My Kenyan Honeymoon
By Correspondent Rachel Mwihaki in Malindi, Kenya
– We arrived at the airport and checked in. Our flights were scheduled at ten in the morning so boarded our flight to Amsterdam before we took connection flight to Kenya. The flight was long but worth every moment. I knew we were headed to Africa after I saw the tickets in Europe mid-air. We were going to Kenya, a country located in East Africa. I had heard about the country before especially with its splendid scenery and wildlife. Movies like ’Out of Africa’ and part of ‘Tomb raider’ were shot from here. We arrived at the main airport at around six in the evening. The airport was located in the capital city, Nairobi, but we didn’t get a chance to go explore it since we were guided to one of the local charter flights heading to Malindi in a few minutes. The trip took another forty five minutes. I almost dropped my jaw when I saw the resort that was going to host us. The entry gate to the hotel was by itself magnificent. The hotel, Lion in the sun, was so beautiful. The guide showed us the reception where we checked in and we were shown our room. It was a big room with a view of the never ending Indian Ocean. What I liked most was the small pool just outside the room. This was essential as it ensured much need privacy since our mission here was to eat, have sex and sleep!
“How did we afford this hotel?” I asked Fred. We were sitted next to the pool.
“My parents gave us the trip as presents. They said we should use the cash we had saved up for the trip to start or life together.” He replied “My dad was the one who booked the hotel.”
“Wow! Your dad really knows how to spoil us.”
“By the way, guess who the owner of the hotel is.”
“Is the owner a celebrity?” I asked.
“Bill Gates?” I replied.
“No. The owner is Briatore Flavio. He is an Italian Billionaire.”
“I don’t think I have heard of him.” I said.
“I think you have. He is the guy who gave Heidi Klum her first kid.” Fred said.
“Yea, I remember. This is his hotel?”
“All of it.”
* * * *
Ever wondered how heaven would look like? How the scenery and sounds would feel like and trigger our minds? These are the thoughts running in my mind as I look up the beautiful sky. The stars are pretty lined up as if they are trying to convey a message to us earthly beings. Life should be like this. We ought to escape regularly away from the daily interference from cellphones, structured life and traffic.
Fred and I are seated on the white sands with some of the other guests in a mini-circle with a fire lit in the middle to keep us warm. We are being entertained by some traditional dancers singing some soulful Swahili songs to us. I look around and notice most of the eyes are fixated on the women’s waist especially when they changed the beat to chakacha. The way they shook their waists made me jealous. They shook it hard but they hid the effort from their faces. I felt like standing up and going to ask for some lessons and maybe act it out in front of Fred. I sip my cocktail drink and lean my head on Fred’s chest. I feel secure with me wrapped up in his frame. One of the couple seated next to us stand up and join the dancers for a jig. Encouraged by them, we also join them. Happy times!
Earlier, after being shown our room, we relaxed before taking a tour on the resort. As we explored, we found out that the hotel had hosted some of the biggest celebrities in the world. People like Naomi Campbell, Fernando Alonso, Bono, John Galliano and Roberto Cavalli were some of the few guests that have enjoyed the facility. We also enjoyed a walk along the white sandy beach. We met up with some locals who were walking with two camels. As we engaged with them, we asked if we could ride on them and they agreed but for a small fee. We quickly said yes and rode on them. I had never been on a camel before so it was frightening to be carried at such a height. Good thing we had carried a camera. We took several pictures of each other with the picture perfect landscape serving as a background. With the ocean providing the best view of sunset, I found the walk so romantic.
We returned to the restaurant later on and prepared for dinner. It was a buffet type of meal of different kinds. Fred suggested we sample the Swahili dishes that were on the menu. This would be a perfect way to get to know the local cuisine. There were different kinds of rice prepared i.e Pilau, Biriani, Wali wa nazi and some stew from different vegetable and beef varieties. It was really tasty. We also sampled a traditional type of wine called madafu. It was sweet but a little bit strong as I became tipsy after a two glasses. After dinner, we went back to the room as we were tired and jet lag had started to kick in.
* * * *
The hotel had planned a trip to Malindi town for us on the third day of our stay in the hotel. The trip started at around ten in the morning. The hotel van was picked as the means of transport for the six of us; Fred and I plus two other couples.
Our first stop was the Marine National Park. We were taken on a small boat into the Indian Ocean so that we could view the coral reefs. The seemingly blue water made the underwater world more visible through the glass floor of the boat. The sights of the reefs, fish and other species in the water made my morning. It was really beautiful. The guide asked if any of us would like to go under the water for more adventure. Fred and another dude offered so they put on the diving suits before diving into the water. I was too afraid to join them. The huge mass of water scared the hell out of me. After a few seconds, we could see them under the boat waving at us before drifting away.
