I am going to Maralal for 3 weeks in August for a work project. My husband is coming out for the last week with my small kids and then I'd like to take them all to the coast. I was thinking of Lamu which I love, but I'd also like them to have the experience of the train trip from Mombasa to Nairobi so I don't think Lamu would work as it is then too far for my small kids ( I always used to go by bus from Mombasa, crapping myself about shifta, before I had kids). So I thought instead maybe the train trip, then a few days in Malindi, and then the train back to Nairobi.
Questions: can you book the train from outside Kenya?
How would one get to Malindi. Would it be preferable to hire a car? I've only been there once, about 20 years ago.
And suggestions of reasonable places to stay in Malindi - something unfussy but not a dive.