The final few days of Josie’s big Kenya press trip…
We arrived at Diani’s miniature airport in the late afternoon and transferred to Pinewood Beach Resort, a boutique 40-room hotel 25 minutes South at Galu beach where the temperature rose to 31oc during our stay!
Pinewood provided a laid-back tropical paradise to recover from our early morning game drives, but there were still lots of exotic creatures around to keep us alert. The resort has a lovely pool with a swim-up bar as well as being based on white-sands leading to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
We were given a sundown welcome party with the resort staff joining us on the beach for Dawa cocktails – vodka, fresh lime quarters, honey and ice, a concoction which translates to ‘medicine’ in Sawhili and bitings! After dinner we headed back to the seafront to fully appreciate our location looking out at the night sky and listening to the sounds of waves and crabs scuttling across the sand.
During breakfast we were entertained by hundreds of bright yellow weaver birds busying themselves by weaving grass and reeds to make their nests chirping along merrily as they worked!
We took a trip out to a sand-bank near to Diani beach in a glass bottom boat to get a closer look at the coral reefs and sea-life below the surface. Those who were keen went snorkelling and saw hundreds of species of fish, starfish and crustaceans as well as some of the less appealing beasts like stringy sea spiders and indigo sea urchins. The boat journey itself gave some time to lay back and enjoy the sun with a warm breeze and cold bottle of water.
That evening it was time for a Kenyan-style beach BBQ. Guests were free to grab delicious tuna steaks fresh off the grill adding their choice of sauces and sides. After we’d eaten we headed back to our spot on the sands next to the beach bar where we listened to the barman’s chill-out music while drinking Tusker beer and discussing the adventures of the previous five days.
After a chilled morning by the pool it was time to head into Diani town centre to try out some traditional Kenyan coast food in a local cafe restaurant. The table was filled with new dishes for us to try like coconut beans, Swahili beef stew, fish biriani all accompanied by freshly baked chapati. We then had a chance to look around a local art museum filled with colourful pieces from artists and sculpturers of all nationalities as well as fantastic driftwood furniture.
The farewell dinner at Carinvore went down very well with all of the journalists trying out exotic meaty dishes served rodizio style, from crocodile to ostrich and ox balls! The non-meat eaters in the group were also well catered for with lots of veg and fish dishes available on Carnivore’s ‘Herbivore’ and ‘Pescivore’ menu! Dr Dawa prescribed us a few doses of his cocktails and the Carnivore team didn’t let us leave without a tuneful rendition of ‘Jambo Bwana’!
All that was left was some souvenir shopping at Nairobi’s JKIA before boarding our Kenya Airways flight where ‘Elsa: The Lioness That Changed the World’ with Born Free star Virginia McKenna and conservationist David Attenborough is available. If this emotionally-charged documentary doesn’t leave you with damp cheeks then the fact that you’re flying away from such a remarkable country surely will! It served as a reminder that by visiting Kenya tourists are supporting conservation across the country’s national parks and also community projects from resorts like Lake Nakuru Lodge as a substantial amount of income from tourism contributes to wildlife and social programmes.