Dive Sites of St. François

Dive Sites of St. François

As our nature demands, humans have always been curious creatures which love to explore and discover the world around us. This sense of adventure stays with us even if we decide to escape to an island paradise. And what could be better than exploring an underwater world while in a remote corner of the Seychelles?

Located in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles remains one of the most exquisite destinations and arguably one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world. Giving you access to this new and wondrous underwater world is Alphonse Island situated in the Outer Islands of the Seychelles.

A stay at Alphonse Island gives guests access to 30 sublime scuba diving sites scattered amongst the remote islands surrounding it. This includes the beautiful St. François and its glorious flats which are home to some of the most incredible pelagic species. These stunning creatures can be viewed by walking the sandy stretches or diving into the deep blue surrounds of the Atoll.

Reaching these remote sites means jumping onboard one of our dedicated diving vessels, the Amirante Cat or Zanbren. Purpose-built with 225hp, these vessels will get you to the dive sites in no time and they are equipped with all your diving gear as well as towels, snacks and drinks. So sit back and let our dedicated dive team take care of you as you explore the wonder-ful dive sites that surround St. François:

Trigger Hill
Location: 20 minutes by boat, North-East St. François
Depth: 8 – 18m
Trigger Hill consists of a sharply slanting hill with three main coral rivers that run from the seagrass beds at 7m to the sandy slopes located at 18m and beyond. The coral bommies here act as a cleaning station and many resident schools of fish can often be seen here, including large Napoleon Wrasse, Blue and Yellow Fusilier, Humpback, Bluelined and Bohar Snapper as well as the shimmering Bluefin Trevally. Species like Camouflage and White-blotched Grouper live deep within the crevices of the coral, while smaller specimens rest casually at the base of the coral allowing for a closer look. Divers will often see Garden Eels peering out from their burrows in the sand galleys along with Seychelles Anemonefish, Moray Eels and Yellowmargin and Titan Triggerfish. Golden Trevally, Green Jobfish, Whip Rays and Nurse Sharks venturing from the sandy slope is also a common sight.
Special Feature: This site is named after the Yellowmargin Triggerfish which build their nests and lay eggs here. They can often be seen undulating in the water column above as they fiercely protect their territory. Trigger Hill is a great site for general observation of fish behaviour.

Bluelined Snapper and Bluefin Trevally

Three Sisters
Location: 20 minutes by boat, North St. François
Depth: 15 – 25m
This site, as the name would suggest, holds 3 large coral patches which lie on the flat sandy bottom at 20 meters. A variety of Grouper and Snapper species densely populates these ‘sisters’ and as such the dive starts by discovering and appreciating the abundance and diversity of fish here. Divers will also get to see Garden Eels and Yellowmargin Triggerfish on the surrounding sand where they make their respective burrows and large nests. The dive here is ended at a raised reef in the East which sits at about 13 meters. Here there is a colourful aquarium-like cleaning station where Yellowfin Goatfish, Onespot Emperor, Bluelined Snapper and Napoleon Wrasse congregate. Alternatively, guests can choose to start the dive on the outer wall which is covered in purple Sea Fans and extends to a sandy shelf at 30 meters. When gazing off the wall, there is a big chance of seeing big fish out in the open blue.
Special Feature: Three Sisters holds something for every kind of diver with its combination of calm patch reef, aquarium-like cleaning station and deep drop-off.

Napoleon Wrasse

Rat Rays
Location: 25 minutes by boat, South-West St. François
Depth: 8 – 25m
Rat Rays is the name given to the channel entrance of St. François Atoll. This site is situated within the main tidal flow in and out of the large lagoon which makes it a highway for various fish moving between the lagoon and the open water. Outside of this channel, Spur and Groove Coral formations give way to ravines of white sand that cascade over the edge of the drop-off which surrounds the island. St. François and its curving beaches are home to a plethora of birds and the surrounding shimmering waters are a hotspot for Green Turtles, pink Whip Rays and Greater Barracuda. Large Napoleon Wrasse and Milkfish can often be spotted hovering in the blue edge of the drop-off.
Special Feature: A lot of action is created by an array of diverse species congregating around the mouth of the channel as the tides rise and fall.

