He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me more. Wedding bells? Yes definitely yes. This year? Fingers crossed for that. Every journey starts with one step and every love story has a beginning and an end. Most of you and your partners met in fancy places but not for these two. It’s been breakups and makeups, sit-ups and push-ups not to mention night outs and blackouts. One morning it feels right next morning it feels wrong. Doubt after doubt, burnouts after burnouts, but isn’t it for better for worse? Till bills do us part (sorry I meant death)? All said, I look forward to the exchange of vows and the rings; when everyone will gather to eat-ness oops to witness, when the pastor will insist on kissing in a holy place, when Yvonne will shut down her laptop and enjoy the sunrise on the move as it will mean “Jane the virgin, the movie she’s been watching for 5 seasons will come to an end and Jane and Raphael (main characters) will get married, and Yvonne will have arrived at her first destination. Sorry, the above love story is a synopsis of the series I am watching on my way to Diani for the Mashujaa weekend.
Honestly, this took longer than expected thanks to the rains and busy roads being a weekend and a national holiday. 2 days earlier in one of the WhatsApp groups the admin canceled their trip in the name of rains, I was disappointed for the members. How cold can it get in our Kenyan coast? If you happened to travel the same dates bus stops had queues. Modern Coast (which I have come to love) for instance must have flagged off 10 buses all to the coast. If you are a tour operator you can attest that all the coasters and overland trucks were all booked. Parte after party. Sorry if all you visited was your bathroom and kitchen. We got to Mombasa at 9 am from 10:30 pm. Had our breakfast at Blue Room Restaurant (current favorite eat out point in Mombasa town). We have eaten here every time we are in Mombasa. We happened to leave a charger and they were kind enough to keep it until we returned 3 days later. After breakfast, we had to get a cab for transfers which was hectic. The thing is after the sinking car incident at Likoni ferries, most online cab operators are declining requests that require going through the ferry. We kept requesting and they kept canceling but finally, we got a referral. We kept the driver’s number and he was kind enough to pick us on departure dates.
“You can never go wrong with Diani,” says every Kenyan who has been to this beach. From the clean beaches to amazing facilities to fewer beach boys. Been to Tiwi beach back in 2017 and it was time to explore a different side of the beach. Trust me this was heaven on earth. Being at the end of the beach was a great idea, even better staying at Sonrisa hotel.
Diani Galu Kinondo beach
Tourism is the main economic activity on this beach located 30kilometers to the south of Mombasa, and 17kilometers long from the Kongo River to the north and Galu beach to the south. Diani beach is known for its white sand, coral reefs, black-and-white colobus monkeys and its closeness to the famous Shimba Hills National Reserve. While Tiwi beach seems famous, Diani hosts other “mini-beaches” including Chale and Galu beach among others. I would say the more south you get the quitter the beach is. Like any other beaches, Diani beach is ideal for, boat rides to islands, sunrise and sunset watching, kitesurfing, snorkeling, sky diving, jet-skiing, ball games and interaction with locals. Being on the south coast means going through Mombasa, crossing the Likoni ferry and more drive via Ukunda if your transport mode is road or train. Traveling via air means getting a flight from Nairobi direct to Ukunda airstrip, or down to Moi international airport Mombasa from Nairobi and transfer to Diani via road. For our case, we went down via road and back via road to Moi International Airport and flew back to Nairobi.
Where to stay in Galu Diani beach? – Sonrisa Hotel
Every time I find the facility’s owner on the ground I feel safe. It means everyone is on their toes to deliver excellent services. Sonrisa is one of those hotels. The walkway from the main gate to the reception takes me back to Jane and Raphael’s wedding that I just witnessed a few hours ago. I picture myself holding Janet’s veil with her parents by her side down to her charming Kinuthia, her nephew carrying a postcard “here comes tata Janet”. How beautiful is that walkway? The floor is coastal, unlike the boring tiles in some hotels. Perfect to walk on wet feet. A warm receptionist and cool sex on the beach welcome cocktail, a swimming pool with a beachfront and breakfast on the beach. Did I mention their two well-fed security dogs? Rily and Sleepy. How safe can a place be? The room has a functional AC. To be honest 3 things stood out for me; first, the personal touch during breakfast with the waiters, there was no buffet breakfast but instead a menu is presented and you choose what you’d like them to make for you, as if that is not enough if you order and happen to go back to your room a call will be made to have you come get your food or if you wish food will be delivered to you. The second amazing thing has to be their drinking water, its presentation, and taste. You ever rock up to a coastal hotel and the water in the rooms is salty? How do you fix coffee with salty water? Sonrisa hotel goes a step further and makes sure its pure water at least for drinking. Lastly their TV channels, we did not travel down to watch TV but ad rather have no TV in the room than have one with a single football channel. I mean why do hotels assume we all enjoy football? Some of us believe in love and a telenovela channel would do us good. We only booked bed and breakfast bearing in mind we always leave the hotel after breakfast, go explore the area and interact with locals, enjoy a bit of the area nightlife and only head back to the hotel too late hence end up eating at various locations. We are explorers. One last thing one of the hotel partners helped with our bags as he saw us off to the tuktuk, got to know our names and what we do in Nairobi, exchanged business cards and wished us well. That was mind-blowing, we were more than clients to them.
Arrival at Sonrisa at 11:00 am with breakfast at Mombasa town. We immediately checked in, had a shower, and immediately left to explore. The plan was to visit forty thieves only to find out they closed down and thanks to google we ended up at Bidubadu restaurant which is a few blocks from our hotel. This is where if you want noise and more games you need to be. We had lunch, played pool which I lost, chilled with two funny beach boys till dinner and left for our hotel at 9:30 pm. A highlight of the day had to be the stories from the beach boys. And how one wanted me to adopt him after I paid for Madafu. “Boss lady” he called me.
Sunrise at 6 am, early morning breakfast with a short photoshoot and later left for Bidubadu again. The plan on this day was to visit one of the islands and a crocodile farm at Ukunda. The crocodile farm visit though never happened. We left for snorkeling with a group of strangers under Captain Ali to one of the islands around noon. Back to Bidubadu at around 2 pm, enjoyed lunch, got henna done on my thigh and arm and later on played volleyball the entire evening. This was too much fun. Dinner was served, participated in karaoke at the bar later that night, back to Sonrisa for bed. The best thing on this day was learning how to snorkel deeper into the sea with the captain. This guy gave me confidence enough to propel me to 2020.
This is the only day we spent more time at Sonrisa. Being the final day we checked out by 11 am to allow cleaning but the receptionist was kind enough to keep or bags as we enjoyed the swimming pool and the final beach walk on this private beach. We Left for Bidubadu at noon, enjoyed our final lunch, took a nap on their beach benches, and left for the airport at 3:30 pm. We booked the last flight of the day to save on cost and by 10 pm we landed at JKIA. The highlight of the day? Sonrisa’s swimming pool moments.
Bed & breakfast pp -ksh 5,000 (bound to change depending on seasons)
Meals at Bidubadu pp- ksh 300-500
Oxygen Modern coast– ksh 1,600(normal modern coast 1200)
Flight charge pp-ksh 5,500
Round Transfer Mombasa to Sonrisa /Sonrisa to Mombasa- ksh 6,000
Boat rides & snorkeling pp– ksh 1,000
My warmth goes to hotel Sonrisa and Captain Ali for the snorkeling lessons given at no charge.