I have always felt attracted to Africa. It’s something I cannot explain, I can dance, I can knead- in its honour -, I can paint, but the words will never reach its depth, that place where the roots are.
When I decided to travel, Kenya was granted, it was my dream for no reason, just instinct.
Going to Kenya was a gift to the little Barbara girl and it was worth it because Mother Nature is really exaggerated in that place. I spent 40 days there: four weeks in an NGO and a beach, my vacation in my “primograndeviaggiodasola” (firstbigsolotravel) and this is what I want to talk about: pleasure, beauty and the sun after the storm.
Kilifi is located north of Mombasa and, for those who have recently been in Morocco, is a blow to the heart: calls to prayer, hijabs and long-bearded men, a minaret in the background, because here Catholics and Muslims live peacefully together.
The city center offers a delicious fruit market and various odds and sods but ends up immediately … and then? What to do in Kilifi?
- Trip to the Cliff of Vuma, the African alternative to the Irish Moher and equally fascinating. I don’t know if it was nicer going by motorbike or arriving and admiring it immersed in its natural power;
- Snorkling in Kirowitu which means paying 10 Euros for a mask, a snorkel and if you wear a 43 (european size), also a pair of slippers. It’s worth it: the sea bottom is a continuous surprise of multicolored fish, starfishes, shells and seaweeds, the water is calm and, when you go out the sea, a freshly harvested coconut is waiting for you on the beach;
- Day Bofa Beach, my first white beach. Deserted, except for some groups of free and happy children;
- Walking on the beach of mangroves on the river: an unexpected, unforeseen, wild experience.
If you meditate you will love this place, if you don’t this is the place to start!
After four days of nature, African dances, ecological bathrooms and supermarket sandwiches, I let myself succumb to the collective enthusiasm for Diani Beach. Wherever I went, someone suggested me to go, had just been or was thinking about returning there. Therefore, one morning, I made the folly reservation, for the first time in my life, a beach resort. One of those hotels that the teen Babi would have snubbed because “It ‘a shame to go to such a place, in Africa”. The Babi of the present, however, after two months of filthy mattresses, campings, dormitories in stinky hostels without mosquito nets, had booked it without any guilt.
Diani Beach is the best beach in Kenya: enormous, white, so beautiful that I couldn’t close my eyes and lose that wonder. I wanted to absorb it, be nourished by it, keep it with me forever.
Diani was the sun after the storm: resting, wearing makeup to go to dinner, swimming in the warm waves of the Indian Ocean, jumping into the pool, walking hours and dancing alone on the beach.
It was the reconciliation with beauty, after the horror of poverty in Nairobi. Two sides of a country that can slap you in your face with any sort of images, as heavy as to take your sleep and hunger off…but that can also hold your hand and lead you to the perfect place, away from everyone, beyond all, in the ethereal white of his soft sand.
It was the reconciliation with the teen Babi who is learning to hold everything together, black and white,
looking for nuances, finding there her own space, building a balance.
I want to end with the sentence of a woman in love with Kenya and expert on it, waiting for a second post, related to this one, where I’ll give technical information on the country that, if I close my eyes, I can see yet here under my eyelids.
The breath of the scenery was immense. Every thing gave a sense of greatness, of freedom, of supreme nobility…Up in this air you breathed easily, drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart. You woke up in the morning and thought: “Here I am, where I ought to be”