Southern Palms is one of those beach resorts that could be found anywhere in the tropics. Compared to other resorts we've been to, the grounds are quite small, however the pool is absolutely huge. The resort itself is well maintained and clean with very friendly staff. Entertainment was a bit poor, not much going on around the hotel and not many facilities around the area. So if you're looking for a quiet place to relax this is the place to be. Other than that it's a good base for exploring the area if you're looking to do trips around the coast and a safari.
The rooms are large, decor is simple but nice - especially the African four poster bed. Our balcony was huge and we experienced frequent visits from local residents - the monkeys and bush babies! Make sure to keep your balcony door locked at all times as they will try to get in! We went half board and the buffet food was to a good standard although the choice was not as wide as we've experienced before. Local area is full of similar resorts, there is a proper hospital and two supermarkets where you can buy water and snacks. Closest village is Ukunda but don't venture there by yourself - you will be surrounded by people trying to sell you stuff! You need a local guide if you want to visit.
There is a small beach that belongs to the hotel however be prepared to get seriously hassled by the beach boys. In our two week stay, we've visited it only twice for that reason. While they're friendly and just trying to make the living, they're very persistant and this can get a bit annoying. After all you go on a holiday to relax and not to be hassled 24/7. We did however book two trips with the local agency - Wasini Island boat trip and a half day tour of the local village Ukunda. We were told that it was almost 90% to see dolphins on the Wasinin trip but we've seen none even after 2.5 hour on the boat through some rough seas. Most people on the boat felf queasy for the large portion of the trip. Although the island experience was quite nice, we got to see a local village and coral forrest - dead coral reef & mangroves.
Ukunda tour was very informative as we got to see a local school, hospital and a local medicine man - this one was quite funny actually. Our tour guide Mohammed was very good but make sure to negotiate the price before booking. You can find him on the beach among the beach boys.
Mohammed also sells Mombasa city tour - we would advise you to arrange your own Mombasa trip instead with a driver who works in the hotel (at the entrance) - Timothy. He has a nice comfortable car with aircon and he himself is a lovely man, The price will work out around the same as for the trip except that you get your own "private tour" with your private driver that will take you wherever you want to go. We took this opportunity to visit a local ophanage as well as seeing the city. Timothy has been very informative in terms of local culture, traditions and the Kenyan way of life - not as a tour guide but as a local family man. We really enjoyed his stories and his company, he is a very genuine and warm person and we highly recommend his services. We enjoyed the Mombasa trip so much that we rehired Timothy for a trip to Malindi up north and it was another great day. We got a tour around Malindi, saw some local attractions like a museum, Vasco da Gama pillar, first Catholic church built in Kenya etc. On the way back we visited a snake farm (close to Watamu) and this turned out to be the highlight of our day. If you're in any way interested, ask Timothy - he knows where it is :)
The farm was built in order to aid local people who are exposed to snake bites on daily basis. This farm is producing anti-venom on large scale and they have a collection of most snake species that live in Kenya. The person who took us around was very informative and entertaining. We got to see many different kinds of snakes, learned a lot about their habitat and even got to hold one! The farm's website is www.bio-ken.com
Orphanage we visited in Mombasa (Tumaini) was another amazing place. Founded by a British lady it now helps orphaned children with HIV. They have about 27 children there, aged between 8mths - 13 yrs old. The kids are absolutely amazing, we've spent a good few hours there and didn't want to leave! It's a must on your trip! They welcome visitors anytime. It's a good idea to call them before you visit to find out what their most needed products are - that's what we did and then we went to a local supermarket Nakumatt to buy it. Orphanage website www.tumainichildrenshome.com
We went on a 3 day private safari to Tsavo West & Amboseli and it was brilliant! We used Safari HITS Kenya www.safarihitskenya.com
Their offer is a great value for money in comparison to other prices we've seen around! Email Freddie Kilonzi to see what he can offer prior to your trip. Make sure to stay in Serena lodges during your safari - they are really good. You won't be disappointed!
Overall we had a great holiday and would definitely go back to Kenya.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This dramatic hotel with its fantastic pools and beautiful beach is the perfect spot to relax after a safari… or simply visit to relax! The warm and very African feel of the hotel with comfortable rooms, well appointed bathrooms and selection of restaurants offers guests plenty of places to lounge in the sun and almost as many shady spots to enjoy a bit of a breeze and a good book. All rooms have quiet, split unit air conditioners, televisions, mini fridges and coffee and tea making facilities. There is a safe (chargeable) in each room and a business center located in the main building with internet or wifi access in public areas. The drama of the huge, traditional makuti (thatched) roof in the main restaurant offers the Chef a terrific showcase for a varied selection of local and international dishes on the buffet or you could indulge at one of the a la carte restaurants (chargeable) for a special occasion or just a quiet evening for two. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Southern Palms Beach Hotel Diani
- Southern Palms Beach Diani