This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines open now

User menu
Che Shale
Che Shale
Che Shale
Che Shale
Che Shale
Che Shale
Che Shale

Che Shale: Our full report

First opened in 1978, but re-invented a few years ago as a kitesurfing centre, Che Shale is a rustic beach ...

... lodge on a wide sandy bay backed by coconut palms, on a remote stretch of coast, 20km north of Malindi on Kenya’s north coast. The lodge is owned and personally managed and hosted by Justin Aniere, a third-generation Italian-Kenyan.
Unfortunately, as of March 2015 we cannot recommend this property because the UK's foreign office has advised against travel to the coastal mainland north of the Sabaki/Galana River.

Che Shale is the operations’ centre of Kenya’s first kitesurfing school, and competitions are regularly held here that attract entrants from around the world. Kitesurfing is, however, not the only reason to stay: you can dive, do bush walks in the nearby scrub and dunes, or just lie on a mattress with a fresh coconut and stare out to sea.

A sandy access road through bush and palms leads to Che Shale’s reception and main areas. Your first reaction on arrival is likely to be to take your shoes off: palm-leaf matting, laid directly on the sand, scrunches under foot in the large bar/lounge/restaurant area, which is set on the beach and shaded under cooling roofs of makuti (palm-leaf) tiles. There are bar stools, lots of comfy seating and tables set for meals, plus a horizontally laid-back loft lounge area, with floor cushions.

In the evening, and depending on everyone’s mood, they crank up the excellent sound system and on special occasions they might even switch on the club-style lights if people want to dance.

There’s a beach shop with clothes, jewellery and crafts.

The main accommodation at Che Shale lodge comprises seven, en-suite, palm-mat-and-wood bandas (a lower-budget group of bandas is located just a little north up the beach from the main lodge. Each is different from the others, but all feature handmade furniture (entirely using local materials and built without power tools), and soft, palm-leaf matting as a floor covering. The interiors have been designed by Marzia Chicherretti, a Milanese furniture and interior designer, which accounts for why they don’t feel like huts on a beach.

There are no windows, locks, carpets, air conditioners or fans – just the breeze, the rustle of palm leaves and the sand underfoot. The beds have foam mattresses and mosquito nets, and chairs are made of cane, with soft cushions. Suli Suli and Tewa sleep two guests, Fulusi three, Songoro up to four in two rooms, and Kole Kole up to six in three rooms. The last two – Shakwe and Kiboma – are slightly more expensive and more spacious ‘deluxe’ bandas.

In the open-sky showers and bathrooms, the water tends to be slightly salty as it comes from a borehole. Designer toiletries are supplied, but you won’t find dressing gowns or slippers: most guests rarely put on anything more than a swimming costume throughout their stay. Kuni boosters are in use in the early morning and evening to top up the hot water supplied by generator.

Just north of the main lodge is Kajama bandas, the ‘off-grid’, non-en-suite, budget option which doesn’t have electricity.

Kitesurfing is Che Shale’s raison d’être:,whether you’re an accomplished surfer or a complete novice, you’ll find excellent, safe instruction and some of the best conditions on the coast, with a steady onshore breeze most of the year. There are plenty of other activities, however, the most important of which is facilitated by the innumerable spots intended for you to do absolutely nothing, including hammocks, day beds and a very popular, large shady swing seat on the beach.

One of the great pleasures of the Kenyan coast – walking on the beach and beachcombing – can be enjoyed here in perfect peace, with no beach-boy hassle. Moonless nights are also particularly good at Che Shale: being so far from built-up areas, it experiences inky-black skies bursting with starlight.

Many of the more active activities are free, including stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), windsurfing and surfing, with some decent waves on high tides from July to September (keen surfers bring their own boards, though Che Shale does have a few boogie boards and surf boards to loan). Snorkelling isn't possible from the beach and there's no snorkelling equipment available at the lodge. Other activities, including diving, wake-boarding, deep-sea game fishing and dhow trips (Che Shale has a Mozambican dhow, Sawa Sawa, which does carry snorkelling equipment and anchors at good spots for the purpose), are at extra cost.

Later, if you’ve over-exerted yourself on the paddleboard and need a good massage, then visit the massage hut.

The staff at Che Shale are famously friendly, but if you want to deepen your connection with the local community, you can visit the Baharini School, just ten minutes’ walk away, whose 100 primary-aged children are supported by staff and clients.


