tales of a wanderer
the waters that leave
if you have spoken to me, you would know that i am in love with the kenyan coastline and islands. so last december when my friend said we would be spending the festive period with her family in malindi, i was more than happy to experience somewhere new.
arriving in malindi
malindi is in the kilifi county about a two hour drive north east of mombasa. one thing i have come to expect as you move south of nairobi is heat and humidity. we arrived in the town of malindi late in the evening and couldn’t see much. despite this as we began to strip ourselves of as many layers as we could i became excited - my body knew that i was back in one of my favourite places, the kenyan coast!
the leaving waters
i woke up very early the following morning ready to explore my new home for what was meant to be four days (and turned into two weeks). if you have ever been to the kenyan coast you will know the phenomenon of the "waters leaving". unlike anything I have ever seen in south africa, low tide means the waters stretch all the way back. unveiling the reef below and making you forget that there had ever been water there to begin with. the waters tend to leave in the morning by 8am and return in the afternoon around 4:30pm. meaning early morning dips are really early but one of my favourite things to do. the water is refreshing and many locals have this ritual. after a dip i would find a shady area on the sand to do some yoga and meditations. for me morning don’t get much better than that.
getting around malindi
malindi is a fairly small town. it is extremely charming with beautiful swahili architecture with a lot of greenery. one of my favourite things were my tuk tuk rides around town. the fresh sea breeze offers some relief from the sweltering heat while you're watching the beautiful buildings and huge baobab trees pass you by. for our trips around town we paid 100 kes for an average trip. for longer journeys like to the neighbouring town of Watamu we paid around 1000 kes foe a return trip. i was lucky enough to become friends with someone who owned a motorbike - our evening rides on his bike were also a highlight for me. i would also highly recommend exploring the town this way. i didn’t take one cab while i was there. everything is very close and i also found that being in a car was extremely uncomfortable given the heat.
two things that you will hear a lot of in any of the kenyan coastal towns is “pole pole” and “hakuna matata”. pole pole meaning slowly, slowly. hakuna matata meaning there are no problems. two statements that couldn’t better describe the laid back and slow pace of the coast. swahili culture is ever present from the warmth of the people, the intricate swahili architecture to many local eateries and street food. i love the variety of fresh fish that you can choose from, cooked in the tradition swahili style. moreover, i love all swahili food.
the one thing I really love is the ability to completely switch off and be present. i often joke that i am a lady of leisure and days of nothingness suit her just fine. i would recommend stocking up on some ice cold waters and beers because they will come in handy to pass the sunny days.
malindi by night
to my surprise malindi had a number of options to choose from if you are looking for a night out.
during peak season your evening we would start at one of the beach bars. there are many to choose from but my favourite was rosada beach restaurant. all the beach bars work with a token system. you buy some tokens at a kiosk and then use your tokens to buy drinks at the bar. generally you can get there around 11pm because this won’t be the final destination. most importantly wear the right shoes because you will be on beach sand. sandals are your best bet.
around 1:30am, once the alcohol has done its job, you should be ready to go to the next location. the after parties tend to be at two of the most popular clubs in malindi, vintage and fermentos. vintage is one of the oldest clubs in the town and definitely the one of the most popular. we spent many nights here partying the night away and making friends. fermento is just across the road and they have shisha on offer. much like anywhere else I have partied in kenya the night does not end early. once again being the south african that i am i couldn’t make it passed 5am often leaving my friends to continue with the night.
fun in the sun
all in all malindi lived up to my expectations when it comes to the kenya coast. it is a very easy going town with quite a bit to do on offer. the people are very friendly so you will leave malindi with more friends than you came with.
a very interesting point to note is the italian influence and population in the town. i was very surprised to find out that most locals in the town who work in tourism speak italian for business. there are also a lot of italian restaurants and we definitely had our fair share of delicious pizza.
in my opinion the best thing to do in malindi is to just kickback and relax. forget your obligations, those can wait. malindi is a place that helps you connect and remind yourself that all you ever have is this moment.
places to eat
mayungu beach bar & restaurant
places to party
rosada beach restaurant
osteria beach bar & restaurant
tales of a wanderer
regal rwanda, the land of the royals.
