Milimani Backpackers & Safari Centre

Milimani Backpackers & Safari Centre

St Hellen Ln Off Langata Road, Karen, Nairobi 00505 Kenya
Traveller (28)
television area
Dining (3)
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About

3.5
#4 of 22 hostels in Nairobi
3.6 of 5 bubbles
Location
3.5 of 5 bubbles
Cleanliness
3.6 of 5 bubbles
Service
3.5 of 5 bubbles
Value
We provide budget oriented, sociable accommodation for guests; Travel and Tourism related services & a Location for hosting events.
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free High Speed Internet (WiFi)
Wifi
Restaurant
Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Airport transportation
Non-smoking hotel
Laundry service
Breakfast available
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Good to know
HOTEL CLASS
Star ratings are intended to indicate the general level of features, amenities, and services to expect. This property is classified according to Giata.
2.0 of 5 stars
HOTEL STYLE
Budget
Charming
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Detailed Reviews
TravPa907 wrote a review Jul 2014
Antwerp Province, Belgium
4.0 of 5 bubbles
I think back with fond memories of my trip to Kenya. Milimani backpackers has played a huge role in this. Emmediately when I arrived I just felt at home in this place :)

The area is nice. The accomodation is good. The prices are fair. But those are not the reasons why I would return there. I would just return for the awesome vibe that floats around this cozy little place :D Meeting new people, exchanging travelling stories in the evening while having a drink, planning future endavours, everything is possible there.

So, If you are coming to Nairobi and are in in doubt where to stay. Doubt no more. You have found the perfect place!
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Date of stay: May 2014Trip type: Travelled solo
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mary-81-Ireland wrote a review May 2010
Kilkenny, Ireland
3.0 of 5 bubbles
This is a really fun backpackers, I stayed here with my 2 sisters, we stayed 5 nights and made loads of fun, the backpackers has a small bar and really cheap restaurant/cook. We stayed in a private 4 bed dorm and it was pretty tight with our 3 rucksacks. the staff were fairly helpful, but most of our washing went missing and we took it off the line wet after 4 days (it was rainy season).
I would go back there if i was travelling alone, because I felt safe there was they have security on the door 24 hrs
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Date of stay: April 2010
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
4.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
3.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
3.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
VVKID wrote a review Feb 2015
New York City, New York
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Travel dates between Jan 15-26 2015

Milimani Backpackers is currently located on St Helen street in Karen, a suburb of Nairobi about 15 K (1 hour by taxi or 1.5 hours by public transport) from the center. The neighborhood is very residential and nice. There are no shops you can walk to, as a matter of fact you cannot walk to anything much except to the main street to take a matutu.

The rooms are clean and reasonably priced. The included breakfast is good. We did not eat there. The staff is extremely courteous, helpful and informed. Wifi access is included and works well. We had a huge double room with 3 beds and a large bathroom, hot water and a balcony, which cost 4000KSH per night. You can book a car service through them for airport transfers (2000KSH) and to nairobi (1200 KSH). This is reliable and usually about (2500 and 2000 if you do it yourself by cab.

Getting to Nairobi by Matutu and public bus is quite easy. You can walk to the end of the street and take a matutu to Karen or Galleria Mall (20KSH) and take a bus (70KSH) to Nairobi It takes 1hr-1.5 hours. You can reverse the trip but you have to check which buses go to these locations are there are lots of buses on the Nairobi side. It was safe for us.

We also booked 2 trips through them.

1. Mount Kenya Hike cost $540 for 4 days. This includes a ride to Nairobi, public van to nanyuki and back (was 1500 KSH extra) and taxi back to the hostel. Also included all park fees, food, stay guides, chef and porter. You carry your own stuff. we tipped 20% of that split among the 3 unequally, they seemed happy. Food was plentiful and quite delicious. Our group was small with only 3 members so it was great, not sure how the logistics would work out in larger groups.

2. Masai Mara Safari cost $390 for 3 days. The safari van is actually owned by Milimani and starts right from the hostel and takes you all the way and back. This also includes all the park fees and stay and food and a guide/driver. This trip was very good, food was good and sufficient, the place where we were put up was clean, comfortable and good.