Our view

Literally on the beach – and what a beach! – this is one of Kenya’s best mid-budget seaside bases. We haven’t stayed, but our visits have been a great pleasure and we can’t wait to get the chance to spend a few days here. The charming and friendly – but reassuringly low-key – owner-manager-hosts, plus the staff and very chilled fellow guests, are an important part of the mix here. The other part is the just-right combination of informality and comfort in the funky bandas (our only quibble: the foam mattresses), and the appealing furnishings. If you’re looking for a beach-hideaway experience that’s more sand than Sandals, we think you’ll find it here.

Richard Trillo

Richard Trillo

Kenya expert

Geographics

Location
Kenya Coast, Kenya
Ideal length of stay
7 days
Directions
From Moi International Airport, Mombasa (3.5hrs) or Malindi airport (1hr).
Accessible by
Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Half Board
Food quality
Justin’s mother, Vanessa, is in charge of the kitchen. The dominant styles are Mediterranean and Swahili, with lots of fresh seafood.

The day starts with very big breakfasts – required by kitesurfing guests to set them up for the day.

Lunch is served à la carte, but in the evenings there’s a set menu for dinner, with choices including vegetarian options.

Special interests

Family holidays
We highly recommend the rustic, mid-budget Che Shale for remote family beach holidays on the Kenya coast, with children of all ages. Come for outdoor activities like watersports, beach games and walks. A children’s menu and babysitting (by staff) are available.
See ideas for Family holidays
Beach holidays
Che Shale is located right on the beach where the steady onshore breeze offers perfect conditions for kite- and windsurfing. As well as these sports, you can go deep sea fishing or hang out on the swing seat on the beach and watch the black night sky bursting with stars.
See ideas for Beach holidays

Children

Attitude towards children
Che Shale consider themselves to be very family-oriented, with ‘lots of European kids here’.
Property’s age restrictions
None
Special activities & services
There’s a children’s menu, and babysitting can be arranged with housekeeping staff, but there are no childcare professionals available.
Equipment
Yes: ‘we can fix up anything’
Generally recommended for children
We would highly recommend Che Shale for beach-loving families who enjoy lots of outdoors, bare-foot running around, swimming, beach games and watersports.

Communications

Communications
There’s a reasonable cellphone signal, and free internet available, but not very fast. WiFi is being installed. Guests may use the owner/manager’s equipment – but Che Shale is all about going offline and disconnecting.
TV & radio
None

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Yes
Medical care
The nearest medical facility is Malindi (20 minutes in an emergency). They have direct numbers for medical emergency callout and they have staff trained in emergency life-saving (for kitesurfers)
Dangerous animals
Security measures
The property is patrolled by askaris, plus two armed, overnight guards. All the neighbouring properties also have askaris.
Fire safety
Two staff are trained in fire safety. Buckets of sand are available, and there’s a hose pump in the office. No smoking in rooms.

Activities

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

  • Boat trip

    Boat trip

  • Scuba-diving

    Scuba-diving

  • Snorkelling

    Snorkelling

  • Watersports

    Watersports

Extras

Disabled access
Not Possible
Laundry facilities
Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge
Money
There’s a safe for valuables. Currency exchange can be arranged.
Accepted payment on location
Cash payments may be made in US dollars, euros, pounds sterling or Kenyan shillings. Visa and MasterCard are accepted with a 5% surcharge.

Other lodges in Kenya Coast

Alternative places to stay in this same area.


Pinewood Beach Resort

Pinewood Beach Resort

Pinewood Beach Resort is a relaxed resort-style hotel at the far south end of Diani Beach - an area known as Galu Beach.


87% (11 reviews)
Kinondo Kwetu

Kinondo Kwetu

Kinondo Kwetu is a small, owner-run, all-inclusive boutique lodge of exceptional quality situated on a remote stretch of beach south of the busier Diani Beach area.


96% (9 reviews)
Diani Blue

Diani Blue

Diani Blue is a low-key but stylishly comfortable small guesthouse, with high levels of service, in a busy, central part of Diani Beach.


94% (7 reviews)
The Sands At Nomad

The Sands At Nomad

The Sands At Nomad is a good-value, laidback, family friendly resort with lots of Swahili character.


80% (5 reviews)
Driftwood Beach Club

Driftwood Beach Club

The low-key and long-established Driftwood is a family-friendly, owner-managed, bungalow-style beach hotel on a beautiful stretch of sands just south of Malindi town.


87% (3 reviews)
Alfajiri Villas

Alfajiri Villas

Alfajiri Villas is an exclusive, owner-run, hideaway property consisting of three unique villas in a central part of the north end of Diani Beach.


