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The WRC Safari Rally is Back in Kenya- Dates and Routes for the Safari Rally Kenya 2021

Photo Courtesy of Toyota Gazoo Racing

After 19 long years, the World Rally Championship, fondly known as the Safari Rally, is back on Kenyan soil! Here is the scoop on the WRC Safari Rally 2021 dates, drivers, route, cars, and much more.

The Safari Rally was slotted to make a comeback in Kenya between 16th-19th July 2020. Unfortunately, it was postponed due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The WRC Safari Rally is now scheduled for 24th-27th June 2021, across Kenya’s scenic Great Rift Valley.

A Brief History of the Safari Rally in Kenya

The first Safari Rally was first held in Kenya on 1st June 1953 to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth the 2nd. Then, it was known as the East African Coronation Safari before being renamed The East African Safari Rally in 1960. The inaugural rally saw 57 drivers event transverse Kenya, Uganda, and the then Tanganyika. In 1974, it was renamed the Safari Rally and awarded a World Rally Championship status.

Sadly, in 2002, the World Racing Championship dropped the Safari Rally from its calendar due to security issues, poor organization, and finance constraints. 

Consequently, it run as the KCB Safari Rally from 2003-2019, another period dominated by Kenyan wins.

In November 2017, Kenya Gazetted the Safari Rally Project and applied to return to the WRC. This request was granted, and an agreement between the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage, FIA, and the WRC Promoter was signed in France. Consequently, FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) returned the Kenya Safari Rally to the World Rally Championship calendar in 2019.

Joginder Singh, and his brother Jaswant win the 1965 Safari Rally in a Volvo PV 544. Photo Courtesy Volvocars.com

WRC Safari Rally Kenya Route & Itinerary- Where to Catch the Action!

Kenya will host the 2021 World Rally Championship between 24th-27th June 2021.

This adventure of a lifetime will see the world’s best rally drivers transverse Kenya’s beautiful Rift Valley, from Lake Naivasha to Lake Elementaita, with the grand finish at the iconic Hell’s Gate National Park.

The official service park for the rally will be the KWS Training Institute in Naivasha. This year’s race will be a throw down between 58 cars in 18 special stages and 320.19KM of competitive distance.

Safari Rally 2021 Route & Itinerary

Here is everything you need to know about the routes, times and itinerary for the 2021 Safari Rally:

Monday 21st June 2021- Administrative checks & reconnaissance

The Safari Rally drivers will conduct administrative checks at the KWS Training Institute in Naivasha in the morning hours. At 11 am, they will begin reconnaissance which will continue until the afternoon of 23rd June.

What is reconnaissance? –Reconnaissance is when rally drivers run through the racecourse (using a standard car) and prepare pace notes to guide them during the actual race. During recce, the driver calls out the road conditions, turns, bumps, etc., while the co-driver writes them down. They then refer to these notes when racing.

Wait- they can do that?

Reconnaissance is an internationally accepted practice, and the WRC allows it. In the past, it was not allowed, and in most cases, the rally routes were kept secret to the last minute. The drivers had to rely entirely on maps to guide them.

Some rallies prepare what is called ‘route notes’ in place of recce. These notes give the drivers an idea of the course that they will run.

Wednesday 23rd June 2021

From 1 pm, the Safari Rally drivers will conduct shakedown within the breathtaking Ndulele Conservancy. The shakedown route will be 5.10km long and is open to all drivers but compulsory for priority one drivers.

Way ahead of you……

Shakedown is when the rally drivers test their race cars in a terrain similar to that of the race before the actual race. Competitors must drive through the shakedown route at least three times with their passes timed.

After the shakedown the race cars will be transported via lorries to Nairobi.

Photo Courtesy: Geoff Mayes/ Dirtfish

Thursday, 24th June 2021

7:30 am– The competitors will conduct reconnaissance at the Kasarani Spectator Stage 1.

11:00 am– The race cars will arrive at the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) for a press conference and a ceremonial start.

12:46 pm – H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta will flag off the cars.

SS1- 2:08 pm- After 19 years, the Safari Rally will take place in Kenya when the rally drivers take on the first Leg at the specially built super stage at Kasarani. After this section, they will head straight to KWS Naivasha via A104.

1st Leg Friday 25th June 2021- Safari Rally 2021 starts in earnest with the special stages

What are special stages (SS)?

Special stages are the competitive sections of the rally. These stages are of a set length, and rally drivers must drive through each in the quickest time possible. In a special stage, each competitor starts at a set time. The special stages may be on public or private roads. Where they fall on public roads, the roads are closed when the rally is in progress. In some cases, the special stages are linked by public roads, and in these instances, the drivers must observe all traffic rules.

SS2- Chui Lodge: 8.20AM, 13.34Km

The 1st Leg of the Safari Rally will start at the Oserengoni Wildlife Conservancy with the 13.34Km long Chui Lodge stretch.

SS3- Kedong 9:05AM, 32.68Km

Kedong is not new to hosting the safari rally, having hosted it for years. However, the course has a new layout for this year’s rally with two large spectator areas- one at the Lake and the other adjacent to Longonot.

SS4- Oserian 1- 10:18AM, 18.87Km

Oserian is quite different from the Chui Lodge stage with a different surface and dense vegetation.

SS5-Chui Lodge 2 13:46 Pm, 13.34Km

This stage will be a repeat of SS2 in the Oserengoni Wildlife Conservancy.

SS6- Kedong 2 14:42Pm, 32.68Km

Kedong is not new to hosting the safari rally, having hosted it for years. However, the course has a new layout for this year’s rally with two large spectator areas- one at the Lake and the other adjacent to Longonot.

SS7-Oserian 2 15:55 pm, 18.87Km

The competitors will be back to the dense vegetation at Oserian for the last stage of the day. The crew will be allowed 45 minutes of car service at KWS Naivasha to prepare for the next day’s race.

2nd Leg Saturday 26th June 2021

SS8- Elementaita 1, 8:08AM, 14.67Km

This part of the race will take the race drivers to the Soysambu Conservancy in the Delamere Estate, a popular rally track with a few new sections.