Pink Whip Rays

Mantam North
Location: 25 minutes by boat, West St. François
Depth: 7 – 20m
The coral assemblage at Mantam North with its flat gently sloping bottom resembles that of a patch reef. However, at 10 to 18 meters patches of sand are scarce due to incredibly high coral cover. Here the copious undulations of Hard Coral lead divers through a myriad of reef fish with occasional protrusions of large bommies which are thick with Bohar and Black Snapper as well as Fusilier. Divers will often spot Nurse Sharks here as they patrol the reef. Mantam North makes for a great training site with the depth limit at 18m where the coral finally meets the sand. The relaxed ambience at this site allows divers to get close to Giant Moray Eels and Lionfish that inhabit the deep crevices in the reef.
Currents at Mantam North: Currents are generally mild which makes it ideal for underwater photographers who like to document even the smallest of fish.
Special Feature: This is the best site for those who like to get up-close to the variety of reef fish for photography or behavioural observations due to lack of currents.

Giant Moray Eel

West End
Location: 30 minutes by boat, West St. François
Depth: 12 – 40m
West End holds a sloping reef which extends from 12 to 40 meters with most activity seen at 16 meters. Dense schools of Bluelined Snapper, Bluefin Trevally and Humpback Snapper are found around the reef and during low tide countless large Green Sea Turtles can be seen as they move from adjacent flats. The wall of the reef extends to a second plateau which is deeper than diving limits; it is here that a number of sharks reside and from where they follow the wall up to visit divers at the site. Large Grey Reef and Nurse Sharks are the most common at the site with the latter even more so in the shallows. Spur and Groove Coral formations stretch out towards the south with large aggregations of fish such as Bohar Snapper and Chub. Depending on the season, Manta Rays are most seen at this particular site, if not on the dive then feeding with Milkfish at the surface.
Special Feature: West End is close to the south of St. François where a number of Sharks and Rays are commonly seen. It also has the added benefit of beautiful coral and an abundance of fish to complement it.

Nurse Shark

Swiss Garden
Location: 35 minutes by boat, South St. François
Depth: 12 – 20m
Swiss Garden is the farthest dive site at the southern reaches of St. François Atoll. The site is a well-known historic fishing ground for local individuals with many reports of thriving populations of big pelagics, yet this is a site rarely dived. This remote site is one for the explorers out there as you never know what you might see. The bottom is a flat, steadily sloping reef comprised of mainly Hard Coral. A flurry of marine life covers the coral ridges and bommies that are interspersed with the flat seabed. Dives here have offered up incredible sightings of Giant Trevally (GT), Dogtooth Tuna, Nurse and Bull Sharks, Whip and Manta Rays, huge Green Turtles and schooling Milkfish.
Special Feature: The site is only visited per request by those who wish to explore waters which few others have dived before.

Bull Shark

Wouldn’t you like to dive into a world of wonder with the Alphonse Diving Team? Book your scuba diving experience today!

 

Paul Hunter

Paul Hunter

Besides being a solutions architect by day, Paul Hunter is co-founder of African Diver Magazine and a very enthusiastic underwater photographer. In fact, Paul’s love of underwater photography was his inspiration for co-founding African Diver Magazine – in his own words “the three African destinations that I really enjoy diving and photographing – Mozambique where Inhambane Province is great for awesome reefs and shooting mantas and whale sharks, the Red Sea because of the clean water and abundance of photographic material and lastly South Africa which, I believe offers everything from sharks, mantas, whales sharks, wrecks and abundance of reef and fish life”.

