Boda bodas are bycicle "taxis" and while you find them in many places, they ae particularly popular in Kisumu at Lake Victoria in Western Kenya. Defeinitely less cramped and more fresh air than in a matatu, at least for short routes! On the other hand, boda boda drivers stick to traffic rules about as much as their matatu colleagues, so taking a ride can be a hair-raising trip but it definitely gives you a feelong for local transport!
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 Boeing 777.
Need to travel within Kenya, but don't want to take the bus. Take a domestic flight at Wilson Airport.
Take a taxi or shuttle from Nairobi International to Wilson Airport - $10-15
Kenyan Airways - www.airkenya.com
Safari Link - www.safarilink.com
I do agree to some extent some fears raised by my fellow forum members like;
The cost of hiring
The challenges of driving on rough roads
The comforts of being driven Vs personal drive
and identifying things or places of interest.
With an exception of the first concern (cost)the rest can be a really fulfilling experience when backed properly with guidance and explicit information of places you wish to travel.Car rental services will not hire a car and let you go without knowing your travel plans.This is because they have to back you up in case the car develops mechanical problems.You need to get in touch with a company that can provide you with such information.We have severally used such kind of travel with my family with Mihon Destinations Management Services to travel in Kenya and Tanzania.
On my last trip to Kenya I did board the Coast bus for Nairobi but just before reaching Mariakani we had a puncture (check the photo on the tip above), after 40 minutes the bus was eventually on its jacks but when the spare wheel was dug out from the back of the bus it was found that it had a dirty great hole in it so we had to wait till another wheel was brought all the way from Mombasa in the following bus.
The return journey I did with Busscar was puncture free and 3 hours quicker.
The latest company on the scene is Crown They have brand new Nissan busses and for those of you who are worried about security they even give you the once over with a metal detector. Unusually their office is nowhere near the other bus companies in Mombasa it is almost across the road from Casablanca on Moi Avenue.
The journey should only take around 7 hours and these days you should expect to pay 1000Kshs
Some streets at Nairobi look almost blocked by the cars and it's not during rush hours only. Would be very wrong saying, probably because they are not skillfull drivers. Most of this guys wouldn't have any problem to drive inside European cities, however, only if strictly respecting driving rules and habbits, which they in Kenya don't.....
Local public transportation, by the buses, is very well organized and, what is more important, it is very very cheap. Almost every Kenyan can afford it! Do not expect luxury inside the buses, do not expect smooth drive or comfortable ride, but it works good and you wont miss your destination.
Just to mentione, I went to the Bomas by the taxi. The ride wasn't much comfortable and it cost me something less than 10 euros. On my way back to the town I went with the City Hoppa bus and the same distance cost me 20 cents only.
When booking a camp make sure you check with your camp how many people they allocate to each game viewing vehicle. Some camps can cram in as many as 8 peeple into a jeep designed for 4-6. No more than 4 people is a comfortable amount and allows plenty of room for photographic opportunities. Some camps offer exclsuive use (recommended for serious photographers) and charge around £120-£300 per day for this luxury. It does gives the freedom that shared use does not but does come at a price.
Also ensure you are going to be driving around in a 4x4 with open sides and roof hatches (some operators and camps use 2wd minibuses with limited viewing - this is particulary relevant to check if joining a safari in Naroibi)
When travelling to the wonderful game lodges in Kenya - ie 'going on safari' there is one tip that if you read this you will thank me for and it's this. When the safari min-bus (usually a toughened up Toyota Hilux Mini-bus) turns up at your hotel - forget politeness just make sure you are as near the front of the bus as possible - DO NOT sit at the back! This may sound ridiculous and believe me I sneered at this tip to my folly. Some of the safari's are spent travelling hours and hours in a mini-bus along dried up river beds and tracks that cannot be called roads but dust tracks. I have never suffered travel sickness in my life but had an appalling seven hour trip to Tsavo West because I sat at the back of the bus! On the way back I sat next to the driver and my then partner sat just behind me - it was as if it was a different journey.
Matatus are the common means of transport in Kenya and espeacially in the city of Nairobi this is because they are cheap convenient and plenty, but am going to be honest with you....the drivers are ruthless, drives like crazy very fast if you have watched the movie too fast too Furious then you will know what i mean!they dont compile with traffic rules and Traffic jam is a waste of time and money to then, so they will use their other road which is pavement or pedestrian walkway! They play loud music, DVD's, seats very comfortable, they are coluored different desings and with artistic stickers inside and out. But guess what besides their overspeeding and loud music.....Many kenyans love it becoz you get where you want fast!!!
