“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous
I love this quote. It is so true. We travel so that we can experience life and travel renews us, our spirits, our minds and bodies.
Mashujaa weekend I had a chance to attend a very under-rated (perception wise) holiday plan which turned out to be the best thing ever- camping on Tiwi beach. My friend wasn’t even sure we should go for that plan. She wanted us to go for another 2 nights 3 day plan that had lots of tours and doing stuff holiday. But truth is I was really tired, and needed a low key holiday where I could recharge, catch my breath, look at the ocean for hours, swim and just chill. That was my idea for a holiday plan.
My friend Njooro was organizing the beach camping. He had done this before at Tiwi 2 times before. This time I was determined to get in on the camp which I had heard was a great experience. Since we were doing a budget kind of trip we took the bus to Mombasa.
We had Njooro met us when we arrived in Mombasa and after picking up somebody else who was going to Tiwi from their bus we went for breakfast at Barka. Thinking about that breakfast just makes me salivate. They have some great food. I recommend that you check it out the next time you are in Mombasa. I am surprised I have never been to Barka before. Had I known that that breakfast would also turn out to be our lunch (because of the hours we spent in jam trying to access the ferry) I would have eaten more of the delicacies. One thing we did learn though is that if it is a holiday weekend and everybody from Nairobi is at the coast you had better be on the ferry as early as possible. Nairobians are the same everywhere, trying to cut corners to enter a lane and they bring it to Mombasa too.
The first glimpse of Tiwi seems magical to me now 2 months later. There were tents then just beach. The first thing we did was to shower, and then head to the beach. The cool water felt so good after many hours of jam in the hot Mombasa sun, which we spent putting ice cubes in our clothes or hair to cool down even as we cooled down our drinks in the car.
Highlights of Tiwi
The beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
We used to wake up at 5 am to watch the sunrise on the beach. It is a beautiful sight, watching the sun come out in hues of orange and yellow. There is something about sitting on the beach in silence as you watch the sunrise that you can’t explain. You just have to experience it. The first morning just as we got up it started raining heavily and we had to get back into our tents to wait it out. We were worried about the rain coming through the material of the tent but it didn’t. Thank God!
The fishermen on the beach caught some octopus – pweza in Kiswahili for us on the request of Njooro. Many of us were not too sure about eating octopus for the first time. I had eaten squid before and didn’t like it. In the spirit of adventure though many of us tried it. It was delicious. The flavor came out just right. You can be sure now it is on my list of things to eat.
Party on the beach
We partied on the beach. There was a DJ that Njooro had hired for Saturday and Sunday night. We had fun on the beach dancing and playing football and some beach ball. We also got some drinks courtesy of SAB miller so there was plenty of Redds to go around for those who were drinking.
The bonfire and games.
We had a bonfire every night. We got to talk and also play games. I did not know there is an electronic version of spin the bottle and truth or dare. I found out. We also had a night of playing never have I ever. That was the most hilarious thing ever.
Swimming in the ocean
Nothing beats swimming in the ocean. And we had some pretty warm water when the tide was in. It was awesome just relaxing as we floated and chatted in the water.
Making new friends.
The only person I knew when going on the trip was Njooro and My friend Anne who was accompanying me from Nairobi. It was fun getting to know new people and turning strangers into friends. I had a great time with those guys.
Drinking madafu (tender coconut)
I have always been suspicious of madafu and why people drink it which is why I have never drank it. This time I had people to explain to me the benefits of it and after that I was drinking lots of it. Some of the benefits include hydration of the body, cleaning up the kidney, breaking up kidney stones, it kills intestinal worms and it is also has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It also is a diuretic so you will end up going to the toilet alot because it increases urine production and flow (something to note if you are about to travel after drinking madafu.
Eating different kinds of fish
We sort of ate what was the catch of the day. So we ended up eating different kinds of fish. It was great.
I got my henna (piko) tattoos. I was worried that I would not be able to get somebody to do them but I got somebody to do it and it came out well.
In the morning when the tide was out one could walk very far in to get shells. The only issue was the black sea urchins so we were abit scared to wander too far in. One day I did, and I got some great shells, small ones of course but I also had a lucky find and found one big one that had a tenant (as I later found out). There were also people selling shells and out of a need to support the local ecomony then out of a real need I bought a couple of shells and necklaces.
Sand skin scrub.
We rubbed our skin with the fine sand to remove dead skin and cleanse the skin as well. It is sort of like sandpaper but more gentle.
The only downside. Having to get out of the tent to pee in the middle of the night. There was sufficient security with guards patrolling that particular part of the beach. Still it was abit scary. Also there is no hot water in the communal showers but that is not a problem with the coastal heat.
At the end of my four days 3 nights I wondered how I could leave this magical place but I had a night in Flamboyant Hotel to consider. I understood why people leave their jobs and other lives just to live on the beach. There is something about camping that puts you closer to nature then staying in a hotel. I appreciated the beach and the ocean more than I have before. This trip was different and I was different. I came back changed, more at peace and more calm. And there is something that I can always say. We will always have Tiwi.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain
This may interest you – 9 reasons why budget travel is the best way to travel.