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