As soon as we landed after a 17 hours of transit, we hit the road again for the coast. It’s about an 8 hour drive [with stops] where half the roads smooth before you get to the parts that looked like IEDs went off on them. The trip is pretty uneventful. You may see an elephant or some zebras along the way, but it’s just driving through the countryside of Kenya [300 Miles of Kenya’s Countryside from Nairobi to Mombasa (2012)].
We took a break at Voi at this place called Poa cafe. There’s a little playground, something for the kids to stretch their legs after sitting in the car for so long.
Voi is the largest town in Taita-Taveta County in southern Kenya, Coast Province. It lies at the western edge of the Taru Desert, south and west of the Tsavo East National Park. The Sagala Hills are to the south.
Where we stop in Voi is really just the Shell
gas petrol station with a cafe [and playground] just off Mombasa Road. Voi is just over a 4 hour drive from Nairobi and just another 2 hour drive to Mombasa. It’s a good place to stop because once you get to Voi, the temperature and humidity really starts to rise as you get closer to the coast.
Before heading to our lodgings, we stopped by Nakumatt Nyali. Since the last time we visited, they added a a Cold Stone Creamery and Domino’s.
Kenya is slowly westernizing, but what’s just a pizza joint for us is a bit higher end there. I’m used to take out counters, aloof employees, maybe a plastic chair to sit and wait if you’re pick up, or the need for some patience if ordering because “30 minutes or it’s free” doesn’t exist anymore. And if you’re pizza does take a really long time, well, no one cares.
The employees at the Domino’s at Nakumatt Nyali, though, were more than pleasant and nice. It was as if they had the good jobs and actually liked working there. It’s not really a Kenya thing; can’t say customer service is high on the list of waitstaff at your everyday eatery. But at Domino’s these people looked like they were having fun.
And then they started blowing up some balloons for the cousins and turned the dining area into a play place.
Most importantly, though, I was skeptical about the pizza. Could Kenyans make pizza so that we Americans might like it? Funny, I’m not a Domino’s fan anyway back home, so this was really asking for trouble. To my surprise, I actually felt like the pizza was better than all our delivery pizza joints. Seriously.
Nduku’s people all say it’s because they use all fresh ingredients, as if we use years old pepperonis and molding cheese. Whatever it is, I was impressed.
Papillon Garden Bar Villa
We spent the night in Bamburi [just north of Mombasa] at a place called Papillon Garden Bar Villa. The place needs a little refurbishing, but it was a welcomed break from all the traveling.
Cozy place. I like any place with an outdoor bar and restaurant decorated with pieces of art here and there for atmosphere. It’s not upscale like the other resorts and hotels in the area, but for a night, it was perfect.
Though getting malaria from mosquito bites is a bit exaggerated [in the more developed parts of Kenya at least], you still don’t want to get bitten. If you’re not used to these mosquitoes, they can leave some really big itchy lumps all over your body. I got bit on the bottom of my foot making walking not so fun for the day.
So, you get mosquito nets everywhere you go. Najwa, though, called it her tent, since we were on an adventure, the perfect venue for her to keep playing with that damn balloon that was starting become a nuisance.
Breakfast was good, but of course, I could’ve used some American bacon. Are we the only ones who like it crispy, with some of the fats to chew on and a little greasy?
Kenya is known for its wildlife. As well as the lions, wild buffaloes, giraffes and so forth, Kenya has some exotic reptiles and really aggressive blackbirds.
Just be sure not to leave your food unattended. The ants show up first, but if you step away for just a moment, you’ll find your food up in the trees.
And what do the cousins do after breakfast? Back to the balloons!