When kitesurfers leave their kites at home
The Start of the journey
In the end of this season, we have escaped the beach for a 3 days safari to Tsavo East. Considering it was my first time going on safari, I didn’t have many expectations. I was excited to finally see why people are so fascinated by Kenya’s wild life. Other than that I didn’t really know what was coming, when we left Diani Beach before daylight.
The first highlight of the trip already came early in the day. To avoid traffic, we took the road through the Shimba Hills instead of going through the city of Mombasa. The road is a little bit longer and can be quite bumpy, but the nature along the way is absolutely worth it. Together with the magic of the morning light, we had one stunning panoramic view after the other.
After the Shimba Hills it’s a little bit on the Nairobi Mombasa Highway before you get to the gates of the Ngutuni Nature Reserve at the boarders of Tsavo East National Park. Ngutuni is a relatively small private nature reserve just before Voi. And since they don’t have any entry charges, the KWS – Officer only shook our hands and welcomed us inside.
The grey African giants
From the start on, we must have had quite some luck on our site. After the first gazelles and a group of impalas, we didn’t have to wait long to spot the first elephant. There it was, the biggest land animal on the continent. It was a big male, fully covered in the red soil of Tsavo. It was very hard to believe, that there are people out there, killing this majestic animal only for its tusks.
Just a few meters further into the park, we came along a water whole, with a little flock of the grey giants of the savannah. It was a group of females taking good care of their little ones. There were at least 4 little babies in that group. Amused by their games and playful fighting, we didn’t dare to come any closer. Mother’s can be very protective about their calves and we could see that only our attendance was already intimidating some of them. Our extra ordinary Danish guide, exchanged a few stories about female elephants charging his car on previous safaris, when he dared to come to close. Well clearly we didn’t want that to happen, so took off and went on.
Through the bushes, closer to the parched river between the reserve and the national park, we witnessed something I didn’t even hope to see. We were just observing an old male buffalo who according to our guide, left his own to find a place to spend his last days on its own in peace. Totally focused on what was happening in front of us, we neglected our backs, which soon appeared to be a beginners mistake.
Out of nowhere, we suddenly were surrounded by a huge herd of elephants. Males, females and their kids were now passing by our car in no distance. We could see animals of all ages. Big strong bulls, together with teenagers and baby elephants, were grazing through. In the end we have counted almost 50 different individuals in one place and I was one superior experience richer.
Tracking a lioness.After spending the night at the lodge, we left our cosy rooms very early again.
Before down, we have been on the road again. At this time of the day, the land is covered in a mysterious fog. Somewhere in the far, something was moving. The world around you is already awake, or better never went to sleep. The silence and darkness of the night is the time of predators stalking their prey. Waiting for the right moment to attack.
And speaking of which, we found our first lion tracks in sands on the road. After a closer look, we decided it must have been fresh tracks of fully-grown adult. Immediately we started to track them. The excitement was huge in all of us. We knew, that this could be a great chance to actually spot a lion on the hunt.
After about 20 minutes the tracks disappeared into the bush. We would never be able find them from here on. The bush is so thick and green; the tracks just vanished in front of us. The excitement started to drop again. It would have been too good to be true to see a lion in actions.
But suddenly our luck turned again. “Lioness 11 o’clock” There she was. Our front man spotted her with hawk-eyes. In the beginning we could barley see her due to the leaves and grass. If she would hear our complaining, she turned and walked straight back on the path we were on. For minutes we were chasing her with walking speed. Majestic and noble, she was parading just meters ahead of us. That was definitely the highlight of our trip. Seeing the King of the animals so close and within our reach, I started to understand the fascination of going on safari.
It wakes up an old call deep inside of every one of us - The call of the wild. It is in our blood and our genes. Even with all our technology and modern lifestyle, we still feel a deep connection to nature and its creatures. The old relationship between humans and animals is still alive, still available. Even if we have already transformed and destroyed so much of the nature beauty, we still can find these hideaways of the natural world. Even if it is in 10.000 acre, fenced and protected area, the call of the wild is still there. Waiting to be rediscovered.
Truly a life changing experience, far away from the beaches and kitesurfing spots. Sometimes it is worth it, to let the kites and boards to rest ?
Diani Beach Tropical Kitesurfing in KenyaThe wind season in Kenya is over now. Our kitesurfing school is cloesed. The dry and hot weather is replaced with stormy winds and downpours of rain. It almost feels like wintertime, when the locals are drinking hot sugary tea with loads of milk and hiding away from the horrible weather.
This is the perfect time to sit down and go through some old photos and videos. A lot has happened since our first time here in Kenya. We have seen interesting things, met extraordinary people and made new friends. It was the 4th winter season for D&D Kitetravel at the Diani Beach this year. This was reason enough to have a closer look at the footage and the result is this short edit from our lovely spot. Have a look your self and decide if Kenya is one of your next kitesurfing destinations.
Thank you everybody who made all this possible. Friends and clients you have been amazing!