SS9 Soysambu 1, 9:08 am, 20.33Km

This will be the WRC Live TV stage. It will feature a large spectator and hospitality area, giving people a chance to get up close with the race cars. The spectator areas will be at the beginning and end areas of the race.

SS10 Sleeping Warrior 1 10:22AM, 31.04Km

This will be the longest stage of the day and will see the race will see the drivers crisscross the Sleeping Warrior plains.  The drivers will have a tough time navigating the rocky surface laden with coarse lava.

SS11 Elementaita 2 14:05Pm, 14.67KM

This stage is a repeat of SS8, which will take the race drivers to the Soysambu Conservancy in the Delamere Estate.

SS12 Soysambu 2 15:08 Pm, 20.33Km

This will be the WRC Live TV stage. It will feature a large spectator and hospitality area, giving people a chance to get up close with the race cars. There will be a spectator area at the beginning of the race and at the end.

SS13 Sleeping Warrior 2 16:22Pm, 31.04Km

Another long stretch that will wind up the 132.08Km Leg. Crews will be allowed 45 minutes of car service at Naivasha KWS.

3rd Leg Sunday, 27th June 2021

SS14 Loldia 17:56 Am, 11.33Km

This stage will take the competitors to a wooded forest area with narrow sections similar to the safari rally of old.

SS15 Hell’s Gate 1 8:38 am, 10.56KM

The competitors will race at the iconic Hell’s Gate National Park

SS16 Malewa 10:45 am, 9.71Km

This will be challenging, rocky, and hilly with sharp 90 degree turns, compounded by the loose surface. Drivers will have the challenge of preserving their tires for the final power stage.

SS17- Loldia 2 11.25 –11.33kms

A repeat of the forested area with narrow sections similar to the safari rally of old.

SS18 Hell’s Gate 2 13:18 Pm, 11.33kms (Power Stage)

This is the power stage of the rally (final stage), and it will be in the breathtaking background of the scenic Hell’s Gate National Park. The finish line will be at the iconic Ficher’s Tower, giving spectators amazing views of the fight to the finish line.

WRC Safari Rally Kenya 2021 Top Drivers & Cars

WRC Champion Sebastien Ogier flies high at the Rally Italia in this photo. He is expected to lead the pack at the Kenya Safari Rally 2021. Photo courtesy Toyota Gazoo Racing.

The 2021 Safari Rally has attracted top crews from the World Rallying Championship, including WRC 2, WRC3, and private entries. Leading the pack is recent WRC Italia Rally Sardegna Champion Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia in a Toyota Yaris.

Top 2021 Rally Drivers. Info courtesy of Wikipedia

The race will have an unprecedented 34 Kenyan entrants, including:

Some of the Kenyan drivers at the 2021 Safari Rally. Info courtesy of Wikipedia.

How did the idea of the Kenya Safari Rally come about? A Look at its History

The Safari Rally was the brainchild of Eric Cecil (1919-2010). Cecil was a car race enthusiast and the then chairman of the Competition Committee of the East African Automobile Association (EAAA). The story goes that in 1952, he was having a drink in Limuru with Neil Vincent, his cousin, and Eric Tomp, a friend.

They started discussing motorsports, including the racing track at Lunga Lunga in Nakuru. Vincent was an avid racer, having competed in the Nairobi-Johannesburg Road Race in October 1936. When asked why he never raced in Nakuru, he answered that he was not interested in ‘going round in circles’ on a racetrack. He, however, was open to a ‘race across Africa and back’ where the first driver would be declared the winner.

Cecil, the consummate racer, couldn’t stop thinking about it and came up with different racing ideas. Most were immediately discarded due to their perceived difficulty. Yet, he needed to come up with something that would truly test man and machine. Unfortunately, when he approached the EAAA with the idea of a rally, he was promptly dismissed as having ‘crazy cowboy ideas.’

As fate would have it, in 1952, the then Princess Elizabeth was staying at the Treetops Lodge in Nyeri when she received news of her father’s death. This immediately elevated her to Queen. Cecil took advantage of this situation and requested the EAAA to allow motoring enthusiasts to mark the coronation with a ‘long distance event’. The EAAA relented, given that Kenya was a British Colony and such an event would be of importance.

However, Cecil did not officially receive any financial support but managed to secure sponsorship from the East African Standard Newspaper and Shell Oil. The race was 5,160km long and took place between 27th May and 1st June 1953. The first Leg was between Nairobi- Morogoro – (Tanganyika) – Nairobi, while the second Leg was between Nairobi- Kampala-Nairobi.

Out of the 57 drivers who started the race, only 15 managed to finish.

Bert Shankland of Tanzania driving a Peugeot 404. He won in 1966/67. Photo courtesy www.safarirally.co.ke

The Safari Rally Grows in Earnest

After the inaugural Coronation Safari Rally, word started spreading among motor enthusiasts about the ‘toughest rally in the world.’ The race began getting media attention, notably when a team of British motorists joined in 1959. In 1960, it was filmed for British Television, and this gave it much prominence.

When it received international status, it started attracting manufacturer teams from all over the world. While VW Beetle dominated the race in the 50s, other makers such as Ford, Peugeot, and Mercedes joined the fray in the 60s.

Now renamed the East African Safari, for 14 years, the rally took place between Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. For close to two decades, the international drivers returned home empty-handed as local drivers stole the show each time. This changed in 1972 when Finnish Hannu Mikkola and Gunnal Palm lifted the trophy in a Ford Escort RS1600.

Kenya’s Most Popular Safari Rally Drivers

Kenyans, and indeed East Africans, remember the Safari Rally with nostalgia. Each Easter holiday bought the spectators out to watch the rally cars roar by. Given that April is a long rain season in Kenya, the rally drivers had to contend with heavy rain and muddy roads.

Things got exciting, particularly when Kenyan drivers such as Shekha Mehta,  Joginder Singh, Vic Preston, Patrick Njiru, and Ian Duncan roared by. Joginder Singh first won the race in 1965 in a Volvo PV 544. He then won twice again in 1974 and 1976 in a Mitsubishi Lancer 1600 GSR. Shekha Meta first won his Safari Rally in 1973 in a Datsun 240Z, but things got to fever pitch after winning four times in a row, between 1979-1982.

