uber trip in Nairobi

Base FareKSh 65
+ Per minute rate x estimated ride duration (min)KSh 4 x 10 min = KSh 40
+ Per kilometer rate x estimated ride distance (km)KSh 29 x 5 km = KSh145
subtotal= KSh 250
+ booking fee of 11%KSh 27.50
total fareKSh 277.50

Therefore a short ride in Nairobi will cost less than KSh 300 or $2 USD. Keep in mind the driver doesn’t keep the whole amount but passes on the booking fee and another 18% as a service fee.

Are There Other Ride-sharing Apps in Nairobi?

While Uber is the most recognized and widely used ride-sharing app in Nairobi, other services like Bolt (formerly Taxify), Little Cab, and Kenyan platform Hava also operate in the city. These platforms offer a similar experience to Uber, connecting passengers with local drivers at competitive rates. If you are unable to find a driver on Uber it is likely you can find one of these other platforms.

Having a couple of these apps downloaded and ready to go is a good idea if you will be relying on ridesharing to navigate the city.

๐Ÿก Looking for accommodation in Nairobi, Kenya? Get the best deal on your favorite platform.

Taxis in Nairobi

Image by Freepik

Taxis in Nairobi are either drivers working for taxi companies or individuals with taxi licenses. There are rogue drivers in Nairobi and as large taxi companies usually vet drivers and weed out bad actors, you are generally better off using an established taxi company. Most of the larger taxi companies have websites, phone numbers and an app. Some reputable taxi companies include;

How Do I Catch a Taxi in Nairobi?

Catching a taxi in Nairobi is a relatively simple process. You can either find one on the street, particularly in busy areas (regular taxis are either painted yellow or with a yellow stripe painted along the side of the vehicle), order or pre-book a taxi using the phone or an app, or you can ask your hotel or accommodation to arrange a taxi for you.

As mentioned above, pre-booking a taxi through a reputable company is one of the best ways to ensure a safe, comfortable, and pleasant ride. Alternatively, many hotels have established relationships with trusted taxi services, ensuring that you’ll have a reliable ride waiting for you when needed.

Are Taxis Cheap in Nairobi?

Taxis, while not as cheap as Uber in Nairobi are generally considered affordable, especially for travelers coming from Western countries. However, it’s essential to understand the local taxi pricing to ensure you’re not overcharged.

Taxis in Nairobi are not metered and so a fare should be agreed upon upfront.

Carsharing service abstract concept vector illustration. Rental service, short term rent, carsharing application, ride application, hiring a car peer to peer, hourly payment abstract metaphor.

How Much do Taxis Cost in Nairobi?

The cost of a taxi ride in Nairobi can vary depending on several factors, including the distance traveled and the time of day. However, as a general guideline fares range from KSh 500 ($3.30) for short trips within the city center to KSh 750 ($5) for trips to more distant destinations like Westlands or the Yaya Centre. If you need to get around town frequently, it may be more cost-effective to hire a taxi for the day.

Do Taxis Accept Credit Cards in Nairobi?

While credit card acceptance in Nairobi has been gradually increasing, it’s not a standard practice for taxi services. Therefore, it’s recommended to carry sufficient Kenyan Shillings or use mobile payment services like M-Pesa, which are widely accepted by taxi drivers in Nairobi.

Are There Taxi Apps in Nairobi?

Nairobi has a growing number of taxi apps that you can explore for added convenience. These apps allow you to book a taxi, monitor your ride, and make payments through your smartphone. Popular options include Little, which also offers ride-hailing services, and several local taxi companies that have launched their own apps including Absolute Cabs, Jimcab and PTG Travel

Utilizing these apps can enhance your experience by providing an easy way to secure a taxi and track your ride.

Are Taxis Safe in Nairobi?

Taxis in Nairobi are generally safe for tourists, especially when you use established and reputable services. However, as with any destination, it’s important to exercise vigilance and adhere to certain safety measures.

