The F.O.M.O. Travel Show visits the #DriftwoodClub in #Malindi


(Posted 06th July 2020)

Following the lifting of travel restrictions into and out of Nairobi and Mombasa counties, did domestic air travel resume across Kenya on the 15th of July.

Like many other beach resorts, due to travel prohibitions by the Kenyan government, did the Driftwood Beach Club in Malindi – regularly described as Kenya’s best bare feet resort – also have to close down but took advantage of the downtime to carry out major refurbishments and maintenance, before reopening on the 17th of July. Achola Rosario took the opportunity to witness the grand reopening close up and personal and here following is her account of a clearly superb experience – and her YouTube clip showing what the Driftwood is all about.




I arrived like a thief in the night at the famous Driftwood Beach Club, after being duped by the Mombasa Raha coach booking conductor that the bus was indeed going to Malindi for KES2,500 ($25). Instead we majestically arrived in Mombasa 9 hours later at 5pm on a Thursday evening, 3 hours away from my intended and promised destination. Add to that a matatu conductor who tried to con me out of my KES600 ($6) fare paid by mobile money and mercifully returned by the indignant driver, who dropped me at Driftwood direct just before the 9pm curfew set in. Needless to say, I was grateful though travel stained and, needless to say, in a very bad mood.

The reception was closed, but the security alerted the Director. Roger Sylvester personally came out to welcome me, laugh at my pain, and show me to my cute little cabana by the beach that was to be my abode for the next 3 days.

I had also been recently ditched so I was determined to crush lemonade out of my lemons, with the aid of a lovely cyan bottle of Bombay Sapphire. I unpacked and tested my equipment with a few ablutions and prepared for Opening Day/Night of post-COVID Driftwood.

The characters in this place can only be described as people with “legendary” histories, masquerading as ordinary folk. My journalistic radar was itching to ask very personal questions but I held my tongue (as much as I could under my current influence) and stuck to my glass. My Sapphire bottle was never far behind.

It earned me quite a few points from my newly-minted retired friend we shall call Major Bruce, who looked like he had stepped out of an episode of Dad’s Army. Spoke like a proper Lord though. He won my heart simply by worshiping my exposed legs. I had been sent back to my cottage to remove my jeans and heels, and stick to the regulation shorts and bare feet. Sandals if you really must be a snob. Also, phones must by switched off at the bar, you can get wifi in your rooms if you are desperate. I got scalped at the end of the night, so I guess that means a piece of me will always be at Driftwood. To the lay people, that means, I lost my hat. It was a good hat.

I beat a hasty retreat back to my cottage before the werewolf in me emerged, and asked the waiter for a glass of wine for the ditch to be brought to my room. A knock on my door 5 minutes later found a waiter carrying a bottle of lovely Californian Cabernet Sauvignon, with scents of cherry-vanilla, compliments of Roger. And with a proper red-wine glass. The man wants to kill me. The next day was not very productive, save for an early morning interview with Roger, mainly to show him that I am still alive. He told me Driftwood was built in the 1960s by Dick Soames, Sir Winston Churchill’s grandson, black-sheep of the family who ran off to Kenya to start this community of outdoor hedonists, lovers of nature and general pirates and their molls (what do you call a pirate’s woman?).

I ate my way through a gorgeous seafood tower that consisted of fresh sail-fish and prawns layered with lettuce, boiled eggs and tomato slices and topped with horseradish sauce and capers. Drizzled with olive oil and fresh lime, it danced on your tongue like a sip of sprite soda straight from the ocean. The Sunday Curry lunch had the place packed with locals who walked from their residences along the beach to come eat. This is something they clearly did every Sunday, as well as some fresh visitors coming to stay in one of the 26 double-bed en-suite cottages.

My only complaint was when housekeeping took my bacon and egg sandwich that I had ordered the night before and only half-nibbled when I went out to nurse my banging head in the cold ocean the morning after Opening Night. I had perfectly timed the way I was going to eat it only to come back famished and it was gone…

The full English breakfast I had fully compensated for the loss so really, I should not complain.

There is lots to do at Driftwood, even when it is very windy like it was when I was there. People come for kite-surfing, deep-sea fishing, there is the Marine Park nearby, Roger Sylvester’s Big Mama Tours on his 38ft Mozambican “Jahazi” Dhow. The huge sailboat can comfortably carry 5-10 people and take you in style to sandbanks far into the ocean that appear at low tide. You chose your island for the day, fire up the BBQ and grill some of your fresh catch, to the sounds of your personal Soundcloud playlist on Bose speakers, while you hurl insults to the Italians on the next island in glass boats and tiny thongs. That glorious experience only sets you back $60. Or you can come show your skills at surfing barrel-waves, Driftwood is after all the official HQ of all professional surfers, chini ya maji (undercover fact).

Cottages at Driftwood Beach Club have double beds as well as an extra single bed if required and go for $150 at current post-COVID prices.

For bookings:

+254 722 512 846

To watch Episode 36 of the F.O.M.O. Travel Show Driftwood Decompression click on the next link:


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