Kitesurfing in Sri Lanka, Kalpitiya – January 2015
The memories of the rainy time with more than 2 weeks of daily rainfall in December left its marks and lowered my expectations regarding the wind. It is not the first and will not be the last time that I realized that if you keep your expectations low than you just can be surprised in a positive way ;) After a great New Years party with our friends from Sri Lanka Kite we were ready for some wind and we were pleased that our New Year wishes became reality. Since Jan 4th we have had wind every day – lots of guests and great kitesurfing lessons as wells as kitesurfing sessions both in the lagoon and the open ocean.
The following picture was shot on Jan 2nd. Since we did not have any wind at that day we took the chance and went out on the SUP. We were lucky that the local fishermen also going went out on for their evening fishing sessions.
With Thilee and Roshan we had the whole Ruuk Village management team on side - so plenty of ideas came up and had to be realized. One morning we convinced our guests to collect shells right in front of the gate, which actually was a lot of fun. As a result we had a great dinner and every guest had the feeling that he actually got his own food out of the water ;)
Since our capacities were growing with opening up the three En Suite Cabanas we also need to make sure that the power supply can be ensured. For that reason Thilee brought a custom made solar panel solution from his friends in Colombo. The instalation was done by himself and our guest Omer. 24hours Wifi is now available at Ruuk Village.
Most of the times (60%) we have had wind for 12m kites (with 75kg body weight) with about 30% days with wind strength for 10m and a couple low wind days (10%) where we were using our flagships the Core XR3 13,5m and the 15m LW. I can also say that the wind never starts in the early morning but around 10am increasing during the time to 12am. Normally we started the boat around 12 and went over to the lagoon.
Since the other schools are still having lunch at that time, we almost every day enjoyed the first two hours being all on our own at the spot ;) The result were perfect teaching conditions without any other kitesurfers in the way, so the students could completely concentrate on what they were doing. Of course also our guests who were going out on their own enjoyed great sessions. In the afternoons it became a little more busy in the lagoon, but regarding the enormous space it never gets really growded as if you would compare it to other famous kitesurf destinations.
Of course there was a peak during New Year and first week of January with not more than 80 kiters in the lagoon. (I counted it by my own ;) Starting with the second week of January the amount of kitesurfers went down and was now never more than 40 kites on the water. We have had great teaching sessions – with guests from Russia, Germany, Switzerland, France, Holland and the UK.
My favourite student was Tom from Ireland who decided in the short term to start a beginner course – despite his age of 60 years. I was really impressed by his patience and ability to control the kite just as fast as everybody else – at the end he also made it on the board. Big respect to him ;)
We also completed the first kitecamp in Sri Lanka with our guest Olga and Larissa from Russia. Olga was already participating in one of our kitecamps in Venezuela and Kenya. It was a pleasure to welcome her again. After a little refreshment she managed to learn new manovers and did not have any more problems to go upwind in any conditions. Larissa’s progress was really impressive – she managed to get on the board on the 3rd day and holding the line on the 4th/5th – at the end she also did not have any more problems to go upwind – this is the result after a 6 day kitecamp. Well I have to admit that her passion for advanced freestyle skiing most likely helped her a lot ;)
Kite-Beginner Lesson in the empty lagoon with another guest enjoying freeride in the back ground.
Half of the season is already over and I am really curious how the time until end of February will look like. We are looking forward for the next kitecamp with our Swiss Guests from Zurich, starting in the first week of February.
May the wind be with us ;)Written by Daniel Kreissel - Kalpitiya, Sri Lanka - January 21st 2015
Christmas Time in Sri LankaAfter the first week started up perfect with lots of wind, great guests and nice kitesurf sessions in the lagoon, things changed a little in the following two weeks. Well lets make it short - it was raining a lot in Kalpitiya and we couldn't see the sun for about 10 days in a row. Normally the rainy season starts in September and stops around mid of december - this year was completly different -there hasn't been so much rain in Sri Lanka (whole country) within the past 25 years!! We have to be thankful that Ruuk Village was not influenced too badly like other kitesurfing accomodations in Kalpitiya, which basically were completly under water. Anyway Kalpitiya is - as statistics show - a region in Sri Lanka which does not get too much rain over the year - so this can not been seen as a normal year. Well despite the weather we made the best out of it - thanks to our guests. It is not the easiest thing to get into a christmas mood being on the beach in 25 degrees celsius ;) After decorating our common area, a special christmas dinner was prepared for all guest from our lovely local chiefs. As a result we had a great variety of fish, crabs, prawns with rice, potatoes and lots of local vegetables. For desert we had cake and local cocktails out of Arak and Coconut. On top of this most of the guest brought some nice small gifts from their home countries - so at the end we had Spekulatius from Sweden, Chocolate from Switzerland and Jägermeister from Germany ;) Thanks again to all guests - who made this evening a special one. Besides the great food the highlight of christmas day was without doubt a new SUP board which our friend Daniel brought from Sweden (#konaone) Since we have the channel right in front of our gate is a perfect area for smaller SUP sessions. We are proud to announce that we are the first and only kiteschool right at the Kalpititya-Lagoon to provide Stand Up Paddling to our guests. If you are up for bigger sessions than this is a great way to explore the whole lagoon during No-Wind periods. If Kitesurfing is not possible you can also use our new slagline, volleyball field or participate in local cooking activities togehter with our chiefs at Ruuk Village. < Since the rain did not let me give kitelesson to anybody I was filling my day with other activities. After unsuccessfully trying to get some local workers to help at further work at the kitestation and kite instructor house I decided to just do it on my own. Finding out about my talent working as carpenter was really interessting and since in Sri Lanka not a single piece of timber is streight I had a good starting position ;) Yes it is really a challenge to work with local tools and materials, but at the end of the day I managed to built up a construction to store our guests kites and boards (kite-boxes), a rack for the harnesses and some small other things, which step by step are bringing the kitestation to this stage, where I want it to be. We are glad to welcome our first guests for the new kitestation. Special Thanks also goes out to Crazyfly Kitesurfing and Core Kiteboarding.
