Here’s a new craze that most Nairobians subscribe to: Going as far away as they can to avoid the city noises, pollution, and all that, just to connect with nature and explore more of what this country has to offer.
At times, all you need is just a day off your busy schedule to do this.
If you’re looking for a cheap out-of-town getaway, then this should be on your bucket list.
Have you heard about Suswa? A small town not very far from Narok. The town isn’t very much known, but thanks to the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), you too can also explore it – and it’s pretty cheap too!
Getting to Suswa from Nairobi
There are a couple of ways to get to Suswa, one of the most obvious answers being by road. The distance between Nairobi and Suswa by road is about 122 Km.
This should take you approximately 2 hours, notwithstanding the chances of being stuck in the notorious traffic at the Maai Mahiu escarpment.
The best way to get to Suswa from Nairobi, as we recently discovered, is by train. You can take an SGR train either from the Nairobi, Rongai, or Ngong’ termini.
We decided to use the Ngong’ SGR terminus during our trip, which is approximately 10 minutes from the main highway.
Looking for directions to the Ngong’ SGR terminus? Simply take the first left turn (assuming you’re coming from Nairobi town) after the elevated railway line (flyover of the train). Follow that route until you reach your destination.
If using public means, you can also take a taxi from Ngong’ town to the terminus. A cheaper mode of transport would be using a motorbike (bodaboda), and you’d only expect to part with only Ksh 50.
There’s ample parking at the Ngong’ SGR terminus. You just have to notify the guards that you’ll be leaving your vehicle there for the day and you’ll find it in one piece upon your arrival.
Suswa SGR Train Departure Time
Besides using the Ngong’ SGR terminus, you can also use the Nairobi Terminus or the Ongata Rongai Terminus.
Please take note of the departure times from each station so as not to miss your train:
- Nairobi Terminus: 8:50 A.M
- Ongata Rongai: 9:24 A.M
- Ngong’: 9:49 A.M
As a rule of thumb, it would be prudent to arrive at least an hour early at your designated or preferred departure station.
How to book an SGR ticket to Suswa from Nairobi
As of 2023, you can now book your tickets online via M-Pesa. Simply head over to the Kenya Railways Booking Website and select your destination as Suswa and choose your preferred departure station.
Alternatively, you can still purchase your tickets on-site.
The railway’s management permits the sale of tickets at most a day prior to the departure date. It would be prudent to arrive at the station early enough to secure a ticket as the train has a limited number of seats (118 passengers per coach, 2 coaches).
The cost of an SGR ticket from Ngong’ terminus to Suswa is only Ksh 100! If you plan on just visiting the town and back, it’s best to book a two-way ticket. The cost is the same as the Ongata Rongai station.
However, the cost of the Suswa Train from the Nairobi Terminus is Ksh 200 for one way.
Find attached the current fare guidelines from Kenya Railways, including the departure times to Suswa from each terminus:
Update (May 2023): The Suswa Trains are now available over the weekends (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)
SGR experience to Suswa
While keeping time, our locopilot got us on the rails within schedule. The ride was pretty smooth, regardless of all the available coaches being second class (no first-class coaches, but still a very comfortable ride).
You get to have a glimpse of the picturesque views along the way, witnessing pastoral homesteads, animals, etc.
One of the most memorable experiences is the three tunnels you’ll go through – and much of everything becomes a little dark for a few minutes. Really got us pretty excited!
Arriving at the Suswa SGR station
Before arriving at the Suswa SGR station, you’ll first make a brief stopover at the Maai Mahiu SGR station. About an hour and a half later from Nairobi, you’ll be at Suswa.
The first thing you’ll notice about this place is the solar! The temperatures are quite high, and you’ll feel much more comfortable if you wear light.
There are a number of taxis outside the station that can help you to Suswa town fast. There are also motorbikes that you can use at a cheaper cost.
Walking is also an option (which we did) as the town isn’t even far – approximately 15 minutes walk. P.s., ensure that you wear closed shoes as there’s too much dust.
What to do in Suswa
Suswa and its environs are well-famed for their nyama choma (specially grilled or barbecued meat). You could have imagined the first thing that everyone was thinking: “Finding the best nyama choma spot in Suswa town.”
After several recommendations, we were finally able to find a pretty chill place where we had our juicy meal over some soft drinks.
As we were scouting for other fun things to do in Suswa, we were advised to try out Mt. Suswa.
Mount Suswa is another little-known top hiking spot in Kenya. It is also known to have a few caves that you’d want to explore with your team.
Here’s our comprehensive guide on Mount Suswa, including what to do there.
Unfortunately, we were unable to visit the mountain, as time flew by pretty fast. The return train to Nairobi was to leave at 4:30 P.M., and according to the locals, it would take you a little over 40 minutes to get to the mountain.
Suswa is one of the best budget getaways in Kenya. Get some time to go and let off the steam from work or the ever-busy city life. It is also a perfect family getaway outside Nairobi, and above all, it is pretty cheap.
If planning on staying more than a day, you can reach out to us to help you organize the best accommodation in Suswa town.