The Kenyan Coast, December 2016

This is a journey back to the country I grew up in — this time round in the company of my girlfriend. I find myself guilty, each and every single day, of forgetting just how beautiful a country it was and still is.

Most people relate to Kenya through the glossy images and videos that travel boards market — or through the stories of children in need of food and a penny or two of your donations during prime time broadcasting. Both scenarios present an exaggerated view of a nation of so many facades.

Our journey begins in Mombasa — Kenya’s second city, which is a loud, polluted mess. Many of its hotels of yesteryear are now a distant flicker of the glorious tourism heyday and now stand crumbling — behemoths under the African sun.

But this is Africa though (TIA), so for every crumbling hotel, there is a fighting soul forking out a living for themselves — making ends meet. There is hope, everywhere — a force that is as constant as the lingering heat and the blue of the ocean.

 

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I am no fan of Mombassa but tuk-tuk rides can be fun. This one was

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Mombassa’s Nyali beach is not exactly paradise lost but some of it can be appealing it its own way

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Here, you will find overpriced, half- starved camels that suffer in the hot sun to cure your selfie fetishes. I need not add that these mighty beasts are not native to these parts

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Nonetheless, perched on their back, as in the Lawrence of Arabia days – you will find one tourist after another who thinks it’s cool to plod along the beach in tow

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If you want something a bit more real – wander north to Kilifi – 65 kilometres north of Mombassa. This was taken from the road on the way to my godmother’s house as we ventured inland, past the glittering Kilifi creek

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The real magic starts when you venture south though – to Diani and further on, Galu beach- 33 kilometers  south of Mombassa

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Daybreak  in these parts is an overture, masterfully woven – the water was still enough to paint on that particular morning

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Rupturing the peace ever so slightly, a fishing boat coasted gently along, leaving weak ripples in its wake

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Noon, and the overhead sky never looked more divine. There is something pacifying in the shade of a coconut tree

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Nothing beats the water though

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I am humbled, time and again by these mystical creatures – masters of the seas

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We found this sandbank in the middle of the Ocean, a barrier between the reef and the shore that rears its sandy head at low-tide

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Come dawn, back at shore and the distant clouds are aflame once again

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Clumsy creatures descend from the heavens, strangers in the early night whose arrival on the beach is marked by a short burst of rushing air followed by a thud and the occasional scream.

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Dusk turns symphonic just before the curtain call. I will miss these emphatic colours and the coruscating waters of the Indian Ocean. I will miss the smiling people – my people and their ways under the sun

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