Written by Harv_y on 16 Jan, 2007
As I have a Kenyan wife I try to get out to Kenya whenever I can. This year suddenly at the last minute a cheap flight with First Choice who had a flight a couple of days later than I wanted to go but at…Read More
As I have a Kenyan wife I try to get out to Kenya whenever I can. This year suddenly at the last minute a cheap flight with First Choice who had a flight a couple of days later than I wanted to go but at under £300 and at £600 cheaper than flying to Nairoi I booked the flight and told the wife we would be together for the New Year.So on the morning of the December 30, after an enjoyable night flight (due to getting the 3 seats in the middle to myself and being able to have a little nap, I arrived at Moi International Airport at 6.25am, so after an enormous wait I finally get through customs and change a small amount of money into Kenya Shillings (for the Taxi and booking into the Hotel) I meet the wife. We jump into the taxi and make our way to the hotel and have the obligatory shower. Now feeling refreshed and ready to sort things out we head off to look for a Forex Bureau. What a wacky I can be sometimes - I had forgotten that the 2nd Eid this year was on December 30 and Mombasa is mainly a Muslim town all the Forex Bureaus were shut, so I had the choice of the illegal money changers or finding a sensible bank that didn't want to charge a ridiculous commission. After about an hour we find a suitable one. Funny that a Muslim bank open on the day that all the local Forex's were shut due to it being a Muslim Holiday - Thank You the Dubai Bank.Now we've got our money my wife and I booked the train the train for New Year's Eve, (First Class- a nice Xmas Present to ourselves we thought), dinner bed and breakfast and a chance to dress up for dinner (I had even bought a suitable evening dress for my wife and packed the evening suit. The cost of this was Ksh3160 each or £47.88 for the pair of us, not a lot I know but because this was done at such short notice (1 Week) we were on quite a tight budget. The lady at Mombasa Railway Station graciously took our money, gave us our tickets and told us we had to check in for our journey by 7pm - seemed reasonable enough so we took our tickets and went back to The Manson Hotel and had dinner. As I was in Mombasa and my In-Laws have a communication system that appears to work like a bush fire we all met at one of my brother in laws' homes where we met up with some of the relatives I hadn't seen since our wedding day and caught up with the gossip. All was going well when somewhere around midday the wifw's mobile starts to ring, we're a bit surprised as all the relatives likely to ring are at the home and it isn't any of my side of the family calling, so the telephone is answered (reluctantly-I might add). It's The train people calling us at approximately 12.30/1pm to say that there is a problem with the train - it's cancelled due to rain somewhere in the middle of the train track so would we like to catch the coach? (I wasn't allowed to take the phone to say no it's too heavy to do that, thank you) (It was New Year's Eve and I had been drinking). Now seeing as it was too late to recheck into the hotel for another night and those that were available were above our budget and it was too late to book a coach of opur choice this late we accepted "their kind offer" of the coach to Nairobi for Ksh1,000. We still had to check in half hour before the coach leaves, so at 6.pm we leave the family behind, catch the matatu to the Hotel, collect our belongings from reception and catch a Tuk Tuk to the Railway Station for 7pm to see in the region of 3-400 people milling around the station. So we queue up to get our coach ticket and the refund balance and to find out where the coach is - we're starting to get a bad feeling about this. No problem Sir/Madam the coach will be here soon but unfortunately due to it being a Sunday all the money is in the bank so you will have to get your refund in Nairobi. I asked what happened if I stay in Mombasa - you will have to wait till following day as tomorrow is a Bank Holiday. I then asked what was different In Nairobi as it was a Bank Holiday there too- wouldn't we have a similar problem there, no sir he said. Now at this point we start talking to the people around us and at about 8pm when we should be on our way to Nairobi we find that the coach is still on its way to the station and will be at least an hour and overhear the man say the it will take 7/8 hours to get to Nairobi by the coach coming. It takes the professionals between 8-10 hours to do this journey. Now people are starting to worry because it's 9pm and