Shekha Mehta won the Safari Rally a record four times in a row. Photo courtesy www.safarirally.co.ke

Unfortunately, after Shekha Meta’s last win in 1984, Kenya, which had dominated the race for years, would go without a win for the next 11 years until Ian Duncan and David Williamson lifted the trophy in 1994. In the same year, Patrick Njiru and Abdul Sidi came in 4th, the highest ever ranking for an indigenous Kenyan driver. Even then, spectators were treated to exciting times from popular names such as Juha Kankunnen, Bjorn Waldegard, Tommi Mackinnen, and Carloz Sainz.

The end of an Era

The Safari Rally has undergone significant changes since its birth in 1953. In 1973, Uganda was experiencing political turmoil occasioned by a military coup, so it pulled out. By 1974, the relationship between Tanzania and Kenya had become frosty, and Tanzania dropped out. The rally was then renamed the Kenya Safari Rally.

Sadly, in 2002, the World Racing Championship dropped the Safari Rally from its list due to security issues, poor organization, and finance constraints. 

Consequently, it run as the KCB Safari Rally from 2003-2019, another period dominated by Kenyan wins.

2021 is the year that changes it all as the World Rally Championship makes a comeback on Kenyan soil from 23rd-27th June 2021.

Do You Know How Road Markings Came to Be? A Brief History of their Origin

The smooth Marsabit- Moyale Road in Northern Kenya

As you drive on the roads every day, carefully keeping to your lane, do you ever wonder why there are white or yellow lines separating traffic? It may be rather obvious why they are there, but where did they come from, and how long have they been in existence?

Well, articles online infer that road markings go as far back as the Ancient Roman Empire! In the beginning, they were in the shape of vertical stones used as milestones to show distance from Rome. But the history of road markings is deeper than that.

According to The History Guy, the earliest apparent road marking can be traced back to 1300 AD in Rome. During the Jubilee Years Catholic celebrations, over 200,000 people assembled in the ancient city. Pope Boniface the 8th had a line painted in the middle of each road in Rome- not to show the direction of traffic, but type. As such, horses and carts were on one side while foot traffic was on the other. Fast forward to the advent of the automobile in the 19th Century.

Surprisingly, Europe led in the race to the automobile and had more cars than the USA. But by 1907, Henry Ford had changed the game with the automobile assembly line. By 1917, cars had replaced horses as the primary mode of travel. Faster cars were also manufactured, while paved roads became more commonplace.  

But this came with a new set of problems that had not been anticipated before, such as road accidents. Suddenly, people using wagons and buggies had to contend with speeding motor vehicles. Smaller cars had to fight for space with larger trucks. Clearly, some kind of order was needed. It was these and similar issues that birthed the idea of delineating lanes in the United States.

In 1911, Edward N. Hines, chairman of the Wayne County Board of Roads in Michigan is said to have been driving behind a lorry dripping milk. The dripping milk gave him the idea of drawing a white line in the middle of the road to delineate the lanes. This story is plausible because Edward Haines was a major road safety buff who is also credited with building the first stretch of concrete road in 1909. He went on to win several awards for his contribution to road design and safety.

In late 1917, Dr. June McCaroll was driving her model T Ford along the Indo Boulevard in California when she made a sharp bend and came face to face with a huge truck. The truck had occupied all the road and she had only a split second to swerve to her right or get into a head on collision with the truck. The incident shook her badly, but it also gave her the idea of painting a line in the middle of the road as a safety measure.

Dr. June McCaroll

Excited, she presented the idea to the local chamber of commerce. Unfortunately, they shot her down, but she wasn’t one to give up easily. So she bought some paint and a paintbrush, got down on her knees, and painted a two-mile-long line down the middle of the Indo Boulevard. She was convinced that once the board members saw how much sense the line made, they would adopt it. Boy, was she wrong!

Dr. McCaroll spent the next seven years campaigning, writing letters, and petitioning the authorities to adopt the idea of a central line on the roads. Thankfully she never gave up, and in 1924, the State Highway Commissions started marking center lines in all the roads in California. For her persistence, the California Department of Transportation credits her with the idea of delineating lanes. Today, the stretch of road that she first painted is now named The Doctor June McCarroll Memorial Freeway.

In the United Kingdom, the first white central line marking appeared in 1918. However, the lines were purely indicative at that time, showing drivers how much road they had to work with. Although many roads were now marked, it was only in 1926 that the markings were recognized officially as road safety protocol and their regulations put in place.  

Other than keeping traffic in the correct lanes, the function of the white lines expanded and was now used to show drivers where to stop. In the UK, yellow lines appeared in the 1950s and dashed lines in 1956. Even more road markings and signs continued to emerge into the 60s as cars increased on the roads and more safety precautions became necessary.

Kenya, being a British Colony, naturally inherited the British system of marking roads. Of course, road markings, which are commonplace now, took a good while to appear. Even then, our roads have come a long way since the first road was tarmacked road in 1922.  

6 Things to Consider When Buying Your First Car in Kenya

 

Congratulations on making the decision to buy your first car! Without a doubt, this is an exciting time. Perhaps you have just gotten your first job, or you have reached a place where a car is now a necessity. Whichever the case, buying a car, while a memorable time, can also be daunting.

With hundreds of models to choose from, where do you even start? You may have your dream model in mind, but your budget might not agree. Do you buy a car locally or import one from Japan? These are some of the decisions you have to make. Luckily, you don’t have to do this alone. Below, we have given you our best tips to help you plan as you buy your first car.

Evaluate your needs honestly

There is a good reason you feel that this is the right time to buy your first car. Perhaps you are finally making some good money, and you want the freedom and independence that a car brings. Maybe you have started a family, and moving from point A to B with kids has become tricky. Perhaps your new employer is offering you an affordable loan for a car. Or maybe you can no longer keep up with the hectic matatu scene, and you need a car to get to work every day.

