KITESURFING HOLIDAYS - CHE SHALE
Kenya is home to some of the most idyllic kitesurfing you could wish to experience. White sand beaches are fringed by palm trees, the Indian Ocean water is crystal clear, you're surrounded by all kinds of wild life and the wind and water conditions can give you seven out of seven days a week on the water, riding 8 to 14 metre kites!
In general the conditions in this part of Kenyan coast allow for almost year-round kitesurfing. The wind speeds vary depending on the time of season but have a minimum consistent average of at least 10 knots. This can jump up to 20 - 25 knots later in the season, often increasing to 30. If you're a learner, don't panic, it doesn't howl all day. There are usually fantastic learning conditions in the morning and early afternoon. For the better riders there's often epic waves to accompany the awesome winds. The other great side to taking a kiteboarding holiday in Kenya is that you're never short of other activities on or in the water, such as scuba diving or fishing and amazing experiences off it, including safaris and hiking. Combine your kitesurfing holiday with a visit to Tsavo national park or head up Mount Kilimanjaro for example.
Trade winds blow cross-shore at varying strengths through the year, with four main seasons.The Kuzi (southeast monsoon) howls in from late May to mid-July bringing an often gusty 15 to 28 knots. This is the main rainy season, however there's always some sunshine and the air temperature will remain at around 28°C and the water, 24°C. Decent swells push in at this time and the sea can be choppy.
From mid-July to mid-October the Kuzi eases a bit and the wind settles to a consistent 15 to 18 knots all day, the rain dries up and the weather becomes sunny and dry. The water and air temperatures are nudged up a couple of degrees and the waves really start to kick in. From mid-October to mid-December the Matalei prevails. Generally sunny, there can be some short rains and unpredictable, light winds as the season moves from Kuzi to Kaskazi. It's warm, but calm and flat. The Kaskazi (northeast Monsoon) swings over during December and stays until April.
With wind speeds at 15 to 18 knots most afternoons and the sea state calm and flat, this is a fantastic learning season and great for flat water riders. It's more than 30°C on the beach though but the Indian Ocean is at it's most beautiful at 28°C!
You need a visa which you can buy on arrival for 50 USD, payable in cash. Get a longer permit by applying to the embassy beforehand. You also need at least six months remaining on your passport. Your hotel will usually provide a transfer for you from the airport and if you're staying in Che Shale then you'll have all you need right on the beach. If you wish to see more of Kenya then hire a car - it is usually expensive though and the rules on the road are very different to what you might be used to but should be done, nevertheless.
In Che Shale it's all about luxury ecobandas on the beach and budget bandas next door at Kajama. Six rustic, thatched bungalows accommodate guests in either double or family rooms, each with en-suite bathroom and private verandah. The restaurant offers freshly caught seafood served with the best, fresh local vegetables and tropical fruit. Good food and company are the basic elements of a stay here. Alternatively you could venture the 25 kilometres to Malindi, famous for its culinary prowess, restaurants and hotels.
Malindi airport is a twenty minute drive from Che Shale. Alternatively Virgin and others fly to Nairobi and the internal transfer is just 45 minutes to Malindi. Mombasa is a two hour drive from Che Shale.