Our invitation to visit Distant Relatives Eco-lodge was one met with excitement and a bit of uncertainty. We had previously passed Kilifi en route Malindi and our first thought about the place was that it was a sleepy town with uninteresting places and features. Our arrival at Kilifi changed our previous perceptions and at that moment we knew we were up for a surprise.
We boarded a Tuk-Tuk to the lodge, and its secluded location off the beaten and dusty path led us up and down the hills, giving us a chance to see the lush scenery and cascading landscape. The flower-arched entrance, recycled glass bottles that served as lamps shades by the sidewalks, and traditional bandas gave us an idea of what to expect during the visit.
An eco-styled theme was prevalent at the lodge, with bamboo being the main construction material. Our home for the next two days was the private banda; a high-ceiling room with a king-size bed, a double bed, an outdoors shower and eco-washroom located in the banda’s spacious courtyard. The outside bathroom is pretty interesting at night given that you can take a shower while gazing at the stars. Really cool.
The hotel also maintains a permaculture garden which provides the kitchen with essential ingredients. The food was simply exquisite! The lodge serves both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, with every day specials for lunch and dinner. In the meantime, the bartender will whip a classic dawa (or a drink of your choice) to cool you off as you wait for your meal. However, expect to take your drink without the use of plastic straws, as part of the lodge’s eco-policy, they are banned in an effort to reduce plastic pollution.
An approximately 7 minutes’ walk from the hotel is Kilifi Creek. Bordered by a coral wall, the brown sand beach was occupied by a few young adventurers looking to cool off the hot afternoon sun. We were advised to visit the beach at night and look out for bioluminescent plankton. These tiny, star-like features illuminate the water as one swims or simply tampers with the water.
What took our breath away was Bofa Beach. An eye-popping stretch of white sands was surprisingly empty at the time of our visit. The sand was white, it literally hurt our eyes at first sight (notice the close enough rhyme).
Then – the people & positive vibes. Irrespective of where we came from, we somehow connected. Relaxing by the beach at midnight with our favorite drinks at hand, listening to feel-good Bob Marley music, we shared tales of where we’ve been and our hopes for the future. The common denominator we discovered was our love for travel and making a new family along the way who become, like the hotel, distant relatives.
Here’s a glimpse of our stay at the lodge:
The Food (Breakfast-lovers here!)
(Bioluminescence/Source: Tdub Photo)
Giriama Village Walk
With great/clean amenities, affordable accommodation & meal options, plus a ton of fun activities… the lodge is a backpacker’s dream hence the name ‘Kilifi Backpackers’. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly hotel and an alternative to the usual resorts along the Kenyan coast, Distant Relatives Ecolodge provides various affordable accommodation options such as camping, dormitories (which could be as low as KES 1,000), safari tents, private rooms, and ensuite bandas. Visit their website to learn more about the ecolodge as well as pricing details & get locations for your next backpacking adventure here.