A HOME AWAY FROM HOME
On a tranquil stretch of private beach, surrounded by hallowed forest and sacred land, lies this small family-owned luxury resort, home to the Swedish family, Ida Trygg-Andersson and Filip Andersson, relatives of the famed Baron Blixen, and their three children. The name Kinondo Kwetu, “Our home at Kinondo” in Swahili, is reflected in its sense of true hospitality, where, on arrival, you will feel as though you are just coming home. Beautifully set among ancient baobabs, flamboyant and palm trees on the Galu beach, overlooking the Indian Ocean, Kinondo is a paradise for those wanting a more intimate experience on the Kenyan coast – a popular choice for honeymooners as well as for families. The resort offers the luxury of peace and quiet, freedom and rest, or a diverse range of activities, should you so wish. An ideal place to gather family or friends for an intimate celebration or a wedding.
With various accommodation options, all surrounded by green shady gardens, and just a few steps from a white sandy beach, Kinondo Kwetu can cater for up to 38 guests – there is the added option for the exclusive use of selected areas. There are seven suites in the central Mama Taa Villa, with access to the beach or gardens, a further three private cottages with en-suite double rooms, and the Beach House, with its two separate en-suite double rooms. The thatched properties are decorated with authentic African artefacts that reflect the brightly colored Swahili palette.
The resort’s exquisite cuisine features fish freshly caught in the Indian Ocean, and local vegetables, fruits and meat sourced daily to create delicious, flavorsome dishes. At Kinondo Kwetu, there is no set dining area. Attentive staff take advantage of the variety of enticing spots available; thus you may find your lunch being served on the beach, or under the cooling shade of the trees, or in the boathouse by the sea. Under the Stars of Kenya, dinner is served in the garden, on the beach or in the water tower. Kinondo Kwetu’s bartenders specialize in preparing healthy, refreshing tropical drinks, and the wine list offers a well-composed selection of South African vintages.
Kinondo Kwetu is situated in an area of sacred trees and ancient graves, and has been designated a Kaya area. Kayas are all protected by the National Museum of Kenya, and this particular one is protected owing to its traditionally sacred status for the inhabitants of the area, the Digo tribe. Many of the trees in Kinondo Kwetu are sacred to the Kinondo people, who believe their ancestors make their abode amongst these trees, especially the very old baobab tree with its open trunk. As such, locals from Kinondo are always welcome to visit Kinondo Kwetu, and are allowed to hold their ceremonies by the sacred trees and at the base of the cliff. Witnessing such an event is a truly magical experience for guests. Kaya Kinondo, the sacred Kaya Forest – is the first Mijikenda sacred forest to open for controlled ecotourism, and the first such activity on the Kenyan Coast. Here you can discover beautiful trees, corals, spectacular lianas, monkeys and birdlife, as well as experience the spiritual rituals of the local communities. Furthermore, Kinondo Kwetu sponsors the Whale Shark Trust and members of the Colobus Trust.
Kinondo Kwetu owes much of its charm to the surrounding community including Kinondo village, from where the majority of the staff are recruited. To the owners of Kinondo Kwetu, having an interaction based on mutual respect with the community is of vital importance, and, consequently, from day one the Kinondo Kwetu Trust fund was established, with the main aim being to support the education of children and provide health care for the villagers. To facilitate the latter, the Kinondo Kwetu Medical Clinic was set up – a clinic that currently caters to over 35,000 patients annually.
In addition to relaxing in the sun and swimming in the Indian Ocean, Kinondo Kwetu offers an impressive array of exciting activities; ranging from watersports such as kite surfing, water skiing, boating excursions with picnic lunches, deep sea fishing, kayaking and scuba diving to land activities such as tennis, horseback riding along the beach, mountain biking and yoga.
Horseback riding – With their stable of 4 horses, experienced riders can choose to explore the local sacred forests or simply canter along the beach. For the less advanced riders, there is the opportunity to practice their steps in one of Kinondo Kwetu’s riding paddocks.
Health and wellbeing – Exclusive yoga weeks, which attract masters from all over the world, are held at Kinondo Kwetu several times a year. As a completely holistic experience, not only do the exercises and ambiance exude a sense of health and wellbeing, but even the cuisine is specially adapted to detox and revitalize the body. Other activities include a wood-fired sauna, 2 swimming pools, a professional tennis course and a small exercise area.
Spa – Kinondo Kwetu offers yet another alternative with regard to pampering your body and soul. The spa facilities provide the perfect opportunity to lie back, relax and enjoy a massage and/or body treatment to the soothing sounds of the Indian Ocean. In addition to massages, facial treatments, manicures and pedicures are also available.
For the scuba diving enthusiasts, Kinondo Kwetu caters for all levels – from beginners taking their first PADI lessons, to experienced divers wanting to explore the reef. The reef is located in the immediate vicinity of the shore, and dives can be taken as close by as a 5-minute boat ride away. The ideal months for scuba diving are September to March, when the winds are favorable. The coral reefs along Galu Beach boast a generous diversity of marine life, including exotic species ranging from angel and parrot fish to dolphins, sea turtles, barracudas, black and white tipped reef sharks, as well as humpback whales (July through to October) and whale sharks (October through to March).
The bird life around Kinondo Kwetu is exceptionally rich in diversity, with Colobus monkeys not only being frequent visitors to the lodge, but also providing unique photographic opportunities. The Diani coastline offers unbelievable opportunities for landscape and beach photography, with Kenya’s underwater paradise providing rare and exciting marine memories for the underwater photographer.