100% (2 reviews)
Peponi

Peponi

Peponi is a long-established beach hotel, renowned for its good food, located in the village of Shela on the south side of Lamu island.


100% (2 reviews)
Mnarani Club

Mnarani Club

The Mnarari Club is located towards the seaward end of the beautiful Killifi Creek, and is an enduring favourite on the Kenya coast.


100% (2 reviews)
Ocean Sports

Ocean Sports

Ocean Sports is long-established and popular beach hotel right on one of Watamu's famous and beautiful bays.


90% (2 reviews)
AfroChic

AfroChic

Afro-Chic is a modern, Mediterranean-style ten-room boutique hotel on Diani Beach, with good food and a pleasant pool.


100% (1 review)
Shimba Lodge

Shimba Lodge

Shimba Lodge is a picturesque tree-hotel overlooking a forest waterhole in Shimba Hills National Park, with an aerial walkway and abundant wildlife.


80% (1 review)
Serena Beach Resort

Serena Beach Resort

Serena Beach Resort is a large beach hotel on Shanzu Beach, north of Mombasa town, on Kenya's Indian Ocean coast.


100% (1 review)
Kutazama

Kutazama

Kutazama is an owner-managed, boutique luxury lodge in the Shimba Hills in a stunning location overlooking the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary.


100% (1 review)
Hemingways Watamu

Hemingways Watamu

Long-established resort hotel with a strong British following and a good reputation for deep-sea fishing.


80% (1 review)
The Sands at Chale Island

The Sands at Chale Island

The Sands at Chale Island is a beach resort offering plenty of activities and beautiful flora and fauna all around.


80% (1 review)
Kizingo

Kizingo

Kizingo is an owner-managed, rustic, barefoot beach lodge on the southwest tip of Lamu island.


No reviews yet
Tamarind Village

Tamarind Village

Tamaarind Village is a well managed apartment complex close to Mombasa city, with excellent restaurants, pools and visitor services.


No reviews yet
Kipungani Explorer

Kipungani Explorer

Kipungani Explorer is a relatively large rustic beach lodge on the west coast of Lamu island.


No reviews yet
Manfriday's Mida Cove

Manfriday's Mida Cove

Manfriday’s Mida Cove is a stylish beach lodge, suited to those who are sociable and will enjoy the engaging hosts and the convivial atmosphere they create.


No reviews yet
Diamond Beach Village

Diamond Beach Village

Diamond Beach Village is a rustic, owner-built, owner-run beach lodge, with simple rooms made from local materials, located where Lamu Creek meets the Indian Ocean.


No reviews yet
Manda Bay

Manda Bay

Manda Bay is a luxury beach hideaway in a remote corner of an island in the Lamu archipelago, on Kenya's northern coast. It has a huge range of water sports on offer.


No reviews yet
The Majlis

The Majlis

The Majlis is a modern 27-room resort hotel on the beachfront of Manda island.


No reviews yet
Water Lovers Beach Resort

Water Lovers

Water Lovers is a popular, low-key beach hotel in a central location on Diani Beach on the south coast of Kenya.


No reviews yet
Swahili Beach

Swahili Beach

Swahili Beach is one of the biggest resort hotels on Diani Beach, with a spectacular lobby and cascading swimming pool.


No reviews yet
House on the Beach

House on the Beach

House on the Beach is a comfortable family-size, private beach house with a large pool set by a cave complex, and a delightful garden leading down to the beach, in a secluded spot on Tiwi Beach.


No reviews yet
Msambweni Beach House

Msambweni Beach House

Msambweni Beach House is a secluded and luxurious boutique hotel on the southern Kenya coast, south of Diani Beach.


No reviews yet
Lamu House

Lamu House

Lamu House is a boutique hotel on the waterfront in Lamu town, with a swimming pool, bar and terrace restaurant.


No reviews yet
The Maji

The Maji

The Maji is a small, well managed beach hotel on the northern stretch of Diani Beach in southern Kenya.


No reviews yet
Funzi Keys

Funzi Keys

Funzi Keys is a remote beach property on its own private island on the far south coast of Kenya. Rustic in style, it will suit you if you cherish exclusivity over modern design.


No reviews yet
Tijara Beach

Tijara Beach

Tijara Beach is one of the smallest and quietest beach properties on Kenya’s coast, with a focus on rest and relaxation away from other tourists.


No reviews yet

Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link


New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Order a brochure
  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team

Africa