I hope you are having a lovely holiday with your friends and family. How’s your 2020 wrapping up?
Discovering new places and activities in my hometown at the Coast of Kenya every holiday season has been my signature move. I can’t help it, I have a passion for nature and swooning in it.
Just my luck, I received a special invite from my lovely friend Marta to join her and her family including close family friends for a sunset dhow cruise in Kilifi a few days ago during Christmas public holiday. She gave it away to me that it was her surprise Christmas gift. I felt special being in her close knit friends list. Personally, as a Muslim, I don’t celebrate Christmas. However, it’s always an eventful day filled with enjoyment and fun.
Thankfully, I made it in time for the surprise, catching up with Marta’s friends and family in Kilifi after a one-hour drive from Mtwapa. They are awesome, fun and welcoming people. Marta is affectionate, warm and humorous in an intelligent way. Ebrahim, Marta’s husband, is funny, entertaining and daring. So is Assad, who is a close family friend; hilarious, creative and entertaining. It’s always fun and laughter around them. Not to mention Marta and Ebrahim’s most adorable kids. Jose, Maria and Clara. Such sweethearts and always in good spirits. Their smiles and laughter melt my heart and lighten up my moods. Assad’s lovely family friends joined too.
Shortly after meeting the families, we drove to the Kilifi Boat Yard – Mnarani Fishing Club, where we parked our cars. The Kilifi Boat Yard is a popular holiday destination in Kilifi famously known for deep sea fishing and amazing sea food at their beach restaurant, offering a lovely view over the Kilifi Creek looking into the moored boats parked on the shallow.
On entrance, we each took turns to wash our hands with the hand soap and water provided. Thereafter, Marta led us to our dhow for the evening.
We got into the beautifully hand-carved traditional wooden Swahili sailing boat; equipped with a diesel engine; called ‘Dragon Fly’, guided by Captain Max. Thanks to Marta, who booked for all of us a surprise sunset cruise dhow; a 2-hour sunset dhow trip. Everyone was in awe of the surprise, looking forward to the dhow cruise with so much curiosity of what was in store for us as we cheered on the deck with cold drinks from the cooler box.
Cpt. Max set sail ready for the sunset dhow cruise, speeding off towards the beautiful islands sailing away from Kilifi bridge behind us. Water splashed from the sailing dhow filled us with excitement, the kids especially.
The brilliant sunshine kissed us, reflecting its sun rays on the water as it sparkled onto our eyes.
We passed a few isles. Lush green mangroves bearded patterns around lagoons. Some distributed in the middle of the sea. Exploring the islands gave us such outstanding nature views of well conserved mangroves.
Driven by knowledge and passion, Captain Max talked to us about the various bird species that he couldn’t wait to show us. He sailed in search of the birds mentioning that it was feeding time, mooring the boat at the Mangrove Sanctuary of the Bird Island. Introducing us to an enchanting world of feathers, colors, wide repertoire of songs & calls of birds and sounds of nature. We were lucky to see 4 different types of bird species.
Ant Eaters were the first birds we spotted as they flew in coordination; they were so tiny that they looked like a swarm of bees from a distance; wish we carried our binoculars for a closeup view.
Particularly striking were the white Great Egrets sitting pretty, making an angelic view as they flew away.
Stunning colorful kingfishers flew in and out of mangroves, whistling happy songs.
Eagles acknowledged their presence with their shrill and high pitched piping sounds.
We immediately spotted them chilling on stems of matured mangrove trees as they flew wide around the sky in turns. Among nature sounds we could hear were clicks of oyster clamps in the mangroves.
Captain Max then anchored the boat a few distance ahead for us to enjoy the sunset views.
It was an effortless view as we watched the setting sun kindling the sky, bold, brilliant and rich in fifty shades of orange colors, setting in the open sea from its crepuscular rays until its last drop, painting the horizon golden yellow.
The sunset view was a sense of numinous. Surely, Mother Nature needs no filter.
The show was over, but the fun wasn’t. We danced and swam; Ebrahim did some sick back flips into the water, activating our moods as we made merry in the dhow.
As darkness started creeping in, Captain Max set sail heading back towards Kilifi Boatyard. The sea looked calm, serene and dark. Lights from houses, boats, and car flashlights from the Kilifi bridge lit up our night journey back at 7:00 p.m.
It was a lovely and magical experience. Different from other sea excursions I’ve toured that didn’t include special bird nor sunset watching. It was a wonderful new experience that I cherish thanks to my lovely friends. A special thanks to Marta for the lovely surprise.
Needless to say, a dhow cruise is the most exciting way to experience the beautiful African sunset, scenic islands in Kilifi and a special way to enjoy with friends and family. Don’t miss out on this spectacular and memorable opportunity while in Kilifi.
What a fantastic way to end my 2020.
Invest in amazing experiences and good relations with family and friends.
Wishing you a blessed happy new year Peaches.
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