Getting Around In Kenya By Local Public Transportation
Travelling in Kenya by the public bus system and matatus are the cheapest and most popular mode of transportation. The most viable mode of transportation in the region is using road transport. The good news is that the bus network is great and the beautiful scenery along the routes makes it even better. Various companies have introduced buses that are fairly priced, comfortable, and reliable to a significant number of budget travelers visiting the region.
Majority of people in Kenya prefer Public buses and Matatu for long and short distance travel in all cities and towns. Buses are regarded as safer and follow the same route as matatus. However, while buses are often quiet and operate in a timely manner, matatus play loud music, have erratic schedules with frequent stops, and provide a more dramatic Kenyan public transportation experience.
Major Coaches (Buses) and Matatu (Mini Bus) offer convenient and express services between the major cities, suburbs and towns across Kenya. For Matatu Fare is paid onboard while Long distance commute buses to major cities require advance booking, which can be done at their booking offices before the day/time of travel and other companies provide online booking services on their website.
For shorter rides, you will have to take a 14- to 16- seater matatu, or a 6- to 7- seater shuttle. For matatus, ask any local where the central bus terminal is. In Nairobi, you will want to go to the River Road area. Just note that these areas are high-theft areas, so keep your valuables on you and stay alert.
Due to recent developments, Matatu now provide seatbelts and do not exceed the vehicles seated capacity. Matatu usually travel along set routes; however, it is possible to charter a matatu for travel outside of major towns, just make sure to agree on a price before departure. Matatu are very cheap and a quick and convenient method of transport in all major towns and many rural areas.
For Major Bus Line service providers often avail their services in three categories including Normal, Economy, and Business class. You should choose the category best suited for your needs.
The major bus lines are pretty nice, air-conditioned buses like those you’d find anywhere else in the world. For these routes, it’s best to buy a ticket in advance (best done in person) and they’ll leave pretty much leave on time. Just try to sit closer to the front if you’d prefer not to bounce up in the air every time the bus rolls over a bump.
Coaches which are in good condition make the journey comfortable, thus, it is important to take into consideration the condition of the bus (cleanliness, air conditioning, TV, window length, and toilets). The coach should be relatively new with the appropriate air conditioning and avail toilets, the length of the window should be sizable, TV is a crucial form of entertainment for the long journey.
Kenyan buses are pretty economical, with fares starting at around KSh150 for an hour long journey between towns, while fares between Nairobi and Mombasa begin at KSh600 for the standard journey and can go as high as KSh2000 for premium services.
Getting around in small villages, like Watamu, is never complicated, There is a widespread network of transport that connects each and every hut, house or village. A local, or fearless tourist, just has to raise his hand wherever he/she may be and a bodaboda (motorcycle taxi, theoretically two-person) will immediately pick him/her up and take him exactly where he wishes to go.