Overall I highly recommend Milimani BackPackers.
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Date of stay: January 2015Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Jeppe_HB wrote a review Dec 2014
Skane County, Sweden
1.0 of 5 bubbles
First review I´ve ever written, but this needs to be known…

Summary:
Company delays departure and makes you do all your drives within a 24 hour timeframe so that they only have to pay for one day instead of two. They then produce a lot of lies and try to cover it up.

Background:
Apparently the Milimani Backpackers have moved a few times. This is about the one that was on Mililani Road, later on Oldeani Crescent and now in Karen on St Hellen Lane. The owner has been the same the whole time.

We booked a 3 day/2 night to Amboseli. It was supposed to be the first evening inside the park, sleep outside, morning and afternoon inside on the second day and then morning drive inside on the last day.

The facts:
We were picked up at home at 8.30 by our driver who stunk of alcohol. He then took us to Milimani Backpackers where we were supposed to leave at 9.30, instead we left later and drove around for an extra hour in Nairobi without a given explanation. We then drove to Amboseli. From Mombasa Road to Amboseli we were driving at 60 kph while everyone else were speeding past (according to the driver this was because he was afraid he would get a ticket). We were then told that we arrived to late to enter the park that evening. Instead we could have a full day tomorrow.

Therefore we asked to leave at 7am. Breakfast was delayed for no reason and we didn’t enter the park until 8. When entering they asked my wife for her resident card and the driver got a receipt that he later on showed the rangers inside the park. After a full day we returned to our camp.

Next morning we wanted to have a morning drive from 6 to 9. When at the gate we can see that the driver is showing the receipt to the guards. They do not ask for the resident card this time. Inside we spot lions for the first time at 7.30, half an hour before the 24 hours of yesterdays entrance fee is up. For the first time so far, the driver is now in a hurry to get us out of the park which we exit at 8 instead of 9 as we asked for.

On the way back to Nairobi we see the receipt in the car. We are now driving at 85 kph instead so apparently the driver is no longer afraid to get a ticket.

When I call the owner and say that what we paid for included two entry fees to the park and want one days entry fees back (3x$80 + 1200Ksh), they said that they had paid for two days. When we ask to see the receipt the driver claims he doesn’t have it anymore and that you have to return it at the gate when you leave the park. I later called Amboseli and this is not true. I said that one ticket is valid for 24 hours which the owner said is not true since Amboseli just changed the rules. I later confirmed with Amboseli that I was right, I told them what time we entered and exited and they said that then you should only pay once (If the owner was right then they should have paid an entrance fee everyday for three days and still tricked us to pay one extra). I then called Amboseli back and gave them the registration number for the vehicle. They then confirmed that they only paid once and re entered on the same fee the second day. I texted the owner with that information and asked if we could have our money back.

The next day she admitted that I was right and claimed that the driver ran away. She later agreed to pay me back the entrance fees that they never paid. Although after that she dodged my calls over and over again, never called back when she promised and refused to bring the money to me. It took me three weeks and I actually had to pay for a taxi to go to Karen and back ($35) to get it.

Conclusion (this is my speculations building on the facts above, I’m not saying this is true so you have to make up your own minds):
They delayed our trip on purpose and then made us leave earlier than we wanted on the last day. This means the customer pays for 48 hours while the company only pays for 24 hours, meaning the owner get an extra profit of $80 per tourist in the vehicle. A normal monthly salary for a lot of people in Kenya (Security guards, policemen, cleaning ladies and so on) is around $200 so $80 is a lot of money here! Just imagine if you do this over and over again… They even impressed me with being so quick to come up with lies to cover up. The owner claims to not know about this, but how would she be able to keep her books straight without having receipts for all her expenses?

Please rate this review as helpful so that everyone sees it and keep away from this place.
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Date of stay: October 2014
1.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
1.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
1.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
C S wrote a review Oct 2013
New Orleans
1.0 of 5 bubbles
GOOD: Third-party safari destination that they send you too is everything a safari should be!!! Peter, our driver, and Asmon, the chef, were a true delight. Fairly clean, average hostel.

