. . . 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.
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 2018 it ranked in the lower third of the counties of Kenya, with 47 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.
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. The beach is sandy for the first 20 meters - further out you find sand and coral rocks, covered by water during high tide (to be seen also on the
aerial picture above).