To ensure your safety while using a taxi in Nairobi, consider the following precautions:

  • Use reputable taxi services: Opt for well-known and registered taxi services with clear branding and identification.
  • Agree on the fare: Before your ride begins, negotiate the fare with the driver or ensure the meter is used, which can help avoid disputes upon reaching your destination.
  • Travel during daylight: When possible, take taxis during the daytime, as it’s typically considered safer.
  • Share ride details: Make sure someone knows the details of your taxi, including the license plate number and the driver’s name.
  • Secure your belongings: Keep your bags and personal belongings well-guarded during the ride.
  • Nairobi is infamous for snatch and grabs: Most of the victims get their phones snatched from them in the busy Nairobi traffic. Keep phones and valuables safe and secure and away from windows.

How to Avoid Taxi Scams in Nairobi

While Nairobi is a generally safe city, taxi scams can happen, as they can in any part of the world. To minimize the risk of encountering such issues, consider these tips:

  • Research fares: Prior to your journey, research the typical taxi fares for the routes you plan to take. This knowledge can help you negotiate a fair price.
  • Agree on the fare upfront: Always confirm the fare with the driver before your ride commences, as this can prevent any disagreements later on.
  • Use registered taxis: Stick to well-established taxi services and those with official markings to avoid dishonest or unregistered drivers.
  • Carry small bills: Ensure that you have smaller denomination bills to pay for your fare. Some drivers may claim not to have change for larger notes.

Other Ways to Get Around the City in Nairobi

While taxis and ride-sharing services are convenient, Nairobi offers various other modes of transportation to explore the city:

Matatus

Matatus are privately owned, often colorful minibuses that serve as a popular mode of public transportation in Nairobi. These are an economical way to get around the city, but they can get crowded and may not adhere to strict schedules.

They can be difficult to work out for visitors, but if you are up for a challenge and not on a tight schedule the Matatu can offer an authentic experience.

Carry small change so you are not relying on drivers to break larger bills.

Try to find you route and bus number in advance, that might mean asking a local or you can fid some of the main Matutu routes here.

Snatch and grabs are also carried out on people ridign the Matutu, keep your belongings secure.

Boda Bodas

Boda bodas, also known as piki pikis in Kenya are motorcycle taxis widely used in Nairobi. They are a quick way to navigate through traffic, especially in areas where roads can be congested.

In 2023 the safest way to find a boda boda is through a ride share app. You can also catch a boda boda on the street but it is harder to verify the driver, you will also need to negotiate the fare.

Public Buses

Nairobi has a public bus system, including city buses and long-distance buses that connect the city to other parts of Kenya. While these buses are budget-friendly, they may not be the most comfortable option for tourists due to their crowded nature.

there are also some private bus companies including City Hoppa and Double M

Tuk-Tuks

Tuk-tuks, three-wheeled auto-rickshaws, are a fun and affordable mode of transport in Nairobi, particularly for shorter distances. They offer a unique way to explore the city’s streets.

Walking

Nairobi’s city center is walkable, and strolling through its bustling streets can be an excellent way to experience the local culture. Ensure you have a map or navigation app to find your way around.

How Do I Get from Nairobi Airport Jomo Kenyatta International to the City Center?

Passengers with luggage in airport flat illustration
Image by pch.vector on Freepik

After arriving at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, you have several options to reach the city center which is about 18 kilometers and will take about thirty minutes to an hour depending on traffic.

Private Transfer

Pre-booking a private transfer can remove the hassle of arranging transport once you arrive in Nairobi.

๐Ÿ”ŽFind and compare private transfer options in Nairobi on TripAdvisor

Airport Taxis

Official airport taxis are readily available at the airport’s designated taxi ranks. These licensed taxis offer fixed rates to various destinations in Nairobi, and you can inquire about the fare at the airport taxi counter. It’s a convenient and reliable choice.

Ride-sharing Apps

Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Bolt operate at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. These services offer a convenient and budget-friendly means of transportation to the city center. If you don’t have a local sim, you can use the free airport wifi to log into your prefered ridesharing app.