All these are valid reasons for wanting to buy a car, and they should also form the basis of what to buy. Understanding why you need the vehicle will take you a step closer to purchasing the right one. Remember, a car, while convenient, is an added expense.

Think about Vehicle Utility

Another important factor to consider as you decide on a car is utility. In other words, will the car serve you as you need? If work in an area with poor roads, can it hold it’s own from point A to point B? For example, a Toyota Auris might be cost friendly, but can it take 20 kilometers of dilapidated roads every day? Perhaps you have a farm, and you transport vegetables to the market regularly. In this case you may need a Pick Up, or a vehicle with a spacious boot/ trunk. If you are the adventurous type and you enjoy family outings, camping and road trips, you may need a spacious SUV with 4*4 capabilities. Thinking about how you will use a car will help you choose one that gives you the right utility.

Decide on a budget & method of financing

This may be the most significant factor to consider when buying your first car. How much do you want to spend, and where is it coming from? Are you buying it from your savings, a bank loan, or a combination of both? You may find it more practical to set a budget range and then decide on an acceptable vehicle within that range. We all have that dream car that we would want but may not afford as a first car. After evaluating your needs, income, access to finance, and expenses, you will develop a logical budget for a vehicle.

Do  you want to buy locally or import from Japan?

One of the first questions to ask yourself is- do you want to import a car or buy one locally? There are advantages and disadvantages to each. Importing from Japan gives you a chance to be the first owner of a clean, low mileage vehicle. The downside is that the importation process takes up to two months, so you would have to be patient. Buying a car already in Kenya means that you can drive off with it in as little as a few days when you find the right fit. Here is an article with more information on importing vs. buying locally.  After you have made a decision, the next step is to find a suitable make and model.

Explore your options

Armed with a budget and an understanding of what you need, you can now begin looking at various models that fall within your range. You can easily search for cars online or visit local showrooms in Nairobi to get an idea of the price range. The Sunday car bazaar at the Nairobi showground is another place where you can compare car models, check out the interior, engine and ask questions to understand the car better. Most car dealers will be able to give you several options for cars that fall within your budget. They will also advise you on cost implications for importing so that you can make a comparison.

Understand associated costs

With the excitement of buying a car, you may overlook some of the associated costs that will inevitably build up with time. For example, if you get a loan from the bank or your employer, you will be repaying monthly with interest. As you consider your budget, this is one of the things that you should factor in. Before you walk out of a showroom with your car, you will need to get car insurance, and we advise that you buy comprehensive insurance. Other associated costs include fuel and regular maintenance service.

Looking for expert advice as you buy your first car?

Are you in the market for your first car but you are still not sure what to buy? Are you wondering whether you should buy locally or import? Our sales team at Croton Motors is ready to answer all your questions and help you make a decision that you will be happy with. Contact us today, our visit our showroom along Karen Road.

A Comprehensive Guide to Car Insurance in Kenya

 

An insurance cover is one of the most significant considerations you will make when you import a car or buy one locally. Car insurance is a legal requirement mandated by Chapter 405 of the Kenya Traffic Act. This Act requires that any car being driven on Kenyan roads have a minimum of a third-party insurance cover.

Besides meeting a legal requirement, an insurance cover provides various levels of protection to the insured and other road users in the event of an accident. Of course, no one buys a car thinking I will be hit or hit another car. However, the reality is that accidents happen, resulting in car damages, bodily injuries, or even death. According to the  NTSA road accidents are on the rise. In 2020, for instance, there were 3,114 deaths on Kenyan roads, up by 5.8% compared to 2019.

As such, car insurance is essential as it protects you from financial liability in the event of an accident. However, the type of protection that your insurance company offers will depend on the type of insurance cover that you take out for your car.

What types of car insurance covers are there in Kenya?

In Kenya, there are three main types of car insurance covers. These are:

  • Third-party insurance
  • Third-party, fire, and theft
  • Comprehensive insurance

Let us look at each of these types of insurance in-depth:

Third-Party Insurance

Third-party insurance offers you the most basic protections in the event of an accident. As mentioned, it is the most basic insurance cover required by Kenyan Traffic Law. It covers any damages/ injury/death caused by the insured (you) to the other party.

This means that if you have third party insurance and get into an accident, the insurance will only pay for damages/ injuries caused to the other car/ party and not to yourself or your car.

Third-Party, Fire, and Theft

The third-party fire and theft insurance cover offers slightly more protection to the policyholder than the third-party cover. Besides covering the third party in an accident, it also protects your car from possible fire and theft. Before signing on the dotted line, find out from your insurance company precisely what fire and theft circumstances are covered.

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive insurance is the most extensive form of insurance coverage as it offers full protection to both parties in the case of an accident. Specifically, it offers third-party benefits, including damage, injuries, death, and legal liabilities arising from a car accident. It also covers damages to the insured vehicle caused by accident, natural calamities, floods, fire, or theft.

It is important to note that comprehensive insurance does not pay claims for injury or damage to the policyholder. It is recommended that you take out a separate insurance cover (such as a personal accident cover) for extra protection.

It is possible to have ‘add-ons’ to your comprehensive insurance, such as a Political Violence and Terrorism Cover and Excess Protector for Own Damage.

Which is the best insurance cover to get for my car?

The type of insurance that you get will depend on your budget and unique circumstances.

While comprehensive insurance will be the priciest, it will offer you the most benefits in case of an accident. With comprehensive insurance, you have peace of mind knowing that you don’t have to go back to your pocket if there are any accidents or incidents.

Third-party fire and theft offer you considerably more protection than a simple third- party cover. However, it is not common in the Kenyan market; perhaps not many people imagine their cars catching fire. On the other hand, theft is quite common, so this cover can come in quite handy in an unfortunate event. This type of insurance is also uncommon because the cost is not commensurate with its benefits.

The third-party cover offers you, the insured, no protection whatsoever and is akin to driving a ‘naked’ car. As explained, it only benefits the other party in case of an accident. Despite its limited protections, the third-party cover is the most common in the market, mainly due to its affordability.

How much does car insurance cost in Kenya?

