Day 10 (September 19, 2013)   Diani Beach


Route to Diani Beach

We will take our breakfast in the train, just before reaching Mombasa.

   Once in the station, we must get a taxi to Diani Beach. It will take us through the city and use Likony ferry to leave the island, and then it’s just 38 Kms South to Papillion Lagoon Reef resort.

   We will spend the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying the all-inclusive.


   These “beds” are comfortable, but the train noise and movements have prevented me from sleeping a lot or in a row. Therefore, I’m out of my cabin at sunrise, looking through the window in the pass way the landscapes of Tsavo East National Park with the first light of dawn. A delicatessen for a start of this day.

Sunrise at Tsavo EastSunrise at Tsavo East

   And will be more because the other windows are being occupied by people in what looks like a train safari. We see three herds of elephants close to the train. I’ve also seen gazelles and an eagle, all in the red soil characteristic of this park.

Herd of elephant in Tsavo East

   Another typical thing for this park is the baobab trees. The first I see in my life. We even pass by the gate to the park before the safari is over and we can see the first villages.

Baobab trees in Tsavo EastTsavo East gate

   The pass of the train through these places seems to be quite an event, for the children mainly. They run to be close to the train and waving to the passengers. We’ve receiving greetings constantly from the people outside. I’m waving back all the time and I feel like Santa Klaus in a parade.
Rural landscape from lunatic train

   When the bell rings we all meet in the restaurant car for getting our breakfast. Soon after it, we’re again in the windows waving.

Lunatic train's restaurant carLandscape from lunatic train

   As we’re reaching the coast the colors of the landscape has change into green and the hills have appeared over the flat land of the park. Palm trees are appearing now too. Nothing to do with what we’ve seen in Kenya so far. With this change the curves have appeared too, breaking the monotony of the endless straight way through the park.

Lunatic train reaching the coast
Landscape from lunatic train reaching the coastLandscape from lunatic train reaching the coast

   It’s about 11 AM when Mombasa train station appears, looking even more austere than Nairobi’s. There are just a few men in the platform, but one of them asks me – I’m still in theArriving to Mombasa station window - if I’ll need a taxi. I answer that we will, but for Diani Beach. The man tells me he can do it by 5000 ksh. As that was the maximum price I had previously in mind, so I simply say 4000 seems to be a fairer rate for me, he answers me 4500 ksh is the price because of the ferry. We’ve got a deal.

   I go to our cabin for the baggage and I tell to my wife we’ve already got taxi even before the train stops. Our new driver helps us with the luggage while leaving the station, where we must deliver the cardboard tickets back before going outside, to the opened area where the cars are parked. We get into one of them, with dark glasses.

   Our driver is very friendly and is explaining things about the city and the country. We pass by the tusks, the most famous point in Mombasa, just for us can see them, in our way to Likoni ferry.

Mombasa's tusks

   Mombasa city is sited on an island and, although there are bridges to the North and East – we should use one of these to arriving by train -, there is none to South and for getting there one must use this ferry, which is working 24x7.

   We’re lucky this time and we can see how one ferry is leaving, so one is taking its place. This means we’re between the first of being into an empty ferry. I ask to the driver why there is no bridge for Southern route and he answers me it is because Mombasa harbor is very important and the ships traffic is intense and they’re so big that a bridge would prevent their entry to the harbor.

Likoni ferry

   I also ask if I can go around the ferry out of the car for some pictures and he answers me there is no problem for that. I go upstairs and can see how people is taking the land from the ferry just arrived by hundreds.

People eaving Likoni ferry

   The crossing is a lot shorter than the waiting for the ferry to be full, but it has taken about 15 minutes in total. We soon are leaving the ferry behind and passing through a Likoni market, which is looking huge, dirty and ugly. We relax and let the landscape full of palm trees come in through our windows as we’re going parallel to the beach.

Leaving Likoni ferrycoast landscape with palm trees

   The car gets into the resort and leaves us in front of the reception desk an hour and some few minutes after we were taken from the station. We’ve talked about the chance of they can pick us up the day after tomorrow for our return trip to Mombasa. If there is no further news, we’ve scheduled to meet here at 10 AM that day.

   We’re finally in our all-inclusive resort! We get a welcome drink while checking in and then we’re taken to our room. We’re advised to not leaving the balcony door opened as monkeys can get into the room and do some mess with our things. Yes, we’ve checked what monkeys can do.

   Our priority now is lunching, though, and we’re addressed to the restaurant, just along the swimming pool and beside the beautiful Diani beach... There we have the colors I’ve seen in the pictures: the white in the sand and the different blues of the sea.

Our room in Papillion Lagoon ReefSwimming pool in Papillion Lagoon Reef

   Once full from the buffet lunch we go to the beach. There are a lot of beach boys around and not a single tourist, so when we put a foot on the sand all this people come to us to offer a service or souvenir. I only pay attention to one of them offering a snorkel tour by 3500 ksh per person for a near island for tomorrow morning. I’ll think about that. Meanwhile, we are checking tis strange white sand, which is so soft and fine that it makes a sort of plaster mixed with water.

   Then we come back to the calm of the hotel, where nobody goes after you. It seems the stairs going to the sand is a kind of border these beach boys cannot pass. From there we can check how the tide is getting up, diminishing the beach.

Diani Beach

   We spend the afternoon in the fantastic swimming pool, with the deck chairs and towels the hotel provide and bringing drinks from the bar. This is life!

   As evening comes, monkeys are coming with it, appearing around the millenary and huge baobab tree they have in the garden. These monkeys are of a different kind of the ones we’ve seen around the country: they’re colobus.

Old baobab in Papillion Lagoon ReefColobus between balconies

   When we’re back in our room and go to the terrace to leave the swimming clothes to dry we can check how two of these monkeys are waiting a chance of getting into the room.

   We wear long leave and trousers, and use the mosquito repellent we’re bringing from our first shopping in Nairobi, for the diner. We seat looking the dawn on the sea, with all the blues getting dark until converging in the black and the beach vanishing as the tide has brought the water to our doors.

Diani beach at duskPapillion Lagoon Reef by night

   After the diner we can enjoy an acrobatics show.

Acrobatics show at Papillion Lagoon ReefAcrobatics show at Papillion Lagoon Reef