Wow. I came to Kilifi, Kenya, (north of Mombasa about 1 or 2 hours, you learn to not worry about the time here) on Wednesday April 13th. I’m a beach girl, I love swimming and getting sun and laying and being restored spiritually and with Vitamin D. There was no question that since I’m going to be close to the beach and have a gap in schedule I’d have to go. AND considering in my “previous life” I pretty much never want on vacation (usually used my paid vacation time from work to visit my family in Nebraska…), I totally deserved this!!
The place I stayed at (and am still at) is Distant Relatives Ecolodge and Backpackers. WOW WHAT A PLACE!! The place is truly sureal. The nature, the decor, the world travelers, the hippies, the beach, the peace, the wildlife, the drinks: it’s the perfect holiday for years of mundane stress.
Distant Relatives Backpackers is SO cool. First, it’s built with a permaculture ideology. It’s decorated and designed BEAUTIFULLY. This is Pinterest in real-life!! Then the music is almost always awesome, the bar/kitchen is open pretty much all the time, there are bio-luminescent plankton in the creek! They light up when you swim in them at night! It’s all sustainable stuff, the toilets are composting, the human showers somehow water the garden. They grow vegetables and herbs and all that. There is a communal shower in a bamboo grove! There are lots of old wine bottles used throughout the place for décor. I sleep under a straw roof!! There are monkeys jumping around, there’s a picturesque pool and a picturesque reading room. There’s an open kitchen that we can store and make our own food and drinks, so a lot of money has been saved that way! My room is only 20$/night and there are actually cheaper options.
On the beach of the creek, (which is about 6 min walk from the place) there are about 15 hippies building a boat from scratch. It’s called the Musafir, (read about it here.) People just gave up their European lives and are living on the beach, building a boat and partying and dancing at Distant Relatives. They are very interesting people and they certainly bring a great life to the three parties that have been here since my stay began.
I’ve met fabulous people. One of the most wonderful is Fran, from Germany, living in Zanzibar. She came a day before me and we made a fabulous connection. Last night we were joking about how perfect the place is. The thing is, bugs and debris can get through the straw roof. In fact there are MANY bugs here, it’s just one of the trade offs for such beauty! Sometimes bugs and probably straw that’s falling apart, falls from the roof. Over the bed there is a mosquito net. In some of my past hotels I’ve noticed that the top part of the canopy is often made of a tightly woven fabric so bugs and debris don’t get on the bed, that would be great here but it’s not so yet. Fran and I were discussing that lizard poops, grubs, various species of insects will fall onto our beds. Every night I actually have to sweep off my bed with my hand to get rid of all the debris that has built up over the day. The thing is, we’re still SOOOOO happy!! Can you IMAGINE how wonderful a place would have to be for you to sweep the bugs and crumbs off your bed with a smile on your face and still have in mind that this is the best vacation of your life?! That’s a good place and that’s this place! Also, I experienced the worst pain of my life, which went on for hours and hours and I had to get painkiller and cortisone injections, when I got stung by a mystery sea creature (not an urching, not a jelly fish). Yes, that was a bad night, but even during that time I knew this was still the best vacation EVER!!!
Within my first 24 or 48 hours I remember seeing a guy dancing in a way that I was like “Okkkkkaaaaayyy…..” and was wearing an interesting outfit and just seemed like a “real hippy”. Now, I’m like 10 days in I’m one of the people the new people might think is a “real hippy”. I’ve been able to let loose for the longest I’ve ever let loose and it feels great! My hair’s a mess, my legs and armpits aren’t perfectly shaved, my swimsuit is wet 90% of the time, and I’m SO happy!
Dawa. This is a Kenya drink and it’s GOOD and it’s basically the mascot drink of Distant Relatives. Lime juice, honey, vodka and Stoney (Stoney is a Coke product in Africa that tastes like ginger beer.) Dawa is Kiswahili for medicine. It’s good medicine.
As I said, there have been three parties since I’ve been here. My first weekend here there was a big party Friday night with a live band and then a wedding and wedding reception Saturday night. Dawas all around! Great dancing, swimming, chatting with very interesting people from all over the world, enjoying the moments.
My time in Kilifi will never be forgotten! This place, Distant Relatives in particular, reminds me of a movie. I feel like I’m in the middle of an amazing movie with a really good soundtrack. Beautiful colors, lots of laughing and having fun in the water. This is like “Pirate Radio” meets “Hideous Kinky” meets “The Darjeeling Limited” in a Pinterest Board made of jungle, beach, lounge decor ideas. Anyone remember how MTV used to show spring break dancers from all over the world (this was maybe 1999)? Well, this would be one of those places and we have many dancers including myself who could be the featured dancers. 🙂