Kenya, situated midway along Africa’s eastern coastline, has long been the preferred choice of the safari devotee. However, even for the budget traveller, Kenya offers a wealth of stunning experiences besides the joys of observing its wildlife. Depending upon when you choose to visit Kenya, return flights to the capital, Nairobi, can be picked up for little more than three hundred pounds.
January and February are the most popular months for travelling to Kenya as this is when the country is at its hottest and driest. Thanks to its location on the equator Kenya enjoys tropical temperatures of between 70o and 80o all year round, but there are two rainy seasons; the first lasts from March to June and the second from late October to the end of November. Obtaining Kenya’s most favourable weather for the least expense means that early March or any time during July or August is a good time to visit.
Getting around in Kenya should pose little trouble for the budget traveller; public transport options are inexpensive and plentiful. Those with an adventurous spirit can opt to travel by ‘Matutu’ a collective name for the various mini-buses, vans and flat-bed trucks which service both towns and rural areas. Effectively, these vehicles travel as soon as they have become sufficiently crammed with passengers. Travel between Kenya’s larger cities is best achieved by bus. Bus travel is inexpensive and relatively comfortable and overcrowding buses with standing passengers is frowned upon by many operators. Bus travel is slow, but there are overnight buses for those wishing to travel significant distances. Rail travel is really only practical for journeys between Mombasa and Nairobi; third-class fares are very cheap but trains are very slow and a seat is not guaranteed. Hitchhiking in Kenya is considered a safe and popular method of getting around, although it is advisable to travel in pairs.
Hostels and guest houses are an excellent bet for cheap accommodation in Kenya; budget rooms are plentiful and if all you need is somewhere to rest your head it’s possible to get a bed in a dormitory for as little as £3 per night. Private rooms in a hostel start at around £12 per night. Those whose aim is to spend time snorkelling in the azure-crystal Indian Ocean or relax under a palm on Kenya’s pristine beaches are spoilt for choice of budget accommodation in coastal towns such as Lamu, Diani, Kilindi, Mallifi and Shimoni.
Kenya’s beaches are unmissable, but so are its breathtaking landscapes and wildlife. Entrance to Amboseli National Park, 160 miles from Nairobi, costs around $30US and for this you get to see Mount Kilimanjaro in all its glory, as well as the opportunity to view free-ranging wildlife including elephants, giraffes, lions, hyenas and more. It’s possible to camp at many dedicated sites within Amboseli but camping gear is not provided. Hell’s Gate National Park northwest of Nairobi costs $25US to enter and can be explored on foot or by bicycle, despite the fact that Africa’s big game can be found here! This beautiful expanse of savannah backed by mountains provides all of the spectacle of safari without the associated expense, and once again camping is permitted.
There are plenty of operators to assist you with a budget orientated package in Kenya, or you can take hold of the reins and plan things yourself, for those wishing to treat themselves to something a little more expensive there are operators such as Opulent Africa who provide a more luxury safari
experience unique to the traveller.