Pillars of Africa 1: Germany’s Stephan Meves….

Africa, African Pillars/Pillars of Africa

I am proud to present my first Pillar of Africa, Stephan Meves. In my opinion, a Pillar of Africa is an individual who is not of African origin but is passionate about the continent. In their day to day lives these Pillars of Africa knowingly or unknowingly do their very best to further Africa’s interest. They may do this in their line of work or as a fun pastime or simply out of habit.

Stephan Meves Pillars of Africa

I first met Stephan a while ago through a friend on a fun night out. We had a great time that evening therefore it was only natural that we kept in touch.

I got to know more about Stephan as time went by. He was born in Germany and has been in the hospitality industry all his life. He is currently the General Manager of The Maji, the latest boutique hotel in Diani, along Kenya’s South Coast. He has previously worked in South Africa, The Maldives and Thailand.

Stephan has been in Kenya for some time now. He confesses to falling in love with Kenya and Diani Beach. He considers Kenya his home and his friends in Diani his family. When you speak to him about Kenya, his face instantly lights up and he proceeds to impart knowledge on the country that even I am embarrassed to admit I am not familiar with..

Stephan Meves Pillars of Africa 2

It is always a pleasure discussing various topics with him, mainly because he has the most fascinating sense of humour no matter how serious the issue is. Stephan has a fantastic relationship with his staff at The Maji. They adore and trust him. He has imparted years of knowledge to them, giving them the necessary tools they need to become leaders in their respective departments.

Stephan Meves Pillars of Africa 3

Stephan invited us to check out The Maji recently. The 15 room beach hotel is quite beautiful, with a unique swimming pool which winds into the Hotel.  I will let the pictures do most of the talking…

1 The Maji Diani Pillars of Africa Akinyi Adongo 2 The Maji Diani Pillars of Africa Akinyi Adongo 3 The Maji Diani Pillars of Africa Akinyi Adongo 4 The Maji Diani Pillars of Africa Akinyi Adongo 5 The Maji Diani Pillars of Africa Akinyi Adongo 6 The Maji Diani Pillars of Africa Akinyi Adongo 7 The Maji Diani Pillars of Africa Akinyi Adongo 8 The Maji Diani Pillars of Africa Akinyi Adongo 9 The Maji Diani Pillars of Africa Akinyi Adongo 10 The Maji Diani Pillars of Africa Akinyi Adongo 11 The Maji Diani Pillars of Africa Akinyi Adongo 12 The Maji Diani Pillars of Africa Akinyi Adongo 13 The Maji Diani Pillars of Africa Akinyi Adongo 14 The Maji Diani Pillars of Africa Akinyi Adongo 15 The Maji Diani Pillars of Africa Akinyi Adongo

The next time you are thinking of stopping by Diani, drop an email to Stephan and he would be more than happy to send you information on The Maji.

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African Pillars/Pillars of Africa…. The Introduction.

Africa, African Pillars/Pillars of Africa

Africa

After much thought, I have decided to start a tiny two part series called African Pillars/Pillars of Africa. A pillar is a structure of any shape used as support..

In my series, an African Pillar is an African person who in their own little way every day contributes to building Africa. In the same breathe a Pillar of Africa is an individual who is not of African origin but is passionate about the continent. In their day to day lives these African Pillars or Pillars of Africa knowingly or unknowingly do their very best to further Africa’s interest. They may do this in their line of work or as a fun pastime or even out of habit.

Without further ado, I present to you my first African Pillar, Mama Tatu of Mombasa and my first Pillar of Africa, Germany’s Stephan Meves. Click on their names for their profiles…

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African Pillar 1: Mombasa’s Mama Tatu the Henna Artist…

African Pillars/Pillars of Africa, Mombasa

One lazy Thursday afternoon Shrina and I took a stroll on the beach as we discussed what we needed to do to wind up our coast trip. As we were making our way back to the room, a pleasant woman stopped and commented on my freshly done tattoo.

She then proceeded to inform us that she was a henna artist and asked us if we were interested in getting one. Shrina accepted the offer and we proceeded to get comfortable by the pool.

I had never witnessed a henna session before so my curiosity was aroused.

Mama Tatu is her name. She has been a henna artist for over twenty years in Mombasa. She does it full time, this is the sole source of income for her household.

I was fascinated by her stories about Mombasa and her life. I choose her as my first African Pillar (Click here for my definition of African Pillars) because she represents your indigenous hard-working, charming, old school African woman who earns her keep and holds her own.

6 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo

Henna is dye prepared from the plant and the art of temporary tattooing based on these dyes. It is used to dye skin, hair, and fingernails, as well as fabrics including silk, wool, and leather.

The procedure started with Mama Tatu making the mixture and putting it in a makeshift cone made out of wrapping paper.