When we returned to the beach, it was already one o’clock local time. The guide drove us away to the town. Malindi town was exactly what the brochures stated. It was an idyllic town with pure air that seemed to chase away all the troubles in the mind. The locals were so friendly when we spoke to them after we alighted from the van. Actually, we just said hello to them with the few Swahili that we picked up. The guide directed us into a building where to our surprise we had our lunch freely with the locals. It was nice for a change to see how they ate the dishes. They didn’t seem to mind our presence. They smiled at us before continuing to do whatever they were upto.
After that, we took a walk in the streets. Actually, I was confused to where we were at first. The number of white people or rather Italians in this city was ridiculous! No wonder it was called ‘Little Italy’. Most businesses, hotels and visitors all belonged to the Italians who made up the majority. Who would have thought that deep in the African plains that you would come across this huge number white people? I asked the guide why it was like this. He smiled then said it was because of the friendly and relaxing environment that the country offered. Most tourists usually come back after their first trip and apply to be residents. True, I was already making plans to return to this beautiful country. The locals who were made of Africans interacted with us freely. The women who mostly wore hijabs were really pretty.
We passed by the market where some African artifacts and curios were being sold. The little Maasai people sculpted from wood as a candle holder was really cute. I bought two of them and a few bangles to take back to my friends and family. Fred got a beautiful sculpted soap dish that was decorated in some animal prints and two key holders. I managed to buy one pair of sandals that were made from leather and beads alongside a leso print skirt. Later on we took a drive to see the Vasco da Gama pillar. It is a bell shaped Pillar near the beach. The guide told us that it was erected by the Portuguese explorer named after it as a navigational aid around the year 1500. The site was impressive as we got a chance to learn about the history of this wonderful site and the view of the beach was so pretty. We took couple of pictures with the beautiful sunset before heading back to the hotel.
* * * *
For the next seven days of our honeymoon, we spent it by having massages at the spa or exploring the hotel. We had a good time and it was sad when it was time to leave. Ever since we got here, I wished to go visit the capital city of this wonderful country but couldn’t be able to when we landed. With the help of the customer desk at the resort, they managed to talk to some agents who changed our departure date so that we could go explore the city.
Fred suggested we use road transport for the journey to the city which was about six hundred kilometers away. This was to give us a better view of the landscape offered by Mother Nature. We hired a van and a driver from the hotel to take us through the trip. The driver passed us by Mombasa town also located at the coast. We leant that it was a favorite destination to both local and international tourists as it offered a historical look on how the locals interacted with Arabs, Portuguese and Indian traders in the early days. It is also a major hub for trade in the region through its port where most goods would be brought in from other countries.
The journey to Nairobi was uneventful. We took about seven hours with several stops on the way. The road network was fairly good so we speed up most of the time except when we encountered some trailers carrying heavy goods which slowed us down. As we neared the city, we noticed how the real estate was coming up. The many buildings were under construction and it gave a promising look on how growth was being achieved in Africa whereas many of the European and America’s economy was stagnated because of recession. The roads linking the city to the various neighborhoods were really good and could be compared to the rest of the first world. The first thing that made us realize we were in a different part of the country was the weather. It was cool compared to the coastal one. I liked it.
The driver took us to a beautiful hotel called the Ole Sereni. The driver told us that the name of the hotel was taken from the Maasai name for the area which meant ‘place of tranquility’. It bordered the Nairobi National Park and we could also view the city’s skyline from the room. Apparently, Nairobi was the only city in the world where it had a natural game park within its borders. After checking in, we were taken for a ride in the city just ten minutes away. I was kind of shocked as it was not what we initially expected. With the media giving us a grim picture everyday of Africa, this was an eye opener. The city was no different to what we had at home. The tall buildings housed different offices and the streets were vibrant. Huge billboards lined up the streets alongside the streetlights which lit up the roads. Worldwide companies like Coca-Cola had also set up offices here. At around nine in the evening, we asked the driver to take us to one of the clubs so that we could sample and enjoy the nightlife. Fortunately, it was Friday and the club was full. The music blaring out loud kept the mood alive with the drinks flowing from the waiters who served us. This guys can really party! Sure, most of them might not be having a lot in terms of cash but they live life. They don’t allow the stress of life burden them.
At eleven o’clock, we returned to the hotel. We were so tired but glad we got to explore the beautiful cosmopolitan city.
About Rachel Mwihaki: I am a lady aged twenty three, living in Nairobi. I have a passion in all things written and find joy in my hyperactive imagination.
The article is about a couple who are in their honeymoon in Kenya. They visit the coastal region of this country before exploring the capital city and see what is being offered both in wildlife and socially. The article can be used as a guide in what to see or visit in Kenya.