SAILING AND DINING ON THE TAMARIND DHOW IN MOMBASA KENYA.
If there’s one thing I love in this life it’s a sunset cruise .Anytime I’m on holiday near, in or around a body of water and it’s something I can do, best believe it’s getting done. I found out about the Tamarind dhow while I was researching things to do in Mombasa. I figured I’d make my reservation the day before. After spending a really nice afternoon at English point devouring seafood pizza, Lynette and Ron came with me to Tamarind restaurant about an hour early to make my reservation since the numbers provided weren’t going through.
Tamarind is beautiful! As far as restaurants go this place has the whole Swahili chic aesthetic on lock. Making an inquiry about the booking I was informed they were fully booked! There are no words to accurately describe how much I died inside. Between me, you and the manager, I was literally begging four minutes later pleading my case as to why they coudnt leave me behind. his was the whole point of me coming to Mombasa!
One of the waiters whose name eludes me but I shall remember ever so fondly, really went out of his way to help me out since I mentioned I had tried to call and reserve, I guess it counted for something. It was him that took me to the manager. She said she’d see what to do. For me that was a sign. 20 minutes land some serious grovelling later she said I could go! Whoop whoop I was going on a boat.
Tamarind Dhow has two vessels or Jahazis; the Babulkher and Nawalikher that were once traditional Arab sailing cargo boats but now served as floating restaurants. The Nawalikher sails 6 days a week. They have a lunch time cruise from 1:00pm to 3:00pm and a dinner cruise from 6:30pm to 10:30pm.The dinner cruise I opted for was 5500kshs which entailed a welcome drink, 3 course meal, entertainment aka a DJ and a 4 hour cruise.Any additional drinks are a separate charge. At 6:00pm me and the other guests made our way to the jetty for boarding. The lovely and well maintained vessel sits about 70 for dinner but can hold up to 100. I sat at the top deck with the captain in my left peripheral.
The welcome drink was a Dawa. I opted for the non alcoholic version. Yes I do sometimes turn down alcohol. The cruise didn’t start till 7pm.As we sailed away we passed all the beach front hotels and properties twinkling away in the dark. It was beautiful. Something I did notice about this particular part of the ocean is how utterly filthy it was. Must be all the rain drudging things up. Our waiter Safari took our orders. I opted for the fresh seafood hors d’oeuvres(I’d love to know how you pronounced that in your head, my initial struggle was chuckle worthy) of crab, prawn & calamari with a piquant sauce, Soup of the day; pumpkin and for the main char grilled lobster with a butter sauce and a dhow dessert special
The starters came through quickly and were delicious,dare I say that was the best pumpkin soup I’ve ever had! So smooth and silky. I had some really great wine (yeah that non alcoholic trip didn’t last long) gazing up into the sky and slowly wore down my seat cushion dancing on the spot cause that DJ was fire. It was just as well cause that main course took forever. It was well after 9pm and all the downstairs guests had eaten that we were served. There’s a very fine line between char grilled and burnt and bits of my lobster were cremated. Luckily it was only a little section. My lobster was plentiful and scrumptious with that butter. The dessert was a creamy pudding, each plate inscribed with some kind of inspirational quote in chocolate sauce. Very cute. it came with strong Kenyan coffee and Halwa a Swahili sweet made from sugar and food coloring, a first for me.I liked it. After a good 4 hours the cruise was done and as such we made it back to to jetty. We were all given key chains as souvenirs.
The dhow was pretty much all I expected it to be, the food was delicious, the drinks nice and cold and the vibe what I wanted and needed. If you’re in Mombasa please give it a try. Please note that the dhow only sails if they have at least 20 bookings otherwise the trip gets cancelled. Also make a reservation prior. we can’t all have the luck of the Trish. X