The SpaceThis house, called Pumzikatu (meaning place of relaxation) sits on Shimba Hills ridge above an elephant sanctuary and with views as far as the eye can see. You may awaken in the clouds and then as it burns off see the starlings and hundreds of other birds show off, or chase the monkeys from the little swimming pool and you don't get anything done as you keep looking for elephants and following the herd as it moves around in the trees below. A micro climate makes it very pleasant and soporific and peaceful and there is no pollution in the air. However in half an hour you can be in the heat of the beach, Diani Beach. And then you can return to the tranquility of Pumzika-tu. There you have comfortable rooms, three with king size beds and one with a queen size double bed and with three bathrooms (a king and queen share a bathroom and great for a family). Motana will keep the place clean and I can bring in a cook to do some light cooking (and is happy to learn from guests) and the two permanent watchmen/gardeners/helpers take care of your safety. You use our Safaricom dongle for the internet. We now have electricity and generator backup. There is a lovely bar and a super bar-b-q. At night some lanterns will be lit for atmosphere and a fire for ambience although not really necessary in the hot season, but nice in the rainy season. There are lovely walks and guided tours through the forest by local forest wardens. Guest AccessKwale is a small town with a local market and very colourful one on Wednesdays. They are now building a modern shopping centre which some love and some think a shame. There are two ATMs in the village and you can buy your basics, and fruit and vegetables, beer and sodas but no wine or liquor. For delicatessan things, good meat, fresh fish and canned stuff, you go to Ukunda and Diani Beach. There you will find modern supermarkets, banks and ATMs, clothes, art and souvenir shops. Two airlines fly from Nairobi (Wilson) to Diani Beach (Nairobi international to Mombasa international in just over an hour. I can organize pick ups and car hire at very reasonable rates, and also tours and visits. Kwale Tours, Said is my preferred agent and I use him exclusively as he is in Kwale and very knowledgeable. He can collect you and take you to a supermarket to stock up and then up to the house (via the beach if you fancy a beer and a swim on the way up to the ridge. Then he can leave you with a car.
Diani Beach is just south of Mombasa where you can cool off in the sea which is protected by the reef. You can chill out in beach bars and restaurants, swimming, take dhow trips, kite surfing and go deep sea fishing or just walking or taking a camel ride along the beach. There a small but delightful game park 10 minutes from the house where you can see giraffe, wart hogs, buffaloes, elephants, monkeys, dung Beatles and other wild animals including the rare and beautiful sable antelopes with their black coats and long circular horns. There are many, about 600, elephants who enjoy a corridor into the elephant sanctuary at Mwaluganje Forest and it is these that regularly visit beneath Pumzika-tu. A visit to the park can be followed by a restaurant meal where fish eagles can be seen to fish and monkeys and bush-babies abound. Interaction with GuestsI live in Nairobi and only visit to check you in and show you around and help you settle in and if there is an emergency I will fly down. Said, Saidi and Matano will look after you splendidly. I don't have a driver but one can be booked for you at a reasonable price by Said, Kwale Tours. The NeighborhoodI love the Shimba Hills as a very special place and the village is so typical of rural Africa that it is most interesting with an orphanage, a home for mentally challenged children and its nice little schools and market. There are some great African restaurants and local fruit, vegetable and meat market. Getting AroundYou can take boda bodas (small motorbikes) for 100/= from the house to Kwale and then a mutatu, small bus to the Ukunda and Diani Beach and to Mombasa. You can also hire a car with or without a driver from a designated, checked person called Said (who will take you on Safari, accompany you to the park or beaches until you feel comfortable with going solo. He has the lowest prices and you can pay him directly. A nice seven seater car that can go on Safari costs 4500/= per day and 5500/= with driver. Other Things to NoteMombasa is now overcrowded and has traffic problems but it is worth visiting Fort Jesus and the old arab town and for about 1000/= a guide will latch himself onto you. You need to negotiate a price for the few hours with him and he will start at 3000/=. There will be an information pack in the house. Kwale Tours would also take you and is probably a better bet but it would be more expensive as he would take you from Kwale (but it is all negiotiable).