Serena Beach Resort and Spa Architectural, Cultural and Conservation Tour

Published On: March 28th, 2018

Travelling is no longer just about the destination but more about travel experiences. Travelers look into experiences when booking their holiday. Staying at a hotel with no activity does not entice travelers, there must be in-house activities and out-door places to visit and things to do.  Many destinations have realized this and they create activities that cater to every age and interests. You will find hotels and cities creating experiences rather than promoting the destination alone.  Today, in Mombasa it is not about our white sandy beach, or the historical Old town or lounging on the resort the whole day. These no longer attract tourists, especially millennials they look for travel experiences. One of the resort creating experiences is Serena Beach Resort and Spa.  They have an Architectural, Cultural and Conservation Tour at the resort, where you learn about the idea behind the design and architect of Serena Beach resort including some history. The entire design is a replica of Lamu Historic city, inspired by the Swahili culture.

The architectural, cultural and conservation tour starts from the main gate, the narrow roads depicting the narrow alleys of Lamu.  Marsden, one of the tour guides will take you through from beginning to the end. He will show you the various Trees that are near the entrance, each tree with a different story and its uses from the Baobab tree (Mbuyu) to the Neem tree.  Some of them are over 50 years old at the resort. As you walk a little further, you will find a well, wells in Mombasa are still a source of water for many. In the old days, A bucket tied to a rope will be used to fetch the water, a person would throw the bucket all the way down and then pull it once it is filled with water. Before the entrance you will find a round about that is replica of Gede Ruins, Gede Ruins are the remains of a Swahili town located near Malindi. It origin traces to 12th Century.  As you enter the reception, you will find the Lamu door which leads into the resort.  Inside you will find a display of Swahili culture artifacts, the high beams which replicate Swahili House making it cool during the heat. The interiors designed with Swahili culture in mind, carving that reflects on the Arab and Swahili infusion of the cultures.

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As you enter into the reception lounge and walk towards the resort, you will be welcomed by Swahili coffee and Haluwa (snack), the furniture and design inspired by the Swahili culture of wooden chairs and lesos.  The next tour stop is the Sokoni The Market Place Restaurant, also inspired by Swahili culture and an old style market. The tables covered in Leso (with various sayings) and products that showcase the Swahili way of life.  After that, the tour continues with walk around the buildings and alleys. Each way marked by the name of city in Lamu, this includes Pate way, Siyu Street and Lamu Street. As you continue walking, you will find small alleys that replicate the ones in Lamu town and rock walls that also showcase the ruins which are made of coral stones. In the middle of the gardens, a minaret stands tall. Lamu being a Muslim dominated city, you will find a lot of minarets of Mosques in various areas. This Minaret tower tower surrounded by a star and crescent has its origin in the famous tower of the Friday Mosque of Shela in Lamu.  The tour also includes a stop at Old Swahili market place, with stone benches that were used to by old men to play board games or drink Swahili Coffee (Kahawa Chungu).

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As you reach the seafront, you will be introduced to the Turtle conservation project. The project has been in existence for over 20 years, they have released over 44,000 hatchlings into the sea. The project turned fisherman from poachers to protectors by buying eggs instead of them selling it off.  On the beachfront you will find the walk-in chess board based on the Theme: “Marine Life Vs Life Cycle of a Butterfly”. The theme is based on Serena’s conservation projects .The chess pieces have been made out of recycled flip-flops that are found littered on beaches and in the various waterways of Kenya.  As the tour gears toward the end, you will visit Jahazi Grill which resembles a dhow.  The design and interior was made to give you the feeling of an old dhow, with their main cuisine being Seafood. The tour ends with a grand finale, which is the Moon Fountain. The circle is reflection of the moon, on a full moon night you can see the moon clear from the benches on the side. Marsden will end the tour by offering a cold Coconut (Madafu) to quench the thirst after a long tour.

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The tour is about 45 minutes to one hour, with enough time to ask questions and enquiries. All the tour guides are well knowledgeable. This is just one of the activities at Serena Beach resort and spa; you will find different activities to your interest. The tour is to give resort residents a glimpse of the idea behind the resort and inspiration. The tour is also to acknowledge and honour the Swahili culture and its significance in the coast. The tour is a great starting point for guest wanting to know about the Swahili culture before going into Fort Jesus and old town to learn about history of Mombasa and coast. To go on the tour email:

Watch the video for more sights and sounds:

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