Getting Around Kenya

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Most Viewed Transportation in Kenya

  • East Africa is great, but avoid Kampala Coach Bus!

    by DanitK Written Aug 30, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I had a fabulous time touring in Kenya and Uganda, but the Kampala Bus Coach bus ride that I took from Kampala, Uganda to Nairobi, Kenya was literally the worst bus ride I have ever taken in my life...and I've traveled across 5 continents by bus! Despite my temptation to tell you about the entire wretched experience, let me put the worst part of it to you, so that you are not tempted to take a ride from them ever. Seriously.

    The ride is supposed to take 12 hours max, which to any sane traveler, is a bit of a stretch, but still manageable. The big problem? The ride went from the expected 12 hours to a grueling 20 hour journey from the hell. I should have known something was wrong when the bus pulled up to the station in Kampala with dim headlights and mechanics working on what appeared to be a major fuse box by the driver's seat (I'm no car expert, but when the lights and engine won't stay on before the bus has even left the station, I take that to mean the vehicle shouldn't be driven until it gets repaired). Well, apparently, the mechanics didn't heed these simple warnings and by the time we got to the border crossing between Uganda and Kenya, we were stuck - engine wouldn't run, headlights wouldn't work (this was a night bus that traveled cross-country through the night...headlights are kind of important for that sort of trip, right?) So we were literally stuck at the border for 6 hours, waiting for dawn to break. We received no announcement from the conductor or driver about what was happening (I only got the full story once I got so frustrated 4 hours into this that I alighted from the bus in search of the driver and some answers).

    We finally left at day break only to find that the driver had now taken it upon himself to drive like a maniac to make-up the time and nearly hit 6 cars in the process and left 7 passengers at a rest stop along the way. There was also a terribly sick child that was on the bus (clearly severely malnourished) and by the end of this ride, considering that none of the passengers were doing well, my heart went out to this child having to endure such a disgraceful voyage in his condition. So bottom-line...save yourself the trouble and take another bus company, any other bus company (a Kenyan friend of mine tells me that she's enjoyed her trips on Modern Coast). Just don't take Kampala Coach Bus. This isn't the kind of event that makes for a good story (I know, I am prone to going a little out of my way for the possibility of a silly, unexpected travel story). But this isn't the kind of experience you're after. Enjoy your time in East Africa - it's an absolutely beautiful part of the world! Just be sure not to ride with Kampala Bus, don't thank me, just don't take them.

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    By car through Kenya

    by michwladlip Updated Apr 4, 2011

    We spent unforgettable days in Kenya N.P Masai Mara .Nakuru Samburu Lake Baringo Maralal traveling by car with our guide Mike and driver John in fall 2006 .Two guys were very good tandem and we enjoyed with their service.

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    Motorbike Taxis

    by Suet Updated Mar 4, 2011

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    My husband told me specifically *DON'T get on a motorbike or in a matatu* so I disobeyed and did both. The bikes are reasonably well maintained, except I had a couple of back tyre punctures on the rough roads between my lodging and the main road.

    Having been a Hot Biker Chic in the 60's I hadn't been on the back of a bike since then as my Dad explained about ending up as strawberry jam on the motorway. Now, my only option was to get on the back of a bike or walk. Actually, I could have got on the back of a bicycle, but the seat was a metal grille, not suited to my bum. Fortunately, everyone in Kenya has a mobile phone now, so I could order my bike by phone. However, they have such a thing as Kenyan Time which means they don't stick to it. Your Taxi Driver could be on his way to pick you up at 8.30am, but be a couple of hours away, possibly picking up a fare on the way. A Reliable Driver is worth his weight in gold and I had a few. Nelson, an old man who drove me around like he had a box of eggs on the back, Evans who was a younger man, but still careful. The most fun was with Ronny, the Lab Technician at the Facility I worked at. He was hilarious, full of life and a wonderful sense of humour. The fact that he didn't know where I was living was irrelevant. I also had a Boy Racer who was determined to get me there in the shortest possible time. My back and old slipped disc paid the price. As did his puncture and broken sump. The young will learn but not understand. Now I sound like an old fart.

    The price I paid per trip was 100Ksh (about £1.00) which was a tad higher than usual, but they all think Mzungus (Europeans) are rolling in money. The sad fact is that they are on a budget just like everyone else. I will cover this point elsewhere in my Kenya Rambles.

