Backpacking on a budget
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Oct 15, 2012 7:15 AM Last Post By: christopher_has...
Oct 9, 2012 1:42 AM
Backpacking on a budgetWill be spending a week in Kenya but have never been before.
I'm traveling on a budget, no amazing safari's, etc.
I'm taking a bus from Jinja/Mbale in to Kenya. A friend of mine said the coast is amazing! I do plan on going to Mombasa. Is it worth spending a night or two in Nairobi?
What can I do, see, in Kenya that is within my budget. Any places really beautiful that are worth relaxing. Cheap parks I could visit? Anything really.
Oct 9, 2012 2:44 AM
1Visit Hells Gate NP near Naivasha. You could stay at Fisherman's Camp on Lake Naivasha, rent a bike and cycle around. Don't forget to go down to the gorge. Entrance fee should be around 20 or 25 US $.
On Coast: Diani Beach (Mombasa South Coast) is nice, Watamu and also Lamu Island (great beaches, unique culture).
Oct 9, 2012 7:55 AM
2Budget backpacking in East Africa is not friendly on the budget, especially if you compare it to the prices in, say, SE Asia. If money is an item, staying around Nairoibi is a good idea. As has already been pointed out, you can go to Naivasha and Hells Gate, which has a much lower entry fee than the bigger and best known places like the Tsavos or Massai Mara. Plus, Naivasha has budget accomodation, which is not the case in many other areas (at least not when you also want something that´s clean and safe). And in Nairobi you can see the elephant orphanage or the giraffe center (though 1000 Ksh for tourists are not exactly a budget fee) or take a day trip to the national park, If you want to go to the coast, you might consider taking the train - the trip can be quite an experience, and it´s more comforable than a bus yet still very affordable. When you go to Mombasa, a trip to Shimba hills or a visit to the marine national park might be an option.
Another thing, seeing that you post for different countries here. you seem to be in a rush to "do" as many countries as possible. Maybe you want to re-consider whether less might not be more. Things take time in Africa, and especially if you travel on local busses, count in broken tyres or other mishaps on the road that can take time to fix. Arranging things usually also takes time. During rush hour in Nairobi you are easily stuck in traffic for 2-3 hours. And especially in the coastal areas, be it in Kenya or in Tanzania, delays are normal - though it is usually just the rushed Westerner who regards things as delayes. For everyone else, things just run on African time...
Oct 9, 2012 5:20 PM
3A friend of mine did the same thing in Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi. Wasn't at all planned, she did it all on a spontaneous whim. All I'm looking to do is relax, take in the culture. If I don't go to any national parks, etc, I don't mind. Just thought if I could it would be good but its not a must. She's given me a few ideas about where to go but she told me to look into other places I could go to.
I have a month and a half to travel through Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi so a week roughly, but I do have room to breathe.
I spent 6 months in Uganda earlier this year, and when I return I'll be spending 2 months there before traveling down so I'm very well aware of what to expect.
Oct 9, 2012 6:39 PM
4Here are two recent threads that talk about cheaper places to camp and see wildlife:
Malawi's national parks are quite a bit cheaper than those of Kenya and Tanzania, but I am not sure if the wildlife offerings are at par with Kenya. They have received mixed reviews but you may as well research the possibilities. I have not visited the Malawi parks yet but I plan to before Christmas. Perhaps someone else can provide more information here.
Oct 14, 2012 8:11 AM
5The coast near Mombasa is beautiful and well worth a visit but I'd have to say Mombasa Central isn't the most budget friendly of places.
Travelling slightly north up to Mtwapa and around really reduces the budget to a more manageable level. At Mtwapa, there are some pretty affordable bar/restaurants and there's a free National Monument near the beach, some pretty nice ruins which you are free to explore as you wish.
The beaches are pretty spectacular as well, and if you were interested I have the contact details for a school that would be more than happy to have you visit or even teach a few lessons if you felt up for it. I spent 5 weeks there earlier this year and it was incredible.
Oct 14, 2012 4:27 PM
6Yes, the Mtwapa ruins are very interesting and a bit eerie, situated as they are in an old, dark stand of forest. If you are not planning to get up to the Gedi ruins, you can enjoy a similar, if smaller, experience here. The ruins date to the 14th century and include a mosque (naturally), a large stone bath, a huge open well and an above-ground crypt that I was told has a burial beneath the floor.
The GPS coordinates are: -3.953945, 39.755846. It's a one km walk from the centre of Mtwapa or you can hire a motorbike taxi for 100 shillings.
The last time I visited, a caretaker told me that the National Museum of Kenya is taking over the place and will be charging 200 for admission.
Oct 14, 2012 10:08 PM
7There are two sets of ruins of two ancient Swahili towns at Mtwapa, the one referred to above near Custom beach on the Creek, was investigated, documented, part-excavated and preserved quite some time ago, but nothing further has been done to it and it is beening allowed to return to jungle. It was ''gazetted' as a National Monument around the time the archaeological exploration, and has been under control of National Museums of Kenya since then, though they have done little to it other than erect a couple of signs declaring it to be a gazetted monument and listing some restrictions this brings. Some photos of the Heritage site here
The other ruins are the more famous Jumba La Mtwana ruins many of which have been much more thoroughly excavated and preserved, and are managed by the National Museums, there is a small museum there and permanent guides. They do charge, like most monuments there is a residents price and a visitors price, I think the visitors price is currently 500/-. Some photos of Jumba Ruins here
I know the manager of Jumba Ruins, and various other members of the Museums management team, and though they have some plans for Jumba Ruins, as yet it seems they have no plans to do anything with the Heritage site.
As it happens one of the few specific backpacker places on this part of the North Coast, Beach Africa is located between these two sites, it is closer to the Heritage site which is a short walk along the beach at low tide.
Edited by: Doffcocker
Oct 15, 2012 7:15 AM
8Thanks for that, Doffcocker. I wasn't aware of the second ruins. Yes, the ones I mentioned are the ones just off Custom Beach.
BTW, that beach is a public one. It has a beach bar that charges to use the sun beds, but they have no property rights to the beach itself. I've heard about a few people going there and being told they were on private property. Not the case.
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