Booze cruise: Floating restaurant, where the pizza and oysters magic happens
Saturday, October 23rd, 2021 00:00 | 3 mins read
Two years of not being able to freely travel the globe as you’d love might make you feel like you have nothing else to see of Coastal Kenya.
The historical sites of Lamu, the dhows and donkeys, Watamu villages, Malindi Marine Park and, of course, the crystal sandy beaches of Diani.
It’s always that, right? But what if you just haven’t explored enough? I am here to tell you that could well be the case.
Have you been to the Kilifi Creek? Literally the biggest creek at the Coast, and how best to experience it than to head over to the White Star Hotel and meet the majestic Aquana cruise boat.
Thanks to a friend, Freddie Del Curatolo, a tourism promoter and the spokesperson of the Italian Community at the Kenyan Coast, who invited me to specially have an experience at the hotel, about two hours drive from Mombasa, right after the Kilifi bridge, a few minutes’ drive off the main road.
I was actually invited to attend the inauguration of the boat itself, which took place in the evening. Unfortunately, I was a little late, but the kind hosts were patient enough to not leave me behind.
White Star Hotel has introduced the boat packages in order to give tourists a unique experience of the big Kilifi Creek, which is not the most explored at the moment.
While everyone else, about 40 in number, had to board the big boat, myself, a colleague who was accompanying me and a few others including Freddie and his wife Linah, went on a small boat, which has a capacity of about 10 people.
The small boat is a great ride to enjoy the sea because it goes faster, and one gets a wonderful experience of the creek’s sunset.
The bigger boat, though, is all party, music and drinks. They both go through Mandarini Bay, Island of the birds and Mnarani, exploring the sea and the creek in a full-blown boat party.
As Freddie shared, this new package comes to Kilifi in an effort to boost the tourism status of the location, which has been badly affected by the pandemic.
“The creek boat experience is something new courtesy of the Tourist Association and stakeholders, and it is an affordable and worthy undertaking.
For Sh1,500 per person, you get to experience the boat ride through the Kilifi Creek for a whole hour.
You enjoy the pristine nature as it is. This is a good way to explore the sea and the mangrove beaches, as well as enjoy the sunset, all while savouring fresh oysters prepared by the restaurant, or order some pizza,” says Freddie.
The big boat is fully fitted with a deejay’s booth and a bar to refill your favourite wine, strong stuff and soft drinks too.
Aquana’s resident DJ is the oldest in Kilifi. He has been a deejay since the 70s, and was up to date with the kind of music playing that evening. I found that impressive.
Abdhalla Salim Mohammed, popularly known as DJ Dulla, as a veteran, shared that the tourism industry in Kilifi has been deteriorating over the years, and there is need for more investors to pump resources to help pull things up a little, for instance this boat experience.
“As much as the pandemic greatly affected the tourism sector in Kilifi, things were already looking bad here.
So, the pandemic pretty much caused things to sink; now most hotels have closed down.
We need more creativity like this in order to try reviving the tourism sector in Kilifi.
We need more investors to come and introduce different kinds of tourism,” he said.
I couldn’t agree more. The kind of ambience at the Kilifi Creek is something that needs to be explored, and truly more investors should get on board.
I have not experienced something like this, not even in Lamu and her famous floating boat.
This is a moving boat, a whole party with a DJ and some really cool people, real Italian pizza, wine and everything splendid.
It’s something you just have to experience yourself to understand. If you are visiting the Coast this December, before or even after, you may want to make a date with the Aquana at White Star. Thank me later.