What you need to know:
The little haven known as Courtesy Beach is just two kilometers off Thika Superhighway at the Ruiru Toll station
One of the reasons why the Kenyan Coast is a major tourist attraction site apart from the pristine beaches is the numerous action-packed watersports available. Diani and Watamu are well known for jet skiing, kayaking, kitesurfing, boat rides, sailing, waterboarding, scuba diving, snorkeling, and even sky diving. However, these activities don’t come cheap. Jet skiing in Diani costs between Sh4,500, and Sh8,000 for a 20-minute ride while kayaking costs roughly Sh2,000 per person for the same period.
A 3-hour boat ride carrying ten people will cost about Sh12,000 exclusive of the seafood lunch platter.
With these prices, it is impossible to participate in all the watersports each time you visit without going broke.
That’s why, when I heard of this place in Ruiru that offers the same experience at affordable prices, I had to tag my friends along to check it out. The little haven known as Courtesy Beach is just two kilometers off Thika Superhighway at the Ruiru Toll station. It can be accessed by both public and private means and the road is well-tarmacked. We saw several posters on the road advertising the different hotels and restaurants dotted along the shores of the dam. The difficult choice was settling on just one premise. All of them were unique and they offered different experiences in terms of amenities, ambiance, meals, sitting areas, and even activities. The unifying factor was the dockyards for accessing water activities and the unobstructed views of the calm and peaceful waters. The dam is quite expansive and was previously used by white farmers to irrigate their coffee farms.
After sampling about four premises, we settled on Hotel Vesloni. It is a tall white and grey hotel with luxury amenities and a spacious garden facing the “beach” and it is designed to make guests feel like they are on vacation at their own private beach house. The interior design resembles a royal yacht with an open kitchen, restaurant, and fully stocked bar. Since we had arrived at around noon, we ordered the sizzling goat, chapati, sauté potatoes, and mukimo for lunch. Their service was a bit slow but the food was delicious, affordable, and worth the wait.
After our feast, the hotel assisted in getting a trustworthy vendor for the water sports. The most common ones are boat rides, kayaking, canoeing, jet skiing, and sport fishing. We started with a complete boat ride circuit around the dam which cost us Sh500 per person for 30 minutes. But, there was an option for half and three-quarters circuits at Sh200 for five minutes and Sh350 for 15 minutes respectively. We were picked at the hotel waterfront, given our life jackets, and started cruising the calm waters while listening to the soothing music from our guide’s music system. To be honest, it felt like we were sailing on the Indian Ocean without the majestic waves. The views were incredible. We passed by the other premises and we could see other visitors staring at us with curiosity, envy, and the urge to fight their aqua phobia all at once.
Next in line was the most adrenaline-filled activity - jet skiing. This was our main activity and we were ready for the rush and blood pump. They have two options: half and full circuits for Sh500 and Sh1,000. We opted for the full circuit since it is longer and you get double the action. We attended a safety session with the instructor before we got on the jet ski and were guided on how to steer the nozzle, make turns, and maintain our balance. When accelerating, you will need to be inclined forward, lean back when stopping, and lean on the side when making a turn. The most important thing was not to panic, look far ahead, and keep the speed stable. Another thing to note is you need to have basic swimming skills despite wearing the lifejacket and eye gear.
The ride was the most incredible experience I have had after GP-Karting and white water rafting. It was a mixture of happiness, excitement, and nerve-wracking, especially when the instructor let me steer the nozzle alone and control my speed as the jet ski was going at almost 170km per hour.
The experience was worth every penny, and if you love some adrenaline rush and would want to try it out, I recommend you start here before you try the coastal ones.