The day I set foot at Leisure Lodge Beach and Golf Resort in Kenya’s South Coast, an aura of a ginormous relaxation hit me. It was on a hot Saturday afternoon, but the breeze blowing from the blue waters of the Indian Ocean, filtering through the magnificently set architecture of this makuti-thatched ample hotel, was more than refreshing.
One of the things that completely swept me off the feet was the hospitality from the staff; and it starts all the way from the main entrance. I have never been to a place whose security guards are friendlier that here. It was simply replenishing.
I had opted to use public means, ignoring all the luxuries that come with flying to Ukunda. It had started on a soggy morning in Nairobi, with me hitching a long ride on Madaraka Express to Mombasa, from where I commuted to the Likoni ferry before catching a bus to Ukunda.
From Ukunda’s main bus stage, a courteous tuk tuk rider approached me and comforted me for the sweltering heat; I was really sweaty. His kind gesture ultimately got me riding on his wobbly tiny machine, in the course, parting with some Sh100.
By the time he made his drop by the lodge’s gate about 1.3 kilometres off the main road, I had made countless friendships with tens of total strangers. I liked! For the better part of that week, the resort was home to the prestigious Diani Beach Masters, an annual golf tournament that attracts both top professional and amateur golfers from far and wide.
Needless to say, the lodge is the first and only hotel on the Kenyan South Coast to have an 18-hole championship golf course, measuring 170 acres.
In the foreseeable future, the Leisure Golf Club is aspiring to host the Kenya Open, country’s premier golf tourney that’s part of the European-based Challenge Tour schedule. Kenya Golf Union chairman Richard Wanjala echoed this.
The club was hosting a banquet for the participants on that very evening, and this was where my rollercoaster thrill would formally commence. The Sweet Mountain Band set just the right mood for the evening, with its sensational delivery of cover songs to some of the world’s most popular musicians.
Sipping on a cold White Cap beer, I mingled with the golfers, learnt a few golfing terminologies, as Chief Chef Steve Kumenda ensured that a super three-course buffet dinner was all but set. It was a great night. The facility, sitting on 200 acres of property, was founded by Dr Wilhelm Meister and first opened its doors in 1971 on one of the best beaches on planet.
This year, Diani Beach was classified by Tripadvisor as one of the top 10 best beaches in Africa and in top 25 worldwide. The hotel itself is on 30 acres of lush tropical gardens with one of the largest beach frontages I have been to. In a luxurious environment, the lodge, which is atop a coral reef, boasts of incredible facilities in sport tourism, conferencing, accommodation, entertainment and gaming, among others.
It has 253 rooms made up of suites, junior suites, deluxe rooms, superior ocean and garden view rooms and standard rooms. Among other facilities are: a casino, bars and restaurants, events garden, diving school (licenced by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors), shopping arcade, health and relaxation centre and business centre.
Apart from golf, you can indulge in activities such as deep-sea fishing, dolphin safaris, water polo and basketball, beach volleyball and table tennis. The resort also offers a supreme swimming experience in their majestic seven swimming pools.
A lazy walk on their 400-metre white sandy beach was something I will live to cherish. The beach is the cleanest I have been to. On bare foot, the sand, plus the breeze, was just so tranquil. The facility is dedicated to its corporate social responsibility, one being the Leisure Rondwe Jalaram Girls Secondary School.
It focuses on giving girls from the four sub-counties of Kwale county better education and a chance in life to succeed and excel. I found this initiative as uniquely exceptional. Recently, at the prestigious World Travel Market, Leisure Lodge Beach and Golf Resort was voted the continent’s leading beach destination for the fourth year in a row, beating stiff competition from beaches in South Africa, Mozambique, Zanzibar and Egypt.