Nairobi to Mombasa: A faster, affordable and convenient way to get there

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Are you traveling from Nairobi to Mombasa? This article will guide you to get there fast, easily and conveniently using various modes of transport.

Things you need to know before embarking on your journey

Before you embark on your journey, you need to understand that Mombasa is very far from Nairobi. It is estimated to be 484 kilometers (301 miles) by road, 441 kilometers (274 miles)by air, 530km (329 miles) by meter train and 485 km (301 mi) on SGR.

Transport options from Nairobi to Mombasa

Flights from Nairobi to Mombasa

This is the fastest means of transport. You will take between 50-70 minutes. You can get book Kenya Airways, Jambo Jet, Fly540, or Fly Sax flights, Skyward Express, and East African at the respective websites or from a travel agent.

Most of these flights take off from JKIA, which is 13 KM from Nairobi CBD while others like Fly Sax takes off from Wilson Airport, some 6km from Nairobi CBD. The fares vary depending on the airline fare structure and availability, with the cheapest charging around KES 4,500 for a one-way trip.

To get to Wilson airport, you can board a matatu at Nairobi Bus Station or pick a cab on a ride-sharing platform such as Uber, Little Cabs or Taxify. To access JKIA, you can board Double M or KBS matatu number 34 at Ambassador bus stop or book a cab from your preferred riding service. The airport parking fees for drop-offs and pick-ups is KES 60.

When to use a flight from Nairobi to Mombasa

Get a flight from Nairobi to Mombasa if you are strapped for time.  You will spent about 30 minutes to get to the airport and an extra 1 hour to check in and board. In total, you will spent about 2 hours and 30 minutes, which will leave you ample time to continue with your normal daily schedule.

SGR from Nairobi to Mombasa

The Standard Gauge Railway has replaced the former meter train that was taking people to Mombasa at night. The Inter-County train leaves Nairobi at 8.00am and arrives at 2 pm. The Express train leaves Nairobi at 2.30pm and arrives at 7.30pm. A ticket will cost you KES 1,000 for economy and KES 3,000 for business class.

To access the SGR station from Nairobi town, board the SGR City Shuttle bus at Kenya Railways bus station for KES 50. You can also board matatus headed for Athi River or Kitengela at the same spot for KES 70 and ask them to drop you at SGR bus stop. Cabs are also an affordable way to access the terminus that is located off Old Mombasa Road, but they attract a parking fee of KES 100 for drop-offs and pick-ups. It is also possible for you to drive yourself there and even pack your car there during your time away, as long as you pay the required KES 200 daily parking fee per day.

When to use SGR from Nairobi to Mombasa

SGR is the recommended means of transport for budget travelers. With an economy class ticket costing KES 1,000, it is both a cost and time effecient way to travel from Nairobi to Mombasa.

Bus service from Nairobi to Mombasa

There are many buses that cruise the Nairobi – Mombasa route, the most popular ones being Mash Poa, Modern Coast, Coast Bus, Tahmeed Coach, Transline Classic, Guardian Coach, Coast Air, Simba Coach, Dreamline Express, Crown Bus.

It will take you about 6-7 hours factoring in road traffic, with the best time to travel being at night. Most of these buses can be booked online, or you can visit their offices (mostly at Tea Room and River Road near Odeon Cinema, Nairobi). A trip will cost you between KES 1,000-3,000.

When to use a bus from Nairobi to Mombasa

This is the best means of transport for busy travelers who are on a budget. For an average of KES 1,500 per ticket, you can travel overnight and continue with work when you alight, given that you can catch a good night’s sleep in an overnight bus from Nairobi to Mombasa.

Private Car from Nairobi to Mombasa

While you can hire a cab to take you to Mombasa, it will be very costly. If you have a private car, you can drive yourself there. For first timers, it is advisable to have a co-driver because it can be a grueling journey. You will spent about 6 hours on the road.

When to use a private car from Nairobi to Mombasa

This is the best means of transport for travelers who want convenience or sightseeing opportunities on the way. There are many attractions such as Tsavo national park on the way where you can always stop to sightsee before you get to Mombasa.

Quick transport tips from Nairobi to Mombasa

Air travel is always faster and cheaper when booked in advance. Jambo Jet usually has the cheapest fares when booked like a month earlier, followed by Fly540. Early morning flights are better because they are cheaper and also accessing the airport that time is easier because the roads are clear.

If you are using a bus, beware of high season and low season fare changes. You can always do a fare comparison by calling or visiting the respective bus offices, as well as negotiate to match your budget. Night travel is recommended because of traffic and also fatigue.

If using the SGR, the Express train is faster than the intercounty one, but you will arrive at the Mombasa terminus at night.

Whichever means of transport you choose, we wish you a safe journey from Nairobi to Mombasa. Do not forget to share your experiences in the comments box below.



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