04-11-2019 by Leni Frau
One of the symbols of the Kenyan coast is undoubtedly the dhow, the typical Swahili boat.
Once just sailing, now also with the support of the engine, the dhow from a classic means of work for fishermen with the advent of tourism has turned into a fascinating boat to live an emotion that only the African Indian Ocean can give, a bit 'as happens in Turkey with the gulet and Bali with the sampan.
Today, every tourist destination can boast a great reference dhow on which to explore marine reserves, creek, mangrove forests, islands, beaches inaccessible by land and other often unspoiled paradises.
With the return of this fashion, which in the eighties exploded in Lamu and was also exported to Malindi and Diani, now many hotels and resorts have their own dhow, while some safari agencies have their own traditional boat to offer customers an alternative to diving and snorkeling in the Indian Ocean.
Here is an overview of the Magnificent 7 dhows of the Kenyan coast according to malindikenya.net
1. PILI PIPA DIANI
Pili Pipa is a well-known marine safari agency in Diani that has two traditional Arab dhows, Almasi and Monsson.
Monsoon is the largest and largest, it was built in Shimoni shipyards by shirazi shipwrights. Boats like this are usually built in Lamu or Tanzania. The Monsoon has a spacious and unique "sun deck" where guests can relax and sunbathe. Almasi is smaller and newer, built in 2014.
2. MIDA DHOW
The Mida Dhow is a floating restaurant set up on a typical wooden boat.
It offers a relaxing aperitif at sunset along the Mida Creek followed by an unforgettable dinner under the stars. Or you can opt for a day's sailing along the mangrove-lined creek and sunbathe before mooring for a swim and a fantastic lunch.
3. TAMARIND DHOWS
The dhow of the Tamarind Restaurant, moored under the famous restaurant overlooking the creek of Mombasa, opposite the old town on the island, was once used for trade along the coast and the largest, "Nawalilkher" came to the Arabian Peninsula. It was renovated more than thirty years ago and, while retaining the appearance of a boat of the past centuries, is in effect a local sailor, with kitchen and corner for live music and dance floor. It is eaten during the excursion around the city. By reservation only, it can accommodate up to 70 people for dinner or 100 for aperitifs on board.
4 SAWA SAWA A CHE SHALE
The restaurant and lodge on the golden beach of Che Shale was equipped a few years ago with a small dhow built on the Quirimbas islands of Mozambique and brought to Mambrui by the owner Justin Aniere. Today it works as a service to customers and also to the outside who want to rent it, to snorkel, visit a nearby island. The excursion preferred by the guests is a full day of sailing and snorkeling with a lunch of grilled fish on board. It can accommodate up to ten people and is tastefully furnished with sofas, pillows and curtains.
5. TUSITIRI DHOW LAMU
The Tusitiri is a historic dhow that has traveled far and wide throughout the African Indian Ocean and has been restored and permanently based in Lamu, to be used for excursions in the archipelago which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The peculiarity of the Tusitiri is that you can also sleep there, with comfortable accommodation under the stars, in addition to lunch and dinner, with toilets and booths for luggage and clothing, in addition to a shower, also warm outdoors.
6. BIG MAMA AT DRIFTWOOD
More than a dhow, it is a jahazi, a sailboat of the same size but small, but no less fascinating. The Driftwood Club of Malindi also uses it for outdoor use, for excursions on the sandy atolls of Mayungu (better known, ahinoi as "Sardinia 2") although it can safely venture even up to Che Shale and beyond. It has comfortable sunbeds and you can also eat and drink (especially!) on board.
7. DHOW SAFARI TO SHIMONI
The traditional Arab dhow Waswila is available for excursions in the marine park of Kisite, with the possibility of snorkeling or diving in an enchanting and special place thanks to the large presence of dolphins, sea turtles, moray eels, starfish and other species. If you wish, the dhow also has a music system.
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