Well, you know, The Sea Goddess must always gravitate to the sea. Another short flight from the Masai Mara takes us to a small airport near the coast, just south of the port city of Mombasa.
I can feel the difference in the humidity. I can almost smell the sea salt. There is ocean nearby.
I promised you interesting places with character. No generic chain hotels. A few minutes drive brings us to the Sands at Nomad boutique hotel on Diani Beach. As we wind up the driveway through the coastal forest, our first view of the traditonal Swahili architecture is quite striking.
This hotel is small but full service. It offers a pool and jacuzzis, a pool bar, a beach bar, an alfresco restaurant , a spa, a dive shop and internet center. It had been several days since I was last able to check e-mail. The computers were very popular with the guests and seemed to always be in use.
The accommodations consist of rooms, suites and bungalows dressed in hand carved mahogany furniture and Swahili objets d’art, the inspriation of designer and local artist Mario Scianna.
All the units are air-conditioned and I noticed mosquito netting for the first time on this trip. I wasn’t sure if it was for purely decorative or practical puroses until I found it lowered at night by the invisible housekeeping staff.
The beach front bungalows were all occupied so I was unable to get the manager to let me take a peak. Judging by the exotic exterior: the unusual domed shape, the thatched roofing and the curtained patio daybed, I’m sure it was equally lovely inside.
Throughout my journey, I had met many more European than North American travelers. Of course, it’s a much shorter trip for them. I was also fascinated to learn that most Americans rarely venture out to this part of Kenya for a coastal safari. Whereas British, German, French and Italian tourists frequently come for some R&R with sun, sand and sea.