Paul began shooting underwater in 2001 with a Sony Cyber Shot. Since then he has worked with many camera systems and has now settled on a Nikon DSLR/Sea & Sea package. His passion for underwater photography has seen him take on various leadership positions, all aimed at building the community of southern African underwater photographers.

The two main leadership positions worth noting are, as chairman of GUPS (a community of underwater photographers based in Johannesburg) and as lead organiser of the annual Sodwana Shootout underwater photography competition.

Like most underwater photographers, Paul was drawn to the art by a need to share his underwater experiences with non-diving family and friends. And like most underwater photographers this developed into a deep passion for photographing the ever-changing underwater flora and fauna at his local (and favourite) dive spots.

These days the responsibility of fatherhood restricts Paul’s underwater shooting expeditions yet he manages to make at least one diving trip per year count and he’s hoping that as his children get older his diving trips will increase in frequency.

Paul’s worked through all the genres of underwater photography; macro, super-macro and wide-angle. But his favourite genre is wide-angle underwater photography, mainly because it’s the most challenging.

While southern Africa and the Red Sea inspire Paul’s underwater photography he lists Wakatobi, Indonesia and Sipadan, Malaysia as his favourite non-African destinations. And he’d really like to go to the Galapagos islands, Papua New Guinea, the Azores and Micronesia sometime in the future.  On his bucket-list though is to photograph humpback whales in Tonga and sperm whales in the Azores.

Paul’s images reflect his passion for Megafauna but also for wide-angle reef scenes and marine animal behaviour and can be seen from this selection.

You can see more of Paul’s images on www.paulhunterphotography.com

P is for Paradise – Paradisiacal Pomene.

P is for Paradise – Paradisiacal Pomene.

P is for Paradise – Paradisical (there is such a word now) Pomene. The feeling of paradise washes over me under the clear blue sky, as I glide past the flock of pink flamingos with their upside down heads gracing one of the sandbars in the gin clear water of the Pomene estuary. I’d been here before, many years ago when I was lucky enough to be a founding explorer on reefs only frequented by fisherman and spearos. In those days I wasn’t an underwater photographer and hadn’t been able to capture paradise on film, and so I find myself back in central Mozambique to see if paradise remained and was still as perfect as in my memories, in this day and age of cellphones , diary mania and credit crises.

Text and Images by Andrew Woodburn

Picture looking down off the boat into 50m of water and seeing the pinnacles you’re headed for, clearly on the bottom. We backwards roll and I turn , exhale and freefall into indigo blue picking up the pinnacles above which I identify the shapes of eagle rays and large bass moving in formation and so get jolted into the frenzy of preparing the camera so that by the time I reach them I can record their presence. This is 3 sisters (3 deep pinnacles off the northern end of deep Zambia shoal) which in my opinion has to be the premier pinnacle dive in Southern Africa. These are no gentle bumps like deep pinnacle off the Pontos (southern Mozambique’s well known dive destinations) but distinct structures rising from 48m at their base and topping off at 30m covered in black coral. The green coral trees release clouds of goldies, coachmen and reef fish which provide the attraction for hunting pelagic game fish and larger marine species such as manta arriving for cleaning.  I think I’ve been the first diver to slot the keyhole at 35m , a nearly closed hole in the reef between the first sister and the second which will be impossible if a strong current is running. The dive is over all too quickly since diving at 35m destroys my bottom time and forces me up so as to avoid decompression penalties. Ascending from 35m I can clearly see the boat on the surface, ripples diffracting the cloud patterns in the sky above and red fang trigger fish silhouetted in the midwater.  Since we are so far from the Pomene estuary (20km) it’s ideal for double tank dives and so we snorkel on shallow Zambia (6m deep in the middle of the ocean) where sailfish swims past the boat its sail distinctive above the surface. We select the Trojan dive site for a second shallower and more traditional reef dive which runs along the inside edge of Zambia shoal meeting sand at 24m and rising up to 15m giving wonderful amphitheatres of reef structure. I loved finding turtles, bass and shoaling fish which provided my immersion into their world on their reef. For the first time ever I found a large plate coral with a coral tree growing right out the centre of it graced by an obliging bass for a great photo. The reef itself is named after a piece of structure which when viewed side on resembles a horse’s head.  I was enthralled by my days diving and excitedly shared the experiences that evening while my wife, Clara and I washed the sun down with cold 2M beers on the stunning pool deck outside the bar. Little did I know, that wasn’t all Pomene had to provide.

