My love for beaches cannot be stressed enough. Its a relationship that will last forever and ever. Seriously, I need the sun for medical reasons, I do spend most of my year at 2,500m (8,205 ft) altitude , it never really gets hot and my skin starts to get a grey dull look. I need my skin glowing and gorgeous so I hit the road in search of sun. Sea and sand are just a welcomed plus. I love love the Kenyan Coast and for the last 4 years I have visited and revisited Diani , Lamu and Watamu and stayed away from Mombasa. Why?, you ask, I always had the impression that Mombasa Beaches were not as pretty, too crowded and there was not much to do. On the weekend I chose to head there and de bunk my own created myths. Did I succeed, YES TOTALLY
With the Kenyan Coast just recovering from the last 2 years or extremely bad business prices are quite low and most hotels flexible on rates. There are so many hotels to choose from based on your budget, travel style and holiday needs, etc. This time it was project “de bunk the myths”.
- Too crowded – False
This was a tricky one but as with every destination you just need to know where to look. The popular beaches along the Northern side of the Kenya are Bamburi, Shanzu, Nyali and would ideally be where you will find most crowds and so this time I opted for further North towards Malindi on Kikambala Beach. I stayed at Sun and Sand Beach Resort which was the only hotel on this beach making it quite exclusive. The hotel is by no means my usual boutique small and intimate style but was still great. The staff were pleasant and were keen to meet all my needs. I had the pleasure of staying in the deluxe ocean view rooms giving me unobstructed views of the ocean from my bed. I arrived quite early during low tide and hence opted for a walk around the property to get my bearing and see what they had to offer. I was not disappointed. The hotel has 100 rooms including garden and ocean view rooms, 2 swimming pools, a conference centre, an in-house sports centre, 2 restaurants and 2 bars as well.
- Not Much to do – False
This myth was quite easy to de bunk as there is so much to do. If staying closer to Mombasa Town a visit to Fort Jesus for a walk down history lane and Mama Ngina Drive where you can enjoy people watching and incoming ships are a must. However as I was staying quite far from there I opted for water sports at the Sun and Sand Beach Resort where I was staying and the variety ranged from adrenaline filled activities like jet skis, scuba diving , or mid level rush such as deep sea fishing, wind surfing, motorized water sports to the calm activities like kayaking and boat paddles. I opted to do the boat paddling as I hadn’t done it before and seem rather easy. It is quite relaxing and does not take much energy. If you are 2 you can both take the paddle boat and sail away but as I was alone so the captain – Matano came along. He was informative on sea creatures and we made a few stops to view them.
The other option for those staying away from the city would be to take a cruise from La Marina or The Moorings and sail the Mtwapa Creek. Moorings offer a sundowner cruise for less than $20 a person whilst La Marina does a sunset dinner cruise and includes drinks.
- No Nice Restaurants – False
This was one of the main reasons for my visit I had read of some great seafood places and was keen to try them out. The newest gem in town being the English Point Marina was once again to far from my hotel hence I opted to explore The Mooring Floating Restaurant for a snack. It floats on Mtwapa Creek with a great water front and awesome views. This was one of my highlights for the weekend away. They offer fresh seafood and the prices quite reasonable. The moorings special cocktail as well was yum yum yum. We chatted away enjoying the views and biting on calamari and prawns. They do have a shisha (hookah) and henna sundowner cruise where they offer bitings and a cash bar for drinks. I didn’t do this as I opted to cross over to the other side of the creek for sunset.
La Marina Sea Front Restaurant was my next stop , it’s tranquil setting with great views of the creek and vegetation was the ideal place for sunset margaritas. Here I also opted to try the avocado prawn which was also delicious. We were not the luckiest with the sunset as the clouds were many but it did not take away the beauty of the place.
- Dirty Beach – False/ Depends
The beach is by no means dirty, there were no trash or unsightly items on the beach however due to the season there was a fair amount of seaweed during the low tides. Nothing amuses me as much as how dramatic the tide effect along the Kenyan Coast. For the early risers you can experience sea, no sea then much sea. At 9am the sea could be as far out about a km away from the hotel and by 2pm it could be at your doorstep, all very intriguing. Both timings are great for different thing. Take a walk on the low tide and get to see some lovely sea life. At about 11 when the water is coming back and taking the seaweeds away you got some expanse white sandy beaches to lie and get you sun kissed glow and when the tide is back enjoy your water sports and swimming before sunset.
- Not as Pretty – False
Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder but I believe for all eyes white sandy beaches, blue calm waters and swaying palm trees is GORGEOUS. It is definitely quite different from Diani where I feel the beaches are wider with more room for sunbathing but the beauty here was still quite beautiful to look at. Sun and Sand Beach Resort is a good mixture of well manicured grass and outstanding ocean views giving a very lovely feel to the place. During the low tide I did take a walk into the ocean and the life of the sea is not only amazing but extremely beautiful to photograph.
Now that those myths are debunked, it only gives me more choices of exploring the Kenyan Coast and getting my dose of sunkissed glow more often with new places to explore.
From the sunkissed goddess,
*** Much gratitude to Victoria and the team at Sun and Sand for welcoming me to your hotel and being great hosts.