1 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo 2 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo 3 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo 4 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo

She then cuts a tiny hole on the tip which is what she uses to precisely apply the henna. Shrina then picked her design of choice from Mama Tatu’s design books.

photo (2) 5 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo

She then proceeds to delicately yet steadily draw the design on Shrina’s leg.

7 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo 8 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo 9 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo 14 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo 16 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo 17 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo 18 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo 19 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo 20 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo 21 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo

After the drawing is done, we waited for a couple of minutes for the henna to dry. Mama Tatu then wiped off the top layer to complete the process.

27 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo

Here is the final product:

26 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo

Mama Tatu has no Facebook page or website. She was walking around with a picture album with hard copies of her work. I took pictures of the pictures to illustrate some of her work.

22 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo 23 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo 24 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo 25 Henna Mombasa Akinyi Adongo

So the next time you are in Mombasa and you need a temporary henna tattoo, call Mama Tatu on +254729470281 and she will gladly draw something to your liking…

The A to Z of Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa: Your Complete Guide to Kenya’s Most Welcoming Beach Resort

Akinyi's Exclusive Moments, Places, Wicked Weekends in Africa

A couple of weeks ago I received a charming email from a certain gentleman extending an invitation to visit Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa in Diani for a few days. This wonderful young man offered to fly me down to Diani, spoilt me senseless on the beach and allowed me to do as I wished at the resort. How could a girl say no to this.. 🙂

This was my room and its ocean facing balcony view…

1 Bedroom  Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 2 Bathroom Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 3 Bathroom Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 4 Balcony View Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

After a couple of fun days with my crew (who loved the resort..), I present to you the A to Z facts about Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa worth knowing and checking out…

A stands for Allegiant.

Synonyms for the word allegiant are “constant” and “dependable”. Tourism along the Kenyan coast is seasonal with majority of the hotels and resorts closing during the low season. Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa is the only five star resort in Diani which remains open all year round irrespective of high and low seasons.

55 Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

B is for the Beach

Diani Reef Beach Resort has 350 meters of crisp white sand and stunning blue ocean. What is really cool is that beach is very peaceful with no random people trying to sell items to you. You can actually read a book, pass out, sip a bloody mary or take a walk at your own pleasure.  I worked on my tan as best as I could 🙂

6 Beach Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

C represents Courtship on the Fisherman’s Dhow..

As soon as I get a boyfriend I will look for the most the most random excuse for us to try this intimate couple’s dinner on the Fisherman’s Dhow 🙂 The resort organises the dinner for couples on their honeymoon or couples that wish to have that special evening alone on the beach..

45 Fishermans Dhow Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

D is for Dessert..

For the record I do not particularly have a sweet tooth. However, I did find myself enjoying the selection offered by the resort after dinner. I had to instagram it 🙂

21 Dessert Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

I checked out the breakfast and dinner layout which was in the section under the glass roof. This allows plenty of natural light which is quite pleasant in the morning.

22 Breakfast Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 23 Breakfast Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

E represents the Eco-Friendly nature of the Resort

As I was being given the tour of the resort, It was pointed out that when the hotel was being constructed years ago, they took extra care in preserving the coral within and around the hotel. Measures are constantly taken to ensure energy is preserved in day to day operations.

15 Coral Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 16 Coral Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

F is for Fin’s Seafood and Grill Restaurant

Fin’s restaurant is located on the beach with a deck which allows guests to dine while enjoying the stunning view of the ocean. They also serve sheesha here.

8 Fin's Seafood and Grill Restaurant Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 9 Fin's Seafood and Grill Restaurant Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

We tried out the chicken wraps (which happen to be the General Manager’s favourite wrap) and the sandwiches which were both really good.

10 Chicken Wrap Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 11 Sandwich Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

G is for the Gym

I must say it was interesting to notice that very few hotels in Diani have a gym. A couple of my friends who have stayed in Diani at other venues have actually visited Diani Reef to use their gym facilities.

6 Gym Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

H for Homemade Jam.

Maybe I am overreacting here, but who has ever seen home made Papaya jam in a hotel (or at home?) I have been called easy to please before but I think it is really impressive to have home made papaya jam on your breakfast table. For the record it was amazing!

24 Homemade Papaya Jam Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

I stands for the Indoor Movie Theater

As an avid movie fan, I can appreciate having a movie theatre a stone throw away from my room…

42 Movie Theatre Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

J represents Japanese Cuisine at Sake Restaurant

We love Sushi. It was therefore mandatory for us to stop by Sake Restaurant, which happens to be the only Sushi Restaurant in all of Diani…

28 Sake Sushi Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 31 Sake Sushi Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

Not only is there Sushi on the menu, but there is also Chinese and Indian food too available. We sampled a bit of everything which was all quite good..

