The Slow Coast of Kilifi

After taking the 8-hour night bus from Nairobi to Kilifi I jumped off and grabbed a Piki-Piki to reach Distant Relatives, which is now officially the nicest hostel I’ve been to. I pulled up to the gates at around 5:30am, set up my tent and quickly fell asleep. I woke up to the sounds of people moving around and I gathered there was something being built around me, so I went to go check it out. What was being built was a beach volleyball court, the borders and base of which were being built with old used tires they’d grabbed from the yard, and the net an old fishing net. In fact, when you walk into the main lodge every table and seat was made from an old Dau that was decomposing by the ocean. Any wood used for the bunks in the dorm were built from an invasive species of trees non-native to Kilifi, and the washrooms follow a 6-month decomposition process that goes to fertilize any crops in the area. Not only does the building impress, but it’s located just inside a little cove on the Indian Ocean that is full of open land, or expansive houses. The property is about 4 acres, and you can find a hammock, sunken seat, or old converted canoe to rest, relax, or sleep in about anywhere on the property. A place such as this seems to attract the right kind of people as well, local expats from Kilifi come out for a drink at night and it appears that everyone has a wild story to tell.

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For me personally I came to take a few days off, enjoy a good book, and nap in hammocks. Juma, one of the local workers, invited two friends and I to his house for dinner. What we didn’t expect is that his house sits on the edge of a cliff overlooking a small cove. We ate Ugali, chapati, chicken, and scrambled eggs on the bottom of an old canoe converted to table and drank palm wine as we watched the sun set. Despite the rapid expansion in the area, the slow coast of Kenya provides exactly what I need.

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