Part 1…The surf, the sand, walking the beach along of the Indian Ocean…

 

The sea, the clouds and the mystery of ominous clouds rolling in, left us in awe with our mouths agape.

Wherever we may travel, visiting the ocean has an appeal that leaves us breathless.  However, we’ve hesitated to take the mile long walk from our house to the ocean after we’d discovered upon arrival, that it’s much further than we’d anticipated.

As we approached the exit gate from our neighborhood, Nancy, the daytime guard greeted us both with a warm hug. At night the security is beefed up when more security risks are prevalent.

With numerous warnings about dangers for tourists walking the beaches in Kenya we’ve hesitated to explore these past three weeks.  Approximately, one third of a mile from the entrance gate to our community, is a beach access sign leading to a long rough walking path.  Off we went this morning.

Carrying only a camera, bottled water and a small amount of money, we began the long never-seeming-to-end walk toward the sea.

On the walk to the beach access, these two women were carrying what appeared to be heavy loads atop their heads, a common site in Kenya.

After no less than 15 minutes of carefully maneuvering over rocks, pots holes, tall grass and uneven ground, we suddenly felt a cooler breeze wash over us in the scorching heat while hearing the roaring sound of the sea.  It was 5 1/2 months ago that we walked the beach in Belize.

Reaching the beginning of the beach access, it was impossible to see how far we’d have to walk to reach the sea. This lonely stretch would be dangerous to travel at night, which of course, we won’t do, always taking a cab to dine at any of the restaurants along the coast.

My breath caught in my throat as my eyes beheld the beauty, pristine, uncluttered with debris, a vast landscape of pure beauty.  Thankfully, the tide was low. We’d forgotten to check online having heard that walking on the beach was impossible at high tide as the water rose to the walls protecting the various hotels, resorts and private properties.

In places, the path to the beach was filled with flowers.

Unfortunately, clouds rolled in minutes after our feet hit the sand. Neither of us concerned about being rained on, we trekked on, determined to take advantage of the time and effort it took to arrive.  We weren’t disappointed.

 Bougainvillea flourish with little water and no care.  They are everywhere including the narrow path to the beach.

Sensitive to the risks along the beach, we engaged in the friendly Swahili greeting, “jambo” with the local peddlers who approached us on several occasions. We politely declined their vigorous enticements to get us to purchase their locally crafted wares.  We have neither use nor inclination toward trinkets being added to our already heavy bags.

At points, the path felt like any walkway in any neighborhood in the US where flowers grow in abundance.

Most of the peddlers were members of the Maasi tribe, a friendly group of people, dressed in elaborate colorful garb that is appealing to the eye.  Of course, I’d have liked to take a photo of their tribal dress. But we knew that doing so would require payment, make us appear as more potential prey and give off a signal of “Hey, we’re tourists.”

The variations in color always catch our attention.

After walking on the beach for 15 minutes, we reached the area where the hotels and resorts are located with each of their own groups of guards, appropriately dressed in military-type uniforms, diligently guarding the beachfront access, protecting both inside and potential outside guests.

At long last, we reached the end of the path.  We were thrilled to have the sea in front of us once again.  We didn’t take time to take photos of each other.  Pouring sweat in the outrageous humidity and heat, neither of us were “photo ready.”

Recently, we’d read online about a restaurant and resort, Madafoo’s that has free wifi to anyone that makes a purchase at their outdoor restaurant and bar. Checking it out for future reference proved to be ideal. Welcomed heartily as we entered the guarded gates, we felt determined to make a weekly visit a part of our plans.

As we exited the path to the beach this was our first view to the right of us. Continuing on we chose to go to the left where we knew we’d find the numerous resorts and hotels.
Miles of sandy beach stretched in front of us.  The white sand was the softest sand we’d ever walked, our feet sinking in several inches with each step.  As a result, walking was laborious, especially in the heat and humidity.  This didn’t deter us.  We forged ahead.

We enthusiastically talked that starting next Wednesday and every Wednesday going forward, we could arrange for a taxi ride to Madafoo’s, carrying our laptops and plug ins in a bag in order to spend several hours dining for either breakfast or lunch, using the free Internet and partaking of their comfortable padded chaise lounges, positioned to face the sea. 

Numerous fisherman were attempting the “catch of the day” to later be sold to the resorts  and restaurants along the Diani Beach coastline.

 

It appeared that a few of the small boats were unattended with traps set.

 

Bigger than the largest dog’s footprint, we were baffled as to the origin of this massive print. Any ideas out there?

Upon inquiring, the staff explained that we are welcomed to use the chaise lounges, the plug ins and their free wifi should we dine in their restaurant at any time. For Kenya Shillings $3100, US $35.47, we can dine on any item on the menu, pay for cab fare both ways, including tax and tips. 

A young Maasi member walked in front of us on the beach, surely weighing  no more than 80-90 pounds left this huge indentations in the sand.

Increasing our outings away from our house adds greatly to the enjoyment of our remaining time in Kenya.  Thus, with dining out on Saturday nights experiencing a new restaurant each week, grocery shopping on Tuesdays mornings and now a trip to Madafoo’s each Wednesday (either morning or afternoon), we find ourselves with more planned activities to anticipate. This is good.

The first private residence we encountered on the walk along the beach.

With ample dollars factored into our budget for dining out, its unnecessary to make any changes to the overall budget. Plus, we’d budgeted US $1000 for cab rides during our three month stay which would translate into taking a cab six out of seven days a week, highly unnecessary and unlikely. 

The savings at three times a week more than pays for the cost of the food, tax and tips at Madafoo’s on all Wednesdays going forward.

As we sat at a comfortable table drinking a beverage, engaged in the pleasing views while perusing their various menus items, we were content that this place is ideal for us. Hopefully, while visiting Madafoo’s  in the future, we’ll be able to download a few of our data hogging shows, further reducing the cost of the scratch off SIM cards. 

This hut was located at The Sails Restaurant, part of the Almanara Resort where we dined almost four weeks ago, still #1 on our favorites list.

Walking back a few hours later, we stopped at the local produce stand purchasing four eggplants and a bag of carrots at a total cost of US $1.14. Sweaty but invigorated from our walk, we were both happy to return to remove our sand filled shoes, to make a fresh glass of something cold and to continue our daily power lounging in our outdoor living room.

The waves were generally this size but occasionally, we saw a surfing worthy wave.

Bathers tentatively wading out into the sea, appearing mindful of the undertow and possible jellyfish and stingrays, less common here than on the beaches of Belize.

That’s it for today folks. With more photos than we can post in one day, we’ll return tomorrow with Part 2.