After checking into the Safari Beach Hotel on Diani Beach and selecting our rooms, we had the opportunity to change our clothes and remove our boots. This was a natural relief! We went directly swimming, first to the pool and then to the Indian Ocean.
The beach was gorgeous; the sand was so white and clean. The ocean was a bit rough. We enjoyed the sun and warmth. Diani Beach is a major beach resort on the Indian Ocean coast, south of Mombasa. A beautiful white-sanded beach is about 25 km long. The area is known for its coral reefs and its black-and-white Colobus monkeys. The beach is a favorite tourist destination.
We walked along the beach until we reached another hotel. The beaches in Diani are public. We saw several exciting things there, including the opportunity to ride a camel, ladies carrying fruits on their heads, Masais, strange-looking massage salons, and little boys picking up seashells. This we also did ourselves. We also took many photos, during which we were informed that if you want to take pictures of the locals, you better have some cash ready because they expect it. But as we were only in swimsuits, we did not have any money with us.
We expected that Diani would be like a Mediterranean beach, but it was not. The beach was quite empty; no tourists were lying on the beach. There are some all-inclusive hotels at Diani Beach, but an open area and forest are still left between them. It seemed that most of the tourists were at the hotel’s pool. This might be because the beach changes so quickly—at low tide, the beach is 100 meters wide, and there are less than two meters of beach at high tide. But it might also be that tourists do not feel safe at the beach, as “beach boys” make all kinds of offers from time to time.
There was a souvenir stand at the beach. I believe the seller recognized that we were new (untanned skin, etc.) and started to sell us things at very high prices. Happily, we did not buy anything but said we would think about it. Later, this man tried to find us. He thought we wanted to buy it. But these were not the best souvenirs or the best prices at all. The trading takes place on paper. At first, the seller writes down a considerable number – the starting price. Usually, you end up at 50% or even less of that price.
We swam in the ocean at Diani only on the first day, and on the other days, we stayed at the hotel pool. The service at the hotel was excellent. The hotel boys carried sticks against the monkeys. On the hotel grounds, signs said, “Do not feed monkeys.” It was also not suggested to leave any food alone. The hotel boys protected tourists from monkeys. They also brought drinks and food; if you wanted, they would pick the coconut for you. We tried it, and it was good!
We stayed in an all-inclusive hotel. At the breakfast and dinner tables, we tasted so many exotic things. For example, papaya juice was a real refresher in the morning. But even the common fruits and vegetables were juicier and tasted differently. The food was excellent and diversified, and also the service in the hotel restaurant was good. On the second day, we had the same waiter serving us, and he helped us until the last day. We called him “our Jambo.”
“Jambo” means “hello” in the Swahili language. When we walked to the hotel territory, everybody Jambos you. Also, at the first dinner, the local band sang the Boney M song “Hakuna Matata,” where “Jambo” is widely used. So, we learned a little bit of Swahili in Kenya.
Our second evening in Kenya was New Year’s Eve. It was so different from those we have had so far. We had never experienced 30 degrees of warmth on the 31st of December. We spent the day at the pool and did some shopping in the local market to buy champagne for the evening.
The celebration started lunchtime when national dancers put on a show at the beach. This was interesting. We enjoyed the show.
The dinner table that night was just gorgeous. Fruits were used to create national costumes for women. Several meals were served in many different forms. There was Kenyan food and Mediterranean, Italian, whatever you wanted. And this was all delicious.
Our waiter came to us when we sat down at our chosen table. The party tools were at the table for use – hats, serpentines, etc. We happily took them to work.
During the evening, several entertainers were on stage – Masai dancers, limbo dancers, actors who impersonated “president elected,” etc. The whole evening was great fun; we even danced with Masais.
Our waiter also taught us some Swahili words. We realized that words in Swahili and Estonian are similar, although their meanings differ. For example, “Kisu” in Swahili means “knife,” but in Estonian, this means “kitty.” The most surprising thing was that “Raha” is in Swahili for “happiness,” but in Estonian for “money.”
At midnight, there was a huge firework display at the beach. This was beautiful!
The story continues at Tsavo East National Park.