Waking up after a comfortable night’s sleep in our tent I peeked out to see the ocean not a hundred meters away in the pleasant morning light with not a breath of wind on the water. We launched out the river mouth again and headed to sites off the old Pomene hotel which sits in ruins a top the “Barra falsa” point, not used since the 1970s and still a bone of contention between prospective investors for refurbishing, and the Mozambique government who are demanding a hefty fee in US dollars for the development rights (We visited the ruins one afternoon and saw the blowholes in action). As we arrived we circled the dive site and I was lucky enough to free dive the legendary Playstation reef to test for current and visibility. On my descent I was greeted by a mature gray reef shark of over 2m at 12m down. What an honour since on most well dived reefs these creatures are normally absent and on some days this particular set of reefs can be un-divable with ultra strong currents (think stronger than Aliwal shoal on a bad day) and bad visibility due to their sitting off a major point. Pomene Playstation is a 5star reef with fantastic features including a mini cave network, large reef structure with deep cracks, sandy fish filled arena, overhangs, swim thru’s and a manta cleaning station on the south side visited by reef fish and hunting game fish continuously. At 24m it’s a good intermediate dive site providing world class diving with enough bottom time to enjoy a 60min dive allowing us to cover most of the reef. After I surface from this dive I just can’t wait to do it again, it’s almost too much to absorb in one experience and if we are lucky we also get whale shark interaction which congregate off the Pomene point.  On this day due to clam conditions I get a second double tank treat and added “Steps” to the dive sightseeing tour.  Steps is fascinating since I’m sure it adds credibility to the theory that ancient civilizations cut rock from sites that are now subterranean in order to build great wonders of the world. Drifting along in the current I fly over multiple 90 degree cuts in rock layers just too geometrically perfect to be natural. I don’t know, go dive it for yourself to decide.  The fissures and blocks are now home to moray eels galore and on the deep areas impressive vertical walls stack up from 36m towards the surface.

Getting back from the dives I had pretty much thought that diving here couldn’t really get much better till that evening talking with Joe and Natalie the managers and Dave and Jill the Barra Resort owners I learned a little secret. I was informed that Neville Ayliff the Sodwana legend , fish life guru and diver extraordinaire was becoming part of the team at Pomene later in the year and would bring with him his wealth of experience, fishy facts and diving leadership that was a crucial part of developing Sodwana into the diving destination it has become. I’m sure Neville will have years of work ahead of him to do more exploration in this region. In addition the resort has built an artificial reef in the estuary just off the dive centre where seahorses abound and macro critters dominate in the sea grass. Not to be outdone by my experiences so far Joe also showed me photos from 2006 of dugong in the estuary mouth which had me scanning the water on every exit and entrance from the river from then on.

Pomene lodge occupies a unique spit of beach separating natural mangrove forests and a freshwater estuary which feeds around the spit into the Indian Ocean through a tidal estuary. In fact the spit probably doesn’t get more than 2m above high tide at any place and during the devastating cyclones in past years, has lead to knee deep waves washing through the reception door and out past the pool into the estuary. At any one time while walking on the spit I am able to see the aquamarine ocean out one eye across the squeaky white sand beach and out the other eye the reflections off the estuary in different stages of tidal flux. This place presents a sensory overload to me, with visuals representing travel brochure images of coconut palms, blue sea and white sand, warm tropical breezes cooling the sun’s rays on my skin, the waves from the ocean crashing in my ears and the smell of untainted air.

This paradiscal environment delivers feelings of peace, space and makes me feel like the only person on the planet. Pomene has traditionally been known as a secret fishing destination and over the last few years more and more diving has been done exploring and identifying awesome reefs. Not only does Pomene has two of Southern Africa’s best reef dives but will soon be home to one of Southern Africa’s best known dive personalities and a- fishianardos…Neville Ayliff, I’m not sure it gets better than this.

This ideal location is unique in that it provides a delicate mix of the olden day’s sodwana camping atmosphere, but even better since you get to camp with the beach as your front door step. Each campsite comes with a fresh water tap, braai facilities and electrical point. Most sites have thatched barracas which can accommodate fridges and all your camping tables/ food and are fitted with lights for the evening.  This destination offers basic to beyond expectation -camping, self catering group chalets and top end water chalets, all backed up by a professional dive operation.  The self catering chalets offer 6 and 8 sleeper options in large rustic thatch lodges which although basic still bring the sea straight to your door step. Each self cater chalet is serviced with bedding, cutlery, crockery a freezer and mosquito nets. The chalets range from ocean view to sunset and the den a grouping of four double rooms en-suite. I even met some fisherman who had driven from Port Elizabeth to Pomene towing a boat, that’s about 4 days of dedication each way.

But that’s not all, the pride and glory of the resort are the Water chalets, and our room became affectionately referred to by my wife as the “water palace”.  Double rooms en-suite , built Mozambique style on stilts with reed roofs serviced by raised walkways are an architectural feature facing out west over the lagoon. Our room had an almighty double bed within a billowing mosquito net covered with fresh sheets and an airy duvet. Power points for charging the camera gear and a balcony with the most brilliant sunset vista over the estuary and private stairs down to the squeaky white sand covered by tidal waves running up between the stilts at high tide.

Pomene also provides family activities including Horse riding, quad bike adventures, sunset cruises, fly-fishing, shore fishing and offshore fishing on the famous Zambia banks. We met friendly travelers and divers in this off beat corner of Mozambique and enjoyed the finest fish caught that day and prawns from the restaurant at reasonable prices after enjoying cold 2M on the deck. This was a great adventure providing a delicate mix of paradise supported by some of the more necessary amenities such as power (generator driven from 8-12 and 4-10pm) hot water showers, a small shop and even a satellite tv for those important rugby matches or soap operas but far enough away not to be intrusive. The central lodge area also provides a pool table, bar area and rim flow fresh water swimming pool. So I’d recommend saddling up the 4*4 (yep you need a 4 wheel drive to get through the last 2 hours of beach sand track) turn north at Maputo and keep on going till Masinga (approximately 700km) before falling off tarmac, or fly in directly from Jhb South Africa via Inhambane . Pomene Lodge is part of the Barra Resorts group supported by the same infrastructure that services the Barra lodge and Flamingo Bay Hotels in Inhambane. 

So since the trip was planned to experience the diving at this far flung piece of paradise let’s cut to the chase. I think that Pomene is blessed with two of the best dives in the Southern Africa. Three sisters the leading pinnacle dive and Pomene Playstation a spectacular site competing with the best I’ve seen worldwide. In short this piece of paradise will definitely be on my must visit list again and I’ll be salivating at the thought of what Neville will find and add to the already abundant selection of world class diving.

 

Mombasa es su casa: A Kenyan Underwater Escape

Mombasa es su casa: A Kenyan Underwater Escape

Diving in Mombasa is arguably the best diving in Kenya. Mombasa Marine Park has been up and running for 26 years now, and is Kenya Wildlife Services’ (KWS) flagship Marine Park. The sea life is abundant, with over 400 species of fish having colonised the thriving coral reef; ensuring a great experience for everyone.

