Once I heard there was a new board game cafe in Nairobi... I just had to mobilize my friends and go! A board game cafe is one of the best ideas ever if you ask me.
Bao Box is on the 8th floor of Pramukh Towers on Westlands road, more or less behind Kempinski hotel. The interior is really really well done. The lights give a nice vibe, it feels cosy and outside there are couches including Maasai fleece blankets for when it gets chilly in the evenings: bonus points! They have draft beer and some nice snacks (mixed reviews, some portions were on the small side) but the milkshakes were definitly good!
I had been to Mombasa a couple of times before, even to the old town. But one thing that was still on the list was Fort Jesus. Its history in a nutshell: Fort Jesus was built by the Portugese around 1600 to protect the Old Town Port of Mombasa. After that it was taken over by the Sultan of Mombasa, the Brits, the Portugese again, the Omani Arabs and the Brits again?
Anyway, Fort Jesus was declared a national park in 1958, and in 2011, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and highlighted as one of the most outstanding and well-preserved examples of 16th-century Portuguese military fortifications. Because of all this, it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Mombasa. So time for me to go check it out and share with you guys in a little photo tour.
In addition I had to go eat at Forodhani ofcourse: you can never go wrong with some Prawns a la Forodhani & Biryani Rice right?!
fter starting off the year with some epic partying in Kilifi, most of my friends had to go back to normal life in Nairobi. But I had a break in between contracts, meaning... more time to enjoy the coast! At times like these I really enjoy to just wake up and decide where that day will bring me. So I had no plans made in advance. I was in touch with some other friends that had also been in Kilifi (from Routes) and had headed down to Watamu, I had never really been to Watamu so I decided to pack my bags, get on a matatu and join them.
We met at Papa Remo, a beautiful hotel/bar because Alicia (Pophat) was gonna perform there that evening. It was a very Italian but lovely spot with very chilled vibes, we mostly hang on the beach with some drinks. While sitting on the beach we were looking out over the rock formations / islands out of the beach. And we started wondering, could we sleep on one of those?
A random thought became a plan, and we got permission from the owners of Papa Remo to head down later. However, the tides come in strong and we had to make sure we would be back in time. So we walked down the beach to the town where we had some chipsi mayai (omelette with fries, a Swahili classic and one of my all time favorites as you might have read in my Arusha blogs) and some more Tuskers at a local joint on the roadside. Great meal for a great price! We walked back and it was already dark, so we tried to quickly get together our most important stuff from our bags in the car and headed out to the island. The tide had already started to come back so we had to wade through the water with all our stuff and try avoid the deeper ends, because the water was really strong.
Just in time we made it to the tiny sand patch of the island. The island itself is rock, or maybe even coral? And the lower parts have been carved out by the sea water, so we had to give eachother a hand to get a hold of the rocks up higher and climb up the island. This was such a random plan, in the dark, with the tide coming in so fast haha but anyway, we all made it up there! And it wasn't that dark after all because the moon was bright. We put our sleepingbags (and inflatable hammock) down and chilled under the stars for a bit. We couldn't even wait for the next morning, because the sunrise had to be incredible from that spot! It was perfect, we fell asleep in the warm air, with a light breeze and the sound of crashing waves on the other side of the island.
And also the reason I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt as PJ's and had one kitenge cloth to cover up. But our paradise sunset did not happen. Matter of fact, it became cloudy, foggy and it might have even drizzled for a bit and it was still windy, so I was the first to wake up and it was actually suuuuuper cold, with no sunrise to see anywhere with all the clouds and no warm clothes or extra blankets either... In addition, the birds on the island were a bit confused with us sleeping in their natural habitat and I was low-key fearing they would attack or shit on me... Thats the other side of traveling and adventures haha!
wind... It's New Years Eve 2016. I'm on my bicycle, cycling to the train station in Utrecht. Me and my friend are heading to Amsterdam for a party. We had some champagne before we left the house, but it didn't help anything for the fact that it is too freaking cold to be cycling in a cute short party dress with tighs and heels... My nose and fingers are numb and my ears are actually hurting... that kinda cold. We park our bikes and I open my phone while we wait for the train to arrive at the platform. There they are: the snaps and Insta stories of my friends back in Kenya. Celebrating New Years dancing around in their t-shirts, shorts, bikinis because it must be at least 25 degrees over there and they are on the coast. Thats when I made up my mind: if the universe allows it, I'm spending next years NYE there where all the snaps and magical stories are from: Kilifi.
