Tiwi Beach lies on the coast of Kenya between chaotic, crushed Mombasa (less than 20km to the north) and the over-developed package tour destination Diani Beach (about 10km to the south), but it is a universe apart from either. It takes a few moments for your first glimpse of the beach to register: it’s hard to believe that the wide expanse of pure white sand lined with tall palm trees leaning gently out towards the Indian Ocean is real, and not a computer enhanced image. At Twiga Lodge, you can camp on the edge of the beach, beneath the shady branches of enormous tropical trees frequented by silvery-cheeked hornbills and thieving monkeys. It’s easy to spend hours lazily staring out to sea, with only the occasional distraction of a languid youth selling key-rings carved from coconut shells. At low tide, the water recedes as far as the eye can see, leaving a vast expanse of squelchy mud popping with the air bubbles of buried molluscs. At high tide the sea is calm and shallow, and families wallow in the water for hours, watching the creamy-sailed dhows on the horizon, or the progress of clutches of local women carrying enormous sacks of brightly coloured kikois across the soft sand. As the sun sets, you can head over to the lodge bar for a cold beer, where you might be approached by a fisherman on an ancient bicycle, the basket between the handle bars crammed with just-caught red snapper. Later, you can bake your fish on coals buried beneath the sand while you contemplate the star-crammed African night sky.
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