Diani Days, Kenya
14th October – 14th November 2014
Che Shale, North Coast – Kenya
Following my little jaunt around Tanzania, I flew from Nairobi to Malindi to meet up with Boris for a short holiday on the North Coast. Boris had been on a week long fishing expedition with his good friend Justin Aniere and a client Eric d’Echallens, north off the Lamu archipelago. Justin’s family bought a stretch of land just north of Malindi in the 70s (I think) and have run Che Shale as a beach resort for many years. Set in a coconut grove, this awesome place is filled with island style charm. In short, it’s a little piece of paradise! Coconut trees plus Boris Polo’s reversing = hazard… just saying.
After their week at sea, the boys arrived back bearded, tanned and smelling of fish. They’d had such a successful run and once boys catch good fish, you don’t hear the end of it. Check out their video here. We stayed in a little grass hut on the beach and had a completely relaxing 3 days in the company of Justin and his wonderful lady Isabelle. This is a great spot for kite surfing (which I still can’t do!) and so we surfed sans kite on the small waves coming into the bay. Andy Belcher and his family came up for the day – his daughter, Emily, is a PE teacher’s dream kid when it comes to all things water, and we couldn’t get her or Eric out the waves.
On our way back down south, we stopped in Malindi and Watamu, both cute coastal towns with a spice trade feel – the Arabic influence is strong here, with lots of Swahili architecture, and we popped into some fabric shops to purchase beautiful kikoys.
Back in Diani, day to day life continued – reading on the veranda, swimming in the pool and sea, taking Pluto and Scooby for walks along the beach, spending time at Kenyaways for Friday BBQs and Sunday curries, seeing Reed for tea and meeting friends for lunch. Hard life…
I spent a couple of evenings down at the Tiwi River mouth, surfing with Boris, Bruce, Monique and Luke. I can hold my own on the small to medium size stuff now but can’t read the waves yet and need surf boss Boris to tell me when to start paddling. Bruce, I’m still better than you! Monique brought along a friend one day – a Zimbo from Shamba called Lesanne Dunlop. This resourceful young lady was backpacking round East Africa, making her way from resort to resort in exchange for taking fresh photos of their places for marketing purposes. Blady smart if you ask me! Chatted to Lesanne on the waves before I realised all of this. She was staying at Kenyaways and was photographing the place for Lindsay. We kept in touch with each other. [More to come regarding Lesanne joining me later on the trip for the Tanzania stretch]
Amongst other evenings at Kenyaways, Alex had a party which he had to be dragged along to – but at 4am, and after two bottles of whiskey between him and Boris, he wasn’t complaining.
Boris’ twin friends Max & Alex came down for a few days with their lovely girlfriends Janina and Ale, and two friends from the UK, who had just got engaged. We had a brilliant few days together, sundowners on Tiwi Beach (which, after one too many Jelzin vodka coconuts, sent Ale pole vaulting into the lagoon), sunsets with Ale and Alex on the jetty, octopus braais and nights out at 40 Thieves. Just so happened that my good old friend Luke Davey was in town round this time too and it was great catching up late into the night over one too many at 40s. Best comment of the week: Boris, “We’re having Dorado tonight for the BBQ”; Janina, “Who’s Dorado? I haven’t met him yet”.
Dodson’s Wedding in Tsavo
Early November, Boris and I jumped in the truck, followed by Dan Floren and Jo-Jo, and off we went to Tsavo for Rob and Lore Dodson’s wedding. If you’ve ever wondered what a real bush wedding is like, then this is the prime example. Everyone in tents (ours in the baking sun, rookie error), a massive bar built especially for the occasion, pre-wedding party till 3am, riding flip flop lions, waking up with a hangover in a tent oven, red stained feet, food being cooked round the clock on outside braais, wedding attire with flip flops (nice shoes get ruined), wedding in the middle of the bush with rain falling – nobody cares, speeches that last way too long but nobody cares, post-wedding party till 4am (with a little sleep in between), miraa shots to see you through a few more hours, the green hat, everyone’s a friend after enough rum (enter the Wildlife Works girls) Cara, Joyce, Yugala & Christina, Danny the broom boy, Fleur and Andy bush party, hangover in tent oven, more food, chatting on rugs, pillows and hammocks with Lindsay, Dave, Andrew, Eddie, Sue, Mikey, Tash, Hugo, Andy, Fleur, Harm & Selina. And so the weekend drew to a close. Boris and I headed back to Diani via the beautiful Shimba Hills and were treated to a partial solar eclipse that afternoon.
Wasini Island, Kenya
My last excursion was spent down at Wasini for the day (Harm and Selina’s Pilli Pipa Dhow Safaris). From Shimoni we took a dhow out to the Wasini area where we spent the day snorkeling with GoPros. We got to see schools of dolphin and Boris was down in the water when a couple of them passed by! What a way to end my stay here on the Diani coast!
So long Diani Friends!
Saying goodbye to the Diani crowd was a long and drawn out process. Everyone has brought something unique to my short life here on the coast and it’s only on leaving that I realised how much I had grown to love this place.
Ric, Vale, Sara & Sole – keep living the dream – you’ve done wonders with Water Lovers, it’s possible to continue this idillic life I know you can make it work, Ballito is calling, come and see for yourself!
Filip & Ida – you’ll be pleased to hear I still do yoga as much as I can Ida (on my mat in the middle of nowhere!), best of luck with Kinondo Kwetu and Malaika Cotton. Pity I didn’t get to experience the rush of the skate park but please just watch Filip and Lova, worried they might be ramping over the roof soon.
Lindsay & Dave – keep Kenyaways going strong! Exciting times ahead with the expectant Irish water baby in a few months. You’ll be back on the waves sooner than you think Linz!
Reed & Monique – will miss our chats, you’re both such awesome girls and I’ve loved getting to know you better! Follow your dreams (whatever they may be and wherever they take you!) Keep Diani tidy and in check for us please – it needs a sensible few to keep that crowd in line.
Danny – my first Diani friend, did you kick my dog? Enjoy life out in the Shimbas – couldn’t ask for a more beautiful spot to raise your new livestock family!
Anina, Claudia & Gabriele – lovely meeting you ladies and best of luck with the businesses – may tourism in Diani continue to thrive!!
Alex & Petra – good luck with the safaris and the little bush baby, no more whiskey benders for a while now Alex…
Brucey Baby – cheer up bugger and stop stressing, may Madafoos continue to thrive in the company of tourists and Diani’s finest people. Surf more, kite more and when in need of a cuddle, Boris will always be there.
Chief – from Mombasa parties, helping me get expedition ready, Naivasha festivals, days up on the Shimba ridge and sunsets at Tiwi – it’s been a memorable few months to say the least. I don’t know what I would have done without your kindness and generosity after the crash. Thanks for opening your beautiful home to me and for allowing me to share Pluto and Scooby as pets for a few months. Wishing you windy and wavey seas, continued flip flop fetishes and a steady stream of tourists hungry for adventure – so much to look forward to!
The Beast is ready. It’s time to set the compass south and leave my home of three months.
Onwards and downwards!