As many international overlanding families are connected via facebook (especially through the Facebook group "International Overland Families"), for a long time we had planned to meet the "Dacaluf" and "KUMP" families from France. We finally meet in Kilifi north of Mombasa at the "Distant Relatives Ecolodge and Backpackers". This place really is special: you enter the place walking through djungle-like vegetation and suddenly find yourself in the middle of a Caribbean Rasta bar ... Carribbean???
Well, I am sure that what we call "Carribbean" feeling or lifestyle originally is African. Very African and definitely touching the heart! What a place!
The campsite is spacy, the food is fresh from the sea and really great, there is a pool and down in the creek you can go swimming or spend some time on the "Musafir", a traditionally built dhow established by a group of volunteers who plan to do a project on it, sailing the waters of the Indian Ocean and following the idea that the connecting forces of the oceans have always been more important than the dividing ones ...
Meeting other overland families is really great ... they experience the same things, positive and negative and it simply is wonderful to be able to exchange ideas, material, experiences et cetera ...
Our Christmas we spend with the two French overland families and we also invite people we meet at Kilifi, a Dutch family living in Nairobi and a Canadian who is married to a Kenyan with their daughter. Later on, we are joined by an English/Ugandan father Christmas. Some days earlier, also Stan and Anne from "Slowdonkey" showed up and stayed for two nights, but they wanted to spend Christmas ON the beach and went to Tiwi down south.
We home cook 6 lobsters, 4kg of fresh prawns and 11,5 kg of fresh Baracuda, all bought freshly directly from the local fishermen ... what a feast!
On the second day of Christmas, we go on celebrating: it is our daughter Anouk's 6th birthday, the second she now has spent in Africa.
With her new friends from France, Kenya and the Netherlands she enjoys the pool and in the evening she has "open end" and we go to an "African Jazz" concert at "Distant Relatives". The children dance until late in the night.
A few days later, we direct ourselves from the Kilifi Creek to the beach north of Malindi. The beach directly in front of the tented camp "Barefoot" simply is gorgeous: we camp directly behind the beach in the bushes and enjoy campfires at the beach and bbqing but also the great food cooked in the restaurant by Eddie and Selma, the owners of Barefoot.
For New Years' we go to the Barefoot Restaurant and indulge in Eddie's 8 course (!) dinner. The kids have their own table and are allowed to occupy the kitchen and make their own pizzas.
While we are at the beach we first hand hear the story of a public bus in northern Kenya, which is stopped by a group of fundamentalist Muslim terrorists who want to execute all Christians in the bus. But all Muslim passengers guard the Christians in the bus and the terrorists finally let them go. Still, two people die in this incident. We try to find out what the European media report and find ... only small notes: from what we know, both major German TV-channels only report of the incident either on radio or with a short notice on their website only! Why don't our media put incidents like this into the main news? They happen just as often as terrorist attacks, maybe even more often! The problem is that good news don't sell well and bad news are bestsellers! But this one-sided media coverage about Egypt, Sudan and Kenya has such a very bad impact on tourism here ... which is down to maybe 20% of what it was a few years before ... So very many families have to suffer and are struggling to feed their children ... this can and most surely will be a new breeding ground for even more terrorism and crime!
Anyway, we don't feel unsafe at all in Kenya and are really relaxed here. Kenya is a great place to be and all Kenyans we meet are most welcoming and warm people.
Unfortunately, after a few days Juliane develops a really bad cough which makes us go out of the beach wind and back to colder Nairobi to later proceed to Uganda and Rwanda from there. Sadly, we leave our new French friends, which especially for Anouk is really hard.