Travel

Train Ride Survival Kit

train

Are you planning a trip to Mombasa any time soon? You may want to consider taking a train ride this time as opposed to the normal bus trips or scheduled flights. After taking a train ride to Mombasa, I am convinced that this mode of transportation is highly underrated. Let me explain.

Taking a train ride to Mombasa means spending more than 12 hours in a single vessel as opposed to the 8hours you would take on a bus and 20minutes you’d spend on a plane. It’s a very interesting experience that has the best views, a bed, amenities and allows you to move around which you wouldn’t normally do on a bus or plane.

The trains that serve the Nairobi to Mombasa route are more than 100 years old. They’re also very clean and well maintained. There are several servers who are there to take care of any request you might have, as long as it is within their capacity. You can almost hear the rich history with every creak and did you know a train doesn’t actually go choo-choo-choo? Bummer.

Watch What It’s Like To Be On A Train To Mombasa Here:

There are a few things you’re going to need for your train ride and I consider the following my personal train ride survival kit;

-Snacks

Prepare sandwiches for the train ride. A simple ham and lettuce sandwich will do wonders in curbing sudden pangs of hunger. Factor in that you will be in the train during a supper, midnight snack, breakfast and probably lunch (if you encounter delays). You can also buy snacks like nyamabite, juices, hotdogs, queen cakes and yoghurt. Think stuff that can keep you full for longer. Fruits are also a must have.

-Toiletry

Wet wipes, toothpaste and tissue paper are the toiletry essentials you will need. Tissue paper is provided in the train, but it may run out because the loos are communal. Having your own backup tissue paper will save the day.

-Shuka

The servers will provide you with bedding, but you’re going to need a shuka for the extra cold.

-Water

There are taps in the cabins, but I don’t know whether that water can be trusted. Carry your own bottled water just in case.

-A Bluetooth speaker

Just so you can listen to your tunes a bit louder.

-A camera to capture the views

You’re going to witness a sunset and sunrise in the train and views of the Tsavo, the Standard Gauge Railway, the Nairobi National Park and more. A pair of binoculars will also come in handy.

-Relaxing pants

Because you’re going to be spending an uncertain amount of time traveling, you will need a good pair of comfortable pants.

-A fun group of friends

It looks like it’s hard to enjoy a train ride without friends. It’s one of those things that should be a group activity or a couple thing.

Train Ride Schedule

The Nairobi to Mombasa train leaves on Mondays and Fridays at 5:00pm. The Mombasa to Nairobi train leaves on Sundays and Wednesdays at 5:00pm. The return train is better for capturing views of the Tsavo- we spotted several gazelles, elephants and zebras.

Though there are several travel agencies that could book a ticket for you, I’d recommend booking one at the train station a day before intended departure.

Security isn’t an issue on the train. It’s easy to lock your cabin from the inside, but it can’t be locked on the outside. There are also officers who patrol the train from time to time. You can move from one compartment to the other.

1st class cabins cost 4,405 bob per person inclusive of meals

2nd class cabins cost 3,385 bob per person inclusive of meals (2,335 bob without dinner)

3rd class seats cost 680 bob

After traveling to Mombasa by train, I highly doubt I’ll be using any other means of transport any time soon. I recommend that you invest in train travel yourself. It’ll make for a great memory as well as an experience that’s unlike any other.

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