Last month, Mike and I decided to do a weekend getaway in Diani, a town on the Kenyan coast, just south of Mombasa. We didn’t take any days off, just left on a Friday evening as it’s a 1 hr flight from Nairobi to Mombasa. It was low season so we didn’t have any problems booking hotels or flights.
I think if we were to do it again, we would probably take at least a day off to make it a 3 day weekend. Friday night – Sunday is just too short for the travel logistics that are involved. Fridays are the worst for traffic in Nairobi and even though we left at 5pm for the airport, we didn’t get there until 7:30pm. We almost missed our flight! We got there 30 min before take off and they let us through. Whew! The flight is quick but then to get to Diani it’s an hour and a half taxi ride — mostly it takes this long because you have to wait for the ferry. We don’t arrive at the hotel until around 11pm and we hadn’t eaten dinner. Luckily, the hotel had dinner waiting for us. We stayed at Southern Palms Resort. It’s a huge complex and it must get really crowded during busy season, but it was a bit cavernous while we were there during low season. The pools are huge and winding all around but the rooms probably need a bit of updating.
I was fascinated by these yellow weaver birds who had made their nests in the waterways in between the hotel lobby and restaurant. They would loudly chirp all day and weave their little nests. There were so many of them! Mike and I watched one weaver for a long time as it took down an old nest and then started a brand new nest from one long blade of grass. It’s pretty incredible that the birds know how to build those with just their beaks and feet. In order to get to the bottom of the nest, they would hang upside down and beat their wings to keep themselves up while weaving the nest. I feel like I notice the birds a lot more here–partially because there’s just so many more here (nature!) and also they’re usually brightly colored or unusually patterned.
The first morning we got up really early and went diving with Diani Marine. The first dive was a wreck dive that was sunk for diving and the other one was a reef dive. Diani Marine was a good shop but definitely expensive. I think compared to the diving we experienced in Indonesia, we are really spoiled! The diving was good, but not great. Hindsight, it was probably not a good idea to wake up at the crack of dawn after getting in so late the night before! But pretty much everything closes on Sundays in Kenya, so Saturday was our only option. After we got back to the hotel, it started pouring…ahh, low season. But we played a mean game of ping pong. =) Mike always has very low expectations of my hand-eye coordination skills (rightly so), but I think I impressed him and surprised myself with the ping pong skills.
The next day was a beautiful sunny day and we relaxed and enjoyed ourselves at the beach and pool. Diani is known for its beautiful white sands. The sands were definitely super soft, powdery, and white but I think during low season there is more seaweed washed in from the rains. It’s still beautiful, nevertheless. The only reason we didn’t spend more time out on the beach is because you tend to get harassed by “beach boy” selling boat rides and crafts.
All weekend, we kept seeing this mysterious set of blonde twins, dressed exactly the same, walking around the resort. They were very distinct, with blunt cut platinum blonde hair, super pale, and very tall and skinny. It was so bizarre! We felt like we were in the twilight zone and the other hotel guests seemed to think the same too, since everyone would stare at them. Turns out they were German and were shooting some sort of TV program at the hotel. Wild.
We didn’t want to leave when the time came–just needed one more day! Next time, when our parents come visit us in August, we will check out Watamu which is 2 hours north of Mombasa. It will be closer to high season then, so we will see how it is up there.