Ngalawa is one of the most common boats on the Swahili Coast, it is unmistakable and charming. Most likely evolved from the raised bow and higher sides to the hull allow for the ngalawa to reach out into the open seas. A pointed stern holds the rudder.
Ngalawa is usually slim hull approximately 6 meters long, essentially a dugout canoe. It is sailing outrigger canoe playing lagoons, creeks and near shore waters, mainly used in fishing and transport.
I wanted to try the city ride in this kind of taxi but couldn't make it. The fact is, there are not much of such a vehicles in Mombasa and they are constantly occupied. I suppose it's because the price must be more convinient than the ride in a normal taxi. Too bad because my city tour could be more attractive and exiting than one I had.
Next time, however, I did it and the picture you see was taken from during drive. Btw, it is called "tuk-tuk" and is really cheap.
A nice albeit expensive way to see Mombasa from the sea is by Tamarind Dhow. A Dhow is a typical local small boat - but this one is in a much larger scale than normal. It's a lunch or dinner cruise tht takes you past the port and fort jesus in Mombasa. It's run from the Tamarind restaurant in the posh suburb of Nyali and it costs 32$ at lunchtime (it leaves at 12 pm sharp) or 70$ at night (when it leaves at 6 pm). There's also music onboard
Cheaper than taxis usually half the price and very useful if you want to go somewhere in the old town as some of the streets are too narrow to take a car.
In and around the island expect to pay 100 bob
You never seem to be to far from a Matatu (shared minibus) route in Mombasa whether you are in town or up on the north coast. A lot of people wouldn't go near them but I can never live without them when I'm in Mombasa. Day time I will jump on one to go to the beach and at night maybe up to Mtwapa or back from Saba saba to my hotel.
The Manamba / tout will shout out the destination as they approach and sometimes a board in the windscreen will also show where they are going.
Matatus from town going north go to
Mtwapa (this is the one to jump on if you are going to hotels on Bamburi beach, White sands etc),
Reef (useful if you are heading to the hotels in Nyali ), this departs town from Mwembe Tayari .
Port Reitz , Bombalulu , Bamburi This is Bamburi Estate not Bamburi Beach , Kiambeni , Changamwe , Kongowea , and Tudor .
North of town matatus heading south will either terminate at the Likoni ferry or the docks manambas will shout out ferry or docks or sometimes it is shortened to 'cks. As you approach a stage the manamba will shout out the name of the stage so passengers are to make themselves known. He will shout things like market, Baroda, posta (post office).
I took the Raqib bus from Moshi, Tanzania to Mombasa. The Raqib starts, I believe, in Arusha and picks up at various stops along the way, crossing the border at Taveta, travelling to Voi and then along the highway to Mombasa. From the border to Voi it is a long, bumpy and dusty red dirt road. The dirt seeps in and covers you in a fine layer of red dust. My ticket cost 13000 Tanzanian shillings.
At the border you get your departure stamp in your passport, board the bus again and then drive a very short distance to Kenyan side of the border (near Taveta), get your entry stamp in your passport and have your luggage searched. They mostly just prodded my duffel bag and asked me a couple of questions.
The bus stops for about an hour on the on the Kenyan side of the border and you can get out and buy drinks and snacks, touts will board the bus and offer these as well. Other touts will come up to the windows offering items for sale. I brought along plenty of food and drink for the ride.
The drive was about 7 and a half hours though it varies as you never know what you'll encounter on route. We picked up a few people from another bus that had broken down along the way. Before that I was the only "mzungu" on the bus. The bus drops you off in the centre of Mombasa and you are immediately surrounded by people offering tuk tuk rides, accommodation and taxis. A friendly taxi driver helped me get my bag, even brushed all the dirt off of it and drove me to Tiwi where I had rented a cottage.
I asked my tour operator in Moshi to get my ticket as it doesn't depart or arrive at regular bus stations in neither Moshi nor Mombasa.
It departs from Moshi at 8:30am.
Moshi tel: 255-754-839613
Arusha tel: 255-754-992001
Mombasa tel: 0713-196677
In Mombasa your transportation way can be Matatus, Tuktuk and Taxi. But I suggest the Matatus only. They are so genuine and cheap. We had taken the taxi only on the way to and from airport. You pay the fare according to your destination. Some fares on August 2009;
City center- likoni ferry 10 ksh (about 1 km)
City center- Mtawpa 50 ksh (about 15 km)
Likoni- Kwale 100 ksh (about 45 km)
Likoni- Shimoni 200 ksh (about 80 km)
I flew from Mombasa to Nairobi using fly540.com which is a fairly inexpensive airline. The plane was a smaller prop plane and it was a bit of a bumpy ride but never did it feel unsafe. I must say, it was the fastest boarding of a plane I'd ever had, took about 10 minutes! We walked across the tarmac to board the plane.