some people are due to be in work the following morning and everyone's discovering the different lies this man has been telling us all and that he hasn't told those in 3rd class that they're not going on the coach, now he comes out with I suppose a bodyguard to talk to us. We then discover by talking to another Mzungu that they had already cancelled the train a couple of days ago because of the rains a couple of days before in the same area, so they knew they would be cancelling the train when they took the money! Now extremely annoyed I set off to demand my money back when we are distracted by a coach arriving - would you believe it a CityHoppa! Certainly not suitable for the Mombasa Road. People are furious and the "helpful" Guard disappears back into the office. As the coach stops and the people come off the coach we find out they've been travelling for 14 hours from halfway along the track and that the drivers are so tired they are not going anywhere till the morning and also they had no idea they were collecting anybody from the station for a return journey. The Guard - now the manager suggested with an I don't care attitude suggested we sleep on the bus but they wouldn't be supplying blankets or anything like that. I now went to the man and pointed out that the bus was not suitable for the Mombasa Road or sleeping on what could be done - he said that we could take taxis to hotels and that the firm would pay for them on production of Receipts, but we would still have to get the full refund from Nairobi. As it was too late to book a hotel we hastily made arrangements to go back to my Brother-In-laws for the night. When we returned the following morning we were told that as we hadn't stayed at a hotel we weren't entitled to the cost of the taxi but we could have the full refund for the train trip. With the help of my brother in law who just happened to be lucky enough to know the person in the Booking Office for the coach company we were able to get a coach back to Nairobi that night at Ksh1,000 but it wasn't Air Conditioned.( Well it was sort of - the window by my head was broke and we couldn't shut it).It turns out that no one completely owns Kenya Railways at the moment as a South African is trying to buy it and neither he nor the Kenya Government has full control of it at the moment and so they can blame each other for any problems that occur at the moment and they frequently do.
So all in all the moral of this long story is until they have sorted out who actually wholly owns the Kenya Railway System - DON'T USE KENYA RAILWAYS!
Written by Harv_y on 25 Nov, 2005
I travelled to Kenya in June this year. It would be my third trip here in 12 months, and what an interesting set of journeys they have been. The very first time, I flew with BA direct from LHR-NBO; the second time was from LGW-Mombasa…Read More
I travelled to Kenya in June this year. It would be my third trip here in 12 months, and what an interesting set of journeys they have been. The very first time, I flew with BA direct from LHR-NBO; the second time was from LGW-Mombasa on Tsunami day, no less, with Brittania; and finally, this last time, I flew with KLM LHR-AMS and AMS-NB0 coming back. This time I flew NBO-AMS with Kenya Airlines and from AMS-LHR with KLM.What you need to know: The food on British Airways in both directions was wonderful.Brittania Airlines was rather amusing in that although I hadn't ordered any food from them, they hadn't paid any attention to the fact that the people next to me had ordered specific foods (dietary need) or were vegetarian (Hindus) and certainly couldn't eat BEEF sausages, so I still got to eat a hearty meal at both ends of the journey. However, if I had paid the money, £10, for the food, I would have been extremely angry, as it was overpriced and not enough. On KLM Airlines, on the trips to and from Amsterdam, the food was good enough for such a short trip, but the long haul wasn't up to much! Kenya Airlines had wonderful food.The People of Kenya are wonderful and nearly always friendly. Do try to speak a few words of Swahili before you get there, and not just the Djambo greeting that seems to be reserved for Wazungu (white) tourists. With regards to things to do in Kisumu: Certainly visit their museum and the impala park. If you do decide to go to Hippo Point, make sure you don't agree to anything till you see the boat, and be clear that "no" means "no", despite the persistence. It's probably best to use the bicycle taxis to get there; then you've got an ally, if necessary (I had the advantage of my Kenyan fiancee).Mombasa: You have to go to Fort Jesus and the Old Town, but make sure you have a good guide with you.
