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Nairobi to Mombasa...Mombasa to Lamu

London
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Nairobi to Mombasa...Mombasa to Lamu

Hi,

I'm going to be in Kenya in September and was looking into getting the train from Nariobia to Mombasa but I've found nothing but bad reviews about it (admittedly, none within the last year). I was wondering if anyone had heard anything good recently? Also, I want to get from Mombasa to Lamu and saw that Fly540 fly there (via Malindi). Again, I've not heard very good things about this either...

Does anyone have anything good to say about transport in Kenya or can anyone shed any light as to how I should try to get around?

Many thanks!!

London, United...
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1. Re: Nairobi to Mombasa...Mombasa to Lamu

We travelled on the train last November from Mombasa to Nairobi (which we believe to be the better option) and was a fairly good experience , yes we arrived late into Nairobi, however that did mean we got to see several animals in Nairobi National park from the train. unfortunately we dont know much about travelling from Mombasa to lamu but others will give details in Due Course

Rwanda
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2. Re: Nairobi to Mombasa...Mombasa to Lamu

I have good experiences of the train and fly540.com. The latter are a bit like easyjet (even having orange everywhere), but more reliable and better service.

I wouldn't recommend driving to Lamu, the road north of Malindi/Watamu is not the best, flying is much the quicker and safer option. I love Lamu, it's very chilled.

Nairobi, Kenya
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3 reviews
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3. Re: Nairobi to Mombasa...Mombasa to Lamu

Hiya. Admittedly I don't use the NBO-MBA train myself but have plenty of friends who do. It's sadly, like so much here in Kenya, a taste of faded glory but the experience is what you make of it as long as you're not expecting something on a par with the Shinkansen or SNCF!

Re 540 I'm afraid I don't personally have a good word to say about them. They have great financial backing behind them and a decent fleet of aircraft but their customer service and reliability leave a lot to be desired. On one occasion I was hosting the travel editor of a well-known US current affairs programme who was scheduled to fly back from the Mara with 540. They told us to be at the airstrip at 1000hrs for a 1030 departure. 1030 came and went (as happens so frequently here, so we weren't particularly anxious) and no aircraft. Several calls to 540's ops dept were met with assurances that the a/c was delayed but on its way. So we waited, and waited. At 1310hrs we were told to go to an airstrip 1.5 hours' drive away to meet the a/c which would now not be stopping at our airstrip, but which would arrive at that airstrip at 1330! Then we were told to stay put. Then we were called back and told to go to the other airstrip where the a/c would definitely meet my guest. Having taken an illegal shortcut we arrived there by 1345 and waited. And waited. At 1430 a completely different a/c from a completely different company landed, taxied in and sat on the murram. It turned out that this was an a/c sent by 540 (without informing us) who had, at the last minute, changed their schedule completely and were not incorporating my guest's destination at all. Time wasted? 5 hours. On a separate occasion, we were told to be at the airstrip at 1000hrs for a 1030 pick-up. We arrived at 1000 to be advised that the a/c had landed at 0950, waited for almost 5 minutes, and taken off - without our pax, for whom we had to provide an extra night's accommodation.

Having said all that, there are good reports about 540. You win some, you lose some. I just wouldn't touch them with a 10-foot bargepole.

Sorry to be so negative. Will see what I can find out for you on getting from MBA to Lamu another way.

MM

Shanzu, Kenya
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4. Re: Nairobi to Mombasa...Mombasa to Lamu

Hi scmd

My wife and I flew from Mombasa to Lamu and back again in January with Mombasa Air Safari.

Flight was good. Fare was reasonable. Planes were on time(by Kenya standards !)

Web site is www.mombasaairsafari.com

E.mail address is airserve@mombasaairsafari.com

London
4 posts
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5. Re: Nairobi to Mombasa...Mombasa to Lamu

Hi,

Thank you so much for the reponses back to my post so far. All of this information is very greatly received and really appreciated!

