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“Train Mombasa to Nairobi”
1 of 5 bubbles Review of Lunatic Line

Lunatic Line
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: This railway, built in 1898 and dubbed the "Lunatic Line," divides Tsavo National Park into East and West. This is where several lions,the "Maneaters of Tsavo," devoured 140 railway workers before Lt. Col Patterson managed to kill them. The film 'The Ghost and the Darkness', was based on Patterson's story.
Stockholm, Sweden
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Train Mombasa to Nairobi”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 18, 2014

We were looking forward to the nice overnight train between Mombasa and Nairobi, with dinner and view but hmm...
The tickets for the 6 of us were booked some days before departure. Train were suppoosed to leave mombasa at 7 pm. Train never showed up! No info whatsoever. No one to ask of a forecast what time to expect the train. After 6 h waiting we decided to return to hotel and find another transport day after. Come on Kenya, delayes can happen but at least, inform the travellers.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank Helene670
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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30 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Weston-super-Mare, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Be prepared”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 14, 2014 via mobile

Be prepared for disappointment our first attempt to travel along this historic line on the 11 March 14 came to an abrupt halt. I had arranged every thing from the UK train ticket local guide in Nairobi and return flight back to Mombasa. We had taken a taxi from our hotel to the station only to be told the train had been canceled. Back at the hotel I managed to cancel the plane tickets and the guide, how much of a refund I get waits to be seen.
Attempt number 2
I managed to transfer the train tickets for use on Thursday service we arrived at the station at 16:00 no train but we were told it was running. The hours passed with next to no information at 04:00 the train arrived and we got on board I was not expecting luxury and if the train had departed in a few minutes that we were led to be lev all would have been ok.At 5 am we sat down to our evening meal in the station the after going 15 hours with out eating anything we were hungry the meal was edible but poor. We returned to our cabin the beds were made but the bedding did not look too good at this point we decided to get off the train and make our way back to our Hotel for the following reasons we were going to arrive in Nairobi at night after spending 12 hours in a hot non air conditions cabin, the railway museum in Nairobi would be closed and we would need to spend the night in an hotel or at the airport because would have missed the last flight back to Mombasa and the train toilet was disgusting. So all in all it has been a very expensive disappointing experience.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
5 Thank Linda B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
83 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“crazy and little bit scary, but brilliant! A very African experience!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 23, 2014

Anyone considering travelling on this journey HAS to remember that it is an African train, built a long, long time ago.. If you're looking for luxury, this is not it. If you're looking for an authentic, slightly erratic but amazing experience, this is for you.

A friend and I travelled on the Lunatic Line from Nairobi to Mombasa, and then returned on the train again a week later.

We paid for the 'first class' tickets in a twin bunk room, after being advised that anything else is either standing room only, or a wooden bench. Our room had two old battered but clean ish looking bunks, an a joining door to next door (with locks on both sides) a mini wardrobe and sink. It was very basic but met our needs. Your meal in included (think basic budget street food) and while you're at the dinner cart staff make you're beds up in your room.

Journey to Mombasa:
Highlights - Watching the sun set and seeing wild elephants, meeting people in the dinner cart who we wouldn't have spoken too if we'd not be sat with them, the general 'this is an adventure' feeling.. albeit a very very budget adventure!

Not so good points: Toilets are literally a hole in the ground, and the train is quite rickety, so they get... messy. wear trousers you can very easily role up, or better still, shorts. (I learnt this the hard way). The train corridors are *very* narrow, which if you're the furthest from the dinner cart = bruised shoulders from bumping off doors/windows.
Security leaves a lot to the imagination - we were told to not leave anything ion our room of value when going out of it - we were lucky, but the people in the room next to use weren't. someone climbed in their bedroom window during the night (staff, maybe?) and stole their cameras, money, passport, etc - This was awful for them, and a horrible experience I'm sure, however they had been very loud, drinking LOTS of vodka publicly and drawing a lot of attention to themselves. I can't help but wonder if they were targeted because the their knew when they went to bed, they'd be pretty much knocked out from the booze - We concluded - make friends, chat, be fun, but not in a way that draws attention to yourself or your belongings. Thats probably pretty sound advice for anywhere in Africa.. and elsewhere. At one point, the train stopped and some police got on with AK47's, that was... interesting. They were supposedly searching for the thief.. We just stayed in our room, and they didn't bother us, or anyone else that Im aware of.

Mobassa to Nairobi -

The train broke down for about 7 hours, just outside a very remote African town. The villagers were all delighted when a train full of people walked into their town asking where we could buy water, food etc (coincidence?!). We were lucky in the sense that we had no set forward plans, so it wasn't too bad to be delayed, especially as the scenery was spectacular, but I know some other people ended up missing flights etc. We ended up being on the train for about 24 hours.. it wasn;t too bad though, seemed like an adventure at the time. Though in hindsight, I did have a good book too.

All along the journey you are travelling through remote tribes/villages - the children, and often parents, stand at the side of the tracks begging for sweets and money. This gets a bit monotonous after a while - its sad to see the parents actively encourage or force their children to do this, but, I suppose all kids wants sweets.. and you go to survive somehow.

General tips:

Dont leave your stuff
Beware of the toilets
Take nibbles because if you get stick you'll want them!
Have fun and go with it!
Try not to draw too much attention to yourself

This review sounds less than positive - I've been honest - but all in all, I love it. I'd do it again some day if I return!

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
11 Thank CharlieCentral
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
21 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Take your own food.”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 30, 2013 via mobile

The journey was ok. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to the station in Nairobi. There is no one to help you get on the train. You may have to cross the tracks and it's dangerous. You are on your own! The catering is truly awful. The staff treat you as if you were in a prison or school canteen. You have no choice of where to sit. A no-nonsense waiter allocates your place irrespective if you are accompanied. The service is appalling . They spill food on a regular basis. They serve minute portions. You have to ask if you need more. Its provided grudgingly and sloppily. Unless you are prepared to bribe. A truly bad experience. Take a packed lunch and a bottle of water.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank Parachut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
84 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Maneaters camp”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 4, 2013

it is still faschinating to see this old railway line. I have travelled many times in the night but never saw it during the day time. Pity so many Indians lost their lifes..

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Sofie13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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