Our trip with Kelly to the Kenyan coast was - no joke - probably the best vacation of my life. It was the most relaxing and beautiful location I have ever been to.
The white sands were soft and fine, like flour. As you walked across it, you sunk a good 3-4 inches until you approached the surf and the beach grew harder where it is battered repeatedly by waves. Wind whipped briskly across the beach, lifting the brightly-colored sails of the kite surfers and throwing my hair back, knotting individual strands into an absolute mess. The wind was in fact the only thing that made the summer heat and humidity bearable, our January visit lending extra strength to the equatorial sun. But the most enjoyable aspect was the tranquility. I had never been to the beach on such a perfect day without having to spread a blanket and push for elbow room. But on this beach, there wasn't another visitor on either side for at least 100 yards. It was our own little paradise, and we spent our days napping and sunning and enjoying the warm Indian ocean.
We rented a 4-story house right on the beach for just $100 a night. It came with a maid, a chef, and groundskeepers. The chef took our order every morning, and then went to the market to pick up the freshest ingredients. His cooking provided the best meals I had the entire time we were in Kenya! The maid took care of all the clean up, and let down the mosquito nets around our beds at sunset. The groundskeepers monitored the property at night and took our beach chairs down to the sand every morning. They also shooed away neighboring monkeys that attempted to sneak into the house and eat anything they could get their hands on. Our every need was taken care of. Beach boys, essentially street hawkers, walked up and down the beach all day selling trinkets and souvenirs, or coconuts for drinking and fresh aloe for the mzungu sunburn. We even saw a man leading camels up and down the beach, stopping at each small group to see if they wanted a ride. It was tropical and remote and absolute paradise.
Our last day there, we decided to go snorkeling. A glass-bottomed boat came right up to our stretch of beach, and we waded out and climbed in. We shared the experience with a German couple who were incredibly friendly. The wife didn't speak much English, but the husband discussed American television and movies the entire way to our snorkeling point, a sandbar maybe half a mile out. On the way, we saw huge sea urchins and the most insane starfish - bright colors and spikes like I had never seen on a North American starfish.
When the time came for us to leave, none of us wanted to. The only thing that got me on that plane was knowing that we were headed to Masai Mara the next day! I have never left a place and been more sick with myself for not staying longer. Worse yet, I have no idea when (or even if!) I'll make my way back to Diani Beach. But I'll always remember my days there as one of the top highlights from our time in Kenya.