“Mapenzi ni kama ferry, ukiachwa usikimbilie” (love is like the ferry, if it leaves you, don’t chase it) – Malenga001 (poet)
I’ve always been the type of person to wake up one morning and ask myself, form ya leo (what’s the plan for today)? and then proceed to spontaneously haul myself halfway across the country, and even further. One thing about me, I belong to the wind.
If you’re new here, I have a post on my website where I discussed Backpacking across East Africa, where I wrote about how I managed to backpack across East Africa for almost a year on a budget. If you read that post, you know I mentioned that one of the easiest ways to drastically cut cost when budget travelling, is by saving cost on travel and accommodation.
Travel for me has been made possible by places like Diani Backpackers, that cater to wandering travelers on a budget, who need a place to sleep, rest, eat, and connect with fellow travelers. In all the times I’ve stayed here, I’ve met people from more countries than I can count, and made memories to last me a lifetime.
Accommodation at Diani Backpackers costs as low as 10USD for a bed in one of the dorms (and you can get a 20% discount NOW if you book via their website using the Promo Code AWARD). If you’re like me, and you’re a solo traveler, then you’d get why I absolutely love sleeping in shared dorms during my travels. There’s something about the communion that’s unmatched.
In this time especially, Diani Backpackers has taken every precaution necessary to ensure all health guidelines are adhered to.
Location wise, Diani Backpackers is only a 5 minute walk to the beach (my favorite beach spot). In Part 2 of this post, I’m going to write about all the things to do here, and trust me, there’s a lot! Stay tuned for that post, coming soon.
I say all this to say, if you’re looking to stay somewhere close to the beach, affordable, with good food and even better people, then Diani Backpackers is the place for you.
Now that accommodation is taken care of, the other way to save on cost is to choose a budget mode of travel. I personally chose to take the Standard Gauge Railway train (SGR), also known as the Madaraka Express – a train that runs from Nairobi to Mombasa in a little under 5 hours).
There’s a lot to be said about the SGR. It’s definitely cheaper than a flight, however, the train stations (both in Nairobi and Mombasa), are far from the city centers, and so you have to factor that into your schedule. For what it’s worth, though, if you’re trying to save cost on flights and if you don’t want to go by bus, then the SGR is for you.
Getting to Mombasa is one thing, getting to South Coast via the ferry is another. Fortunately, when you get off the train in Mombasa, you can find shuttles that will get you directly from the train station to Ukunda. Also, if you book your accommodation at Diani Backpackers, you can definitely request to be picked up.
Personally, on arrival in Mombasa, I decided that instead of going directly to Ukunda, Diani, I’d spend a night in Mombasa, and make my way to the ferry the following day. It’s all about the adventure, kids.
I hopped on a matatu to town at the train station and made my way to town (I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in Mombasa in the past, so I knew my way around). After checking in to my hotel, I freshened up and headed to Fort Jesus. You’re probably thinking, girl, are you not tired?? I was. However, it was paramount that I make the most of my day. Here are some pictures for your consideration.
The next morning, I was off to the ferry. When I got there, I had a feeling that the ferry was about to leave, and so I hurriedly began to run with my luggage to catch the ferry, but I rememberd a poet form Mombasa once said “mapenzi ni kama ferry, ukiachwa usikimbilie” meaning love is like a ferry, if it leaves you, don’t chase it. Also, there’s a ferry every 5 minutes, so I wonder why I was so worried about this particular one leaving me.
Anyway, I caught the ferry and got across to South Coast. One matatu and tuktuk ride later, and I arrived at my destination, Diani Backpackers.
That’s my travel story. I have some time here in Diani, exploring, chasing waterfalls, and giving my salutations to the sun.
Look at for part 2, things to do in Diani!