We are off to stay on an island where everything is different.
Our arrival is different for starters – we make our way at low tide via a tractor and trailer – through the sea channel as the salt water laps at the giant wheels.
Off to the side, a clan of baboons is feasting on the seabed as they also slowly cross to join us on Chale Island. I think to myself ‘I will come back later and photograph them’, but of course I get busy and I missed this unique opportunity. How different to see this!
I do manage to capture staff walking to work – it looks more like they are walking on water! Again – it is a different way for staff to arrive at work.
The next thing that is different is the time. Time changes here n the island.
Yes, we are one hour ahead of mainland Kenya. The two clocks at reception are different time!
They maximize the natural sunlight, so this takes a bit of getting used to (at first I thought the staff was joking when they asked me “what time” I’d like to arrange our departure ride for the final day!
We are then shown to our cute ‘Banda’. I wanted to stay in a Banda in Uganda when we visited the National Parks, but we never managed to finish our planned safari, so now my dream was coming true. Another tick off the bucket list! And another new and different type of accommodation on our world trip.
But this ‘Banda’ was different. This was luxury ‘Banda’, complete with our own private rear courtyard, and an outdoor shower, that led on to the bathroom.
Now our front verandah was also very different. Below us was coral rocks. There lying in the trees were Colobus monkeys. We have learned they have 3 stomachs, so after they eat they need to rest to digest their food. They are not naughty
Love this photo of the Colobus monkeys lined up on the ‘Banda’ side wall too!
Explorason worked out what leaves they liked, and would go and collect a pile for them, and place out the front of the ‘Banda’ so he had them feeding – a little like a live TV show.
Chale Island is also different because it is not your typical palm tree tropical island. It has natural vegetation all around, promoting a lot of bird and animal life.
It also has its own ‘secret lake’. How exciting!
Nestled in the center of Chale Island is a sacred saltwater lake. It drains and fills with the tides, and is like a black mirror. Because it is salt water, there are few mosquitoes too.
There are three swimming pools here on Chale Island. Explorason wants to try them all, as you can imagine for a small island, this is quite a delight. He is an avid swimmer and ‘water baby’ these days.
The first swimming pool is overlooking the sea, and if memory serves me correctly, it is a chlorinated pool. It has a central bar and little bridges, so this is great fun for him to swim around and under the bridges.
Lastly, there is the main pool that also has a top jacuzzi area (that operates late afternoon) to the rear right side.
And of course, there is the biggest pool of all – the ocean!
But wait – there is more.
To the front of our ‘Banda’ is the ocean inlet.
The tide goes in and out here, and at night the waves crash into the coral rocks below us, and I feel like I am a million miles away from civilization. They call the channel ‘the warm bath’. The color is an incredible aqua blue. Although we never swam in here, we did have a quick kayak and loved it.
We wish we had longer, but we had another booking with the Marine Biologist who resides on Chale Island.
Martina is from Italy and is the resident Marine Biologist here. She is just lovely and so friendly, and she loves mangroves, and it is a joy as her passion for her work is contagious.
Martina had arranged for us to go out and learn about the mangroves opposite and we have booked a boat to take us there. So this was a school for Explorason (or world-schooling as we call it) – now this is quite a different classroom than what the average student attends each day. We learned about the different mangrove species and saw the bird life. We do learn that most of these were the grey and red mangroves. Last week many baby turtles also hatched out on the beach – what a shame we missed them, but Martina shares the video she took with us.
Sadly the sea is a bit choppy, (and Explorason is not bored as he may look in the photo below), but trying to focus on the horizon – as he became a little seasick, but he was great by the time we entered the back mangrove channels.
When we returned to Chale Island it is an extra special time for me.
I’d arranged to have a private bath through the Beauty and Spa Centre in an outdoor Banda overlooking the interior lake.
Explorason grabbed the camera and went off with the aim of taking photos of the Colobus monkeys. Meanwhile, he snuck outside (it has open sides) and was photographing me!
He left with one of the staff, and the next hour was something so unique and completely different than anything I’d experienced in the whole world.
I was left to soak in scented water and relax as flowers floated around me, and as I gazed out over the sacred lake. To the side, I watched a family of Colobus monkeys including a tiny baby one move from tree to tree.
I am lost in time – in fact, I am not sure if I fell asleep or just completely relaxed so much that time slipped away. It is not often on this world trip that I get to relax. But to relax in the middle of an island natural paradise with a sacred lake in front of me is extremely different! I must admit, it has some special feel to it.
There are so many different things we experience on Chale Island.
One is the peace and quiet and tranquil setting which was truly relaxing.
One of the reasons for this is that Chale Island provides its own power, so in order to conserve the generator usage, the power is off between 10 am and 6 pm. I liked this. It meant guests were out enjoying the activities the resort had to offer in the day and not stuck on their laptops etc. There was day wifi and power in the main areas if one felt they could not survive without it though.
There is a main restaurant, and a smaller side restaurant and a couple of bar areas, and an amazing selection of food at every meal, and even traditional English Afternoon Tea where I tried Lemon Grass Tea.
Explorason is really making great ‘head roads’ with trying new foods.
Gone are the fussy eating habits he started traveling with. His latest favorite is the locally caught Red Snapper.
Chale Island serves different dishes each night and specializes in seafood that is sourced locally. It makes sense as it also supports the local fishing community, and the guests know they are getting a fresh ‘catch of the day’.
The staff was ever so friendly. One lady shared about her family history when the ‘white man’ first came to Africa. Explorason listened with great intrigue to the stories she told of her forefathers. It is indescribable to really share how I feel about the service in Kenya – it is such incredibly warm and genuinely happy hospitality from all we encounter.
There really is so much more I could write about our fantastic time here on Chale Island. It is totally different, and a place I recommend adding to your ‘bucket list’, especially if you have a family.
Before we know it, we are sitting around on our last night but again this is a different experience.
Explorason has a chameleon he has befriended as part of the snake show. We give holding the snakes a miss, but I think they are lucky this little fella didn’t find a new home. Explorason is smitten with his new friend ‘Lion’ and spent a long time talking to him, and examining him that evening. I guess this is another form of world-schooling. It was a lovely way to end the night.
As we left the next day, it was farewell to Chale Island. At high tide, guests depart by speedboat, but we waited, as Explorason wanted the tractor experience again.
Chale Island is a fabulous place for families to take a holiday.
It is nothing like your traditional resort; it is unique, and it certainly is different.
And we loved it!
Diani Beach Road, past Diani Beach, Chale Island, Kenya
+254 40 3300269