The Sands at Chale Island is a hidden gem in the Kenyan South Coast. When I first saw it in pictures, I didn’t think it was in Kenya. Later, I learnt that it’s one of the #tembeakenya treasures. Chale Island is very beautiful in pictures.
The only thing you want after seeing the picture is to experience it. I got interested and I went ahead to research their charges. KES 14,700 for a single Standard per night and KES 19,600 for a double room per night is the lowest price you can get on full board.
If I had to go to Chale Island I wouldn't go alone. That means I would need a double room. Moreover, I couldn't have stayed for one night. Staying two nights requires me to part with KES 39,200. When I add transport whether by road or air and transfers to the hotel, it becomes a little on the higher side. My dream seemed to be crumbling and I couldn't think of another way I could land at Chale more affordably.
Stejos Tours and Travel pulled a Jesus on me. They put together a package for 3 days and 2 nights to Chale Island for only KES 20,000 per person when staying in a Standard room and KES 25,000 when in a banda. This cost was on full board and transport by road was inclusive. As if this was not enough, they added an excursion to Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park free of charge. These are guys who can take you to heaven and waive all your sins without asking you to repent. The offer was too amazing to pass up. I signed up, paid for two and invited a few of my friends.
We left Nairobi at around 8.00pm, made a brief stopover at Mtito Andei and got to Mombasa Town at 7.00am. Crossing the ferry was quick as there was no traffic. It is always a win when you get there early. By the time we boarded the bus on the other side, almost everyone had grabbed something to bite and drink. From here chale Island was only 2 hours away. The anxiety built up and we couldn't wait to get there.
On arrival, we met The Sands at Chale Island's staff on the mainland. They were ready to check us in from there. However, we needed to get to the island and kill the anxiety while Stejos Tours and Travel harmonized the rooming list.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Sands at Chale Island! This is the most precious jewel in the Kenyan tourism scene today. Transfer from the mainland to the island is dependent on water levels. When the tide is low, a tractor with seats on the trailer is used. On high tides, a motor boat serves better.
We got there during the high tide season and by default boarded a speed boat. The scenery on the island is exactly as I had seen on the pictures in the internet. This was a dream come true.
The boat left us on a raised walk way that leads to the reception.
A welcome juice and a detailed briefing followed. We were allocated rooms and informed that lunch was ready.
The Sands at Chale Island is situated along a white sandy beach. It is surrounded by indigenous mangrove forest and offers magnificent sea views.
The resort boasts of 3 outdoor pools and a spa. The rooms and suites at The Sands are elegantly decorated and reflect traditional architecture. Each is equipped with air conditioning, an en-suite bathroom and a Swahili-style bed. Guests can enjoy sea views from all rooms.
The resort's main restaurant serves traditional Kenyan cuisine, mixed with both Italian and Oriental dishes. Katika Ziwa specializes in seafood. Cocktails and other refreshments are enjoyed at the 2 bars.
You can unwind at the spa, which has 9 open-air treatment rooms and a fitness room.
Other facilities at the resort include a gift shop, a tour desk, and a shared lounge. Ukunda Airstrip is 15 Km away and airport shuttles can be arranged at a surcharge. Activities offered include diving, snorkeling and canoeing.
The resort is 12 Km away from Diani Beach and 65 Km from Moi Airport.
After lunch and freshening up, we went on for a late afternoon beach walk. The beach is simply amazing and clean too. There are corals when you get to the water and it requires you to be careful.
Here, we met Spikes. He is a beach boy who takes care of a natural aquarium. He gave us a tour of it and guess what? It was the best experience ever. The hub had different types of small fish and other sea creatures.
We however did not have enough time to go round the island, which three quarters are covered by mangrove Forest.
After the beach walk, it was time to swim. As I mentioned above, the resort has 3 swimming pools. One of them overlooks the ocean and has an island bar. The views of the ocean from there are breathtaking.
On the second day, I was early to catch the sunrise. It came out majestically painted gold.
The rays hit the shores of the ocean and created a masterpiece.
I took a few shots and sat down to watch it rise up the sky. What a great way to start the day.
After a few minutes however the sun was a bit more harsh and not romantic anymore. I went back up to my room, freshened up and walked to the restaurant for breakfast. At 8.30am, we left for the Kisite Mpunguti excursion. This is one of the activities you shouldn’t miss out on when in the South Coast. Although the road is not tarmacked, we got there in 2 hours. We registered at the Kenya Wildlife Service office and got ready to board.
The ride was really exciting. One of the reasons is that we were chatting while in the boats and created our own fun. The second reason is that we came across several islands including the renowned Wasini Island.
A few minutes after we passed the Island, we couldn't believe our eyes. It’s dolphins show baby.
The captains followed them slowly as we watched with our jaws on the floor. After the show, we got to an Island in the middle of the ocean covered slightly by water. It was covered in sand. We got off the boats and enjoyed swimming and many fun games. At the same time, guys were doing snorkeling in pairs.
This was a day to remember for water phobic people. I bet they were praying that nothing happens to the boats. The ride back was long. This is because we were hungry and we had used up all our energies having fun in the water. From Shimoni area to the Sands at chale Island felt like Nairobi to Mombasa. We arrived at the resort at 6pm and this was late for lunch. We therefore decided to freshen up and have dinner instead. The resort would have offered a late night dinner in case we felt hungry later in the night. There was a beach dinner organized for us with dim lighting. This place felt closer to heaven than any other place. The sad thing was that we were well aware that this was the last super as we would have to bid The Sands at Chale Island goodbye the next morning.
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