Marta's Photo Album of Kenya, January 2012

January 2012

Getting there
We departed Johannesburg on the services of ITime at 08H45. This was the inaugural flight of 1Time to Mombasa with around 131 travel people and press on board. The crew were great as always and the service they provided was excellent which contributed to an enjoyable flight. We landed at around 12 noon in Mombasa. Our arrival was welcomed with great excitement on the runway, traditional dancers sang songs of welcome and we were offered hollowed out coconuts to drink. The minister of tourism gave a speech to mark this historic day.

We were escorted by a convoy of tourist police through Mombasa, onto the ferry and along the route to Diani beach in the South. The group was placed in three newly aqquired Plan Hotels all adjoining one another. I was at Neptune Paradise . My room overlooked the tropical garden, with the white sand beach and breathtaking turquoise ocean in front. The Planhotel group offer all inclusive packages at all their resorts in Kenya and Zanzibar.

We had an amazing beach party dinner. There was a salad station, where they served Lobster Catalana, smoked sail fish and sesame carrots with octopus to name a few. There was a charcoal grill, carving station, tandoori oven and a fantastic desert station.

The following day we were treated to a day of sailing in a traditional dhow around Wasini island, which is just a few kilometres from the border of Tanzania. We sailed to the marine reserve where we could snorkel or scuba. I opted to scuba along the reef. The dive was shallow only 6 meters and there were lots of colourful corals and small fish to see. I took a photo of a bumphead parrot fish as well as some lion fish.

We went up to Charlie Claws for a relaxed lunch of freshly caught fish, giant crabs and local delicacies. The views from the restaurant are spectacular and we were able to have a dip in the enormous natural infinity pool nestling in the rock partially under the shade of an ancient baobab. This of course overlooks the ocean beyond.

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The evening was an Exploreans jungle night, this included an area done in an African theme serving a selection of traditional Kenyan food such as steamed ugali made from sifted maize flour, wild African spinach to name a few dishes as well as chapatti which is pan fried East African bread.

We enjoyed a fun golf morning at the famous golf course of Leisure Lodge. Later in the afternoon we inspected Neptune Paradise, Neptune Village and Neptune Palm. All properties are unique to one another and share a deep long stretch of white sand beach with a turquoise ocean. The swimming pool at the Palm is gorgeous, really large and beautifully laid out, ideal for honeymooners seeking tranquility and luxury.

Our Diamonds Farewell Dinner evening at the Palms was amazing and most creative.

The set up included tiers of perfectly prepared miniature, mozzarella timbles, papaya in glass, desserts delectably prepared, praline pistachio, pistachio caramels, mango cheese cake just to name a few. There was a pasta station, extensive salad station with no less than 35 salad types, clay oven and a charcoal grill. It was quite an event all for us.

We were very blessed to been able to experience this special event and I look forward to sending many very happy travellers to this wonderful country of great beauty and fabulous hospitality.

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In Conclusion
Kenya offers the tourist a variety of accommodation options from rustic to five star luxury resorts and you can easily combine a beach holiday with a safari. The Plan Hotel Group are an exceptional brand that is beyond ones expectations of all inclusive resorts. They offer great hospitality and a wonderful variety of activities for everyone.

General Info and Tips
Visas are currently not required for South African passport holders. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the return date. Yellow fever vaccinations are compulsory for re entry into South Africa after visiting Kenya. These vaccinations are valid for 10 years and can be obtained at a travel clinic, along with advice regarding malaria and other recommended precautions.

Money changing facilities are available at most hotels, but the rate is better at the airport on arrival. Travel with US dollars cash as these are also accepted for payments at hotels. The local currency is the Kenyan Shilling, when we travelled it worked out to around $1 = 9.77 Kenyan Shilling. Some of the hotels do not accept travellers cheques. Do not convert more money than you need as the Kenyan Shilling cannot be exchanged for dollars or rands.

Special Thanks
A very special thanks to the Plan Hotel Group and 1 Time Airlines and to all the wonderful people who made our stay in Kenya so unforgettable.