BAD: Barely a common area to meet with other travelers, and an office-sense about the entire thing. Worst experience I had in Africa was not getting all my things stolen (bc our driver left the van unlocked where they brought us for lunch), but instead dealing with the wolfish owner after the fact. We lost over $800 in cash, all of our photos, a journal with 4 years of experiences, $1500 worth of gear, ALL of our gear, and medicines. I reasonably asked that her business not profit ($300) off of our misfortune (due to their employee) and maybe extend a hand to help us realize the rest of our plans --I was met with 3rd World stone-walling. $100 slap-in-the-face refund was offered so that we wouldn’t “blackmail” her with a bad (TRUE) review. It was particularly disturbing when she raised her hands to the air exclaiming, “I have done right in the eyes of God.” I 100% would tell anyone thinking about staying here not to support such a person as this. Oh and if she punished or fined the employee that messed up and her pockets saw the gain, how incredibly gross and even more unethical. Bad business, lady - and bad karma for your avarice.
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Date of stay: September 2013
3.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
3.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
3.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
1.0 of 5 bubblesService
3.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
ChrisAdamCAN wrote a review Aug 2011
Calgary, Canada
1.0 of 5 bubbles
I would like to warn people about Milimani Backpackers. It’s in the Lonely Planet Guidebook. As a hostel it is fine enough but I had a really negative experience with them. They have an area in the back corner next to the wall where people can camp. One evening I was lying down in my tent when a big thunderstorm came. The thunder was really close so I got out and went inside the hostel. Less than five minutes later I came back to check if water was getting in and I found my tent was covered in bricks. The wall had fallen on it. If I had been inside I would have died or been very seriously hurt.

My tent was destroyed and when I checked my new video camera I found the screen had been cracked. I found out later this was the 3rd time the wall had fallen and once before it had hit a tent but they still let people camp there.

I assumed Patricia, the owner, would replace or fix my tent and camera without any problem, just happy I was alive. But to my surprise she refused to pay a cent. After a heated argument they finally agreed to look for estimates. That was the beginning of a long fight to get some compensation. The played all kinds of games with me. They lied, they didn’t return my calls/messages/emails and they stalled me hoping I would give up. For awhile I stayed at the backpacker waiting for them and they refused to let me stay for free. In the end I finally got some cash four months later but only because I was so persistent. As for my tent they reluctantly gave me the cheapest old tent they had. It was useless against rain.

For this I would have to say do not stay at Milimani Backpackers.
I would recommend to stay at…

New Kenya Lodge (River Rd and Latema Rd)
-right in the center (close to cheap internet, Milimani charges 4X the price)
-lots of travellers
-cheaper
-actual hot showers (Milimani’s are hardly warm)
-offer cheaper safaris than Milimani and just as good

If you aren’t comfortable staying in the center then I would recommend
Upper Hill Backpackers (a bit far from town but very nice) or the Hostelling International Backpacker (near to Milimani)
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Date of stay: February 2011Trip type: Travelled solo
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Amber H wrote a review Sept 2010
Aberdeen, United Kingdom
2.0 of 5 bubbles
When we first arrived, the staff were lovely and friendly and made us feel right at home. We had originally booked to stay in a "permanent tent" but after seeing they were literally no more than a tent, upgraded to a double cabin, which they were happy to do. The food was cheap and decent, as were the drinks, and we ate there most nights. The bar area had a fire and a good backpackers vibe.

On our first night, we came back to our room to find it literally crawling with slugs - we counted 11! There were large gaps all around the skirtings so they were getting in from outside to warm up (it was VERY cold in Nairobi, like our cold Scottish weather in the evening; it was African winter whilst we were there). When we complained, we were given masking tape to stick our skirting boards down and had to gather all the slugs up ourselves.

On top of that, our room didn't lock as a previous guest had left with the key and the staff had no replacement. This meant that every day we had to go out with our door unlocked, which we were not really happy with, but every time we asked about it, we were told it would be fixed "tomorrow" - it never was. The slugs, although less of them because of the masking tape, continued to appear every night, some were the size of a pork sausage!

The bathrooms were hideously dirty, the sinks were constantly blocked, the water was cold (when there was any) and there was only 1 shower working to a place that sleeps at least 50 people!

