Kenya Travel Story - "A week at Tiwi Beach"

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A Kenya travel story sent in by Frank (Velp, The Netherlands):

My wife and me had been dreaming about going Africa for years. When some old friends called and said they wanted to organize a trip, we took the invitation immediately and joined them. Now our dream finally came true. We very much wanted to experience the Swahili culture in Kenya, so we decided to stay a week in Kenya at the coast. Having visited other parts of Africa the week before, we flew in from Nairobi. My friends had left for the coast a few days earlier than me, and found a wonderful beach resort there, Moonlight Bay Beach Resort at Tiwi Beach. They had picked Tiwi Beach because it’s much more quite there – fewer tourists – than for example Diani Beach, which is also south of Mombasa.

Mombasa street scene

Mombasa street scene on the way to Tiwi Beach - (c) Kenya Travel Story

After checking several options, my friends decided to go by night train from Nairobi to Mombasa. The bus was even cheaper but in the train they had a sleeping compartment and could sleep a little. The trip took them some 10 hours. They got on the train in the evening and got out the next morning in Mombasa. A cheap option, costing only 2,300 shillings each, including meals and a bed with sheets. Then with a taxi from Mombasa to Tiwi Beach, taking another hour

As my wife had just arrived in Nairobi and didn’t feel like traveling all night, we searched a flight from Kenya Airlines. Though most Kenyans are friendly and laid-back, street hustlers are sometimes annoying. Coming out of a travel agency’s office, Kenyan men will escort you to other travel agencies. Most disappear after a polite ‘thanks but no thanks’, but some just don’t accept a no. One guy kept following us and trying to get into our conversation for an hour. At a certain moment he grabbed me and I told him I would call the police if he doesn’t leave us alone. He gives us some room but keeps following us at 10 meters distance until we got into a taxi.

The Flight Centre in Nairobi provided the best deal. We were helped by a young Kenyan woman, Mercy, who was clearly ambitious and proud that she was so efficient. She arranged a courier and I got the tickets within the hour. At home I got an email from her that she started her own business and we could order from her in the future. Good for her.

Ferry between Mombasa and Tiwi and Diani Beach, Kenya

Ferry between Mombasa and Tiwi and Diani Beach, Kenya - (c) Kenya Travel Story

Mombasa is the second city of Kenya, located at the Indian Ocean in the southeast of the country. It has the biggest sea harbor of East Africa. The flight from Nairobi to Mombasa only took 40 minutes. When we arrived, the heat hit us in the face. Here at the coast, it was much hotter – also because of the humid air – than in Nairobi. Mombasa airport was small, only a few buildings. We left the building, trying to get around all the hustlers (we didn’t succeed well) and got into a taxi.

From the city centre we drove in the direction of the coast, to the ferry which should take us to the other side of the sea strait. The further we went from the city centre, the more poverty we encountered. If you are from Europe or North America, this is just another world. It’s hard to describe in words how miserable everything looks. People live in shacks and just dump their trash three feet outside their front door. I can’t help thinking, ‘Even when you’re poor and unemployed, you could improve your situation by just not throwing your thrash outside your own front door.’ Everything looks ugly. At the same time, you see young men in front of their shacks making the most beautiful wood carved furniture. It’s confusing. And then a car hunks behind you, and the fattest Mercedes convertible you’ve ever seen drives by, with a Kenyan man and his girlfriend, arrogantly waving their hands to the poor people who are in their way. The corrupt Kenyan elite, who steal everything from the country and don’t give a shit about what state their country is in. ...

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