An insurance cover cost depends on several factors, such as the type of car (private, commercial, PSV), market value, and age. For instance, most insurers in Kenya will not consider vehicles over 12 years old or those with a value of less than 300,000Kes for comprehensive insurance.

Cost of a third-party cover in Kenya

The third-party cover is the most affordable of the three options. Considering the factors listed above, it ranges from between 5,000kes- 7,500kes per annum for a private car.

Many insurance companies in Kenya will not offer a third party (TPO) to PSV chauffeur driven cars (taxis, Uber, Bolt). It is also mandatory for this category to have a passenger legal liability (PLL) cover for four passengers. On average, an annual PTO cover will cost around 9,500kes.

Insurance for commercial vehicles such as lorries, tippers, and trailers is calculated based on tonnage. On average, a TPO cover for a 30-ton vehicle starts from 25,000kes.

Cost of a comprehensive cover in Kenya

Comprehensive insurance offerings will vary from one insurer to the next. On average, insurance premium rates for a private car start from 3.2% of the car’s total value. This is in addition to training levy, policy holder’s compensation fund, and stamp duty payments.

For example, suppose you buy a Mazda CX5  worth 2.1 million Kes, and your insurance company is giving you a premium rate of 3.5%. In that case, you will pay a total premium of 74,880.75, according to a popular online motor insurance calculator.

If another insurer is offering a rate of 4.5% for the same car, then you would pay a total premium of 95,975.25.

In most cases, the premium percentage rate is negotiable, so do not hesitate to discuss with your insurer.

What exactly is covered by comprehensive insurance?

Other than the benefits mentioned above, your comprehensive insurance will also cover the following:

Windshield Limit- Windshield damage happens quite often on Kenyan roads. Your comprehensive cover provides a free windshield limit to cushion you against paying out of pocket. Most insurers will offer compensation from between 25-000-50,000kes per annum.  You should therefore confirm how much your windshield costs to ensure that you are adequately covered. If not, you can opt to purchase an extra windshield cover to bridge the difference.

Radio cassette limit– This benefit was popular when car radio cassette theft was high. Such crimes have fallen drastically, and this limit has lost its significance. That said, it is a free add-on that can still come in handy.

Civil strikes, commotion, and riots– Your comprehensive insurance covers loss or damage occasioned by civil strikes, commotion, and riots.

What is not covered by comprehensive insurance?

It is important to read the fine print when it comes to insurance because even a comprehensive cover does not cover everything. Some exceptions are:

Wear, tear, and depreciation– Your insurance coverage is not liable for any value lost due to normal vehicle wear and tear, including that of tires. In recent times some insurers have come up with insurance packages that include tires.

Acts of negligence– If your insurance company can prove that your claim is due to negligence on your part, they will not pay the claim. An example is if you were under the influence of drugs during the time of the accident.

Third-party liabilities outside of Kenya- If you travel to another country and cause an accident, your insurance will not take third party liability.

Use within airports– Your insurance is not liable if you cause damages in restricted areas, such as no go zones in an airport.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Do I Replace My Lost Logbook in Kenya?

 

A logbook is likely one of the most important documents you possess, as it proves vehicle ownership. If you needed to take a loan with your vehicle as collateral, it is the logbook you give out. Similarly, you cannot sell your car without it.

Losing a logbook is definitely a big problem, but it could happen to anyone. The question is, how do you go about replacing a lost logbook in Kenya? The process of replacing a lost logbook is quite similar to that of replacing lost number plates.

Step by step explanation of how to replace a lost logbook in Kenya

  1. Get a police abstract- The first step after losing any official government documents such as your ID, logbook, or passport is to get a police abstract. This equates to making an official report that the document in question is lost, and you are in the process of replacing it

  2. Obtain a tape lifting report from the DCI.

  3. Head over to your NTSA TIMS account at https://tims.ntsa.go.ke/.

  4. Log into your account and select ‘apply for duplicate logbook.’

5. Click on ‘apply’ against the vehicle in question (the vehicle whose logbook is lost).

6.Fill out the form appropriately, and upload a copy of the police abstract and the DCI tape lifting report.

7. Make payment via your preferred method and submit your application.

8. Typically, this should take two weeks, but there may be delays.

How to Replace a Lost Car Number Plate in Kenya

 

Last year, I was driving along the bumpy Nanyuki-Rumuruti Road during a heavy downpour. On getting to Nanyuki town, I realized that my rear number plate was no longer attached to the car. Chances are that it got loose and fell off somewhere along the way. I decided to wait for daybreak to find it, nothing much I could do in the dark. The following morning, I retraced my steps, stopping to check every puddle with no luck. Chances are it was swept away by the heavy downpour.

If you have ever tried to replace a lost number plate in Kenya, you must know what a hustle it is. Prior to my experience, I had never really thought much about replacing registration plates. After all, it a highly unlikely occurrence unless malice is involved.

(Pro-tip- Check your registration plates every now and then to ensure that they are tightly fastened).

So, if you find yourself in a similar predicament and are wondering where to start:

Here is a step-by-step explanation on how to replace a lost number plate (vehicle registration plates) in Kenya:

  1. Get a police abstract– The first thing you must do is report that you have lost your number plate to the police, and get an abstract.
  2. Get a tape lifting report from the DCI– The next step is to visit your nearest DCI office and request a tape-lifting report.

What is a DCI tape lifting report?

Tape lifting is the process that the DCI uses to verify your vehicle’s chassis and engine numbers to confirm that the details match with your registration documents. They then write a report of their findings.

  1. Head over to https://tims.ntsa.go.ke/. This is the official NTSA portal where you already have an account.
  • On the left-hand side of the page, select ‘Apply for Reflective Number plate.’
  • Select the car in question and under operation, click on ‘apply.’
  • This will bring you to an application form that looks like this:

 

  • Fill out all the spaces, specifying if you are replacing the front or back number plate, or both (including the respective shapes).
  1. Next, upload the DCI tape lifting report, as well as a copy of your logbook.
  2. The next step is to make the payment, which can be done via Mpesa on the next page. Replacing one number plate will cost you 1,150kes and 2,050kes for both.
  3. Submit your application and wait. In my case, I got the replacement plate in two weeks, but it can go up to three depending on demand and availability.
  4. In the meantime, NTSA advises that you print out your number plate and fix it on your screen (NOT on your number plate holders).
  5. Lastly, and most importantly, carry this documentation (preferably copies) with you at all times, in case you get stopped by the police on the road. You will easily be able to prove that you are in the process of getting new license plates.

