Beyond Kenya’s lodges: an amazing place to sleep at Kenya’s coast

Art in the garden
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Sometimes you meet very inspiring people or initiatives while traveling. People that make you think, reflect and inspire. That happened with me recently when my husband, daughter and I spent our holiday in Kilifi, a beautiful village at the Kenyan coast. Where I met two great guys. Two guys who realized their dream, a dream that I want to share with you.

The spirit of Distant Relatives

Once upon a time there were two friends who traveled from Ethiopia to South Africa for one year. They met so many interesting people along the way who inspired them; inspired them to create a place that would be socially, environmentally as well as sustainable at the same time. They fell in love with Kilifi due to its emerald waters, the people, the green nature, the peaceful living, and because so many things seemed to be missing and ideal for this location. Their names are Tom and Romain.

Romain has a background in Marine Biology and Ecology and Natural Resource Management and Tom in Community Development. It appeared to be the perfect match to create their dream: Distant Relatives. It is a place were adventurers from around the world gather to share tales of the road, mingle with the local community, and enjoy the beautiful ocean views. It is an experimental model of environmentally and socially conscious living. Their philosophy is to work around nature, caring for the environment and supporting the local community and to let people leave full of dreams of a more sustainable lifestyle!

Gathering of people from all walks of lifeRomain tells, “All of our lodging was built with love and care and with the most environmentally friendly materials we could think of. Our showers feed into lemongrass, banana, papaya, passion and moringa trees. Our toilets are built with recycled materials and produce fantastic natural fertilizer for the garden, and our atmosphere is one of sustainability and natural living”.

One of the Banda's

Relaxing at the pool

What I like about the place is that it attracts a mix of people from all walks of life: Kenyans, foreigners, artists, and businessmen. They all have one thing in common: they have an open mind and a different view on the world; they want to connect and learn. Exactly what the two men had in mind when they started. Romain “We want to attract EVERY KIND of people: old, fat, young, poor, black, pink, blue, Indian, Asian, rich and those lacking basic education to the richest most famous and the old ex-colonial crowd all under one sky. Ideally we want them all at once! If this happens, it’s the magic that happens between them all that makes our day!

Art that reflects the spirit of Distant Relatives

At Distant Relatives you can relax at the pool or the beach, talk with the local villagers, volunteer or offer your creative mind to be of value. We had a wonderful experience that I will never forget: we had dinner with Kombo and his family, a family of 8 children. We were warmly welcomed and shown around. We got to taste all the fruits they grow in their garden: oranges, mandarins, coconuts, moringa leaves en the palm wine of his neighbor. We had dinner together, a delicious meal that existed of chapatti’s, coconut rice, grilled fish, vegetables and off course the every day staple, ugali. This is one of the experiences Distant Relatives had set-up to support the local community so that they could benefit from the success of the place as well.

Our beach

The pool

They also organize an amazing New Years Eve party every year. They want to bring the best, most outlandish, most cutting edge, and (what we feel is) the finest music in the entire world to Kenya.  This year they even fly over WANKELMUT, a Berlin based artist who recently topped every single European chart (One of his tracks got 170 Million views on Youtube). Also enigmatic Berlin underground DJ Monolink will be part of the dj team and many great other dj’s.

Kilifi New Year party

New years eve party

If you are bored with the lodges in Kenya and looking for an unique accommodation in Kenya, come and meet Tom and Romain at Distant Relatives.






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We are a group of like-minded travelers who want to make a difference via travel. We are always looking for the off the beaten track places with a local touch. At the same time we want to contribute to the beautiful people who are living in the countries we travel to, share our knowledge and connect people worldwide.

– Sanne Meijboom, Founder

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