We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Disappointing for the price” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Pilli Pipa Dhow Safari

Pilli Pipa Dhow Safari
Diani Beach Road | Colliers Centre, Diani Beach, Ukunda, Kenya
+254 40 3203559
Improve this listing
Ranked #2 of 23 things to do in Diani Beach
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Pilli Pipa is an accredited PADI Dive Resort under the name of Firefly Ocean Camp, registration number s22994. We have up to date diving equipment which is replaced regularly. We have excellent dive gear imported and replaced regularly. Contrary to what one reviewer, Roadsmoretravelled, November/December 2013, has falsely put on a review. He did not come on our dhow but was probably told by the Shimoni hotel he stayed at that he was going with Pilli Pipa. We do not dive in 1 or 2 metres of water and we do not have shocking equipment. If you want a wonderful diving experience with professionals, book with Harm Lutjeboer, Pilli Pipa Dhow Safari, PADI and Naui registered, dive base, Firefly Ocean Camp in Shimoni. Not based at Shimoni Reef Lodge. We also take snorkellers to the Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park for an exciting adventure followed by lunch at Pilli Pipa on Wasini Island.
Svedala, Sweden
19 reviews 19 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Disappointing for the price”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

We went on this dolphin and snorkeling trip and for the price we expected a great time. This cost us $125 per person and we paid €20 for a similar excursion in Hurghada/Egypt. So the expectations were quite high.

We were told that this was an "all-inclusive" excursion, meaning you didn't need to bring drinks or anything. However, during the two hour drive to the boat we didn't get any drinks at all. When we got to the boat all they offered were some ill-tasting water from a plastic container or Coca Cola, fanta or sprite. No diet sodas, no juices or anything else. Since I didn't want soda I was left with the ill-tasting water.

The two snorkeling stops were very nice though, and were the highpoint. We saw five sting rays, an octopus and a lion fish, among all the other very colorful fish and nice coral reef.

The lunch wasn't very good at all. We were promised a nice seafood buffet. One in our company was vegetarian and had said so in advance. When the soup was served they prestened a fish soup and a vegetarian soup. Some took the vegetarian soup, and when the vegetarian in the group wanted to take some they were out. "They said only one vegetarian" was the only explanation from the staff. The staff were the most uninspired I've ever seen. They didn't smile and everything they did was as if they were forced to do it. They didn't talk to us and asked how the food was or if we needed anything. Sometimes they would fill up your glass without asking if you wished a refill or even anouncing their presence. I don't think they even looked at us.

The main course, after the soup, was also disappointing. Some fish and crab, but not very much selection at all, and everything was very poorly presented.

At around half the price, or a little less, this would be a good trip. The snorkeling is good, but the rest doesn't hold good enough standard for the price. As it is, I recommend avoiding it.

We got severe sunburns during the trip, please listen to the crew when they ask you to put on sun lotion. We didn't see anything on our skin after the first hour of snorkeling, but after the second we looked like lobsters. This was completely our own fault, they did everything they could to warn us.

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Valerie S, Owner at Pilli Pipa Dhow Safari, responded to this review, November 28, 2012
We do take positive criticism Hendrik but if you had mentioned something to the manager on the day, we would have pointed out that you were given a brochure by our rep who came to see you. The brochure clearly states that THERE ARE NO DRINKS SUPPLIED ON THE BUS, also our rep advised you to carry a bottle of water with you if necessary. The pick up time from Southern Palms is 7.15a.m and it takes about 50 minutes to get to Shimoni, not the hottest time of the day. We state in the brochure that you will have a welcome tea/coffee on the dhow and later soft drinks, water, our home baked pizza bread and fruit. None of the dhow operators give fresh juice and we do not say we do. We always keep soda water on the dhow and our water comes from Nature's Cool, a reputable mineral water supply company, there is nothing funny abount the taste. We give plastic cups on the dhow for safety reasons and will continue to do so, since glasses tend to break if dropped and people tread on the glass.
We do NOT sell ourselves as all inclusive as this leaves us open to all sorts of claims, we simply state what the trip does include.
PRICE: 20 Euros would cover the cost of Kenya Wildlife Services marine park entrance fee of 15 Euros and tea or coffee. It would not cover the cost of marine park entrance for our crew even and definitely no fuel. If you went on a trip in Egypt for 20 euros it must have been off the beach travelling not far from your hotel with no marine park fees and no lunch. I doubt if you got fresh juice for that amount, definitely not South African wine or Kenya beer. The cost of transport alone from Southern Palms to Shimoni and sailing to Kisite Marine Park and return is prohibitive but we like to take people there as it offers the best snorkelling in Kenya. Lunch is an exclusive Swahili style lunch with freshly caught fish and crab. We do not serve lobster or prawns.
Everything in Kenya costs more than it does in Egypt or Europe. Snorkelling equipment, boat spares, numerous licences duplicated by different government bodies, such as boat licences from 3 different departments, office licences paid to Kwale council and Ministry of Tourism, etc etc. 2% Catering levy, the list of insurances is endless, boat and vehicle repairs.
It would not be possible to sell this trip any cheaper than what it is now. We are very proud of our service and if you check another person's Trip Advisor comment of the day in German language ' ein Traum fur uns Schnorchler!!!! around the same day, 17th November 2012, you will see that is says they were treated like Royalty on the island. They were extremely happy with the snorkelling which is the focus for the day, and our crew are fantastic with clients.
We are sorry to hear that the vegetarian did not get the soup as intended, it is unfortunate that other clients took it. The soup is usually set on the main table and we only catered for one vegetarian that day.
Thank goodness others still have a brilliant day out ad enjoy the marine park. Clients did see dolphins on 17th November also.
Pilli Pipa Office
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

147 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Another great one”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2012

We also happen to visit wasini island using the Pilipipa dhow and it was yet another great experience. We dont have enough words

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“A must do.....”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2012

Everything was fantastic. The bus driver - Benson was a great character. The guys on the dhow were really friendly and informative and very helpful with my young son.
Lunch on Wasini Island is an experience like ive never had. The food and the ladies were truly fantastic.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grimsby, United Kingdom
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2012

We went on this trip in October 2012. The crew were efficient, knowledgeable and above all sympathetic to some of the, shall we say, not so good on their sea legs.
This is a trip we would highly recommend

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Magical day out.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2012

Having enjoyed my day with Pilli Pipa on my previous visit in 1999 I was keen to try it again. With a resident pod of wild dolphins there is an excellent chance of interaction. I dive but my wife does not and is still not terribly confident snorkelling. We need not have worried as the snorkelling guides were extremely helpful, patient & supportive and my wife achieved one of her dreams by swimming with wild dolphins.

Diving our interaction was even more special they came and played with us for around 15 minutes coming right up to the mask. Despite having done approximately 1500 dives I can count on one hand occasions this has happened. VERY SPECIAL.

Lunch was served in a touching ceremony on Wasini Island. It is a wide selection of high quality seafood but they lay on equally tasty non fishy dishes for those like me who dont eat fish. You have plenty of time to relax among the wildlife on this very special island before the trip back to the Dhow & return to Shimoni.

If you get the chance to go grab it with both hands I think it's unlikely you won't love it. it's not cheap but worth every penny.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Pilli Pipa Dhow Safari also viewed

Diani Beach, Ukunda

Been to Pilli Pipa Dhow Safari? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Pilli Pipa Dhow Safari, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.