29 Sake Sushi Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 33 Sake Sushi Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 35 Sake Sushi Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 36 Sake Sushi Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 37 Sake Sushi Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 38 Sake Sushi Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

There is a Teppanyaki table in the restaurant..

30 Sake Sushi Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

K is for Kitesurfing

Kitesurfing fanatics who have indulged in the sport in Diani have fascinating stories to tell about their experiences. They unanimously agree that it definitely worth checking out.

57 Kitesurfing Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

L stands for Loos, Toilets and Bathrooms.

As a rule of thumbs, we always judge a hotel, restaurant and resort by its bathrooms… I believe Diani Reef passes the test?

52 Bathroom Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 53 Bathroom Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 54 Bathroom Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

M for the Maya Spa

After working so hard being on holiday I had no choice but to book an appointment for a full body massage at the Maya Spa. My session was quite relaxing. Nothing beats getting a massage while listening to the ocean waves in the background.

12 Maya Spa, Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 13 Maya Spa, Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 14 Maya Spa, Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

Here is a list of therapies and activities which take place at the Maya Spa: Ayurveda, Thalassotherapy, Balenotherapy, Aqua or Hydro Treatment, Reflexology, Aroma Therapy, Yoga, Aerobics and Meditation just to name a few. Couples sessions and wedding/honeymoon packages are also available..

N stands for the Nightclubs, Sins Nightclub and Dunes Nightclub.

Sins Nightclub is located within the Resort. It is open on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with the resident DJ on site ready to play all your requests…

19 Sins Nightclub Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 20 Sins Nightclub Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

Dunes Nightclub is open in the evening with performances from the resort’s in house entertainment setting the mood for the evening…

O is for Outdoor  Activities

There are tonnes of things to do once you step out of your room like playing pool..

41 Pool Tables Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

Play chess on the beach..

44 Chess Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

Other activities include beach volleyball, Snorkeling Safari, Golf (18 hole golf course 500 meters away from the beach) among others.

P represents the Pool Bar

Do head to the pool bar if you wish to swim/sit in cool water in the hot coastal weather while sipping ice cold beer….

43 Pool Bar Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

18 Pool Bar Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

Q is the Quest to Mount a Camel..

No beach holiday is complete without that fascinating shot on top of a camel 🙂

48_Camel_Rides_Diani_Reef_Beach_Resort_Spa_Kenya_Akinyi Adongo

R is for the Restricted Area..

Yet another interesting space is the quiet zone, the restricted area. This is the pool area and the area close to the Maya Spa. Children under 12 years are not allowed in this vicinity for the sake of those seeking a peaceful space. They are allowed to swim and play in the main pool which is by the beach restaurant.

25 Quiet Zone Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo 26 Quiet Zone Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

S stands for Secret Spots.

Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa is set on 30 acres of land which is massive in comparison to other locations in Diani. As a result, I fear in the few days we were there I may not have fully explored the fascinating resort. My fears were confirmed when I stumbled upon the private Jacuzzi just a few minutes before my departure… I guess now I have a very solid reason  for me to go back 🙂

50 Hot Tub Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

T is for Trophies.

Diani Reef is notorious for winning awards, as is illustrated by the collection of trophies on display in their lobby..

51 Awards Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

U is for Underwater Adventures

A lot of my friends usually ask about Scuba Diving locations along Kenya’s coast. Diani Reef is one of them…

49 Scuba Diving Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

V stands for Visitors who frequent the balconies

The first morning I woke up at the hotel it was not to the sound of my alarm. Instead, it was the sound of five monkeys having a party in my room. I left my sliding French door open to let some air in the night before. I did not realize that I should have locked the net door and clicked it shut. This young lady was kind enough to pose for me on their way out..

17 Monkey Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

W is for Weddings.

Fancy a wedding on the beach? Diani Reef Beach Resort has all inclusive wedding and honeymoon packages. All you have to do is turn up for your wedding…

46 Weddings Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

47 Weddings Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

X stands for the Xerox Machine in the Business Centre.

I passed by the business centre and the conference room to have a quick look. The staff here are quite useful and they can cater to your conference needs irrespective of the number of attendees. The Business Centre includes a boardroom, meeting room and  secretarial services.

27 Conference Room Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

Y stands for the Young Ones

Fear not when going on holiday with the kids. There are trained babysitters and activities to keep them happily preoccupied..

56 kids Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya Akinyi Adongo

Z is for the Zebra Lounge

Once you walk in past the lobby and the majestic Baobab tree surrounded by the pond, the Zebra Lounge appears.

7 Zebra Lounge, Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Kenya

The Lounge has a bar which offers a wide selection of cocktails. They also have a happy hour everyday from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. While staying at Diani Reef I saw a couple of guests with their laptops open getting some work done in the lounge. Some guests stopped by in the evening to catch live matches showing on the projector which is usually set up on one side of the lounge upon request.