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    EasyCoach

    by Suet Written Mar 4, 2011

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    I was recommended by my hosts to use EasyCoach to travel from Ugunja to Nairobi. At first I was most apprehensive but soon found out that EasyCoach was safer than I thought. They have secure stages at Kericho, Kisumu, Nakuru and of course Nairobi, in that they have dedicated areas with a locked waiting area and shops and restaurants for comfort stops. The guards won't allow you on the bus unless you have a valid ticket and there is someone guarding the luggage compartment of the bus whenever it is stationary. The cost of the one way ticket from Ugunja to Nairobi was 1200.00Ksh which is about £10.00 GBP. The driver went quite slowly and the trip took around 7 hours with all the stages. This meant that we were not rushing about at speed and it felt a lot safer. The bus itself was quite comfortable with seats that went back and sealtbelts. There is no aircon and if the radio is too loud, you can ask the driver to turn it down for you.

    I can't find a website for them, but you basically go to the local stage and buy a ticket.

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    Bus travel around East Africa

    by eguana Written Feb 17, 2011

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    I would take Kampala coach over Akamba. Akamba used to be the best but lately their buses are old and keep getting spoilt. About insecurity it does exist but not so much of it. There were a couple of robberies on night buses but security has been stepped up. Both these bus companies also have a good safety record and have only reported a few fatal accidents.
    Another advantage of the daytime bus is the scenery, the route passes through the great rift valley and you also get to see flamongoes @ Lake Nivasha as well as Lake Vioctoria and the river Nile.
    If you really wanna fly, there are some budget carriers liek air Uganda and fly 540 which are cheaper than the big airlines

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    Public Transport

    by Suet Updated Apr 28, 2010

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    Hello. I can only answer for Kenya as I lived there for three years and visit frequently. The last time was November 2009. The general condition of Nairobi has improved greatly. The street families and street boys have been taken to churches or back to the villages and the street hawkers have been given a market in which to trade which means the streets are less crowded and it is safer to walk around Westlands and Sarit Centre, although I would never walk in Uhuru park without an escort. The potholes have all been filled in and there are now rules about how many people can be on board a matatu, everyone should have a seat. There are also some lady touts and lady drivers which means less aggression and slightly safer driving.

    The main road from Nairobi to Mombasa was 75% dual carriageway which is a marvellous improvement. The lorries are regulated with regard to tonnage so that they don't break up the roads too soon. Most of the cars in Nairobi are automatic now which makes driving easier. The older matatus, buses and lories have been scrapped which make for cleaner driving and less of the vision obscuring diesel smoke which can be very dangerous.

    If you are a man, you may consider travelling on the big coaches upcountry towards Kisumu. Ethiopia is a bit tricky. I am sure you are well aware of the dangers of hijacking and breakdowns.

    You might consider going from Mombasa to Nairobi and beyond by train.

    To be on the safe side, I would hire an airconditioned reliable 4wd with a competent driver who is also a naturalist. If that is not what you had in mind, travel very light and go by public transport. Always let people know where you are going and have a mobile phone. You know the drill re malaria and your shots!

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    Our Guides

    by easterntrekker Written Mar 29, 2010

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    We chose MICS from the reviews and recommendations we read online. We have only good things to say about them. They offered a very competitive price and delivered our trip exactly as promised.

    We met Moses from MICS the evening before our trip in our hotel lobby.He’s an interesting man . He is Masai and showed us scars on his leg from a lion he killed by spear to fulfill his tradition.

    Our guide, Samuwell is also Masai. He’s soft spoken but a very talented and caring man. We were often amazed that he could spot even the most well hidden animal.

    We felt very well taken care of for the entire trip and would definetly travel with this company again.

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    Arriving at the Airport

    by easterntrekker Written Mar 29, 2010

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Jomo Kenyatta .This is the largest and busiest airport in east Africa. The airport is situated 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Nairobi's City Center.

    Check in was easy and I was relieved. I was concerned as my name was miss-spelled on my ticket.

    Immigration desks at the ground floor where passengers are cleared before they proceed to the departure lounge in the first floor via escalators or lifts. Happily they didn’t seem to notice when they looked at my passport and all went smoothly! This could have caused some problems for sure.

