COVID-19 has done us dirty in 2020. We all found ourselves stuck in our homes, wearing masks, washing our hands, sanitizing more than usual, and just getting worked up by the mere fact that we can not outside as much as we want.
Luckily, things eased up a bit and with caution, we were allowed to cross counties. But wait, globally people have lost jobs, cash flow has been affected and generally, things were (still are) thick.
But we can not just sit and feel sad about the current dilemma, somehow we need to look for ways to work with the situation and make some lemonade from it…
Because cabin fever and brokeness decided they will go hand in hand my friends and I needed to get out of this city so bad, and therefore had to devise a practical scheme that would save us some coins. (If you are Kenyan you know how a trip down to the coast at a kawaida resort costs an arm and a leg.)
Get a shared affordable accommodation (villa or house) that had a self catering option.
Having toured the Kenyan coast extensively in the past and knowing a few property owners and property managers, it was easy to settle fast on accommodation that fit our budget. My group had some irreducible minimums for their choice in accommodation that included; must have a swimming pool, the house/home shouldn’t be an apartment, and should have extra lounges and possibly a gazebo and a garden and should be beachfront property.
Most of the specs were easily met but our perfect fit was not a beachfront property ?. Surprisingly, they were cool with that. (The beach was like 10-15 minutes away.)
The house we settled for…
The property had 2 two-bedroom house that stood directly opposite each other, all ensuite, a fully fitted kitchen, and a spacious front porch that doubled up as the dining and living area.
It also had a perfectly manicured lawn with optically nutritive trees and bushes. The lawn eased out to the swimming pool that was always warm and clean. Next to the pool was a queen size Swahili day bed, a gazebo with nice bar like raised woven stools. The property alone, even without any activities was enough for a much-needed getaway.
Food and hired chef
To cut on food costs we hired a chef who planned and prepared all the meals for us. All we did was shop for what we wanted (Naivas Diani) and specified our dietary needs to him. The chef outdid himself in every meal.
Most of us booked SGR (Ksh 2000 return from Nairobi), then hired a van that took us to Diani from the SGR station (The same guy took us back from Diani on our last day.) The guy who did our transfers was a proper planner, timekeeper, and professional. He has both vans and smaller cars for hire. The van cost us approx 6,000 bob one way, so if you are 8; everyone pays approx 700 bob to the destination in Diani. (If you have ever raised an uber from SGR or the airport to Diani, you will understand how much of a bargain that was!)
Diani on a budget with friends (8 people.)— Bonnie ?? (@bonitaonsafari) November 5, 2020
Breakdown:Transport SGR: 2000 bob (1,000 each way)
Transport from SGR to Diani (700bob per person)
Lunch day of arrival 500 bob per head. (Hired a chef for the 4 days.)
Accommodation 3,750 per night in a cottage. pic.twitter.com/9NdGthqK5s
Most of us only had the weekend to spare and therefore, we had to squeeze in as much activities as possible to fit into our Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Initially we thought that on the day of arrival we would go to the beach and chill but that was not to happen. The traffic from the train station to Mombasa was crazy. There was a serious road construction going on with lots of heavy vehicles making chaotic decisions on the road and we easily wasted two hours of what should have been a thirty minutes drive to Mombasa.
Again, there was traffic at the ferry in Likoni, the distance from the ferry to the house was also another stretch! We were getting to the house around 6:00 pm. So clearly Friday was done!done! Part of the reasons you need a private house with a pool and Bluetooth speakers is because you can always throw a pool party whenever after missing the beach ?.
Full-Day excursion at Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park
This is usually done as a package that includes pick up from the hotel or where you are staying to Kisite Mpunguti KWS offices. After registration, (Carry your National ID) you get on a 2-hour boat ride to Kisite Island first, where if you are lucky, you will get to see dolphins (we were so lucky ?), no swimming happens at this point because the water is deep.
Then the next Island is Mpunguti. Most snorkeling and swimming happens here. The waters are so clear chances are, you will meet every other group that had left much earlier to spot the dolphins.
I advise you carry a Go Pro for under water photos or alternatively you can pay an extra 1,000 bob to have Fathy of Amigo Tours (+254 712 231 151) take dope pics/videos for you.
After snorkeling, you will get back to the boat for a one hour ride to Wasini Island for lunch. Do not expect a fancy seafood spread, but whatever they provide is usually enough. They will bill you extra for seafood dishes. So lower your expectations because the food is mass-produced because of the volume of guests. Otherwise, it is a good experience.
After lunch, there is a Wasini village tour. The tour basically is to walk you around the host village. The people of Wasini depend on fishing as their main economic activity and guests are encouraged to eat, buy jewelry, etc from the island as a way of boosting their economy directly and indirectly. So make sure you do not skip the lunch bit and tip the guides if you can.
The Kisite Mpunguti trip is usually a full day’s activity. We got back to our place at around 6:00 pm. We were in luck to get a nice tour guide who threw in a small trip to the shopping center and also waited for us as we refilled on WATER ?.
Exhausted but thrilled, another pool party did the thing ?. At this point sleep was also a rumour.
Day Trip to Funzi Island
Considering how tired people were, we had to go to a place that had minimal activities with a lot of sunbathing and leisure swimming. The best bet was Funzi Island.
Funzi Island is a Mangrove Forest in Kwale off Ramisi Sugar Factory at the end of Bodo Village. We packed the van and hopped into a boat that took us to the Funzi sandbank. If you read the Mikoko Cove post I did years back, you probably know of this sandbank. This was such a chilled trip and the only mistake we did was not carrying our drinks and water.
Towards mid-afternoon, the tide gets high and eventually covers the sandbank. After everyone had enough, we headed back.
Other Activities to do…
For ladies, you can have some temporary henna tattoos.
CAUTION: Some henna artists add PPD *para-phenylenediamine*(Knowingly and unknowingly) to increase the color strength of the black dye. Some people have a serious allergic reaction that leads to blistering and permanent scarring.
We were in luck because the henna/piko (I do not know the difference ??♀️) they used did not have PPD or maybe we were all not predisposed ?. So be on the look out. Came across this article that should give you more info…
Will I get another temporary tattoo? Yes, But from the same ladies ??. Call Bahati on 0705746524
The other thing we did was to enjoy full body massage the comfort of the home. We requested for a lady who does house calls. I totally needed that massage! If we knew everyone needed a massage, we would have called for at least two ladies or started in batches the previous day… She billed us 1000 bob per person for an hour.
While some were having their bodies drawn and massaged the rest continued with the never ending party by the pool.
All in all, transport, food and activities was about Ksh 23,000pp for the 3 nights and 4 days. This did not include alcoholic drinks and henna/massage and tips.
If you want a similar trip planned for you, let me know in the comment section.
If you haven’t subscribed to my youtube channel then this might be the best time to do so ????
Following me on IG is also a brilliant Idea ??
If you haven’t followed me on Twitter, it is not too late to join the party!
I loved snorkeling ? at Kisite Mpunguti yesterday. Premium experience!— Bonnie ?? (@bonitaonsafari) October 18, 2020
The experience costs around Ksh 2,500. This is inclusive of pick up within Diani area, dolphin spotting, snorkeling, swahili lunch and wasini island tour.
Also,Kenyans are traveling ??????????#Kenya pic.twitter.com/MnzRdY4MYV