This is one of those many long overdue posts that I’ve been meaning to write about but never got to. This evening I was going through my old Instagram shots and came across some pics of my holiday on the Kenyan South Coast this past December. Seeing them made me nostalgic for the long beaches of Africa’s east coast, the romance of Mombasa and the quiet of the mangrove forests at Funzi.
Beach holidaying on Kenya’s South coast
Our base for our Kenya beach holiday was the white sandy, palm tree lined beaches of Diani, one of the bigger resort areas on the South Coast. It was hot and humid, but there was always a cool breeze blowing to cool us down. Though a lot of my holiday involved getting some serious beach time, catching up on my reading and treating myself at the spa, I did manage a few activities.
Probably the coolest thing about Diani Beach are the camels, all decked out in their finest, parading the long stretch of beach and posing for tourist photos. I’m used to the cows on the beach in the Transkei, but beach camels were a novelty. I resisted the opportunity for a camel ride but couldn’t resist taking countless pictures of them. Who would have thought camels could be so cute?
I was inspired by our day trip to Mombasa’s old town where we hired a local guide who enlightened us on the fascinating colonial history of Fort Jesus as well as his own family history. It was exhilarating to walk the narrow streets of Old Town and soak up the city’s rich heritage, its ancient mosques, impressive wooden doors, and beautiful balconies. Old Town was definitely a highlight of the trip, I loved the fusion of Arab and African culture and the sense of history of the city. Here’s my instagram of brightly coloured washing lining the narrow streets.
On our dhow safari to Kisite Marine Park, we snorkelled in the protected reef with its rich marine life and even saw dolphins! This wasn’t our dhow, but one that we sailed past…
There’s something rather romantic about sailing on a traditional Arabic dhow, the wind sweeping through your hair… and later jumping into a reef to snorkel with the pretty fish.
As part of our dhow safari daytrip, we visited the slave caves of Shimoni and Wasini island. Wasini is a coral island and a site of early Swahili civilization. It also has lots of baobabs and a coral garden that is worth a visit.
Our lunch with a view at Wasini Island… the crab was the starter. The mains were crayfish. So good!
Probably my favourite activity of our holiday was a kayak trip exploring the mangrove forest of Funzi Bay and a freshly-caught lunch on the eco-lodge on Avicennia Island. Kayaking through the mangrove swamps was epic, just the sounds of the birds and the occasional splash of jumping fish. The bay was teeming with marine and birdlife, we even saw a school of baracuda! I was disappointed when I later saw a local selling a de-finned shark 🙁
At low tide we pitched a temporary beach camp on the Funzi sandbar (above) and waded in the emerald-blue waters of the bay. It was pretty close to paradise as I’ve been. Its also where I almost stepped on this little guy…
If I had the chance to go back, I would definitely spend a few days at Avicennia, it was so peaceful and beautiful. Here’s one last Instagram of my Kenya trip – a Tusker in the moonlight at the famous Forty Thieves beach bar in Diani… Cheers Kenya, hope to be back again soon!
Have you been to the Kenyan coast? How was your experience?