The following day, we were told the double cabin was being used that night by other guests so we would need to move into the permanent tent that we'd originally booked, which was fair enough, After looking inside the tent and seeing it was like a disco ball because of all the snail trails up the sides, we managed to get into a different double cabin with an additional spare bed (which we didnt need but were told we could have it for the same price.) On the same day, they had overbooked in the dorm and needed people to get out of the room to make space, so we kindly offered the spare bed in our cabin to a guy we'd been speaking to.

The next day, we got talking to a couple who were going on safari to Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru for $90 a day. We had already showed interest in the exact same safari offered by Millimani themselves, but had given no money towards it or any definite answer that we wanted to go on it, but their one was $120 a day. Being new to Kenya, we had no idea of prices and had trusted Millimani to be offering a fair price. Obviously though, we wanted the cheaper option, but I felt it was fair to first sit down with the woman in charge at Millimani to explain that we'd been offered a cheaper safari to the exact same places for the exact same time and including the exact same things, to see if she could offer it any cheaper. She flew off the handle, saying it would not be of the same quality and it would be a con and blah blah blah. We told her we were booking it through the other company (East Africa Expeditions - which turned out to be FANTASTIC and our tour guide James was the nicest man ever!). We then got ignored by the staff and heard them gossiping about us in their office... very professional! They weren't half as friendly now! That night when we went to the settle the bill, they tried to charge us extra for our room and for our safe, and even said we had to pay the equivalent of an extra tenner for having an extra person in our room for that night we offered our spare bed to another guest when the staff had overbooked the dorm!! We also noticed the lock on our door had been changed within half an hour of us moving out! Then they told us we couldn't come back to Millimani after our safari because they were fully booked, even though we had reservations for over a week after we got back from safari. We showed the manager the booking confirmation we had printed off and she accused us of typing it ourselves (it was completely legitimate and had all the correct details on it). They persisted that we could not return (basically they kicked us out for booking our safari with a cheaper company), leaving us in a mad panic because we left at 6am the next morning to a non-network zone and would return late at night to the centre of Nairobi with nowhere to sleep that night! I am 17 years old and was travelling with just my boyfriend, so this scared me considerably and I cried myself to sleep that night. To make matters worse, we saw mice running across the kitchen counter that our food had been prepared on for the past few nights!! I was so glad to be getting out of there. Luckily, the next morning, our safari guide knew people and got us booked in at Upperhill Campsite and Backpackers for the night we got back. This place was so much better, even though a little more expensive, it was definitely worth the price difference.

Positives: We met lots of nice people and enjoyed the backpacker vibe. The barman was a teenage boy who was lovely, chatty and always happy to help.

Negatives: Internet was really slow and barley ever worked! The pictures on the website are very deceiving - there is now a massive old run-down truck on stilts in the driveway that guests can sleep in - it looked ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING inside and out!! Everything else I've written about!

In regards to Nairobi, there's not an awful lot to do - we had more or less exhausted it in a few days. It's not very cultural I don't think, it's just like any other noisy, dirty city. I can't say I really enjoyed it there and I didn't feel very safe, but the Giraffe Sanctuary is definitely worth a visit - cheap to get in and you can feed the giraffes from your hand from a raised roof terrace. Brilliant experience and great photo opportunity!
Read more
Date of stay: June 2010
3.0 of 5 bubblesValue
1.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
2.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
2.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
1.0 of 5 bubblesService
3.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Jason P wrote a review Nov 2019
Cairns Region, Australia
2.0 of 5 bubbles
This place was recommended to us and it was very disappointing. First I must mention the lady at the counter was simply wonderful but it ended there. We camped and the dogs next door barked all night every night. This place is not very well located if you have not got your own transport.

Sign are located everywhere telling you what you cant do...more like a detention center than a backpackers. No cooking, no external food or drinks etc etc...fine I guess except when we ordered some food almost nothing was available. I will have a beer than...nope wrong again they had none.

Toilet was broken and the only working shower was so damn hot you could not get near it.

The place was almost deserted and the few guests there all had simular stories.

