The most common question lingering in the minds of Kenyans wishing to travel down to the coast is how to go on a vacation without breaking the bank.
With proper organisation and prior planning, you can actually spend time in all the major coastal towns from Lamu to Watamu, Kilifi and Mombasa in and Diani for as low as Ksh 10,000 for one weekend.
With the turquoise Indian Ocean lapping at its white sand heels, you can enjoy this picture-perfect paradise with a fraction of the cost travel agencies charge.An image of the iconic sculptures in Mombasa County(COURTESY)
How to Get There
Suffice to say, travelling on a Ksh10,000 budget will not give you enough freedom to choose flying as your mode of transportation but it will afford you a comfortable ride on the Standard Gauge Railway which charges Ksh 1,000 for the standard coach.
The biggest challenge with this mode is getting the tickets on time because the trains fill up fast despite running daily and tickets must be bought a few days in advance either from the train station in person or via M-Pesa.
However, the SGR now has three train services which have reduced demand for tickets. There is one intercounty service leaving in the morning from both Mombasa and Nairobi respectively. There are two express services, one in the afternoon and a midnight train that leaves respective destinations at 10 pm and arrives at 4 am.Former President Uhuru Kenyatta flags off SGR Phase 2A at the Nairobi Terminus on Wednesday, October 16, 2019PSCU
It's important to have a meal before boarding because snacks on the train can be a bit expensive.
Where to Sleep
When on a budget, you may want to stay away from expensive hotels rooms and instead look for a private villa or an Airbnb listing.
While you might pay Ksh 5,000 per person for a night at a hotel, checking into a private villa or Airbnb can bring the cost down to Ksh 2,500 for an entire apartment.
If you are planning a longer stay, you can get in touch with the owner and ask for a discounted price.A cottage for rent in Watamu on the Airbnb application.File
It is important to read all the reviews before making a booking to help you get past experiences before you fully commit to it.
What to Eat and Drink
Some of the perks of staying in an Airbnb or a private villa is that you can cook for yourself which is less expensive than eating out.
Unlike in a hotel where drinks are served at premium prices, a stay in an apartment or private villa allows you to buy your drinks at the supermarket or at a retail shop and enjoy it at the time of your choosing.
You can also have a taste in street food and Swahili cuisine that is much more affordable and flexible than hotel food.
How to Get Around
You’re probably going to want to experience the culture down at the coast by visiting various tourist destinations and without a car, this can be frustrating.
As you are booking your stay, make sure it is at a strategic point where you can access various amenities and destinations without much effort.Tuk Tuks operating in Mombasa CountyFile
Forget your taxi-hailing apps and hop into the local tuk-tuks which are a very affordable mode of transport. For a longer destination, a matatu would also suffice.
Make contact with a trusted local tour guide who will help you access destinations, sites and activities at discounted rates. You can access a boat ride for as low as Ksh 300 with help from a local guide, down from the tourists' rates of Ksh3,000.
Travelling in a group is a sure way of amplifying the fun by sharing the experiences with your loved ones and a good cost saver too.
Economies of scale help you bring down the cost of accommodation and meals since the expense is spread over a larger number.
The power of numbers also gives you a better chance of negotiating discounts for various activities.
For example, a four-bedroom villa can be leased out for as low as Ksh10,000 during the low season. If you are eight friends, that comes to Ksh1,250 per person per night.
As you prepare to make plans to travel down to the Kenyan coast remember to travel when its low season (January to March and May to October).
During the high season, the demand hikes the prices of everything else except for the SGR fare.Kenyan content creators Abel Mutua and Njugush having fun with their families in Mombasa
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