Shuttle Services

Some hotels and accommodations in Nairobi offer shuttle services to and from the airport. If you’re staying in a hotel in Nairobi, check if they provide airport transfers. Shuttle services can be a convenient option.

Airport Buses

Airport buses connect Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Nairobi. Tickets are economical and should only cost the equivalent of $1 or $2 USD. The bus travel time from Nairobi airport to downtown is around 45 minutes.

Car Rental

If you plan to explore Nairobi and beyond, you can rent a car at the airport. This gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace and reach remote locations.

๐Ÿš— Consider renting a carโ€“ Check out DiscoverCars to search, compare, and save up to 70% on car rentals!

Does Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Have WiFi?

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport typically provides WiFi access for travelers. While the quality and speed of the airport’s WiFi service may vary, having internet access can be advantageous for checking flight information, communicating with loved ones, staying connected during your journey, and, of course, organizing transport like Uber.

How to Travel Between Cities in Kenya

If your travel plans include visiting other cities within Kenya, you have various transportation options to consider:

There are several options for traveling between cities in Kenya.

  1. Matatus and Buses: Matatus (shared minivans) and buses are the most common and budget-friendly means of intercity travel in Kenya. They operate on fixed routes and schedules. Major cities and towns are well-connected by this mode of transport. However, be prepared for crowded conditions and occasional longer travel times due to multiple stops.
  2. Standard and Luxury Buses: Several bus companies offer more comfortable, air-conditioned buses that travel between major cities. These buses often have designated stops, online booking facilities, and more spacious seating arrangements compared to matatus. Check timetables and prices here.
  3. Car Rentals: If you prefer privacy and flexibility, you can rent a car. This option allows you to travel at your own pace and explore places off the beaten path. Make sure to choose a reputable rental agency and have a valid driverโ€™s license. Compare options and the best deals at Discover Cars.
  4. Trains: Kenya has a limited but growing railway network. The Madaraka Express, operated by Kenya Railways, connects Nairobi and Mombasa. Itโ€™s a comfortable and scenic way to travel between these two major cities. Make sure to book your tickets in advance.
  5. Domestic Flights: For long distances, especially between major cities like Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, and Eldoret, taking a domestic flight is a time-saving option. Several airlines operate within the country, including Kenya Airways, Jambojet, and Safarilink. Domestic flights are especially useful when traveling to remote or distant areas.

Is There Uber Eats in Mombasa?

Yes.

Mombasa has a range of food delivery apps working in the city including Uber Eats, Jumia, and Glovo.

Glovo

Jumia Food

Uber Eats

Additionally, many local restaurants and eateries offer their delivery services, allowing you to enjoy a variety of cuisines from the comfort of your accommodation.

*

Nairobi, a city that seamlessly blends urban energy with natural beauty, offers a multitude of transportation options to ensure your visit is as convenient and memorable as can be. Whether you prefer the efficiency of Uber, explore other ride-sharing apps, or dive into the local taxi scene, each mode of transport will lead you to discover another layer of Nairobi’s charm.

Furthermore, as you explore the city and the region beyond, you’ll find an array of transportation alternatives, from matatus and boda bodas to tuk-tuks and public buses. Whether you’re embarking on a wildlife safari, savoring delicious Kenyan cuisine, or immersing yourself in the vibrant culture, Nairobi promises an experience you won’t soon forget.

To maximize your visit, it’s a good idea to acquaint yourself with Nairobi’s transportation options and local customs in advance. Whether you’re navigating the city streets, sipping Kenyan coffee, or embarking on a safari adventure, your time in Nairobi will leave you with a treasure trove of lasting memories. So, embrace the bustling energy of the city, enjoy its offerings, and let Nairobi’s unique character weave its charm into your travel experiences.

*

hopefully, we helped you navigate the transport options in Nairobi, Kenya. If you have a question or comment please leave it below.

*

Interested in whether Uber exists in other destinations within Africa?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *