As fun as my trips are – you hate me, I would! – the schedule is often gruelling. On a week-long trip, there are frequently two 5 a.m. starts.
Work starts before take-off. I note the airline experience, changes at the airport, how we are processed and more.
As soon as I arrive at a hotel, I start taking photos, checking in on social media, talking to staff, meeting the manager. How we’re welcomed is important.
I have a formula now: take photos of my hotel room before I dump all my crap and mess the place up! (You’ll never get the room to look the way the maid / room attendant does, so don’t even try). Next I put my valuables in the safe before I get distracted by the hectic schedule. (On this trip to the Kenyan coast, I even LEFT something in the safe… a whole new thing to worry about on my next trips!)
At breakfast time, I’m that weirdo that has to photograph everything. Don’t worry if you’re in the photo. It’s the food I’m focusing on: I’ll crop you out. (Nothing personal).
As the day progresses, I juggle camera, phone, battery pack, rechargers, notebook and occasional, sometimes audible, screams of I LOVE MY LIFE as we head to the next destination.
Dinner may be preceded by a tour of the kitchen, a chance to meet the chef, or a discussion about tourism and room bookings …
Every trip is a chance to learn more about a destination, a tourism activity. I pack in as much as I can. (I extended a recent Kenya trip no less than four times thanks to the very accommodating Jambojet).
I continue taking photos, some with my camera, and some with my phone. (Can you imagine the gazillion images there are to process when I get home!) I retrace my steps and take new pictures of the same places, early morning and evening time. A place looks different after you’ve lived there for a day or two.
If there’s a bath, I’ll always have one, even if it’s just the briefest ‘jump in and out’ before the next activity calls; it’s part of the routine. (A bath is a luxury – I live on the edge of Kibale Forest where we bathe in a bucket!)
I try on the bathrobe, I have a drink on the veranda.
If there’s local food, I’ll always try it. I take part in all the activities thrown at us. Showing off is all part of the game.
And at a certain point, there’s an unexpected gap in the programme and I breathe. I take in the moment.
I think about my family, my closest friends, the people I want to share these moments with, and that’s when I really smile, remembering happy times, planning future special moments together.
Swahili Beach Resort in Diani is high on my list of places for ‘a proper holiday.’ This trip was just a ‘recce’ (a research trip). I spent a few minutes in one of the resort’s eight (yes 8!) swimming pools thinking how much my sister Sarah would love being here too – one day, I hope sis! These smiles are for you
The central feature of Swahili Beach Resort is the series of eight swimming pools. When seen from above, they appear to be one long passage of water that cascades downhill to the ocean. Every pool has its steps, making each one appear like a private pool. Over 3,000,000 litres of water pass through the swimming pools every day.
It’s incredible to think that this five-star luxury hotel was created out of a big lump of coral rock.
Jeff Mukolwe, General Manager of Swahili Beach Resort explained: “Kenya Wildlife Service gave us permission to excavate the dead coral and allowed us to build a low wall to help reduce erosion of the current beach. In time, coral will grow on the wall.” This is possibly Diani’s biggest land reclamation project.
Swahili Beach Resort is a dream wedding destination, whether for small ceremonies for 20 or a 4-day Indian wedding for 250 people! On the weekends preceding my stay, Swahili Beach hosted wedding guests from Kenya, Ethiopia, Canada, the UK and Australia. “The clifftop area has been a very special place for a number of different couples who got married here.” Find me a husband, I say .