How Do I Transfer Vehicle Ownership on the NTSA Platform?

 

Some years back the processing of transferring a vehicle to another person used to be a tedious job. It required visiting several offices, not to mention the long queues. Today, things have changed drastically due to the digitalization of government offices. Unlike before, you can now transfer a vehicle to another person at the comfort of your couch on NTSA’s Transport Integrated Management System (TIMS) portal.

What do I need to transfer a vehicle online?

The first requirement is that you create an account by registering on the NTSA TIMS portal, https://tims.ntsa.go.ke/login_csp.jsp. The registration page will look like the one below. Select the option that applies to you.

 

How do I transfer vehicle ownership on NTSA?

  • The car seller is the one who initiates the process
  • First, log in to your NTSA account, click on Vehicle Registration, and then Apply for Transfer of Vehicle Ownership 
  • Click on Create New; this will prompt you to enter the registration number of the car that you wish to transfer.
  • Select View; this will help you to see the details of the vehicle. You will need to upload a copy of the logbook.
  • Where we have New Vehicle Owner, click on what is appropriate under individual/non-individual/financier, then feed in the buyer’s details.
  • If it is an individual, you will require to put National/Alien ID and Pin. If it is a financial institution/company, you will need to put a PIN and then click on the Add Button.
  • Proceed to Security Verification, select mobile phone, then Send Verification code
  • A verification code will be sent to the phone number, feed in the verification code, and check the Disclaimer displayed.

How do I accept or decline the ownership of the vehicle?

  • Once the transfer of ownership is successful, the vehicle buyer will receive an SMS notification to prompt them to accept the vehicle transferred to them. The buyer will then be required to Log in to their NTSA Tims Account for them to accept/decline the transfer of ownership of the vehicle.
  • The following are the steps:
  • Once you Log in to the NTSA TIMS Self-service portal, click on the Accept Ownership, enter the registration number. You will then click on Inquire, then view button to see the details of the car.
  • Click on the Security Verification, select phone number, and then send so that a verification SMS will be sent to your phone
  • Where we have accept/decline, enter the verification code.
  • If Accept, input the details as required. Once you are done,  click the Submit button. This information will be sent to NTSA. This will facilitate the processing of the logbook

 

Can NTSA  fail to register the vehicle?

It is possible for NTSA to fail to register a vehicle if there is an inter-entity transaction. This means that either the seller or the buyer of the vehicle has lost their right to transfer/accept the vehicle that has already been registered in Kenya. This could be because of unpaid fines among other reasons.

How long does it take for one to get a Log book?

It takes around 14 working days for the log book to be processed for picking.

What are the requirements for the transfer of a log book to be done?

  1. You will need to do an Online NTSA Car Search to verify that the details of the vehicle are correct.
  2. You will then fill an Application Form.
  3. Finally, you will need to ensure that you have the following necessary documents:
  • Original Log book document
  • Duly filled KRA Transfer Form C from both the seller and buyer
  • Copies of PIN from bother the seller and the buyer. However, if you are buying from an organization, then you will need copies of PIN and Certificate of Registration for both the seller and the buyer.

Do I need to surrender my old Log Book?

Yes, you will need to surrender your old log book to NTSA.

How much does it cost to transfer car ownership in Kenya?

The cost of the vehicle differs depending on the Engine Capacity of the vehicle.

Vehicle’s Engine Capacity

Cost

Below 1000cc

Ksh 1660

Between 10001 to 1200cc

Ksh 1890

Between 1201 to 1500cc

Ksh 2065

Between 1501 to 1700cc

Ksh 2410

Between 1701 to 2000cc

Ksh 2695

Between 2001 to 2500cc

Ksh 3845

Between 2501 to 3000cc

Ksh 5055

Above 3001cc

Ksh 5915

Trailers with four wheels or less

Ksh 1030

Vehicles with more than four wheels

Ksh 1890

Tractors

Ksh 1030

 

 

 

How to Clear Your Car at the Port of Mombasa

 

After much anticipation, your car has finally arrived at the port of Mombasa. You may have some questions about what happens next, which we have tried to answer here:

Do I require a clearing agent to help me clear my car at the port of Mombasa?

Yes, you do. It is not possible to clear a car at the port of Mombasa as an individual. This is because clearing agents are empowered by the KRA (Kenya Revenue Authority) to conduct this process. They undergo specific training which allows them to access the online Simba Tradex System which requires specific credentials. You will find a list of qualified clearing agents from the KRA website.

What documents are required to clear a car at the port of Mombasa?

To clear your car at the port of Mombasa, your clearing agent will require the following documents:

  •  KRA PIN
  • National ID
  • Original Bill of Lading
  • Inspection Certificate
  • Export Certificate
  • Translated Export Certificate (where the original is not in English)
  • If the vehicle will be registered under a company, the company PIN and Certificate of Incorporation
  • NTSA TIMS account

How long does customs clearance take at the port of Mombasa?

It takes about 10 working days to clear a car from the port of Mombasa,  barring any unforeseen delays. On occasion, there have been delays with the KRA and NTSA online systems and other delays occasioned by shortage of physical number plates.

What happens when my car arrives at the port of Mombasa?

When your car is offloaded from the vessel, it is driven to a pre-determined CFS (container freight station). This is where it will be stored in the duration that it is in the port. A few days before the car arrives at the port  or when it arrives, the clearing agent logs into the KRA system and submits an Import Declaration Form (IDF). This is a document declaring that a certain car has been imported into the country. They are then able to generate an entry sheet which shows the amount of taxes to be paid to KRA.

How do I pay the import duty for my car?

