It wasn't on the cards for 24-year-old Gustav from Copenhagen to try his hand at kitesurfing in Kenya when he recently vacationed there with his family.
The perfect combination
For two years, the family had been waiting to go to Kenya, but as with so many things in the last couple of years, the corona pandemic had repeatedly hampered their travel plans. Now it was finally going to be and the whole family was looking forward to experiencing the magical Kenya for the first time.
The holiday was divided equally between safari and beach holiday, which according to Gustav is the perfect combination for a vacation in Kenya, as you get a little of everything.
The family embarked on a six-day safari and it was a fascinating experience to drive around the beautiful, hot savannah and experience all the majestic animals in their natural surroundings.
"You may have seen National Geographic, but experiencing it in real life is something completely different", says Gustav
Such an experience needs to be digested, which is what the following six days at Diani Beach provided. "The safari part made a huge impression on me, but it was also really intense, so it was really nice to get to the beach and relax," he says.
Kitesurfing in Kenya
It wasn't until the family landed at Diani Beach that they discovered kitesurfing in Kenya. In the water in front of their hotel, kitesurfers were zipping back and forth on the crystal clear water.
After a few days of relaxing by the beach, playing cards and sunbathing, Gustav, his girlfriend, brother and step-sister plucked up the courage to visit one of the many kite schools at Diani Beach.
"It looked SO easy", says Gustav and continues "but it's probably the biggest joke I've ever told myself". Because, as with many things, all beginnings are difficult. However, Gustav hasn't regretted taking the plunge.
To start with, they were given a so-called trainer kite. It is a smaller kite that you can stand with on the beach and get a feel for the kite before going on the water with a larger one.
They also had the opportunity to get on the water with a larger kite before their lessons were unfortunately interrupted by rare bad weather after several months without rain in the area. "A welcome gift for the locals and a pain in the ass for the tourists", as Gustav describes it.
But that hasn't taken anything away from the experience, according to Gustav.
"It is definitely recommendable to try kitesurfing vacation in Kenya. It's a great experience and it's very different from kitesurfing in Denmark, because it's just a different environment down there. It's definitely worth a visit for any kitesurfer."
As a beginner, there are several things to consider for safety and to have a good experience.
For Gustav, learning to kitesurf in Kenya was the perfect opportunity.
"I found it safe to learn to kitesurf at Diani Beach. The local instructors have been kitesurfing and teaching for many years. They are really skilled and have a lot of tips and tricks - also in terms of teaching. I also thought they were really good at English, so that wasn't a problem", he says.
In addition, he can feel the difference in wind conditions.
"I can feel that the wind at home is much more unstable than it is at Diani Beach, so I think it would have been easier to learn there, where the wind is more stable," he explains.
What's on offer at Diani Beach
If it's not a kitesurfing vacation, there are plenty of other things to do at Diani Beach. You can snorkel, dive and even go out on a boat with glass in the bottom so you can see underwater from the boat. In addition, there is a good opportunity to go to a bar in the evening or go into Mombasa and experience city life in Kenya's second largest city.
However, he experiences it as a slightly different beach vacation, as the beach is very long and therefore not as crowded as you otherwise experience on many beach vacations.
"But the beach is really nice - I have an idea that they have imported sand from the Sahara", he says with a smile.
Overall, Gustav was very positive about his experiences in Kenya and felt very welcome in the country. He noticed that "they are happy that you are there, so you help to support tourism there. It was really instructive to experience a culture where they are so happy for foreigners and where you felt really welcome".
Bitten by a mad kitesurfer
Although it wasn't in the cards for Gustav to try kitesurfing in Kenya, it doesn't come as a surprise to him.
As he describes it himself, he finds it difficult to just lie still on a beach chair for a whole week. Something has to happen. In addition, Gustav is the type of person who likes to challenge himself and test some boundaries, and here kitesurfing in Kenya was a brilliant opportunity when he got the chance to try a new sport.
The experience of kitesurfing in Kenya was still enough to spark something in him. He had barely landed in Kastrup before he had booked his first lessons with Kitekollektivet, which he has been really happy about.
"I think Kitekollektivet has been really good at giving advice on when it's good to surf, where to go and what equipment to buy. And then they answer absurdly fast - it's great that there is such direct and human contact"he says.
This year it's all about taking more kiting lessons and then the plan is to buy your own equipment next year.
Even if it wasn't the kitesurfing vacation that the trip to Kenya was intended, I wonder if the next vacation that Gustav and his family are going on won't be?
Do you also dream of going on a kitesurfing vacation in Kenya?
Then do like Gustav, take the family by the arm and book your trip in the winter 22/23. You can find more information about our trip to Diani Beach in Kenya here