Diani to Kilifi to Malindi

Kelsey Breseman
3 min readMay 4, 2018

It's raining the morning we leave Diani. We catch a tuk-tuk to the main road, snag a matatu heading north.

Mombasa is an island; you have to take the Likoni ferry to get there from the south. The motto "ferrying you across" checks out: it works, no frills. Pedestrians pay no fare, so we're quickly pressed into the sea of colorful umbrellas crowding on.

It's a drive-on ferry, but I'm not sure any cars have made it; foot traffic takes precedence. Our umbrellas overlap, forming one giant, dripping roof where we crowd onto the open platform.

I'm not even sure we've made it past the ramp until Eileen notices that the shore is receding. We're on the flap that's supposed to fold up, but, well, we're standing on it. It stays down.

In five minutes, there's clanking and motion from the other side of the boat: docking. We follow the motion of the crowd up the ramp to the road.

I tap the shoulder of a matatu tout. "Kilifi?"

He points us to another guy, who shepherds us into a bus which waits passively behind a crowd of parked tuk tuks.

The bus smells like cigarette smoke. This matches the decor; the windows are painted with too-cool guys exhaling curls of white. Reggae plays loud, and occasionally louder as the driver leans forward to turn it up.

The bus sits unmoving for maybe an hour. Buses don't leave if they're not full. The emptiness of this bus means a long wait, but we're out of the rain and…