a VirtualTourist member from Riga
Hello! I with my girlfriend need to get from Mombasa to Nairobi at first half of march, wanted to ask about best options...Train and bus will be cheapest, but takes a lot of time, than I thought maybe go by plane, 90$ per person isn't very much and it's a lot of time economy...but question is, maybe somone knows how much will be to get to Nairobi by car and driver, and fact is that we need to go only one way and we're just two, because if we were 3 or 4 IMO it was definetly cheeper than go by plane.... Thnx....
I have done that traject both by train minibus and regular (night) bus.
The train is really worth it, because it is pretty comfortable (with a restaurant on the train etc), and you have some beautiful views (you drive through Nairobi National park).
The minibus is the cheapest, but not really reliable if it comes to timing (they drop and pick up passengers along the road, and it can get crowdy).
The best option in my opinion would be the regular travelers bus. There are a number of really decent companies, among which 'Coast Bus' is the oldest. It runs very good day and night services between Mombasa and Nairobi.
http://www.kenyabus.net/ is another one.
I hope this answer was of help.
I like the train myself. it is not that expensive ($60 if you book at the ticket office, first class sleeper) and, although it passes by the side of Nairobi National Park it passes through Tsavo East. It takes around 15 hours, if on time. You could hire a driver/van, not sure of the cost, depends on the company. It is a long drive, a full day on the road. I would not go by bus as I get motion sickness, plus driving that road at night is slightly suicidal. There is no way I would get into a minibus, aside from the fact I would be ill, accidents on the road are common and a minibus overtaking a lorry and hitting a bus/another truck are the usual cause. You decide the outcome. The flight, as you say, is comparable. I have been on the train, road and plane, all are good in their own way. You could go one way plane and return train or road. Remember the trains only run 3 days a week to Mombasa : Mon, Wed, Fri then Tue, Thur, Sun return. Flights with 540 for example are around $97 and take a little over an hour. Have fun!
If I was going by bus I would probably go with Mash these days. I don't think Coast are as good as they once were. All the bus companies stop halfway at Mtito Andei for a toilet/food break. The last few clicks arriving in the traffic at Nairobi can be excruciating though.
I've not been on the train since they whacked up the price for non residents back in the 90s it used to be a cheap pleasant and frequent (two a day in each direction back in the day) travel experience.
It is 400km distance and in Kenya such a distance is very long, offering standards on which you aren't used. Besides, Monday Februry 4th is election day in Kenya so you will be travelling in the immediate post-election period. The last post-elections, back in 2008, was very bloody and therefore I would strongly recommend to travel by plain.