Text and images by Bruno Kinross

Around August and September, humpback whales pass by on their annual migration. The wondrous whale sharks quickly follow them between November and March; accompanied by the elusive manta ray on occasion. If pelagic diving enthusiasts are still not satisfied, then there are plenty of white tip reef sharks to been seen, as well as a variety of dolphin species. There has recently been the second ever-recorded sighting of humpback dolphins; allowing for a truly special encounter with their cetacean cousins: the spinner and bottlenose, often seen in the surrounding waters. There used to be tiger sharks, hammer-heads, guitar sharks and bull sharks, but due to global exploitation populations have been decimated, making frequent encounters a thing of the past.

With all the larger species around it is easy to forget the smaller things in life and this is an area where Mombasa can really deliver a true feast. There is a fringing reef that runs most of the length of the coast and in Mombasa this provides a nice protected lagoon where macro species can thrive. Sea-horses, nudis, Frogfish, dragon seamoths, pipefish, lionfish and puffers are just a few of the things you might find.

There are a few dive operators in the area, but Buccaneer Diving is the only 5 Star IDC centre in East Africa, with Course Director Bruce Philips at the helm. Their main base is at the Voyager Hotel in Nyali, but they also have bases at White-Sands Hotel in Bamburi, the Mnarani Club in Kilifi and also Page in Zanzibar.

Being the only IDC centre in East Africa means they are the only centre that can offer all levels of training from the Discover Scuba Diver for those who are just taking their first tentative steps into the sea, all the way up to Instructor level for those who would like to look to diving for a career. They also offer a wide range of specialties, as well as being able to provide Nitrox for those who just can’t stand to get out of the water and want those extended bottom times. It is an extra 5 euros per double dive if you want some of the superior mix.

They operate within the Mombasa Marine Park, with dive sites on either side of the fringing reef. The house reef, Angies, is just a few hundred meters away, which also makes it the choice dive site for night dives. Venturing to the outer side of the reef is where the diving is at its best. In September to December the visibility can reach up to 30 meters, with the sea temperature at around 29 degrees. However, in the wet months this decreases greatly to as low as 3-4 metres but averages around 6-10m and a temperature of between 24-26 degrees.

For those with a taste for wrecks, in 2002, Buccaneer, in association with Project AWARE, sank the 74m ex cattle carrier MV Dania. The Dania is undoubtedly the best wreck dive available in Kenya with depths ranging from 18 to 30 metres. Shallower diveable structures include the bridge, the hull and the massive upper deck, which are ideal for less qualified divers. Dania is well colonised and is home to large groupers, batfish, barracuda, moray eels and a colourful array of other fish and large schools of Jacks. The Dania is not the only wreck in the area, as there is also the MV Globe Star and MV Kota Menang (ships which hit the reefs in the 1970s), though they can only be dived at the right tides. You can find diving information regarding Buccaneer on their website at www.buccaneerdiving.com.

Buccaneer also runs all of the watersports activities for the hotel and there are a range of sailing boats available from funboats and picos to catamarans and windsurfs. Aside from the sailing there is kayaking and for those who still want to see underwater without actually getting wet there is the glass bottom boat option that also gives you the choice to snorkel if you should want to.

The upside to operating in a Marine Park is of course the better marine life to be seen, but the downside is that you must pay a marine park fee every day you choose to go in to the sea. It is $15 per day, so not cheap considering the size of the park. This does, of course, add up so if you plan to dive everyday for a week or two, make sure you remember to add this cost in your budget if you are planning to head that way.

