We have arrived! It has been Kenya all the way, and here is why.
The Kenya south coast has been a dream place we have both wanted to visit for a very long time. In fact, both Explorason and I each had our own individual nighttime dream, and saw similarly what we think was the Kenya coast – these dreams were many months ago. And so, to finally arrive here has just been the best feeling.
We have found a place to stay that is a hidden treasure, tucked away on the main road, and perfectly located right on the beachfront of the Indian Ocean.
Being a long-term traveler, I try to use every opportunity I can to explore, and to see the countries we travel through, so we booked the bus from Nairobi to get here. We are seasoned travelers, so we know we like the two front bus seats, and we try to select the better coach lines. But little did we know that this Kenya stretch of road is notorious for truck accidents and mad driving. We have taken buses all over the world, but few were as exhilarating as this ride.
Never again. Next time we will fly. Lesson learned. Shame, as seeing zebras and wild camels as we drove along was brilliant.
We arrived at Kenyaways and I’ve never been so thankful to set my feet firmly on the ground. The lovely owner had arranged for a taxi to collect us after our crazy coach ride, and so I had calmed down a bit as we drove along the coast, having to first use the ferry from Mombasa Island that connects this strip of Swahili Coastland.
And it felt just fabulous to be here. We were so pleased when we saw where we were staying. In fact, in my opinion, it far excelled my expectations.
Our room was ready for the evening, swathed in mosquito net areas that were more like tented areas within the room – a child’s delight.
It was also a massive guest room and en-suite, that lead off a large open plan seating and a balcony area where we had ‘oodles of room’ to relax looking out to the Indian Ocean.
Explorason and I both love interior design, so we really enjoyed looking around at all the furnishings that seemed to be intertwined between traditional African and Arabian mix.
The lamps reminded me of the gorgeous Turkish nightshade I have waiting for me one day when we finally unpack our treasures.
I loved in our massive room that I had such a huge bed to myself for once, and Explorason could have his own bed and area. Something I need every now and again is a big bed all to myself. I popped a photo of ‘my bed’ on Facebook as it is made of massive pieces of driftwood etc., and quite a few family and friends wanted the bed head and base with envy.
I think part of long-term travel means I do miss having a home I own and can decorate. So I’m always looking at the way others have achieved features I think are great. At Kenyaways natural timber is incorporated into the structure, like these great window bars.
Even the soap holder was made of coconut fiber from the trunks of trees …
… and then we discovered the toiletries!!! Essential oil products both of us just adored, with the soap as both of our favorites, and so we’re pleased when we found they sold it in their little gift store.
The Whitest Beach
I think the most delightful thing for me arriving here at the Kenya south coast was discovering the heavenly beach in front and to either side of Kenyaways.
Explorason set the alarm for the next morning at 6:00 a.m. so we could have a sunrise beach walk. He really surprised me with how genuinely excited he was to be at the ocean, but I guess it has been a long while for us.
So off we set, not having a clue where we were going. We walked and walked, past calm blue water that reflected like a mirror, watching the sun rise over the ocean. The clouds hid the sunrise for a bit on this first morning, but we didn’t mind a bit.
By lunchtime, we were back for another walk, and I can honestly say it is some of the whitest, soft and finest sand my toes have experienced in their lives! Pure as snow, and speckled with the odd shell, for us the walks on the sandy beach really were just our favorite way to start our day here, and a personal highlight for me.
What surprised me the most was how quiet and relaxing the beach was early in the morning – apart from the traditional fishermen heading out with their dhow boats.
Food and Monkeys
Once we had finished our walk (which was anything up to two hours), we would return for a lovely breakfast which was served at Lymington’s Restaurant downstairs at the beachfront lawn area of Kenyaways. With incredibly friendly staff, we soon became well known with all of them, and the new Restaurant owner, David, who had recently taken over the restaurant area. The morning favorite for me was the fresh fruits, but for Explorason it was pancakes with banana.
However one morning at breakfast, a pair of cheeky monkeys caught us out. One monkey distracted Explorason and as he went off to give him a piece of banana whilst I was photographing him, and the monkey dashed off but another monkey stepped in to entertain us. Next thing we know, the original monkey has gone over the roof and down the other side and has grabbed Explorason’s pancakes right off his plate. Explorason was NOT happy, but the staff quickly gave cooed him a new breakfast. That was the first and last time we were nice to the monkeys here!
Another morning we heard a noise outside our upstairs room. There sat a baboon licking out a stolen sugar pot on our front seat. He really enjoyed himself, and kindly left the pot at the end without breaking it. But really, the monkeys and baboons are a bit of a pest to have around. We did ensure our room door was closed at all times, as they do come in and take ‘treats’ for themselves.
Being a traveler who loves traditional and culture, I really enjoyed the dhow/boat and traditional boats that still work along the beach that we watched each day.
We spoke to the management of Kenyaways which was just brilliant. He measured Explorason’s foot size for flippers and organized us to use two local fishermen to take us out in their family boat snorkeling. We paid for the use of the boat for two hours, snorkeling equipment, two crew – with one taking Explorason for a snorkeling lesson about the local marine life.
They snorkeled for quite some time, and found many varieties of sea urchins and various colored starfish, along with studying the beautiful little fish below.
This is an example of how we world-school when we travel. Of course, all creatures are returned to the ocean, and Explorason is taught about the reef life. I stayed in the boat and enjoyed taking some great photographs as each ‘treasure’ was brought up to study and learn about.
We then headed to the sandbar, where even I swam in the crystal clear water.
But the wind picked up, and we needed to return to shore, so our time was cut short – so pleased we had a great time before this.
In fact, other guests saw us out on the sea and then booked a trip for themselves the next day. For me being in the traditional boat was a unique and memorable experience also.
Meeting a Maasai
When we arrived back, the boat dropped us off and sailed off, but as we walked up to Kenyaways we met a lovely Maasai man named Joseph. He was ever so nice. He didn’t hassle us to ‘fork our loads of money’, or to buy a heap of his produce (though he did have many lovely items). But I did get this photograph which I really like. Over the coming days, we met Joseph many times, and he really was a lovely man.
Time to rest
For me, Kenyaways was the perfect rest I needed. It is a relaxed and casual resort style guest house. We were in the main upstairs building, but we also discovered there were a pool and garden rooms to the rear. So we popped up there for a nice swim, away from the wind. This was another little area to relax and rest for guests, and here we meet a lovely Irish lady (who took this photo).
Things to do
I found Kenyaways different than other resorts, hotels, or bed and breakfasts. Being small in size, we met several of the guests at mealtimes whilst dining at Lymington and became friends with them.
One night we hired a taxi (Explorason enjoying the front seat and chatting to the driver) and went down the road to see Joseph perform in his Maasai show. A Canadian guest from Kenyaways joined us, and we felt quite safe venturing out into the night and returning by tuk-tuk.
There are loads of shops and restaurants on there in the road, and it is one to two hours depending on traffic to get to Mombasa, but we decided to stay in most of the time and rest.
There is an H2O Kite Surfing Village at the front of the Guesthouse. Although we declined on having a kite surfing lesson, we did notice a lot of guests having lessons and mastering their skills. One day, one of the Kite Surfing staff did take Explorason out in the surf for a while. They had a great time together.
In the end, we, of course, have to leave. We didn’t want to. We both finally felt relaxed, and we had just loved every part of our stay.
At Kenyaways I personally discovered the true meaning of “Hakuna Matata” … No worries.
Bookings – click here
Address: Diani Beach Road South, 80401 Diani Beach, Kenya