Our plan (should anyone be able to offer us any tips or must dos) is to spend a day or so in Nairobi (we'll be there from approx 16th Sept) before heading down to Mombasa (we're keen to take the train for the experience but would look at flights if necessary). Once we get to Mombasa we're not sure if we should stay there for a night or two or head straight down towards Diani/Tiwi Beach area - looking to stay somewhere with a bit of character and not one of those souless corporate hotels. Any advice on which area to stay at would be good too - we want to try to avoid the really touristy bits if that's at all possible. Whilst we're there we'd like to visit Shimba Hills and the elephant sanctuary. Not sure what else we should do whilst we're down there?

After that, we plan to head up to the Lamu archipelago for a few days to explore before finally heading back to Nairobi and then back to London.

Any advice or suggestions anyone has would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks very much again!!

nairobi
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10 posts
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6. Re: Nairobi to Mombasa...Mombasa to Lamu

Hi,

Great to have your genuine concerns especially about the Mombasa Nairobi train.

Last two weeks on the 18th of April our clients had requested to have the Train for their visit to Mombasa and we did reserve for them to and from Nairobi first class service.

However they delayed coming to Mombasa by two hours and we had to meet them about 30miles away from Mba,so that they arrived at 1130am instead of 0930 am.

They choose the same back to Nairobi and we had our Nairobi office pick them just on time on the 02 May and had a fantastic time all through..

My advise would be,that you allow sufficient time...

As for the Lamu potion safari air should do the trick..efficient,and affordable.

London
4 posts
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7. Re: Nairobi to Mombasa...Mombasa to Lamu

Thanks for your speedy response - we'd be sure to leave plenty of time for this trip! Do you know if the train can be booked before arriving in Kenya or is it easiest to book it when we arrive? Also, I know that it only departs 3 days a week, is anyone able to confirm if it's still Monday, Wednesday and Friday (I read that somewhere)?

Thanks again!

South West England...
Destination Expert
for Mombasa, Diani Beach, Kenya
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7,234 posts
25 reviews
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8. Re: Nairobi to Mombasa...Mombasa to Lamu

Here's an informative website....

http://www.seat61.com/Kenya.htm

Tip - Take some supplies with you, water/food, just in case it breaks down. Maybe some ear plugs too as you'll get little sleep when it stops at stations along the way.

Also worth noting that you can't lock your compartment door so take any valubles with you when you go down to the buffet car.

London
4 posts
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9. Re: Nairobi to Mombasa...Mombasa to Lamu

Thanks

Our plan (should anyone be able to offer us any tips or must dos) is to spend a day or so in Nairobi (we'll be there from approx 16th Sept) before heading down to Mombasa (we're keen to take the train for the experience but would look at flights if necessary). Once we get to Mombasa we're not sure if we should stay there for a night or two or head straight down towards Diani Beach / Tiwi Beach area - looking to stay somewhere with a bit of character and not one of those souless corporate hotels. Any advice on which area to stay at would be good too - we want to try to avoid the really touristy bits if that's at all possible. Whilst we're there we'd like to visit Shimba Hills and the elephant sanctuary. Not sure what else we should do whilst we're down there?

After that, we plan to head up to the Lamu archipelago for a few days to explore before finally heading back to Nairobi and then back to London.

Any advice or suggestions anyone has would be greatly appreciated.

uk
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1,335 posts
1 review
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10. Re: Nairobi to Mombasa...Mombasa to Lamu

hi

used 540 to fly from malindi to lamu return 7500 shilling which wasnt bad , flight was ok in both directions no problems

stayed at lamu palace, was first booked into sunsail, didnt like the look of it wasnt very clean and they dont do beer either, lamu palace was ok clean and food was good, if you book with 540 book tranfer as well from airport 1000 shilling for speed boat

take enough money with you as i used atm on good friday and it eat my card and other peoples as well, manged to get manager out to open bank to get card back was a nightmare

if you need a guide i have a contact there and will give you his number if you like

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