On Safari in Kenya

Before leaving Zanzibar, we wanted to spend time also visiting the northern part of Pemba Island, so we anchored off the small town of Wete to find a driver to show us around.  Here, we will complete our Immigration and Customs clearance to go to Kenya.

We have received our visas for Kenya online, so the last thing we need is proof of a negative Covid test, done 96 hrs before entering that country.  We had to calculate the right weather window to sail the 100-mile overnight passage to coincide with the Covid test appointment, and have the results before checking out.  The Red Cross Covid centre was a 45 min drive from Wete, and with our friends from Javerne, we were the only clients, so had to wait for the Doctor to arrive. 

Laundry day. There are always interesting things to see in and around the villages while waiting for the doctor.

The week went by very quickly, driving through forests of clove trees up to the lighthouse at the tip of the island.  It was interesting to note that men have to climb these trees to gather the clusters of ripe cloves, separate them then put them out in the sun to dry. No wonder they are so expensive.

We never tired of seeing the Dhows and watching how they are still using all the traditional methods of sailing and repairing their hulls.

Our negative Covid tests results arrived so it was time to leave for Kenya. The winds were light until midnight, so we enjoyed a lovely spinnaker sail as we watched the sun go down. Then the wind died, so we ended up motoring the rest of the way, with the help of a 2.5 knot current helping us along, we arrived at the entrance to Kilifi River at 0700hrs as planned.

We need to pass beneath overhead electric cables and a bridge which span this river, to reach the Kilifi Boat Yard where we have arranged to spend the next 6 weeks. It was important that we pass at low tide, so we spent several anxious moments as we approached with caution then passed safely underneath. Just!!!

We picked up a mooring, and joined the dozen other boats already in this lovely, calm and protected anchorage. Then we went below and rested for a few hours, while waiting for a visit from Quarantine to clear us to go ashore.

Once cleared, we called the boat yard water taxi {free service} to take us ashore to join our friends at the bar/restaurant on the beach.

The boatyard offers many necessary facilities for repair and maintenance of cruising boats, out boards, and if they can’t do the job, they have all the necessary contacts.  We will be hauling out Mai Tai here before we leave for the Red Sea, in September.

We spoke to the Quarantine Officer about getting our Covid Vaccinations, as Lane and I were keen to get, at least, our first jab here. The vaccination centre was set up in a Red Cross tent in the hospital grounds, so we turned up and sat in line with the local people. AstraZenica was on the menu, so we were happy with that. In casting my professional eye over the facility, everything seemed to be done cleanly and efficiently, so we were happy to go ahead..

During the years of the lucratve East African trading, the Kilifi River offered a safe depot for the dhows to load and unload their precious cargo, before crossing to destinations across the Indian Ocean. We visited ruins of a 14th century fort and Mosque, built overlooking the river entrance, used to house the people and the goods for trade.

We really wanted to visit more of Kenya’s interior, so we booked a driver and guide from Kilifi and off we went for a 5-day safari.  We visited 3 of the game parks within a few hours drive from Kilifi. It was great to have a complete break from the boat, and not only see many animals, but also to get a look at the rural Kenya, the colours, and life in the villages.  Of the famous big five, we missed out on seeing the Rhino, but we saw so, so much. What is fantastic in these camps is that there are no fences, and animals wander freely around the tents. Sometimes we had to have a warden with flashing torch, escort us back to our tent after dark. Our accommodation was great and the food was amazing.

We left Mt Kilimanjaro behind on our last day before heading back to Mai Tai. We will forever cherish these colourful images of Africa.


  1. Wow. Amazing experiences and images to file in your memory. Thanks for sharing.

  2. What an adventure you two are having. Lots of fabulous memories for you both! Stay safe out there!

  3. Great change of pace and view from your lovely Mai Tai. So glad you were able to squeeze this into your amazing adventure.
    Are you teaming up with any other cruisers to travel up the Red Sea?
    I’ll be watching you all the way.
    Loved the this recent blog,
    ~ Steve

  4. What a great experience,the safari must have been great,we have a little pup running around the house but that’s as far as it goes….the old boating methods must be interesting,probably hasnt changed much for years…..great getting a new update on your blog so thanks for that….keep well ,Paul Susi and family

  5. Fascinated by your many adventures and experiences. great photos and narratives that most, if all, will never personally experience. Lane and I go back about to second grade, 7 years old. I have enjoyed sailing with him and his parents on the “Topaz” to Catalina Island back in the day and he and Kevin Cloud getting me a summer job on the Harbor Patrol there..one of the most fun summer jobs you could ever have (except for that Mustang car trip in 1966 to Utah to build a cabin…eight hours, non stop and once on the freeway never got below 65 MPH even when changing drivers…don’t tell the DMV.
    Stay Safe, have a phenomenal rest of your trip around the world and can’t wait to see you again in person!

  6. Hi Kay & Lane,

    Loved reading your wonderful descriptions of your fabulous colourful experiences in Africa.
    We look forward to your next chapter.
    Kay, I am sending you an email.
    Joan & Claude

  7. Hello again Kay and Lane.

    Thank your for another fascinating story! Loved the wildlife photos! Interesting to see how cloves grow and are harvested too. It is 10th Sept now so perhaps you have already left on the next long leg of your journey to the Med? Hope all went well with the clean up and servicing of Mai Thai.

    We wish you another safe and happy sail! Look forward to your next instalment.
    Love Jan and Linton

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