- Even for someone who has traversed the breadth of the Kenyan coast, this was a first.
- The tractor was specialised for ferrying tourists and goods, with strategically placed benches on the open back, complete with a roof in case it got too hot.
The half hour drive between Diani and Chale point, mostly on rough road, did not prepare me for the mode of transfer The Sands at Chale would use to get us to the resort.
It was a tractor.
Even for someone who has traversed the breadth of the Kenyan coast, this was a first. The tractor was specialised for ferrying tourists and goods, with strategically placed benches on the open back, complete with a roof in case it got too hot.
During high tide, guests can be picked up by speed boat from Chale point, but because there was no water, we were able to trudge over the sand with no problem, a distance of about 600 metres
One of the best things about the resort has got to be its accommodation, and the first thing we saw as we advanced upon the property was the overwater suites which are thatched with makuti and stand on stilts.
Their balconies have a jacuzzi, day beds and a ladder leading right into the sea, making these the perfect stop for anyone on honeymoon. The resort also has two semi-circular towers, each with a penthouse suite at the top- right above the trees, complete with a jacuzzi from which you can relax with wine or champagne as you take in the 270-degree views of the island.
All rooms are sea facing and my banda was perched right on top of a cliff overlooking the beach, lagoon and mangrove forest which we got to explore later that day. The decor was characterised by a colourful mix of African fabrics like kanga and mudcloth, accentuated by Italian stucco and antique Lamu-style furniture.
Chale Island is divided into two parts: the first is covered by a sacred kaya forest with the other 15 acres being designated to the resort. The resort is therefore the only accommodation available on the island, staff and guests being its only inhabitants.
he property is best suited for romantic getaways but if you’re traveling solo or as a family, signing up for any of their water sports and excursions is highly recommended because there really isn’t much else to do.
For total relaxation, pop into Maisha Poa Spa which has about nine semi-open treatment rooms surrounded by nature. And, as if one pool is not enough, they have three: a pool by the bar, a salt water pool and a central pool with a jacuzzi.
The restaurant specialises in seafood, Kenyan, Italian and oriental cuisine, but most of our meals were however a bit of a dissapointment, particularly given how beautiful the property is.
Electricity was only available in my banda from 6:00pm to 10:00am, an occurrence I also noticed at their sister property, The Sands at Nomad in Diani. Nomad actually has a silver eco-rating certificate for their efforts in sustainable tourism.
During our two night stay, I noticed little things like the fact that they have a plastic-free policy which includes straws and water bottles, host regular beach clean ups and encourage guests to buy souvenirs stocked at their shop and made from recycled flip flops, use solar energy, have biodegradable bathroom amenities from Cinnabar Green, are directly involved in forest conservation, and much more.
These efforts trickle right down to their kitchen where they encourage local fishermen to only provide grown fish, by for instance not accepting baby octopus.
The rooms at Sands at Nomad also continue the bust to beach theme I encountered at Chale.
The one we stayed at for instance had rainwater flowing in through a hole in the roof to a miniature garden at the centre of the bedroom, complete with an outdoor bath in the private backyard.