By Sanika Shah
The Kenyan city Mombasa is a melting pot of languages and cultures from every side of the Indian Ocean. Aside from an obvious East-African influence, the city is also inspired by Arabia and India, creating a rich history and intoxicating sights which visitors find themselves seduced by.
Yet, and unsurprisingly, the best part of Mombasa is the fact that it is a coastal town surrounded by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and perfect white beaches, to which thousands of tourists flock each year. African beaches are undoubtedly some of the best in the world, and Mombasa is an ideal location to relax, rejuvenate and be refreshed by the combination of a thriving marine ecosystem, friendly people and luxurious resorts.
One of the best and popular resorts on Mombasa’s North Coast is Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort and Spa, which offers bed and breakfast, half-board, full-board or all-inclusive packages. The resort is a part of the Sarova Group, a giant Kenyan chain well known for its lavish but affordable hotels, resorts and game lodges found across the country, and therefore, has been loved by families, honeymooners, and students alike for decades.
Situated on Bamburi Beach, one of the longest strips protected by the Mombasa Marine Park, Sarova Whitesands is one of the finest accommodations for a memorable beach holiday getaway.
The resort has 335 en-suite rooms that provide either ocean, pool or garden views and make you feel comfortable and contended. Each room is equipped with air-conditioning, a minibar, a LED television and memory foam beds to guarantee a good night’s sleep after a long day in the sun. Bathrooms contain all the relevant amenities along with complimentary toiletries a hairdryer.
Breakfast is served daily at The Pavilions, and lunch and dinner at either of the 3 onsite restaurants, the all day dining Minazi Cafe, the elegant Lido Lounge or the exclusive Cocos Beach Bar which overlooks the calming waves of the ocean. You can also take advantage of 24-hour room service and have breakfast on the beach too! The food is unbelievably delicious, and if you have any dietary concerns or requests, the incredible chefs always do their best to satisfy your needs.
While swimming is naturally a big part of any beach vacation, Sarova Whitesands provides opportunities to partake in activities outside of their 5 outdoor swimming pools. The resort has a gym, tennis courts, Ping-Pong tables, and a darts board as well as daily beach volleyball and football to keep your heart pumping. If you are not a huge fan of sports, relax at the full-service spa, where you can enjoy massages, body and hair treatments, and facials.
For families travelling with young children, the resort also has the “Ozone Kids Club” which keeps them both occupied and entertained for hours.
Adventure seekers should look no further as the resort has an amazing and relatively inexpensive water sports centre called Blue Lagoon. Here, guests have the opportunity to partake in exhilarating activities including glass-bottom boat rides, snorkelling, kayaking, windsurfing, and my personal favourite, jet-skiing. Whether it is viewing the beautiful marine life through a glass, swimming alongside the waves as you snorkel or have the wind in your face while on a jet-ski, not only will you create unforgettable memories, but there is no better way to feel connected to nature.
Evening entertainment is also vital to the fulfilling experience offered. People are encouraged to relish (and sometimes participate) in the various traditional dance performances that take place as well as listen to exceptional live bands. If you are up to leave the hotel, there are also several beach clubs around where you can dance the night away under the moonlight.
At the beginning of this article, I shared that Mombasa has a diverse community, and the impact of this diversity is found everywhere, even the architecture. Therefore, it is also worthwhile to discover the world away from the beach and Sarova Whitesands is in the perfect location to do so.
These are several attractions to consider exploring and are easily accessible with the hotel shuttle bus:
Fort Jesus – the famous historical monument and oldest architectural site in Mombasa was built by the Portuguese in 1593 as their first line of defence against the Arabs. Later, when Kenya was under British rule it was used as a prison. Sightseeing hours are between 8am-6pm.
Mombasa Old Town – depicts the towns mix of Arabic and Swahili influence as reflected in the historic buildings, narrow streets, giant carved Lamu doors and the old harbour.
The Lighthouse in Old Town – the area around the lighthouse comes alive in the evenings and is a perfect place to engage in the local culture by meeting welcoming people and eating appetizing street food.
Haller Park – contains a flourishing ecosystem created from a rehabilitated limestone quarry, including porcupines, peacocks, a snake park, fish farm and a crocodile farm. It is open between 8am-6pm.
Mamba Village – is the largest crocodile farm in Africa and also has horse riding, camel riding and picturesque botanical gardens. It is open daily between 8am-6pm.
Tamarind Dhow – “Nawalilkher” and “Babulkher” are extravagant Arabic styled ocean-going floating dhow restaurants, offering both lunch and dinner cruises through and around the enchanting old harbour of Mombasa town
Finally, you can buy souvenirs from the small markets on the beach such as the unique handmade sandals, stunning jewellery, colourful printed African fabrics and Kikoi clothing.
Overall, Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort and Spa gives guests more than a beach holiday, it allows people relax but also be active and get away from all the stresses of every day but also be immersed in Kenyan society.
It’s time for that beach getaway! The perfect tropical beach paradise awaits.
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