    The airport is clean with three restaurants, and Internet service at one of the money exchanges for $2.00 for 15 minutes. There are several duty free outlets selling liquor and souvenirs.
    The only drawback is there is no air conditioning and it was very warm!!

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  • Jeep rental for Safari

    by CoKo74 Updated Feb 9, 2010

    Self driving is possible, but you can also book a car with driver. My husband is a Kenyan and I'm Swiss, we always travel till Narok with driver and from there alone direction Masai Mara. We book just with www.jeepkenya.com Mr. Muriuki coz the cars are in perfect condition and the driver is always very trusty. I would say real European standard! Serious and in time, what you see is what you get.

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    The lunatic express

    by sphynxxs Written Jul 22, 2009

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    Ever since the old days of colonialism, the train connecting Nairobi and Mombasa is nicknamed the lunatic express, and while it is not really lunatic to travel the slowly winding train from the highlands to the coast, there are definitely faster ways. However, this is about the train experience, an experience that does not seem to differ too much from the old days as modernism is alien to the Rift Valley Railways...

    Travellers will enjoy comfort, very average food but friendly service. Don´t expect anything to move fast, least of all the train. The big question is when it might actually arrive at its destination - my personal experience range from 2-4 hours delay. But if you are in no hurry and like trains, you should board the train for sure.

    There are two berth cabin in the first and four berth cabins in the second class. Third class means sitting space only and unless you are eager for the "local" experience you should pamper yourself to a bit more comfort (not to mention more safety for your travel bags on the overnight drive)

    The train leaves Nairobi on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays at 7 pm and is due in Mombasa the next day at 9 am (it will not happen) Return trips leave Mombasa on Tuesdays, Thursdays and dundays at 7 pm

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    Namanga. Stop off on the way to Arusha

    by muguruki Written Jul 3, 2009

    Some people may find border towns a bit dodgey but I thoroughly enjoyed my brief stay in Namanga. The town has as you would imagine the usual curio sellers and Masai waiting to have their photos snapped as well as the odd boozer and hoteli.

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    MATATU

    by JimKnopf Written Mar 9, 2009

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    Matatus small Nissan buses. Normally the best way to travel through the city. I never would drive by myself with a car in the cities of Kenya. Better to take taxi, bus or Matatu. Or let drive a friend which is living in one of the big cities.
    If you want use one of the public transport ask them for the price before you go in it. The prices for taxis are paid for the distance.

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    Mtito Andei -Talah Hotel

    by muguruki Updated Feb 6, 2009

    If you are travelling to or from Nairobi from Mombasa on one of the many bus companies. You will definately stop in Mtito Andei almost exactly halfway between the two cities. The town mainly exists these days only to feed and water travellers going to and fro.

    Several cafes, hotels have come and gone over the years, and certain pit stops are favoured by different companies. On my last trip the current favourite and very popular Talah Hotel was packed with passnegers. Big queues at each of its several food counters but the place seemed to run well and thankfully the toilets were clean!!!

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    Transport from the airport

    by sphynxxs Written Feb 1, 2009

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    You can arrange for "authorized" taxis before heading out of the arrival hall - right after customs, but still within the customs hall is a counter where airport stadd can take your order for a taxi and advise you about the fare. They will get you to the driver and past the waiting taxi touts so this might be the easiest thing to do, especially if you arrive after a night flight. Most hotels also offer pick up service, so try to find out whether yours does that, too. Should you land in Mombasa and not in Nairobi, you will certainly have puck up service from the hotel. If you take a cab, prices have to be agreed beforehand - there are no meters. Be careful with your valuables even when leaving the airport buildings, sometimes it is hard to shake of "porters" who want to give you a hand with your luggage (or, rather, get their hands ON it!)

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    Space is no option on a bis trip

    by sphynxxs Written Jan 23, 2009

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    One of the cheapest ways to get around in Kenya is travelling by bus. It is, however, not the most comfortable or the safest way of travelling and not recommended to people who are a bit on the fleshier side - the rows are narrower than you will find them in Europe or North America. Usually they are overloaded with passengers and baggage (which can include live chicken hanging from the top) and over a long distance you might feel a bit claustrophobic in them. In the plus side, you definitely get contact to locals and a glimpse at African life

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