The entry sheet allows you to pay KRA taxes. As an individual, you can pay the taxes directly at any bank by presenting the entry sheet and the money. Please ensure that you are issued with an original receipt which will be needed as proof of payment.

Alternatively, your import agent/ clearing agent can pay the taxes on your behalf, as per your agreement.

How do I get a number plate for my imported car?

Your clearing agent in Mombasa will help you with registration, upon which NTSA will allocate you a number plate. For this process to take place, you will be required to create an account with NTSA. The clearing agent will then access this account and apply for registration. When the registration is successful, your car details, including the new number plate will now reflect on your account. The NTSA will issue you with the latest number plate available. The agent will then collect the physical plates on your behalf and fix them on the car.

How much does it cost to clear a car at the port of Mombasa?

The amount of money you pay to clear your car from the port of Mombasa will vary with the size of the car and other factors. There are  fixed and non-fixed charges such as port charges, shipping fee, clearing fee, processing fee, registration fee, radiation fee, marine Levy and import duty. You could also incur extra transport costs depending on how you plan to transport your car from Mombasa to your location.

How can I get a reliable clearing agent in Mombasa?

All (legitimate) clearing agents at the port of Mombasa are trained and licensed by KRA. You can easily confirm whether you are dealing with a legitimate agent on the KRA website where they are listed. As with any industry beware that there may be some rogue elements, and due diligence is recommended.

Do you need help to clear your car from the port of Mombasa?

Are you importing a vehicle from Japan or the UK and you need the services of a clearing agent in Mombasa? Do you need help transporting your car from Mombasa to your destination? We can help! Email info@crotonmotors.com or call 0723676784 for more information.

 

 

 

 

How Much Duty will I Pay to Import a Car to Kenya? How KRA Calculates Car Import Taxes

Import Mazda CX5

 

If you are planning to import a car from Japan, the UK, or elsewhere, one of your biggest concerns will be the cost. There is the actual cost of buying the vehicle, often referred to as CIF (Cost, Insurance & Freight) in import lingo. Basically, this covers the value of the car to the port of Mombasa.  This part is easy to understand, but it is the second part that most people find complicated and even confusing- import taxes.

How exactly do import agents arrive at the taxes payable? In this article, we will break down exactly how car import taxes in Kenya are calculated.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is the body tasked with determining how much taxes you pay for importing a car, and to whom these taxes are paid.

KRA uses what is called a Current Retail Selling Price (CRSP), a database that lists the showroom (brand-new) costs of various models of cars. The CRSP prices are what form a basis of taxing second-hand imports based on a depreciation model.

Please note- you will not pay taxes based on how much you paid for your car  (purchase invoice) but rather, by the CRSP.

Before we explain how CRSP depreciation works, it is important to note that other factors will affect the total cost of a used car. These include:

  • Make- e.g., Subaru, Toyota, Nissan
  • Model- e.g., Forester, Prado, Juke
  • Year and month of manufacture, e.g., Nov 2014
  • Engine transmission- e.g., automatic, manual
  • Engine capacity-e.g. 1600cc, 1800cc, 2000cc
  • Fuel type- e.g., petrol, diesel
  • Class – e.g., wagon, hatchback, sedan

**What is a bad month?

As noted above, the month and year of manufacturer/ registration is crucial in determining taxes payable. The month, particularly, is something that you should pay attention to as there is what is called ‘a bad month’.

A bad month refers to importing a vehicle and having it arrive in Mombasa before its month of manufacturer or registration for the year in question. For example, if you buy a December 2014 Mazda CX5 but have it arrive in Mombasa in October 2021, this is a bad month and you will pay taxes for the year 2015 (which are higher). It is therefore important to consult with your import agent to ensure that you get the right car.

 

CRSP Depreciation

KRA depreciates the CRSP price of a car by 10% per year (since the year of manufacture) to which then adds the insurance and freight costs to arrive at the customs value.

For instance, if you import a 2014 Mazda CX5, the CRSP price will depreciate by 70%, the year 2015 will depreciate by 60%, 2016 by 50%, and so forth. This means that unlike other countries, in Kenya, the older a car is, the cheaper it is, and the newer a vehicle is, the more expensive it is.

The customs value we mentioned will then be subjected to several charges as follows:

  • Import duty- 25%
  • Excise value- 20% + import duty
  • Value added tax – 16% + import duty + excise duty
  • IDF (Import declaration fee)-3.5%
  • Railway Development Levy-2%
  • Additional charges- Marine Levy & Radiation Check

Let us look at a practical example. Let us say you want to import a 2000cc, petrol engine, 2014 Mazda CX5. This is how your import duty will be calculated.

Current Retail Selling Price 4,495,000.00
Depreciation 70%
Extra Depreciation 0%
Customs value                     605,642
Import Duty 25%                     151,411
Excise Value                     757,053
Excise Duty 25%               189,263.16
VAT Value                     946,316
VAT 16%                     151,411
RDL 2%                       12,113
IDF Fees 3.5%                       21,197
Grand Total                     525,395

This means the total import duty you will pay for a 2000cc 2014 Mazda CX5 is 525,000kes.

***These figures are meant as a guideline and are not absolute. KRA may change the CRSP without notice.
Mazda CX5

Metallic Blue Mazda CX5

Other Importation Costs

Now that you have an idea of how KRA arrives at taxes, it is time to look at other costs that you will incur at the port of Mombasa. These include:

  • Port charges– This is paid to the CFS (container freight station) where your car is being stored and varies based on the size of your vehicle
  • Shipping– This is paid to the shipping line that shipped your car
  • Registration fee– Paid to NTSA for registration & physical plates
  • Import agency fee– This is the fee agreed upon with your import agent for handling the whole import process on your behalf.
  • Clearance fees– Fees paid to the clearing & forwarding company that will clear your car from the port
  • Transportation to your location (either by road or car carrier)- You can choose to drive your car/ have it driven from Mombasa or use a car carrier
  • Insurance– This will be issued by your preferred insurance agent

Here is an example of local costs such as the ones mentioned above:

2000cc 2014 Mazda CX5
     
IMPORT DUTY   525,000kes
     
Port Charges 28,000  
Shipping 9,600  
Facilitation Fees 3,000  
Agent fees 10,000  
MSS Levy 1,900  
Radiation 1,000  
Third Sticker 750  
     
TOTAL 54,250  
     
*These costs are an example and actual costs may vary    

As stated, the above costs are just an example and will vary based on the size of your car, your contract with our agent and other factors. If you decide to transport your car via car carrier, you may end up paying another 20,000-25,000kes. There is also the cost of insurance, and we recommend that you take a comprehensive insurance cover.

