AVICENNIA ISLAND – FUNZI (SOUTH COAST)
Being a born and raised Mombasa girl, i felt quite daft that i had no idea where Funzi was, and especially when i found out how close it was to Diani! Honestly what is it about us that makes us happy to sit at home on the weekends instead of venturing out to explore??
Funzi Island is one of Kenya’s hidden gems located 70 kilometers south of Mombasa town, a few kms from the small village of Bodo. There is a small jetty here – where boats arrive and depart with passengers and supplies for the island.
Funzi is mostly fringed with mangrove forests – and numerous inlets and small creeks provide for glassy calm waters, and brilliant opportunities for creek fishing and bird watching. There are little islands around and we decided to further explore this hidden gem and visit Avicennia Island, known for mangrove kayaking, sport fishing and bird watching.
Its one of the most peaceful spots along the coast, and was my first time beach camping. There’s something very comforting about camping under the stars, with the sound of the sea breeze and waves serenading you to sleep. Though i kept waiting for the boogie man to sneak into my tent and shove a fist full of sand in my mouth…yes the boogie man in my head is unimaginative!
I bounded off like a happy puppy to explore the Ramisi River Estuary. It’s a very scenic boat ride excellent for those that have an interest in bird watching. Common birds encountered include the Storks, Kingfishers, Bee-eaters, Fish Eagles, Palm-Nut Vultures, Herons and so many more species. There is also a good chance of seeing Crocodiles in the river…..*shrieks and faints* But no need to worry, they can’t get into the boat!!! The round-trip into the river and back is approximately 2 hours.
I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go kayaking, and promptly received a brief orientation and basic training before starting. This was a very unique experience, gliding silently through the flooded forests and keeping an eye out for the birdlife and other forms of wildlife such as oysters, crabs and mudskippers. But being lazy, i huffed and puffed for 15 minutes in excitement…and then slowly let my kayak partner in the back do all the paddling….as i patted the water with my paddle, hoping to still appear useful
The Funzi sandbank comes up depending on the tide every day. A real treat along the coast and definitely for lovers of the beach
All in all, it turned out to be a thrilling, unique and memorable trip to a small slice of paradise along Kenya’s coast. I’d highly recommend visiting Avicennia!
Additional pics: moriahafricantour.com, gvikenya, msansigirl.com, shimonireef.com