- Stunning beachfront location
- High-end property, impeccable service
- Snorkelling, diving, deep-sea fishing
- Dhow excursions, quad biking
The exclusive Alfajiri Villas occupy an unbeatable location on Diani Beach, about ninety minutes’ drive south of Mombasa, east Kenya. Tucked into coral cliffs, these sumptuous private villas are just steps away from the sea, with unparalleled views out across the Indian Ocean. Facing directly east, the spectacular sunrises give the villas their name, which means 'dawn' in Swahili.
There are three separate villas along the shoreline. The properties vary somewhat in size and style, but all are beautifully decorated, featuring infinity pools looking out to the ocean horizon and excellent 24-hour service. Cliff Villa is bright and breezy, with exquisite fabrics and a relaxed, elegant feel. The large veranda features hand-carved sofas and a dining area. There are four bedrooms including a twin on the ground floor, two doubles on the first, and the Turret Suite at the top, which boasts 270° views of the sea. In contrast, Garden Villa is distinctly more East African in style with a spacious veranda beneath a makuti roof, and cultural artefacts and fittings. This villa is enclosed by lush gardens, lending it privacy and seclusion. It houses four luxuriously-appointed double rooms, each with their own bathrooms and is perfect for four couples travelling together. Beach Villa is similar to Garden Villa, fringed with palms, and with a high makuti roof, and adobe walls. The ground floor houses two double rooms, and on the first floor there’s a twin and a double; note that only three of Beach Villa’s four rooms have air conditioning. A la carte meals are served al fresco or indoors within the villas. The food is superb, consisting of fresh seafood from the beach and produce from local farms.
There’s a really good range of activities to enjoy from snorkelling on the coral reef, to visits to an orphanage and local villages in the Diani Beach area. Each villa has its own massage facilities, and use of a gym and sauna is available at a nearby property. Other activities in and around Diani Beach include diving, deep sea fishing, kite surfing, and lovely excursions by dhow to the Kisite Marine National Park. There’s also quad biking in the Shimba Hills, as well as day safaris to Tsavo East National Park.
Children are welcome at any of the three properties, although Cliff Villa has an ideal set-up for families, with the rooms differing in size and more flexible bed arrangements. There are no age restrictions, and two English-speaking ayahs (nannies) are available 24 hours a day. Note that parental supervision is essential at all times since the pool is unfenced and there are no lifeguards on the beach.
The trip was amazing everything was better than we could have imagined.
There was a moment climbing the mount Kenya where my wife accused me of tricking her into doing this (half kidding) as some of the nights got pretty cold, but we were dressed well and the sunrise at the peak was astonishing.
Safari was spectacular, Ben who was our main guide and driver was awesome! We saw everything excepts rhinos which were more of a hope than a reality. We also were able to watch a rock python eat a Thompson gazel live. It was one of the most interesting and unsettling things I have ever seen.
Just overall, so many moments that make you think wow or I can't believe I am here. Thank you for your help in getting everything set up. I don't believe I could have booked the trip without your help and guidance. It was an amazing way to start our marriage and truly the trip of a lifetime!
William K reviewing 11 Day Mount Kenya Trek and Masai Mara Safari Combined on 29 October 2018
We both suffered but enjoyed it immensely. Just how it should be!!!!
Our route up the mountain, the Burguret trail is very arduous and certainly should not be used for people who are not very fit and experienced trekkers. It mainly followers animal trails through the forests and bog lands around the mountain. The Chogoria route down was great. The guide and porters were great. Wild camping means just that, really just what I wanted, but I have lived in Kenya.
Jonathan B reviewing Mount Kenya: Burguret Chogoria Traverse on 24 September 2018
Speke's camp was absolutely ideal - small and personal, with great hosts. We'd definitely recommend the "tented safari" experience to others. The kid's didn't miss having a pool (too interested in Safari). Speke's camp give you your own landrover and driver/guide, which gave us great flexibility (much better I suspect than what is offered by some of the larger camps). Our guide was brilliant. See below for the review we just posted on rip Advisor.
I think the only negative of the trip was getting through Nairobi airport (multiple security checks, and they ask you to "board" two hours in advance, which in fact means going into crowded transit lounge with no facilities), but there's not anything anyone can do about that
It's also worth saying that Peponi really is a unique experience. It's a proper East African institution, with all the locals dropping into the bar. It's the perfect antidote to anyone wanting to get away from the soulless all inclusive resorts which could be absolutely anywhere in the world (which seem to be a bit of a feature of Zanzibar). Lamu is still amazingly undeveloped.
We stayed at Speke's camp for 4 nights in August 2018 - a family of two adults and two children. For us it was the perfect location to experience the Mara. The camp is only a short drive outside the main Mara reserve and is in an amazingly picturesque location, set by a small river in the shade of trees. Wildlife roams near (and sometimes through!) the camp. You get to feel very close to nature when you have a buffalo rooting up grass just outside your tent in the middle of the night!
The camp itself is small and has a very personal feel to it. There are only eight or so guest tents, so you get to meet everyone passing through. One of the great pleasures was getting to chat to other guests over the evening meal or round the camp fire, swapping stories of the day's sightings. If you do want a little more privacy, then it's absolutely fine to eat in your own group.
Whilst you do sleep and eat under canvas, it is an extremely civilised experience: the beds are comfy (with hot water bottles provided to ward off the chill of the evenings); there are bucket showers which sound much more primitive than they really are; the communal area is very elegantly laid out; tea is brought to the tent before setting out on early morning game drives, and the food was fantastic.
What really makes the experience however are the wonderful hosts. Both Adrian and Veronique made a real effort to get to know us and ensure we were well looked after; and it's certainly worth picking Adrian's brains on the history of the region (it's not called Speke's camp for nothing)
The final word must go to our wonderful guide/driver Ambrose and our Masai spotter Marco. It was a real privilege to have our own land-rover and to be shown the reserve by such knowledgeable and charming individuals. Ambrose is a proper naturalist, can identify a lilac breasted roller at 200 yards, and knows where to see the best wildlife without simply following other trucks. On our final afternoon, with 30 minutes before we had to leave the Mara Triangle, we had seen every animal and bird that was on our wish list (including a live Cheetah kill), but had not seen a rhino. Marco saw a speck on the horizon, Ambrose drove like the clappers and as a parting gift we were able to see this most elusive animal up close. Notwithstanding all the awe-inspiring nature, I think my wife's personal highlight was driving the land rover back to amp along the dirt track through herds of zebra and ambling giraffe. A truly amazing experience all round.
Jonathan I reviewing Laikipia & Masai Mara Safari on 24 August 2018