April and May had been very busy at work, with a peak in the last week of May including working in the weekends and evenings. But Thursday 1st of June was a public holiday in Kenya that commemorates the day that Kenya attained internal self-rule in 1963, and more importantly gave the opportunity to take off a long weekend (4 days!) and escape the hectics of Nairobi.
So Wednesday evening late I hopped on a Modern Coast bus in town, where I met my friend Natasha that was already in the bus coming down from Nakuru. It was gonna be an overnight bus and we hoped to arrive in Mombasa early the next morning, but somehow we managed to get into a huuuuge jam in the middle of the night. Imagine a road in the dark, through a national park. Some truck fell over, and, because this is Kenya, all other trucks, buses coming from both sides try to overtake the place of the accident. Doesn't matter if that means getting off the road and involves some insane driving... So that caused more trucks to fall over or get into accidents and all resulted in being stuck, not moving for two whole hours in a SEVEN rows thick jam, in the middle of the night, in pitch black. At least it was a good moment to catch some more sleep!
So we arrived in Mombasa relatively late, around 11 in the morning. Meaning it was a 12 hour bus ride in total. Anyway, we got off the bus in Mombasa town and went straight into squishing into a matatu to get to the ferry. The beach was calling us! But the beach was not ready for us... Literally 1 minute on the ferry it started pouring and there was just no way to stay dry. Off the ferry we ran through a half flooded stairs and road to reach a matatu. The whole road had turned into a river and even the matatu was leaking. This was not the beach weather we ordered! Thank god the weather starting clearing up while we were on our way to our final destination: Msambweni, a small sleepy coastal town south of Diani.
In Msambweni we were picked up by Pieter, our Dutch Airbnb host who brought us to his amazing house: Karibishwa Beach House ("a place next to heaven"). Pieter designed the whole house himself and Natasha and I instantly fell in love: it was big, spacious and bright. Decorated with African art and artefacts, and we were lucky enough to get the master bedroom: with a huge bed and view over the pool, palms and beach!
After we had a much needed shower and hang all our wet stuff to dry, we enjoyed a lunch made by the amazing chef that works at the house. Unfortunately it was still very cloudy, very windy and even raining a bit. So we stayed indoors, read our books and relaxed. We saw one of the most amazing sunsets that evening, including a rainbow and the brightest orange and pink colors ever! None of the photos we took did justice to how beautiful it was in reality! For dinner we had an amazing 3 meal course of avocado-prawn-horseradish starter, red snapper, veggies and mashed potatoes as a main and pancakes with ice cream and chocolate sauce for dessert. This was definitely one of the best beach dinners I had in Kenya so far!
The whole night and morning it remained windy and rainy. We woke up in time for the sunrise and walked onto the beach, and saw 5 minutes of beautiful sky before it all dissapeared behind a big cloud haha. Not very successful, but we saw another full and even double rainbow which made up for it a bit!
Later that day, the sky cleared up and we had the perfect afternoon to do what we came for: get in our bikinis, in the pool and the ocean, lay on our sunbeds, have an icecold Tusker and enjoy the sunshine with some music on! Yayy! Finally!
After working on our tan (and managing to drop both the speakers and my phone in the water but somehow still had them working) and packing, it was time to go find our next Airbnb before the sun would set.
The beach at Karibishwa House was quiet, but now we were really going off grid. Pieter dropped us at Mswambweni hospital from where we hopped on the back of a boda (motor bike taxi) to continue for another half an hour over a super muddy rough ride. Some tight holding on was required to not fall off in the middle of a brown mud puddle, but since it was the end of the afternoon, the golden hour had come and the views over the villages and through the rainforest was stunning. We finally arrived at our destination: Kaya Imani, where we were welcomed by Mama Alice and Amani.
At Kaya Imani we stayed in a simple chalet in the most paradise like place. Once you enter the colorful gate, its like you are walking in a thick green rainforest. It is filled with butterflies and after the rain it felt like the air was so clean. Walking down the path through that forest, we arrived at the chalet next to a huge mango tree that is home of a family of monkeys every morning. Unfortunately the pool was not filled, but it wasn't really necessary anyway because our chalet had a view on the beach! And since this place was so far out and with low season, it was pretty much empty, we couldn't wait to see everything by day light the next day! Because it was getting dark and... we only brought Tuskers and wodka, but no food! And since this area on the coast is predominantly Muslim, and it was Ramadan it meant we were officially foodless! Oh oh... Thank god we had Mama Alice that shared some of her ugali and skuma with us, so we at least didn't have to go to bed hungry.
We had a chalet that was made out of two rooms with each a 2-pers bed and a bathroom/shower to it, which was perfect. It was basic but clean, just a lot of mosquitos and ants (and cute baby lizards!) so the mosquito nets over the bed were very helpful. In addition, there was very bad network in this remote little paradise, so we had to go outside to actually send and receive messages which made it an even more peaceful stay if you ask me!
The whole first night it rained cats and dogs non-stop, in time for the sunrise it was even so rainy you couldn't even see the horizon over the sea! A tiny bit dissapointed we just stayed in bed most of the morning and relaxed, watching the monkey family eat mangoes in the trees. Around 11am the rain finally stopped and we decided we had to go on a mission to find us some food. We tried calling the boda guys that had dropped us, but they weren't picking so we decided to start walking. Asking people on the way, it seemed like we had to go all the way back to Msambweni town to find something to eat... We started off brave, on our flip flops conquering muddy puddles that covered the roads from one side to another until we saw a small path that went all the way down to the beach and we made the best decision ever to walk over the beach instead of doing half a mud run.
After around 45 minutes in the now burning sun and with growling stomachs, we finally arrived at Msambweni and found a little local spot that had some cold soft fries and a soda, which tasted better than ever! The nice thing about it being a small town was that we could just find plenty of small stalls that were selling vegetables, fruits, chapati and eggs. All we needed for the next day. So packed with our groceries we hopped on the back of boda's again and went back to our little paradise.
The same as yesterday, the sun started shining all afternoon and in all hours we spend on the beach we only saw one local fisher man and a family. For the rest it felt more like an uninhibited tropical island for ourselves! The only downside was the wind that blew sand in our faces/hair on the beach, so we moved to the sunbeds in the garden which was also great. Kaya Imani is so green, I loved how they kept all the trees around!
We honestly didn't do much but relaxing. Enjoying the beautiful beach and nature, sleeping early, no hurry or rushing, I really felt revitalized after those two days we spend there. Unfortunately on Sunday I had to make my way to Mombasa. We went to Stilts Backpackers where Natasha would stay a bit longer, had some lunch and a drink at the Forty Thieves beach bar. Then I really had to say goodbye to Natasha and the beach, because I had a flight back to Nairobi early the next morning. In Mombasa I stayed at the Pride Inn Hotel, ordered some amazing garlic fries and chicken tika wrap from Cafe Mocha and played around with Lightroom to edit some of the stunning photos we took at both Airbnbs. And then the beach trip was already over, but did exactly what it was meant to do: revitalize to go back to Nairobi life and work!
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.