December holidays have always been a time to travel and be around family. When I was younger , my mum and her sisters would always plan for gateways for us to spend time together. When I joined campus university life happened and we could never sync all the schedules to find a suitable time but this year we all managed to come together.
Vacation has always been a time to relax , enjoy the scenery and culture. Although we have managed to visit most parts of the Kenyan coast still went back.( I don’t think we are the only ones most Kenyan families do the same but recently Tanzania is becoming the new destination for Kenyans)The major difference this time is we went for as many activities as possible. Most people complain about cost but when I figured out how friends and families can still afford to have holidays without feeling a pinch I had to share with you guys. I always go for such holidays with family but I am open to also explore with friends.Let’s get right into it then.
Accommodation. We all know hotels do not come cheap and majority of the time most people do activities offered by hotel which is usually swimming and a clean beach. However, there are holiday homes which you can rent . I find this more cost-effective because you pay for the house not the number of people staying. There are different types of housing we mostly used cottages but recently stayed in a fully furnished apartments. Holiday homes website which offers a variety of homes around Kenya ( Ngong hills, Watamu , Diani). The price depends on the location a cottage with a beach view is more expensive than a house a few minutes from main town.There is also an app (booking.com) where you put in all the details such as location and amenities you would like and it gives you a list of alternatives to choose from.
This year we used booking.com and the major requirement was the place should have a pool and WiFi. We ( I just mean my aunt) selected Sunset Paradise Apartments. The apartment we selected can hold a maximum of eight people and was fully furnished . My review on the place is that it was a nice place a few minutes from Nyali however,there are a few things I thought they can improve on; Maintenance. I feel like the houses (at least the one we stayed in ) was neglected. The marble around the sink was broken and leaking. Some appliances were not functional and the utensils looked old. They don’t have to buy new ones but a check before visitors arrive to ensure everything is in place and working is important.Honesty. It sounds weird but I am sure we have all experienced buying something online and the product you get is the opposite. The package we paid for included WiFi but when we arrived apartment we were given could not access it. As a customer I have to receive everything I am paying for so if one is missing I will definitely ask questions and expect something to be done. They took us round in circles until our stay ended.The major con for most people is you might have to cook for yourself ,hire a chef or eat outside. Cooking is cheaper but it’s not what most people think of doing on vacation.
Outdoor activities are very expensive I will not lie. I didn’t understand why but there was no bargaining and different places that offered the same activity didn’t have much of price difference.Some of the activities include jet ski( Ksh 1000 for a lap, Ksh 5000 for 20 minutes ), snorkeling (Ksh 1500 for adults and a fee for KWS I don’t remember the amount but it was less than 500) and GP Karting (prices are on their website). There are parks to visit such as Halar park and places for Nature Walks.
Quick Tip: Apply for a Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) card to get discounts and also your national ID especially if you are a Kenyan Resident the rates are different.
Transport. I would not suggest road trips to Mombasa because of the traffic along Mombasa road . This is one of the infrastructures I feel needs to be expanded because trailers, personal vehicles,public service vehicles are all competing on a two lane road. The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR)was launched in Kenya which is what I used as my means of transport and it would be an injustice to talk about it on this post it requires its own so stay tuned.In terms of price economy is Ksh 700 for adults and Ksh 350 for children, first class Ksh 3000 for adults and Ksh 1500 for children. There is also the option of flying which is around Ksh 6000 ( not sure) to Mombasa.
Let me break it down for you ; assume you are four people who want to go to the coast for a week and will rent an apartment. The apartment goes for Ksh 8000 a day which is equivalent to Ksh 40,000 for five days. It would cost each Ksh 10000 for accommodation . The rates for accommodation change with the season,demand and maximum amount of people the house can carry. Transport using the SGR cost Ksh 1400 to and fro and for activities set aside Ksh 6000. A trip for one individual would cost roughly Ksh 20000. Suppose you decide to go during low season say July the prices will be lower and if you begin saving Ksh 3000 a month from January you can go chill for a week at the coast, if you select high season say December Ksh 1700 a month can give you a week off you start saving from January. ( this paragraph feels like a math question)
There you have it anyone can travel if there is proper planning.
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Till my next post, ” Life is tough my darling but so are you.” – Stephanie Bennett Henry.