You do not have to break bank, let alone be loaded to enjoy this stylish Kenyan south coast- heck, especially now that summer is finally here. Back then as Juiced Today’s Managing Editor, Vincent Libosso embarked on a three day backpack trip down coast on his maiden trip to the sandy beaches. He ended up discovering dizzyling views, humble and warm people, and yes, a new destination and down to earth places to stay and eat…
This is my first visit to the coast and I am not even going to North Coast as is with religion with every new person down coast. Not me. Under the invite of my German friends, Elisa and Sophie who are involved with children workshops for teachers and those dealing with kids in the abandoned village of Msambweni, the Saturday warm sun cuts through my bus window a few metres past Mariakani as we approach Changamwe- ready to experience Mombasa. Talk of a warm welcome.
The town is old yet colorful in its own way. Far from the big city, I realize there are no polished buildings and glass towers here. The air is fresh yet chilly in the morning. My first warm encounter with the people would begin at the Tahmeed bus stop where I am directed warmly where the toilets are and later on, I get a cheerful chap with amazing stories about Mombasa and his tuk tuk- and he rides me to the airport.
Unlike Nairobi where the matatu conductors would be all up on your face, the tuk tuk rides in Mombasa seem civilized. Oozing the Swahili lingo with professionalism, they stop to beg passengers to aboard them.
Appalled at my ignorance that the airport is at Changamwe where we had passed with the bus, I end up paying Kshs 600. At the airport, and after a thorough security check, around 7.50am, the plane from Nairobi touches down and we reconnect with my two friends, Sebastian and Juan- both friends of Sophie and Elisa- also both from Germany yet working in Nairobi.
Weaving in and out Mombasa residential, our taxi driver Joseph Ndollo is a man full of stories. He makes sure the car ride is not boring at all, often a time reducing his favorite rhumba tunes to explain a point.
I always wanted to visit the coast- especially Mombasa. But I also dream of visiting Mauritius, Zanzibar, Dar-es-Salaam, Kampala and other world destinations.
My trip to the coast would see me cross to south coast aboard the ferry and head past Likoni, Mtwapa and Diani- to an outskirt village called Msambweni.
One of Kenya’s most desirable, warm and romantic destinations, this small village of the Digos, one of the nine sub-tribes of the Mijikenda- on the Kenyan coast, has been seducing visitors since time immemorial.
The road to Msambweni has this winding green all over it. Sitting on the Friday 10pm departure time Tahmeed bus listening to my Kenyan music playlist is a waste of time because my mind is not at ease. I am on a rollercoaster and I can’t stop thinking about what I will discover in Msambweni.
My first tease and seduction starts here as I watch the sun rise over the Indian Ocean- the scene looks like a 3D scene out of a romantic movie.
The roads are barely wide enough and with a large number of heavy trucks, traffic jams are inevitable. But being from Nairobi, not even this jam is going to hold me back from enjoying myself.
After almost three hours and a few missed turns, we arrive safely at the Msambweni Beachpackers beach house to the warm reception by Sophie, Elisa and the house master, Hassan.
The air here is so fresh, the waves cut from the ocean to the land, cooling us tremendously. The house has no electricity yet it is a space transformed into a super homely and chic décor spot.
Am excited about getting my feet wet and into the salty waters. It is quite warm, the sand too is hot and the beach has no crowds, except from the few crabs that keep on peeping from their humble sand hole abodes.
This beach is idyllic, with a small collection of stone and thatched cottages by a long stretch of white-sandy beach, where women and even the young come by in the evening to gyrate their hips, gossip and catch up.
My friends take off to the deep sea with the easy-talking beach boys who ooze from Italian to German and Dutch in a second, even as Hassan the House Master and I remain behind for a chat.
Sadly, the snorkeling did not go too well and boat ended up capsizing before they were rescued by another boat. Everyone is now alert after this. The village has already got word and many are afraid of the ocean. A few days before, seven kids died in Diani and so it seems according to the traditions, the sea is hunting again and it haunts those who visit.
But the highlight for Saturday night is the dinner by the beach. We had barbecued red snapper with canned Tusker beers and grilled potatoes.
The waters at night reflected the star-bedecked sky, and my friends chatted over beers till late in the night before the terrible sand storm set in on us…
Watch out for part 2.
A version of this article first appeared on Juiced Today.
In case you would love to visit this beach house, check them out on Facebook and here are important contacts from the people who hosted us.
- Hassan- +254 723 229 611
- Ali- +254 715 667 280
Joseph Ndollo-+254 721 558 228