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“Boat - dissapointing ... Island makes up for it” 3 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
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Ranked #2 of 26 Activities in Diani Beach
Type: Reefs, Adventure
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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.
Oxford, United Kingdom
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Boat - dissapointing ... Island makes up for it”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

If going on the Pilli Pipa, do lower your expectations and standards! and make sure you use the loo before you go!!!

It is mis-sold on its advertisements/marketing materials. You are not accompanied by the owner or his marine-biologist wife. You do not sail at all - just choke on diesel fumes. The snorkelling is good, but the boat leaves you whilst your in the sea (you are accompanied by guides though), not good if you become tired or start to have a panic attack (easily done when being stung by something and you get sea water in your eyes).

Do wear the buoyancy aid - just to keep the sun off your back and if you have your own snorkelling equipment - take it! The goggles/breathing apparatus is not "prescription" nor cleaned!

We did see a lot of dolphins - but no swimming with them. being animal lovers we were a little bit distressed at the "herding" of them by all the boats though - not nice!

The island is beautiful, you are miles away from the villages though - so again another lie on the marketing side of things (do not buy paper and pencils for the kids! you won't find any)

The food on the island however is amazing! the hosts really friendly and if you have time after the food and lemongrass tea lounge on one of the sofas under the thatched roofs and relax in paradise! Be aware of the dogs though! they aren't wild but if you haven't had your rabies jab just stay clear (you don't want them licking you if you have a cut - your a few hours too far from a Hospital! )

We booked through Thomson and really did feel that value for money was poor and the whole trip was mis - sold but if you go with low standards and expectations you will love it.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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, March 28, 2013
To ClintW - Thanks for the comments Clint which I try to take positively but I challenge you to produce any advert or marketing material that says Selina or Harm will accompany you or you will visit a village. Our email address is info@pillipipa.com if you would like to reply. Who is lying to who? It is unacceptable to put on Trip Advisor that we lie in our adverts/marketing material. Our brochures are in line with the information given on our website. Our trip has never been mis-sold by us but it sounds like you saw a brochure or poster from Charlie Claws/ Swahili Blue who do take clients to visit Wasini Village as they are nearby. All tour leaders know that we are nowhere near a village.
Prescription lens are not in the goggles given out on a regular basis. Prescription lens are kept in a special case for protection and inserted into the mask for anybody who asks for them. We have -3 to -7. Our brochure says Prescription masks available on request - back page.
It is true that Selina used to go on the boat almost every day for ten years, even when she was pregnant, but cut down the number of trips when her first son was born over six years ago. At the moment she is in The Netherlands, where she has been for almost a year undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy for Hodgkins Lymphoma and when she comes back her boat trips will be limited, all tour leaders who book us know this. Harm Lutjeboer is always nearby in case of any problems, sometimes on the island to meet guests at lunch time or in Shimoni to check equipment, boats, buy fish and crabs and so on. They will continue to run Pilli Pipa as stated in our brochure. Very disappointing for such honest and hardworking people to be accused of telling lies and also libellous, like the woman who thought she was going on a luxury mediterranean style booze cruise (see 'I thought we was going to die'). By the way she wrote in our guest book 'A very different experience for us, disappointed with the boat but staff were fantastic, enjoyed food and drink. Nice views from shore. Keep safe xxxxxx Gem, Deb & Ayse'. Doesn't sound like somebody who thought they 'was' going to die does it. Unfortunately I could not find a way of putting the scanned page from our guest book on Trip Advisor.
Snorkels are soaked and washed in Milton's Liquid every day and in bleach every so often, however, some snorkels do get some marks on. I have just checked with Harm and he says this cannot be avoided and there is no health concern, he uses the same snorkels for himself and young sons. In this climate with humidity it happens but that does not mean that the snorkels have not been sterilized daily. I see from your review of AmaniTiwi, that you are a little wary of what animals may do to you, which is good. You refer to a 'feral cat' at Amani. I would like to inform future clients that all our dogs are vaccinated regularly by the best qualified vet in Mombasa, Dr. Warshow. He regularly comes to check and vaccinate all our dogs in Shimoni and Wasini for everything necessary. However, I do agree that everybody doesn't like dogs wandering around, myself included, and often suggest that they should be locked up at lunch time. There is no danger of rabbies whatsover.
Regarding the price, US$20 per person per day goes to Kenya Wildlife Services for conservation fees, US$1 pp per day to Kwale County Council, 2% to government Catering Levy contribution plus huge commission to agents who sell us. The distance covered results in huge fuel bills and we have heavy insurances etc etc. All equipment for boats snorkelling, diving, is imported with high import duty and taxes. I do understand this is not your concern but just want to assure you that we would not be able to sell this trip for any less. Valerie
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125 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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English first
Mombasa, Kenya
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“snorkeling and diving fun”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013

We loved the arrangements made for us and the dhow staff were very helpful. We got to see lots of fish and corals. It's a great safari even if you don't know how to swim. Just don't forget to carry your prevent travel sickness pills!

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Well worth the money”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013 via mobile

This trip was amazing - we booked for the 10th march. Yes the travel there was a bit bumpy but this is Africa!! Snorkelling great - we saw turtles, dolphins, rays and much more, the guides were really helpful. Lunch is what made it for me - fresh caught crabs with all the trimmings!

Many thanks to all the crew - you were great

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newtownabbey, United Kingdom
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Not for people with mobility problems”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

The boat trip and snorkelling is excellent and the crew are brilliant. However the advertising does not make clear that access to the dhow is via a small boat, and at lunchtime access to wasini island is also by a small boat and wading ashore. The sea bottom is all potholes and difficult to walk on, so if you are not reasonably fit it may not be for you. Also the toilet on the dhow isnt luxurious!

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dover, United Kingdom
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Snorkel trip”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2013

Great trip with fantastic views of the ocean life. Saw Dolphins and turtles and swam with a turtle while snorkeling. Staff were great, very helpful and attentive. The lunch was fantastic especially if you are a lover of seafood. One observation is that certainly in February the sea gets fairly rough and this is a little Dhow so not for the faint hearted. The captain was great and steered us back safely and the Dhow was very seaworthy against the 3m swell. Overall a great trip despite my 'feeding the fishes' on our return journey.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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