Its not a safe means but i advise you if visiting Kenya try it atleast once its really a great experience! The charges are 20 -40 kshs almost a quater dollar.
If you are going on a tour with a company into the National Parks of Kenya, I would certainly recommend that you look at operators that use 4WD vehicles. Many operators advertise their vehicles as 'modern safari cruiser' but many of them are not that at all. They are 20 year old modified 2WD's and are very rough to ride in for hours on the terrible roads. I saw two of them get stuck in the mud within an hour. Sometimes because of their location, they could be there for quite a while. Our Tour guide once spent the night in the vehicle with the tourist because of where they were located.
Nairobi - Mombasa by air and rail is out of my league price wise. So for years now when in Kenya I have been plodding along the potholed road from capital to coast.
There are a ruck of different companies that do this route: Akamba, Busscar, Coast Bus, Crown, Falcon, Mash, Mombasa Raha, Rhanda etc. In Mombasa the offices for these companies are usually grouped together in the MwebeTayari area and along Jomo Kenyata Avenue. In Nairobi they seem to grou around the junction of Accra and River road with a few more dotted up and down the River road area.
Night time is the more poular time to travel on the bus so there are more busses leaving in either direction usually from around 9.30 pm om wards. I myself prefer to travel in the daytime 8.00AM is the earliest that I know of but a lot of companies don't start moving till 9.00AM. A few companies (Busscar, Coast, Mash) have mid day departues, whatever time you leave you will have a break almost literally half-way at Mtito Andei. The only reason these days for Mtito Andei to exist is so that people can go to the toilet and grab something to eat in the half hour that is uaually allowed.
Coast bus always marketed themselves as the better quality bus company. Their prices were always a bit more expensive than the rest, they also operated a shuttle service from the area around Mombasa to their main office in Mwembe Tayari. Since Mash have arrived on the scene with their Scania busses Coast are probably no longer the best company on the block. Mash manage to have prices lower than Coast and give tyou a freebie bottle of water, but the off putting thing for me about Mash is the on-board TV’s showing Nollywood films.
If you like your independence then hire a 4WD and drive yourself around Kenya and do it to your own schedule and not a tour operators. We had a great time self driving our own safari at our own pace in the Mara, Lake Nakuru, Lake Baringo, Sweetwaters...
We hired through Central Rent a Car in Nairobi and it was the best deal of the trip. At Central you deal directly with Jolly Esmail who is the owner. He provided vehicle in good condition (no punctures in 2 weeks) and invaluable advice including a priceless map with directions to the Masai Mara and other tips and advice on our itinerary.
Be warned though some of the roads are bad, especially down to the Mara but others are quite good.
Afetr a long flight from Rome to Mombasa, we took a little bus with which we started our incredible adventure in the savana.........awesome!
Even if our driver was a bit mad! He used to run too fast...and you know in Africa "streets" are a bit dangerous.....infact during our movin' we saw lota of cars' accidents...believe me really scary! So it's been a real adventure in all the senses!!!!
We flew into Nairobi from London on British Airways and left on Kenyan Airways to Bombay (they served a great curry!).
While in Kenya, we rented a Daihatsu station wagon in Nairobi and it was just fine for getting the five of us and all of our luggage from place to place. This was the dry season so even the dirt roads were not bad. It was an interesting drive out of Nairobi into the Rift Valley toward Lake Naivasha. This was the only time in my African travels where big game was so abundant even just driving along a regular highway. This shot shows us pulled over to take a better look at the Eland, Giraffe and Zebra we saw grazing away beside the highway (2nd photo for the actual game). We also had the interesting experience of meeting the Presidential cavalcade coming down both lanes of the highway toward us - all traffic had to pull off the road without warning to let the "Big Man" through!
The Nairobi Serena is a top quality hotel and our stay was excellant. The staff were polite and...more
After driving through dusty, bumpy roads for hours from Nairobi into the Rift Valley, we arrive at...more
Quite a long way out of Mombasa to the North, this is said to be one of the best hotels on the coast...more
More Regions in Kenya