Finally, to get a rough estimate of the total cost of your car, add the CIF cost, import duty and local expenses.

 

 

If you are looking to import a clean, low mileage vehicle  from Japan hassle free, speak to us today!

 

 

Court Suspends KRA’s Bid for Higher Taxes on Used Cars

 

Used car dealers in Kenya have breathed a sigh of relief as the High Court in Mombasa suspended the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) bid to raises taxes on used cars.

KRA had issued a new CRSP (Current Retail Selling Price) on 7th July 2020, which would have increased taxes for used car imports considerably. The CRSP is a list of prices for new vehicles, which makes the basis for which used imports are taxed based on a depreciation formula.

Upon the release of the new prices, the Car Importers Association of Kenya, which represents over 80 dealers, filed a petition in court to stop it. Among their reasons is that they were not consulted as required by the law and that the CRSP was grossly inflated.

The CRSP is fashioned after ‘showroom prices’ of brand-new models, which is then depreciated by 10% per year. Currently, Kenya only allows the importation of 8yr old vehicles. In making its argument in court, the Car Importers Association argued that KRA had given higher value for some models than was available for brand—new cars at the local dealerships.

For instance, as reported by the Business Daily, the new CRSP gives the Subaru Forrester a value of 6.39 million, while the same goes for 4.38 million locally.

In another example, the new CRSP failed in common sense by rating a small hatchback such as the Honda Fit at 3.8 million, but pricing the more luxurious Mercedes Benz B 180 at 3.1 million.

KRA has defended its actions by saying that it conducted public participation between April- May as required by law.

In delivering her judgment, Justice Mugure Thande suspended the new prices and ordered both parties to make submissions by 1st September. The case will be mentioned on 22nd September.

In the meantime, importers will continue using the older CRSP until the court determines the way forward.

 

Toyota Debuts the All-New Land Cruiser Prado ‘BLACK EDITION’

 

Its sleek, luxurious, strong, and announces itself quietly but confidently.

Meet the all-new 2020 Land Cruiser Prado TX-L ‘Black Edition’

Released on 3rd August, the Black Edition is based on the TX-L model and comes with a black interior and exterior finish.

Other than the black body colour, some of the new exciting ‘black’ features include:

Exterior:

  • The radiator grill, grill inner bar, headlamp garnish and the dedicated fog lamp bezel
  • 18” tires & alloys
  • Also, in black are the roof rails, door mirrors and the back door garnish

Interior:

  • The center cluster panel and front cup holder
  • The ornament panel and center console end panel

 

Land Cruiser Prado “Black Edition” Options

You can select the 2.8-liter diesel engine or the 2.7-liter gasoline engine. Both come with 7 seat and 5 seat options.

New Updates to the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado Family

The TX ‘L Black Edition’ also benefits from recent upgrades to the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado family that include:

  • A power up to the 2.8-liter engine turbo charger from 177ps to 204ps, giving you more driving power
  • Improved safety sense functions including enhanced pre-crash safety detection range to support pedestrians, lane departure alert, road sign assist and advance vehicle start notification
  • Optional 9-inch display audio compatible with smartphones
  • Optional rear cross traffic alert detecting vehicles approaching from the rear left or right
  • Paddle shift function for the top of range TZ-G model allowing quick shift changes only with the fingertips

 

 

If you like your luxury in black, then this is for you.

We import new & used cars from Japan, talk to us today and you could be driving your ‘black edition’ within no time!

 

Importing a car During COVID-19? What You should Know

When the first COVID 19 case was confirmed in China in December 2019 nobody could predict how it would change the way the world operates. Suddenly, wearing masks and sanitizing have become the buzz words that we have live with.

Worldwide, this pandemic has affected business across all industries. With movement cessations in place in different countries, the car import industry has been one of the most hit. For a country like Kenya where 80% of the vehicles on the roads are second hand imports, this is an issue of great concern.

If you are in the market for a new import, or were in the process of importing before COVID 19 and you are now ready to proceed, here are a few things that you should know:

Brace for longer timelines

Everything is much slower, and will inevitably take more time than it should. Japan, which is the major exporting market for used cars, imposed a state of emergency in mid-April. This was characterized by restricted movement, working from home and rigorous standards of social distancing.

While some car auctions remained open, they had fewer cars than usual. The processes of de-registering, inspecting and shipping were also taking longer than usual.

While Japan has now opened up and things are slowly getting back to normal, it will still take time. Expect some delays in buying and shipping of cars.

Expect delays at the port of Mombasa

When your car finally leaves Japan for Mombasa, you can breathe a sigh of relief.

 However, with Kenya’s response to the pandemic there will be fewer KRA and NTSA staff at the port.

This means more delays. For instance, it is taking up to a month to get a logbook, down from a few days in the past.

Transportation from Mombasa

The issue of transportation is another difficulty that you might encounter.

Some car carriers such as Corner Garage have stopped their operations indefinitely.

This means that other than your car taking much longer to reach you, you may have to pay more to find one of the few car carriers still in operation.

Overall costs may be higher

Owing to global market shocks caused by the pandemic, the Kenyan shilling has weakened considerably against the dollar. This may impact the cost of importing a car.

Delays are expensive, and waiting at every stage of the car import process means that you are spending money directly or indirectly.

Is it all doom and gloom?

No, it is not. As the COVID 19 pandemic settles around the world, things will continue to stabilize. We have already seen much improvement in the various processes and this can only get better.

At Croton Motors we are open and ready to help you import your dream car from Japan to Kenya. Visit our website www.crotonmotors.com for a wide selection of vehicles in Japanese auctions, as well as information on our import process.