All the dives off the outer side of the reef are drift dives and dive masters all carry permanent surface marker buoys so there is no need to worry about getting lost, and for those who just like to be lazy it is the perfect choice. The majority of the diving takes place along one main stretch of reef, with dive sites like ‘Shark Point’; named after the white tip reef sharks often seen there, and ‘Kasa’ which means ‘turtle’ in Kiswahili. There is a healthy amount of green and hawksbill turtles and you will see them more often than not. As you drift along you move past schools of Bluestripe and Bigeye snappers, fusiliers rush past you in both directions, being chased by Bluefin trevally while large brown-marbled groupers sit to be cleaned. There are areas where you get swarms of glassfish and baby barracuda. The list goes on…

There is a great contrast between diving inside the Marine Park and outside of it. Beyond the Park’s perimeter various forms of fishing have almost entirely destroyed the corals, although dynamiting has not been as prevalent in Kenya as it has been in neighboring Tanzania. As a result there are few fish to be seen outside of the reserve. Mombasa Marine Park is far from an exemplary reserve, mostly because the Government Fisheries Department issue licenses to people to be allowed to use nets in the reserve area, completely defeating the objective of a marine park.

It was a great shame when the government made drag netting legal again at the end of last year under the auspices of trying to alleviate local poverty. The reality of this is that it does not make locals one shilling better off as the people manning these nets are now largely from Pemba, Zanzibar and Tanzania. After destroying their own coast-line, these foreign nationals are employed by the owners of the nets (often ex members of parliament) so that they can pay them a far lower wage than their Kenyan counterparts.

There are also many areas where the use of such large destructive nets is viewed very badly by local fishermen and so workers are brought in to man them. The end result is that none of the increased revenue from the larger catches gets back to the local community but instead whisked away to line the pockets of someone much higher up the food chain. KWS has recently introduced regular beach clean ups, which is already making a difference and with continued pressure from the public, there is hope. KWS is starting to see the importance of the reefs and the potential income they can generate from tourism, but much expansion of the reserves is needed.

There are many hotels around Mombasa, but Voyager is perfectly apt as a mid range all-inclusive resort. Despite all the other development happening around Mombasa, the existing hotels have remained relatively untouched, leaving many which are most definitely in need of a re-vamp; made all the more backward by the absence of more exclusive boutique hotels. The costs for hotels range from around $90-$300 per night depending on season but for those on a tighter budget there is also cheaper accommodation at places like ‘The Mombasa Backpackers’, where it is $12 for a dorm bed for the night.

Outside of diving there are places where kite surfing is available and a full range of courses to be had. One of the best is Pepea Kitesurf based at Mombasa Beach Hotel. It is hard not to be infected by the obvious passion and love for the sport that the owner and instructor John Koyiet has. It is also well worth a trip to the south coast to visit Diani where you can find the ’40 Thieves Bar’ that has been ranked in the top ten bars of the world. Here there is a range of accommodation and smaller boutique style places start to appear. Linzi Kennaway who grew up on this Kenya South coast paradise created Kenyaways Diani Beach, Galu side, in July 2008. If you are heading down that way it is somewhere well worth checking out. It sits with the garden leading on to the beach and has beautiful views straight out to the sea. Linzi, not only a great hostess, is also an experienced kitesurfing instructor and there are few places more perfect to learn at. HO Extreme; Kenya’s leading kite school takes care of this side of things and they are also based at Kenyaways.

Mombasa is Kenya’s second biggest city, and with a population of around 1 million it is growing at a phenomenal rate. The development over the last few years has been massive; large numbers of apartment and office buildings have been going up and even the development of the new city mall is rapidly modernising the look of the area, while, however, the infrastructure still lags behind. The people are incredibly warm and friendly and are always ready to welcome you. Just a few hours drive away are some great safaris; Shimba hills is under two hours away, Tsavo east and west maybe 4-5 hours. About 8% of the Kenya’s land mass is protected area for wildlife conservation. The protected areas comprise of 23 terrestrial National Parks, 28 terrestrial National Reserves, 4 marine National Parks, 6 marine National Reserves and 4 national sanctuaries.1

Mombasa is served by Moi International Airport and is just under an hour flight from Nairobi, making it easy to get to from all parts of the world. Direct flights to Johannesburg are also now operating straight to Moi.

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