I have been to Mombasa a couple of times but spent most of my time at North Coast in Nyali. The first time I went to South Coast –Diani, must have been five years ago. I loved the serenity of the place the clean beaches and the restaurants that serve delicious Swahili food. Nothing would have prepared me for the beauty and serenity of Msambweni. I got to stay within the Kaya forest at Kaya Imani. Imani is a Kiswahili word that means faith. It is named after the daughter of the owner.
The drive from Ukunda airport was less than an hour. The road to Msambweni was bumpy; I managed to people watch and take in seeing the people from the surrounding community. There were lots of different types of entrepreneurs. People selling meat, cooking meals and running little kiosks.
The gate of Kaya Imani is colourful and welcoming.
As soon as you get out of the car, the roaring sound of the ocean welcomes you to the coast.
On walking down, I saw a swimming pool a kitchen and two cottages.
The cottages house 8 people. Each cottage blends into the environment. When exploring the place and the beach I had the company of Lucky, we took a walk and half run on the white sandy beach.
The sounds of the Indian Ocean were calming and I knew I wouldn’t need music to do yoga that day. The Indian Ocean plus the crickets creates a perfect musical symphony of nature. A timely welcome especially, after a bumpy ride. The village is not too far from Kaya Imani. It is not uncommon to see people fishing. Just being there brings about the feeling you get, after doing yoga or being in sauna. I felt rested and healed. Tranquil. When you think of a beach– a forest next to it does not really come to mind. The Kaya forest being so dense; I wouldn’t have imagined the beach being so close.
The staff are friendly the chef, makes delicious Swahili dishes. If you want to take a piece of their cooking home, they gladly gives lessons on how to prepare his tasty Swahili dishes. The vegetables are sourced from Energy Africa an organic farm based in Diani.
Onesmus the caretaker helped in getting me settled in. Once I got settled in, I found Khaled and Eirik– the owner, working on a piece. There’s a place where you can paint and create.
Eirik focuses on Affirmative art . Students from Nagenda International Academy of Art and Design ( NIAAD) come here to practise their craft and work on pieces. As a creative, if you are musician you can learn about the music culture of the people of Msambweni. It seems like there are lots of possibilities here.
The activities here are immense especially if you love sports and want a bit of action. You can go snorkelling with a conservationist. Apparently there is a turtle’s stations here. You can do water sports. You can also visit the neighbouring village Shimoni for kite surfing, wind surfing, scuba diving and deep sea fishing. There’s a football club in the village that Kaya Imani supports with the help of friends. So if you are interested in football, you won’t miss out on the action while you are in Msambweni.
As my stay was short, I was happy to just be in the moment, wake up at sunrise to do yoga, eat, take walks on the beach, meditate and write. Kaya Imani is a perfect place for a retreat, honeymoon and for families too. If you love the environment, are looking for tranquility and relax. Kaya Imani offers the authenticity and proximity of the locals of Msambweni. Being an intimate property it offers you something a commercial hotel would not.
There have been some claims that the coast of Kenya is a no go zone. There was no time I did not feel safe and there were other people jogging and going about their business on the beach. Like I have said before there’s no place in the world that’s 100% safe.
For bookings and enquiries on Kaya Imani contact Eirik he speaks Norwegian, German and English. You can also comment below and I can forward your details to him. They are also on airbnb.
Have a tranquil day won’t you,