Sri Lanka - Season Opening - First Week being back on the beachAfter being absent from the beach and kitesurfing for almost 3 months I was more than ready to get back to Kalpitiya, Sri Lanka and open up our kite station at Ruuk Village. I left Sri Lanka at the beginning of September after finishing most of the work for the construction of the kitestation and the kitehouse. I was really curious to see what would have changed since than. Being a project which just has started a little more than 16 months ago there is always something new. It feels great to see the progress on the plot. 3 new big cabanas with private bathrooms are now ready to house the first guests. A new kitchen is still being built right next to the community area. As soon as it will be ready the guests will have the chance to take a look over the shoulder of our local chiefs and also participate in cooking local food. During the first week we had a great time with our guests and Tobi from Switzerland giving Yoga lessons every morning. With his 10 years experience as a Yoga Teacher it was a pleasure to have him around. I have tried Yoga before but didn't find a real connection to it - now I figured out that it is all up to the teacher - I have to admit that I really enjoyed starting the day like this ;) The kite lagoon is empty so far, the wind usually started in the afternoon, had a couple days with the wind setting in before lunch. It was great to do the first lessons in these perfect conditions - plenty of room for everybody - shallow water and nice and constant winds. This is how we like it - this is Kalpitiya ;) Nevertheless it is still rainy sometimes - and the wind direction is changing from time to time, which is a indicator that the typical wind system, with wind from North/Northeast is not complety reached. From day to day the forecast looks better, so I assume we will be there soon - looking forward for a great season.
Since the beginning of D&D Kitetravel Brazil was on our bucket list. So it is not surprising that we took the opportunity this year and made a dream trip come through. We have to thank our clients, who trusted in us and joined us on a journey to some of Brazil’s most famous places and even further than that.
Our kite adventure has started in famous Cumbuco. The small fisherman’s village is the first spot north of Fortaleza and isn’t as small as you would think, when you try to get from one spot to the other.
With two lagoons and almost 20km beach in between, there are many places you can choose to ride. Each of the spots has its benefits, though your timing is always key, when you want to have a success full session. And that counts for all the spots. Even if the wind is blowing all day and you would normally not think about going out before 10am, being kitesurfing already at 8am in the morning is still quite convenient. It can make the difference of being alone on the water or taking part in a slalom race of the world cup, while the students are replacing the boys.
If you choose your timing right though, you can have the most amazing kitesurfing days in Cumbuco. Start early in the morning with a flat water session in the Tabuba Lagoon. If you are there before 9am, you will be most likely alone on the water.
After its getting crowded and the first schools arrive, you can take your board in your hand and just walk to the other side of the sand bank and join the open water. This part of the beach has some nice wave sections and at hightide the waves get much bigger than at the main beach of Cumbuco.
Follow the waves downwind until you reach Cumbuco Centre. Take a break and fill up your energy with some amazing acai smoothie. Acai is one of the things you will get to love about Brazil. This tasty mix of the acai fruit, bananas, mild powder and Guarana is a must have for everyday.
After lunch you can go for the next downwinder and to the second lagoon and have your second flat water action of the day.
The way back is also no problem – there will be several buggies already waiting for you!
All in all we had a great time in Cumbuco, as well riding as living. This place has amazing bars, restaurants and local shacks for all budgets and flavors. Great opportunities to meet nice people and almost everyone here is kite surfing.
I am sure, the mass tourism has changed the place in last couple of years, but still Cumbuco is a welcoming place, with friendly locals, who make you even forget about that strange smell when you walk around the place ;)
After 3 week its was time to move on – we had to head north. Read our next blog entry Brasil Episode 1 – Take two.
To start with, we would like to tell a story about a trip. A trip following Kenya’s coast line to the north and discovering once again, the beauty of some amazing spots. Truly it wasn’t the first nor the last time we will do this trip. It was the only journey so far that we have started with a hundred and sixty-kilometre TukTuk-Ride…
The true beauty of a destination, you can only discover by traveling from spot to spot. Having this idea in your head, there are no limits. Traveling with any kind of vehicle with just one goal ahead of you: Finding the perfect spot…
Watch it your self on our short Trip Video.