My one way flight was $99 plus fees and you're allowed 20 kilos of checked baggage, though I swear my bag was heavier than that. The people at the checkin desk were very friendly. I still laugh when I look at my boarding card though as for name it just says "Laura", no last name, though my Kenyan visa didn't have my last name on it either.
Please forgive the quality of the photos, they were taken with my blackberry and it wasn't set up for the best quality.
The list is endless of the bus companies that ply their trade along the dusty road between the biggest city on the Kenyan coast and Nairobi. Most of the bus companies that are heading for the capital have their offices on the southern half of the long Jomo Kenyatta Avenue.
The price can vary from 900 to 1500Ksh and the buses can vary a lot also. A few of the buss these days even have air conditioning, but don't expect a cool coach Kenyans don't like the cold and the only times I've travelled on coaches with air con in Kenya people have complan4d it was too cold and the temperature was only turned down a touch, I was sticky rather than sweaty. It’s probably better to get a non air con bus and grab a window seat.
You maybe able to choose which bus company you use but whoever you use the road remains the same. Saying that this December the road was the best it has been for years.
Whoever you speak to seems to have their own personal favourite company; some prefer the slow steady Akamba others the more expensive Mash or Coast Bus, I have a friend who swears by the small 'Randa Coach'. I travelled last time with Chania Shuttle not a problem and the only other bus I remember passing us was a 'Modern Coast Bus'.
The new kids on the block in the competitive Mombasa to Nairobi route are Modern Coast. They have a fleet of brand spanking new buses as they have only been in operation since November 2008.
If you like travelling long distances or you have now feeling in the lower part of your body you can catch a Modern coast bus from Mombasa all the way to Kampala in Uganda, and all for the price of 2,900 Ksh. this bus leaves at 10
The original coast bus' motto was "We lead others follow". In the last couple of years Mash Bus appeared on the scene with their motto "we lead the leaders". On the back of the new Modern coast buses is written "Ultimate leader".
The Modern Coast Bus office is situated on Jomo Kenyatta Avenue.
A taxi is the best, safest, but most expensive way for a tourist to get around. Remember to agree about the price before you drive.
Expect to pay 1900 Kenyan shilling from the airport to Bamburi beach (September 2008). It's cheaper the other way to the airport.
Matatu is small minibus. Almost all of them are Toyota Hiace packed with locals (and a few tourists). It's the cheapest way to move around. The price is about 10 shilling for locals and the twice the price for tourists. I took the Matatu every day and enjoyed it. It's an adventurous ride, and bit scary because they drive like kamikaze drivers.
The route from the city to Bamburi is just called "Mtwapa". (The major stop places are Mtwapa, Bamburi, Bombolulu, Kongowea and the city Mombasa). A guy is shouting "MTAPA - MTAPA" out of the car window. Just make a stop sign, and the minibus stops. A Toyota Hiace can be packed with more than 20 persons, so expect everything else than comfort.
Matatus are the same in all African countries. It's almost a Toyota Hiace with two employees, the driver and the man who shout out of the window and collect the money.
Kenya Airways is the flag carrier airline of Kenya, based in Nairobi. "The Pride of Africa" is the Company slogan. Kenya Airways started operations in February 1977, and operates scheduled services throughout Africa and to Europe and the Indian subcontinent, with its main base at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
The fleet: 4 Boeing 777, 6 Boeing 767, 11 Boeing 737 and 3 Embraer 170. The airplane on this photo is a Embraer 170, and took me from Nairobi to Mombasa. It was a nice tour overlooking the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Its worth looking out for Kilimanjaro on your aproach to Mombasa airport. I have only just noticed that on the photo I have taken this month of Kilimanjaro there is very little snow.
I have now uploaded a nice little photo of an elephant with Kilimanjaro in the background that I took in 1990 and it seems to show a lot more snow on the mountain than there is now, scary uh!
A trip from Nairobi to Mombasa usually takes around 45 mins if flying, 6-7 hours if by bus which cost around 70 dollars and 13 hours if by train, i would advise vt members to try a train for just a fascinating experience, a variation of wildlife can be seen at a relatively close distance. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served on the train's dining carriage. These are old trains that have a long history since the british colonial rule.
Tickets can be purchased at local travel agencies as well as at the main station which is located opposite the roundabout of Haile Salassie avenue and Mwenbe Tyari Road.