It seems this place has seen better days and management has used it as a cash cow.
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Date of stay: September 2019
1.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesService
1.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Brett S wrote a review Sept 2015
1.0 of 5 bubbles
I stayed here with my sister and we did not get a good vibe from the place. We thought it would be a good place to meet other travellers, but there was nobody else staying. There were a few guys working there who just didn't look trustworthy and one of them kept on making innopropriate comments to my sister. The owner did not care at all and I actually overheard her making racist comments about stupid tourists and their money. There are plenty of good places to stay in Nairobi, so this would not be my choice.
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Date of stay: August 2015
1.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
1.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
1.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Samuel D wrote a review Apr 2012
New York City, New York
5.0 of 5 bubbles
After reading some of the reviews written, my wife and I were very wary about going to the backpackers. In fact, we went to check in at another backpacker run by Australians. They didn’t have space though so we ended up going to Milimani. We never made a better choice. Contrary to some comments, they are very efficient. The staff was lovely, welcoming us warmly, and the cleaning ladies so cheerful.eunice helped me track down a shirt I lost on the lines and never grumbled even once. Patricia Runs the show, and I have never met a more helpful woman. she knows everything about Kenya! Marise is a right laugh, and witty as well. Ruth is so funny and they all treated us like family,they were never once rude at all and made us feel very welcome. We took a safari with them, and the driver Sammy is the best guide in the whole entire world. the dogs were a bit noisy at night though, and there was one that kept chewing everybody’s ankles! Everybody has different experience, we can’t all be happy with the service we get in hostels, but Milimani was a great surprise, so I say go go go!!
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Date of stay: April 2012
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
4.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: the ones inside are quieter.
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
stephenjo128 wrote a tip Jul 2017
Hollywood, Florida281 contributions103 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
"Pick a bed away from the window"
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panthergirl25 wrote a tip Oct 2016
Cedar Falls, Iowa10 contributions16 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"If you want to "splurge," the large corner room with the balcony is great!"
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Mark R wrote a tip Apr 2016
Peterborough, United Kingdom115 contributions20 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"If you can stretch your budget, the massive double room with balcony is worth the splurge."
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mohamed z wrote a tip Aug 2015
London, United Kingdom6 contributions2 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"if you have a tent, its both cheap and lovely to camp in the garden."
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Mark R wrote a tip Apr 2015
Peterborough, United Kingdom115 contributions20 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"All the rooms are spanking clean. The upstairs double called 'Simba' is HUGE! It actually has a double & a single bed plus a big en suite bathroom with shower & bath plus a balcony."
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ALSO KNOWN AS
milimani backpackers & safari centre hotel nairobi, milimani backpackers and safari centre
LOCATION
KenyaNairobi
NUMBER OF ROOMS
23
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MILIMANI BACKPACKERS & SAFARI CENTRE - Hostel Reviews (Nairobi, Kenya)

Frequently Asked Questions about Milimani Backpackers & Safari Centre
Which popular attractions are close to Milimani Backpackers & Safari Centre?
Nearby attractions include Kazuri Beads Factory (0.6 km), Giraffe Centre (4.7 km), and Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (6.5 km).
What are some of the property amenities at Milimani Backpackers & Safari Centre?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free wifi, an on-site restaurant, and free parking.
What food & drink options are available at Milimani Backpackers & Safari Centre?
Guests can enjoy an on-site restaurant and breakfast during their stay.
Is parking available at Milimani Backpackers & Safari Centre?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Milimani Backpackers & Safari Centre?
Conveniently located restaurants include CJ's - Village Market, CJ's Waterfront, and The Other Room Restaurant.
Does Milimani Backpackers & Safari Centre have airport transportation?
Yes, Milimani Backpackers & Safari Centre offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Are pets allowed at Milimani Backpackers & Safari Centre?
Yes, pets are typically allowed, but it's always best to call ahead to confirm.
Are there any historical sites close to Milimani Backpackers & Safari Centre?
Many travellers enjoy visiting Dedan Kimathi Statue (11.5 km), Brite Afrika Safaris (11.0 km), and The Galton-fenzi Memorial (11.2 km).
Is Milimani Backpackers & Safari Centre accessible?
Yes, it offers reduced mobility rooms. For specific enquiries, we recommend calling ahead to confirm.
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