When we first arrived, the staff were lovely and friendly and made us feel right at home. We had originally booked to stay in a "permanent tent" but after seeing they were literally no more than a tent, upgraded to a double cabin, which they were happy to do. The food was cheap and decent, as were the drinks, and we ate there most nights. The bar area had a fire and a good backpackers vibe.
On our first night, we came back to our room to find it literally crawling with slugs - we counted 11! There were large gaps all around the skirtings so they were getting in from outside to warm up (it was VERY cold in Nairobi, like our cold Scottish weather in the evening; it was African winter whilst we were there). When we complained, we were given masking tape to stick our skirting boards down and had to gather all the slugs up ourselves.
On top of that, our room didn't lock as a previous guest had left with the key and the staff had no replacement. This meant that every day we had to go out with our door unlocked, which we were not really happy with, but every time we asked about it, we were told it would be fixed "tomorrow" - it never was. The slugs, although less of them because of the masking tape, continued to appear every night, some were the size of a pork sausage!
The bathrooms were hideously dirty, the sinks were constantly blocked, the water was cold (when there was any) and there was only 1 shower working to a place that sleeps at least 50 people!
The following day, we were told the double cabin was being used that night by other guests so we would need to move into the permanent tent that we'd originally booked, which was fair enough, After looking inside the tent and seeing it was like a disco ball because of all the snail trails up the sides, we managed to get into a different double cabin with an additional spare bed (which we didnt need but were told we could have it for the same price.) On the same day, they had overbooked in the dorm and needed people to get out of the room to make space, so we kindly offered the spare bed in our cabin to a guy we'd been speaking to.
The next day, we got talking to a couple who were going on safari to Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru for $90 a day. We had already showed interest in the exact same safari offered by Millimani themselves, but had given no money towards it or any definite answer that we wanted to go on it, but their one was $120 a day. Being new to Kenya, we had no idea of prices and had trusted Millimani to be offering a fair price. Obviously though, we wanted the cheaper option, but I felt it was fair to first sit down with the woman in charge at Millimani to explain that we'd been offered a cheaper safari to the exact same places for the exact same time and including the exact same things, to see if she could offer it any cheaper. She flew off the handle, saying it would not be of the same quality and it would be a con and blah blah blah. We told her we were booking it through the other company (East Africa Expeditions - which turned out to be FANTASTIC and our tour guide James was the nicest man ever!). We then got ignored by the staff and heard them gossiping about us in their office... very professional! They weren't half as friendly now! That night when we went to the settle the bill, they tried to charge us extra for our room and for our safe, and even said we had to pay the equivalent of an extra tenner for having an extra person in our room for that night we offered our spare bed to another guest when the staff had overbooked the dorm!! We also noticed the lock on our door had been changed within half an hour of us moving out! Then they told us we couldn't come back to Millimani after our safari because they were fully booked, even though we had reservations for over a week after we got back from safari. We showed the manager the booking confirmation we had printed off and she accused us of typing it ourselves (it was completely legitimate and had all the correct details on it). They persisted that we could not return (basically they kicked us out for booking our safari with a cheaper company), leaving us in a mad panic because we left at 6am the next morning to a non-network zone and would return late at night to the centre of Nairobi with nowhere to sleep that night! I am 17 years old and was travelling with just my boyfriend, so this scared me considerably and I cried myself to sleep that night. To make matters worse, we saw mice running across the kitchen counter that our food had been prepared on for the past few nights!! I was so glad to be getting out of there. Luckily, the next morning, our safari guide knew people and got us booked in at Upperhill Campsite and Backpackers for the night we got back. This place was so much better, even though a little more expensive, it was definitely worth the price difference.
Positives: We met lots of nice people and enjoyed the backpacker vibe. The barman was a teenage boy who was lovely, chatty and always happy to help.
Negatives: Internet was really slow and barley ever worked! The pictures on the website are very deceiving - there is now a massive old run-down truck on stilts in the driveway that guests can sleep in - it looked ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING inside and out!! Everything else I've written about!
In regards to Nairobi, there's not an awful lot to do - we had more or less exhausted it in a few days. It's not very cultural I don't think, it's just like any other noisy, dirty city. I can't say I really enjoyed it there and I didn't feel very safe, but the Giraffe Sanctuary is definitely worth a visit - cheap to get in and you can feed the giraffes from your hand from a raised roof terrace. Brilliant experience and great photo opportunity!
- Also Known As:
- Milimani Backpackers & Safari Centre Hotel Nairobi
- Milimani Backpackers And Safari Centre