Written by Lieslkate on 03 Jun, 2005
Gentle, friendly, relaxing--these are the best beaches in Africa, with excellent surfing. Bring your boogie board, surfboard, snorkeling gear, and a good book to relax with after--anything by Jilly Cooper or Janet Evanovich will do. Keep it light!…Read More
Gentle, friendly, relaxing--these are the best beaches in Africa, with excellent surfing. Bring your boogie board, surfboard, snorkeling gear, and a good book to relax with after--anything by Jilly Cooper or Janet Evanovich will do. Keep it light! Close
Written by EmWaddell on 26 Jun, 2009
If you are planning to be on the Kenyan Coast during the rainy season (May-July), make sure you head to Diani Beach for the annual Diani Rules competition. Originally created to keep the 'coasties' entertained during the wet season, this competition is now an annual…Read More
If you are planning to be on the Kenyan Coast during the rainy season (May-July), make sure you head to Diani Beach for the annual Diani Rules competition. Originally created to keep the 'coasties' entertained during the wet season, this competition is now an annual event that raises money for Kwale District Eye Centre. People from all over Kenya (and other countries around the world) come for the weekend event, which is held at various hotels on Diani beach, and gather in their respective teams. Teams are sponsored by different organizations and companies, all in aid of raising money. Although the reason for the event is for a serious cause, the teams let loose and go wild for a non stop weekend of drinking (mainly Tusker- also in aid of charity!) and all night partying! Many of the games played are very drunken events, but all in good humour! Make your way down in June 2010 for a weekend of drinking, laughing and playing your best to help raise money for the Kwale District Eye Centre! Close
Written by Martin_the_Geezer on 22 Jun, 2009
In 1999 or there about my wife and I took a vacation here. splendid weather all year round. being English, getting away from all the pissing rain was great. anyway we decided to move down here in 2002, i didn't like the idea at first…Read More
In 1999 or there about my wife and I took a vacation here. splendid weather all year round. being English, getting away from all the pissing rain was great. anyway we decided to move down here in 2002, i didn't like the idea at first though. I mean what would we do for work? What about the cultural differences? survival!You get out the plane...Mombasa is a dirty town you've been warned, with garbage thrown everywhere and little regard or resolve by the council to keeping the city clean. This is a far cry from Nairobi which changed its outlook and is absolutely stunning! wish these guys would do the same here. Also i used to be a terrible fast food junkie, but as it just so happens coast people are not huge fans of all that processed food. Its rare. But you won't be disappointed, i came to love locally cooked food, even my wife has the hang of it these days. delicious "Biriani" and "Pilau" which a local Swahili cuisines. As a traveler you'd probably not know the spices i would tell you so I'll just say the only thing you'll recognize is the rice. Go on treat your watering taste buds to a plate. its available in most restaurants scattered across the city. You'd be lucky to find it at the hotels though though some do make it. Ah yes the hotels i almost forgot, the hotels are generally great they tend to provide everything you could need so you don't venture (well too far) out of the premises. I think thats wrong, because you should experience the entire coast like we did. don't be cowed into not leaving the comfort of your hotel to sight see. But you can always rent out a cottage or an apartment at relatively cheap cost by European standards. I mean c'mon where could you rent a 2 bedroom serviced apartment for 200 euros per month in england? Nope not even in university halls am sure. As it just so happens though most of the hotels in the north coast are not 5 stars. hell i wouldn't even call them 4 stars. you may find 1 or 2 like whitesands (5*) massive compound loads to do but still i felt locked up, go to south coast (ukunda, diani) and you'll find all the best hotels. Now this is where you really want to spend your vacation and have some adventure. Theres a reserve for animals just before you reach Ukunda, its up in the hills so you get a chance to view all the rolling plains in awe, and see some big game. a car load should cost you about 20 euros. Don't want a car? Fine use quad bikes available for hire with a tour guide and hed up to shimba hills, great fun. Or at least am sure it is, at my age I'd probably break my hip. I think the place is called diani quads or something like that. Then lets not forget the kite surfing available on the purest sand you will ever see at diani. i like watching them polish tourist girls dancing in the skies while I have my Sunday scotch and sun downers. Reminds me of the days when i was still a stud chasing after little girls with way too much testosterone. Anyway it's hard to describe what has now become my home, but i will say this mombasa is definately a place worth visiting. Close
Written by chris rivers on 28 Dec, 2001
Describes excursion taken for 3 nights to Zanzibar. Refers to airport, Stonetown, shopping, island spices tour, trip to giant tortoise island and associated snorkelling expedition.[incomplete addition] …Read More
Describes excursion taken for 3 nights to Zanzibar. Refers to airport, Stonetown, shopping, island spices tour, trip to giant tortoise island and associated snorkelling expedition.[incomplete addition] Close