my welcome to kigali
i won’t be the first to say that kigali is one of the most clean, if not the most clean, cities i have been to. i didn’t know what to expect when I first got there. like most of my travels I try not look at too many pictures online to keep the element of surprise when i arrive. it leaves room for me to make judgements when i am actually in the place rather than building false expectations in the mind.
on my journey from the airport to my airbnb i already had a very good feeling inside about the city. as mentioned it was immaculately clean, giving the impression that its residents are proud of their home. secondly, the roads are not chaotic as i had imagined - cars and motos (motorbikes used as a mode of public transport) flowed with ease without much traffic. however, the most striking thing are the beautiful hills filled with greenery where the city seems to be dispersed between.
getting around kigali
it is no surprise that it is also fondly known as "the country with one thousand hills." the hills mean that you have views wherever you are in the city. it also means walking at mid-day can be quite the challenge with elevations coupled with the heat. rwanda is very safe so i was comfortable walking to local amenities whenever necessary. uber is not available in rwanda, however they have their own local cab service called yego cabs. you can download the app like uber and request cabs that way. the language barrier did prove to create some challenges when trying to organise transport. but rwandese people are very kind, patient and helpful so you will always get to where you need to be. my advise would be to get a local sim card with data on arrival. when using cab services you can then use google maps for the drivers to easily understand where you are going. cabs are reasonably priced and most of my journeys around the city cost at max around 5000 rwf (approximately r82,00). there are also motos on offer that are significantly cheaper. a journey that cost me 5000 rwf in a cab, cost me 1500 rwf (r24,00) with a rider. i can’t lie, i was nervous to use them and only did when i found myself in situation where they were the only transport available. an unnecessary concern as the journey was smooth and everyone adheres to the road regulations.
things to do in kigali
kigali, although one of the smaller capital cities in africa, isn’t short on things to do. there are a lot of very beautifully designed restaurants, humble spaces with good food and a nightlife that doesn’t end. i will list the spaces i visited and was told about at the end of the article. remera car free zone is a bustling area with many different restaurants and bars to choose from. the cobbled streets are shut down so no cars can drive in the area over weekends. leaving the streets to be aimlessly wandered by the youth in search of a good time. i really enjoyed walking the streets and exploring. there are a variety local street food vendors, restaurants and bars to choose from. i then enjoyed a very unpretentious but very tasty meal from a tex mex restaurant called meze fresh.
if you are a night owl there are many options to party the night away. on my first night we bar hopped. starting at pili pili to watch the football. a beautiful space with even better views. here you can get litres of beer delivered to your table. followed by a lovely rooftop bar, bicu lounge, with greenery hanging from the ceiling, beautiful people and a great vibe. there were other bars in between but we ended the night or shall I say morning at envy. a club with a lit dance floor and dancing is an order. we danced the night away until 5am when us south africans thought it was too late but the club was far from empty at that time.
road trip to lake muhazi
i then got a taste of the very lush and tranquil natural beauty of rwanda when I visited lake muhazi. a scenic hour and a half car ride from kigali. i stayed at vintage cottage which was fantastic but their website really undersold them. something I noticed with many of the places I went to. we had a delicious lunch of salads, fresh fish (from the fishing farm on the lake), chicken and green banana. and of course, many ice cold amstels, 100% malt. the lake is a great place to take a dip and cool off from the afternoon sun. and in the evening drinks can be shared fireside. my only regret is that i was only there for one night.
the creative world
collaboration is commonplace and networking as a creative was surprisingly easy. people are open to sharing ideas and experiences which was very refreshing. the creative industries seems to be growing quickly with a lot of opportunities that can be explored. repub lounge kigali is a popular hangout spot for local creatives and they have a great menu that serves east african cuisine.
all in all, i would highly recommend rwanda as a fantastic place to visit. whether you enjoy good food, partying or being off the grid in nature, rwanda can offer you all those things.the people of rwanda are one of the highlights - their warmth and hospitality made the traveling experience for me. there is also just a heir of regality in the atmosphere. from the cleanliness of the country to the way the locals carry themselves. making me see the rwandese as the royals of africa. hence, me giving this article a fitting name of “regal rwanda, the land of the royals.”
places to grab a bite to eat
atelier du vin
meza malonga (fine dining)
anda kigali (fine dining)
places to shake a leg
choma'd bar & grill
legacy lounge & wine bar
getting lost in nature
many forests where you can hike and spend the day away from the city (i don’t know the names)