Mombasa - Kenya - My family and I stayed for 7 days and we really had the best time.
We went deep sea snorkeling, the Old town, Fort Jesus. We also visited the cultural village (Ngomongo) where we learned of their different tribes, their beliefs and values.
The streets are so congested and the taxis (boda-boda) are bikes and they just drive anyhow with no helmets. It was just another eye-opening experience for us and would definitely go back someday.
Khensani Phelane South Africa
Manfridays at Mida Cove, Malindi - During our Kenyan visit we didn't explore many beaches because we were 100 percent happy with the one just steps from our cottage at Manfridays, Mida Cove, Malindi. Beautiful beach that we enjoyed every day for 3 weeks at both high and low tide. And it more than worth noting that our accommodation Manfriday's was paradise. This is a truly wonderful place to spend a relaxing holiday, even with two young and energetic children (ages 4 and 2).
From the moment we arrived we felt like we were in heaven. The resort is small and secluded with Sonja, Papu and team all making you feel like family amongst beautifully designed and very comfortable open-air villas, many areas to relax amongst lovely landscaped gardens and sheltered retreats, delicious home-cooked and customised meals made from fresh, local produce, and endless time to play and relax.
Our children were welcomed and made to feel extra special which of course they embraced but so also did the Papu, Sonja and team with taking them on little walks around the gardens to helping make flower arrangements and sweep the cottage (which they loved), choosing their next meal location and loving cookie treats! If ever one of the kids did take a wander there was always someone who knew where they had gone and was keeping an eye on them. Much effort was made to ensure we were always happy, comfortable and in good care. Even organising another memory stick for our camera after our son deleted all our memorable shots! This level of attentiveness and friendliness is certainly a tribute to all on staff at Manfriday's and to its thoughtful and caring owners and managers, Papu and Sonja.
We enjoyed wonderful, slow down-time with our children with activities planned for us as we wanted (such as Tsavo East safari, elephant watching at the nearby sanctuary, kayaking, snorkelling and a boat cruise). Many more were on offer (including an inhouse spa) but we chose to relax and enjoy the lovely white sand beach, low-tide reef walks, fresh-water pool, the many sitting areas with beautiful views, watching the sun set and star-gazing from a roof-top deck and sun-downers at the gorgeous bar set amongst frangipanis.
The lovely white-sand beach is completely isolated and private with no beach boys at all, just some local fishermen passing by and village boys playing. They are very friendly but also leave you completely alone to enjoy your time.
Most of all we enjoyed playing in the pool where we were nearly always alone, building sand castles, chasing beach crabs, walking the reef at low tide, studying and learning about the local insect and animal life that we saw constantly and relaxing with our children in the beautiful atmosphere, privacy and calm of Manfriday's. If parents would like a break, then Manfriday's can easily organise very affordable nannies.
Sonja also organised a trainer and exceptional karate/defence coach (Eddy) to give us good beach workovers, something we certainly needed to shake off some winter calories and burn up enough to truly enjoy the delicious food on offer.
A few times, we needed to go to town and Sonja and team were very accommodating to have us come along on any of their trips so we could do everything we needed including bank stops, market shopping and anything else.
Two of the very special trips that we made was courtesy of Chengo on staff who welcomed us to his home and children's school where we were treated to an experience of local life, food, customs, and very generous hospitality. It was a warming, heart-felt and eye-opening experience for us all, including our children, and one that will remain with us for a long time.
Some local dance and music performances organised especially for us by Papu and Sonja provided an insight into traditional and ceremonial tribal stories told through colorful and energetic dancing, while accompanied by rhythmic drums, bells, horns and whistles.
The open-air villas are beautifully designed and decorated with comfortable beds for excellent sleeps -- never have our children slept so well! Each villa has its own relaxation lounge and eating areas which were great for our children as a retreat from the sun when needed. It was wonderful to sleep well at night while enjoying the cool sea breezes, the lapping of the ocean and the wind in the palms while not being closed up with air conditioning.
From a parents perspective, it was a true holiday with scrumptious wholesome and healthy meals prepared for us by Mungo and Nixon at any time, wherever we liked and whatever we liked. The local fish was delicious and something we were seeking night after night. And delectable deserts that our children (and parents!) were drooling over each night as well! As well, Papu's Sunday night curry was divine and something we are now desperately craving on our return home.
Thanks again Sonja, Papu and team for such a wonderful and memorable time and for looking after us all so well. We were all so happy to be in such a beautiful resort amongst such hospitable, nice, caring and friendly people. Manfriday's was the perfect break for our family and one of the best holidays we have ever taken.
The only thing we didn't like about Manfriday's was leaving - we can't wait to return.
Wildlife kingdom - The sense of infinity that can give you the nature you find in Tsavo area with its space and harmony. A perfect ecosystem where you feel part of it. There is no dominant but it is the realm of nature in its full share parts to dominate.
Tsavo East is the biggest Park in Kenya and his brother Tsavo West is as well huge but with a difference the bush is thick. Africa re known game-drives remain the same of the past with their wild adventure emotions.
Lamu - Paradise Regained! - It was with some excitement that we (my wife and I)arrived from Nairobi on Manda Island and took the ferry across the bay to Lamu Island. We had booked our accomodation at Samaki House (a 300 year old Arab mansion - highly recommended) and were soon settled in by the manager and were free for the next 9 days to "do our own thing" The people were incredibly friendly with "Jambo's" reverberating around us as we headed into the heart of Lamu Town via the waterfront. We meandered through the town visiting Lamu fort and dodging the myriad of donkeys earing their keep by transporting goods backwards and forwards.We soon met "Captain" Swahle who was the manager of a dhow and spent some three or four days cruising with him and his crew about the island, stopping occassionally to eat freshly caught fish barbequed on the beach or boat as the mood took us. We cruised in and around Manda Island stopping to visit the Takwa ruins and to swim in the clear blue water. Cruising up the coast of Lamu we visited Matondoni to see the dhow builders. A walk along the coastal path to Shela is not complete without a detour into the shambas where we visited a small Anglican church and saw the childrens choir practising. At Shela we visited the Friday Mosque.
The food was exceptional and we at at most of the dining establishments in Lamu town and were never once disappointed by the food or service. On the contrary, our waiters always greeted us when we meet in the street and asked about our enjoyment of the island. Oh! and do not forget the fresh fruit juices are excellent. Freshly squeezed, slightly sweetened became our favourite tipple. Yes - our batteries were recharged after nine days of snorkeling, swimming, eating excellent food and dhow sailing. But it was with great reluctance that we boarded the ferry back to Manda Island and leave behind a paradise.