Fast forward to end of 2017. I guess the universe heard last years wish and I'm still living in Kenya. For Christmas I go to back to the Netherlands to spend time with my family and friends, but on 29nd of December I made sure to make my way to Kenya: leaving the snow and time for some celebrations in the sun!
I arrived the 30st, had a few hours to swap the content of my suitcase from jeans and sweaters into croptops and skirts, catch some sleep and fly down to Mombasa on Sunday morning the 31st. I totally made my friends wait to grab some lunch at Forodhani Restaurant in Old Town (whoops, their biryani and tamarind juice thooo!) before we shared a taxi down to Kilifi.
Seeing the palms and sunshine from the car already totally convinced me coming down here was the best decision ever. We had a cold beer while we tried to sort out our accomodation. Since it was a bit of a last minute plan and we couldn't find any group accomodation online, we got a tip from a friend (shout-out to Silvia!) about a place that was yet to be opened but probably would have some beds for us. However, we weren't able to reach any of the people from the place that day plus nobody had heard of it since it wasn't even opened yet... So we decided to crash at Distant Relatives, a very cool backpacker place and have a cold beer on the poolside to see if someone was ever gonna pick up so we actually had a place to stay that night.
A little later someone did pick up, and we took bodas to the place. Just before you cross the bridge to Kilifi, you take a junction left and than right, on a rough road into a neighborhood. You keep driving all the way down until you reach a place thats almost at the waterfront: The Balcony.
So yeah... this place was definitely not ready. But at least the owners were super friendly and offered us cold beers while we waited for them to clean up the room (in which they half succeeded) and find us some mattresses haha. Anyway, it wasn't perfect but we knew it wouldn't be and we just needed a place to leave our stuff and a place to sleep a little once we would get back from partying.
What AB-SO-LUTELY made up for that part, was the location and the view from the place! The Balcony has an amazing view over the Kilifi Creek, especially at sunset. They told us there was gonna be a bar where you could have drinks and food once it was done, and I could totally see that working out. In addition, it is just a 2 minute walk down some small stairs and you're standing on one of those pristine little beaches with white sand, blue water and only a few local kids hanging out and swimming. The next day I found out that taking a swim in the morning was such a perfect way to start the day, especially after a lot of partying.
After the mattresses was found, we dropped our stuff in the rooms and got into our party outfits... Time to do what we came for: head to the Kilifi NYE Festival! We had to take tuk-tuks into some field /plantation which seemed super dodgy until you see the colorful lights in the distance coming up. The festival looked incredible with art, light installations, chill zones with hay stacks, waterpistols, bean bags under a massive baobab tree, different stages, amazing people, glow in the dark stuff, wet swings, a slip n slide track, a massive 'burning man' aka a burning bird and the best fresh coconut cocktails I have ever tasted in my life. It was a great place to party hard and that is exactly what we did. Absolutely worth it. Since I lost my phone a few months later, I also lost most pics from that weekend. So I'll just have to go with the videos and pics that I somehow still had:
In November I went to the Lamu Cultural Festival, which was amazinggg and I made a little video.
I'm still learning to edit videos, and my goal for 2018 is to improve my editing skills and make more videos for my blog.
Hope you'll enjoy them and make sure you put the quality on 480 when watching :).
✰ Happy holidays! ✰
A d v e n t u r e s o f
a D u t c h g i r l
i n E a s t - A f r i c a.