How To Travel By Road From Arusha To Nairobi With A Shuttle Bus

Marangu Shuttle bus to Nairobi

Last updated: 8th January 2024

Taking the shuttle bus is the most budget-friendly way to travel from Arusha, Tanzania to Nairobi, Kenya. Due to the immigration stop at the Namanga border, the trip takes approximately 4 hours by private car, while the shuttle bus journey extends to around 6 hours. Surprisingly, the journey felt shorter than anticipated, likely because I managed to sleep through a significant portion of it. During the time I was awake, I had the pleasure of enjoying some stunning scenic views and wildlife along the route.

I would always recommend getting travel insurance as soon as you book your trip! My favourite travel insurance is Safety Wing and AXA is also good. 

 

Map of road route from Arusha to Nairobi

Tanzania E-Book

How to purchase your bus ticket?

You can purchase your bus ticket at the Riverside bus station in Kijenge near the Impala Hotel. Upon arrival, you’ll notice several bus companies, with Riverside Shuttle and Marangu being the prominent choices. In my case, I opted for a ticket from the Marangu shuttle bus based on the recommendation of locals who praised their reliability and comfortable seating. Both of these companies offer both private hire and shared shuttle services. Both shuttle providers offer the convenience of hotel drop-off services, making the travel experience even more convenient.

Cost of bus ticket: 50000 Tsh (£15)

Travel Smart Tip: It’s a good idea to buy your ticket at least a day before you travel.

Marangu shuttle bus

The bus leaves at 8:00 am from Riverside bus station which is the meeting point. It’s important to note that the reporting time to arrive at the meeting point is 7:30 am. The estimated arrival time in Nairobi is 2:00 pm at the Parkside Hotel in Jevanjee. The shuttle bus companies can provide hotel drop-off as well.

What do you need to do before travelling to Kenya?

It’s important to check your country’s travel advisory for Kenya as entry requirements into Kenya will differ from country to country. 

  1. You do not need a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination to enter Kenya.
  2. Travellers displaying flu-like symptoms will now need to undergo a rapid antigen test at their own expense, costing $30 USD. If the antigen test returns a positive result, the traveller must then take a PCR test, which will also be at their own cost, amounting to $50 USD. Following the Ministry of Health’s guidelines on isolation, those who test positive will need to self-isolate. If symptoms worsen and become severe, the isolation requirements for mild, moderate, and severe cases will apply.

  3. British, USA and Nigerian passport holders all require a visa to enter Kenya. On 12 December 2023, the President of Kenya announced that Kenya would be visa-free from January 2024. Visitors to Kenya are now required to apply online for an electronic travel authorisation (ETA) in advance of travel. It costs $30 and may take up to 3 days for approval. Some exemptions apply and can be found in full on the website of the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority.
  4. You may need a yellow fever certificate when entering Kenya from certain destinations.

What happens at the Namanga border?

I travelled during the pandemic times which impacted the way the officials at the Namanga border operate. Face masks had to be worn at all times and my temperature was checked. If you are passing through the border soon, this is what to expect. 

  1. Security Checks: There will be security checks, including bag inspections and sniffer dogs.
  2. Forms: You’ll need to complete departure and health forms accurately.
  3. Printing:  If you have applied for a visa beforehand and it’s been approved, make sure you print a copy to take to immigration. If necessary, a printer is available for you to print documents at an additional cost.
  4. Yellow Fever Vaccination: Have your yellow fever vaccination certificate ready as they may request to see it. Check with your country’s foreign travel advice and embassy if you need a yellow fever certificate. 
  5. Tanzanian Immigration: The Tanzanian immigration officer will stamp your passport.
  6. Kenyan Immigration: You’ll then need to provide printed copies of your ETA visa to the Kenyan immigration authorities. 
  7. Inquiries by Kenyan Immigration: Expect a few questions from Kenyan immigration officers regarding the purpose of your visit.
  8. Return Ticket: Kenyan immigration will also require proof of a return ticket.
  9. Luggage Security: Once you’ve successfully cleared Kenyan immigration, your luggage will undergo security checks again. After this, you’ll be free to enter Kenya.

These are the updated protocols for a smooth and safe crossing at the Namanga border.

Namanga border stop

Looking for some more interesting things to do in Nairobi? Check out my blog post on 8 Fun Things To Do In Nairobi On A Budget 

Would you do a road trip to cross the border to another country?

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How To Take The Shuttle Bus From Arusha To Nairobi

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4 Comments

  1. Bright
    September 13, 2021 / 9:34 am

    I really want to thank you for sharing this post as it contains a lot of information, keep up this good work.

    • September 13, 2021 / 5:25 pm

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Jumoke
    January 11, 2022 / 4:29 pm

    This is super insightful.
    Thanks for sharing

    • January 12, 2022 / 12:53 pm

      Glad to hear! Thanks for reading xx

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