The place.

In the middle of our tropical garden: the 600 year old baobab tree that has given the place its name. Photo: Fiebig
In the middle of our tropical garden: the 600 year old baobab tree that has given the place its name. Photo: Fiebig

Msambweni . . .

. . . consists of a cluster of ten villages in Kenya's coastal county of Kwale, halfway between Mombasa and Tanzania. All together they have about 12.000 inhabitants, predominantly Muslims and members of the locally dominant Digo tribe. People in Msambweni make their livelihood mainly from agriculture, fishing, crafts and trade and some public service. Coconut palms, mango and neem trees, and sugar cane plantations characterize the area.

Msambweni, city center.
Msambweni, city center.
The beach of SawaSawa village.
The beach of SawaSawa village.

A peaceful place off the main road - relaxed and a bit sleepy.

The coastal road branches off towards the sea near the police station and along it, there are some small shops, a post office, the Chief's office as well as a relatively large district hospital. Msambweni also hosts a governmental training institute for Environmental Health Sciences in the village of Tumbe; nearby is a small leprosy colony ("Blessed Camp"), which takes care of Kenya’s last victims of this virtually extinct disease, and of their families ( → The lepers of Baraka).

Msambweni went down in history only once, on August 21, 1978. On that day Kenya's first president Jomo Kenyatta collapsed during a visit of Bomani Primary School, and passed away shortly after. Since then, the school in the tiny sub-location carries the name of the nation's founding father.

 

The county of Kwale (south coast and hinterland) suffers from continuous marginalization: in 2013 it ranked on position 41 of the 47 counties of Kenya, only just ahead of the northern desert counties, with 71 percent of individuals below the poverty line. The only major investments are a titanium mine in the hinterland of Kinondo (→ Base Titanium ) and a sugar factory near Shimoni (→ KISCOL), both of them started operations in 2014.


 Dozens of palm trees and a long sandy seafront: Mbuyu Beach Bungalows (center).
Dozens of palm trees and a long sandy seafront: Mbuyu Beach Bungalows (center).
The fishermen's landing site on the right of our bungalows
The fishermen's landing site on the right of our bungalows
. . . and some holiday homes on the left hand side.
. . . and some holiday homes on the left hand side.

Sawa Sawa is Swahili and means "everything is all right".

The fishing village just behind Mbuyu Beach is called Sawa Sawa. On the beach front you will find no other hotels or touristic infrastructure, just some private holiday homes that are occupied occasionally, and a small fish market. The nearby "Club Salima", still mentioned in some travel guides, is no longer operating as a touristic facility. The whole Sawa Sawa area has kept much of the sleepy, peaceful charm from its earlier coastal days.

On the satellite picture, the bungalows, the restaurant and the main house are covered by palm trees. Only the pool in the center of the compound is clearly visible.