Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Malindi - Kenyan Coastline

Pictorial and words by Barry Greville-Eyres

New Partner Partnership for Africa's Development, the African renaissance (courtesy of Thabo Mbeki 1997/8) ..... little or no arguing with this! Just love this classic Kenyan response which is SO cool!

Authentic Italian cuisine - smoked sailfish carpaccio served at Simba House - Malindi under the new management of Martina and Jacopo at E-mail:; Skype: jajosimba and Tel .: +254728293784 +254728293784  

Freshly prepared potato gnocchi served at Simba House - wholesome, healthy and delicious! 
The Winning Simba House Team preparing grilled red snapper - Mediterranean style with green olives and tomatoes. Chef Elias, Jacopo and Martina (L-R) with much to smile about!  

Bon Appetit!


Strawberry Crostata - a wonderfully light shortbread cake served up for breakfast by Simba House's Masterchef Elias

Spoonbills are waders that frequent Mida Creek

Eco-tourism and conservation - community projects of the Giriama people at Mida Creek with mangrove seedlings ready for planting out

The Giriama people wholly dependent upon and sustained by Mida Creek

A rickety boardwalk, suspended over the ebbing and flowing waters of Mida Creek, snaking through the mature mangroves is set to test the nerve, patience, and fancy footwork of landlubbers 
Guided canoe trips on Mida Creek undertaken by members of the Giriama Tribe is an interesting and fun eco-tourism activity on offer

Youngers do the heavy-lifting to get this traditional, dugout canoe to the waters edge

A key landmark on the Malindi waterfront - is the Museum or House of Columns. The structure itself is an excellent example of traditional Swahili architecture and contains many fascinating exhibits of archaeological finds dug up around the coast.

Another significant Malindi landmark is the Vasco da Gama Pillar - arguably representing the genesis of the Age of Exploration. The edifice was erected in 1498 by da Gama as a navigational aid and the coral outcrop or column is topped by a cross made of Lisbon stone.

Further examples of Swahili architecture in the form of holiday resort infrastructure  along the Malindi waterfront.

Near-side Malindi Beach on the low tide.

Far-side Malindi Beach still on the low tide.

What and Wi the Fi? This idea or need does certainly does not sit well with Mi.

Malindi town profile taken from the main beach

Earthy terra firma!

# 1 Aspect & Perspective - of Malindi Beach

# 2 Aspect & Perspective - of Malindi Beach

Bella spiaggia - Italian for beautiful beach and this is certainly an understatement!

Chillaxing at the Simba House with the wonderful, Swahili open plan design

Recline, fully, on one of the comfortable Simba House sofas .... tilt head ever so slightly backwards and cast your eyes sky and ceiling-wards ..... imbibe the rustic and earthy materials and design patterns ..... close your eyes and feel yourself drift away........... 


One invigorating way to start a Malindi Day at Simba House!


Friday, May 15, 2015

Karibu Mombasa!

Pictorial by Barry Greville-Eyres


Iconic Moi Avenue - Mombasa. The port city boasts the largest and best deep water port in East Africa. The Swahili description of Mombasa, attributed to partly by an old line of poetry and an equally old local proverb, reads as follows: Mombasa is famous, but its waters are dangerously deep. Figuratively speaking .... the Wild East! (Africa) 

Rooftop views across the CBD - Mombasa Old Town depicting its waning crescent. Its matched by an equally inglorious past and present including rapid urbanization and overcrowding with horrendous traffic congestion; ethnic tension; sporadic Al Shebaab terror attacks; general crime and violence; high unemployment with desperate people, understandably, driven to extreme measures. Nevertheless, the city pulsates with an energy and charm that is both alluring and intoxicating. 

Mombasa's beaches and coastal resorts are exquisitely beautiful and with its warm tropical waters and climate it's an all year round, holiday destination of note.
Mombasa was already a thriving port city by the 12th century and only recently lost it's status of the chief port in East Africa when essentially superceded by Dar es Salaam in Tanzania
An important, largely unknown and controversial blemish on the distant history of Mombasa and the greater region is the slave trade of the Swahili Coast or East Africa. Between the 7th and 19th centuries its estimated that Arab and Swahili traders kidnapped 4 million slaves from East African territories and sold them for labour in households and plantations across the Middle East and Arab controlled African coastal states.
The fading fascades of slave trading infrastructure or markets are depicted in this and the picture above. Research has revealed that the East African Slave Trade both predated and exceeded (in the actual numbers of humans trafficked) the Atlantic Triangle Slave Trade although actual figures are unknown and remain highly disputed.  
A lasting legacy of the East African Slave Trade in Mombasa's Old Town are chain motifs carved into the wooden doors belonging to the homes of former slave traders.  

Another 'revealing' and exquisite set of antique doors, possibly teak, found in Old Town Mombasa. 

Intricate wood carvings of a bygone era. Slave caravans, on forced marches, from inland to coastal areas saw less than 1 in 5 survive, many either dying of disease or mercifully put out of their misery (executed) for showing weakness along the way.

A decidely different scene centuries ago........ Thousands of African boys underwent crude and unsanitary surgical procedures (castration) transforming them into eunuchs to provide servants to Arabic households and an estimated 2.5 million young African women were sold as concubines.

Yet another set of doors ..... yet this time, closing them firmly on this chapter in Mombasa's lengthy and troubled history

Fort Jesus is Mombasa's most visted location; a UNESCO declared World Heritage Site; anchor tenant of the Old Town and principal structure of the city's harbour. It was intended to represent Portuguese domination and colonization, as a fortified headquarters, in this part of the Indian Ocean. The target of several Swahili rebellions and a procession of foreign occupiers, it changed hands 9 times between 1631 and 1875.


A splendid arch with an equally splendid view constructed out of coral by invading Portuguese sailors in 1593. Vasco da Gama was the first Portuguese visitor to the Port of Mombasa and East Africa in 1498. Follow up visits and conquests took place in 1505 and 1528 where the town was repeatedly plundered and razed to the ground.

Would the yarn this olde battle-scarred boabab, cemented into coral crevices in close proximity to Fort Jesus, have to tell differ markedly from 'official' accounts and folklore?

Up close and personal with the giant coral castle - Fort Jesus. The Portuguese were eventually dethroned in 1698 by invading Omani Arabs. The British joined the procession in 1870 when they replaced the Omani Arabs. There is little wonder that the Swahili nickname for Mombasa is 'The Island of War.'  

All roads and narrow alleyways in Old Town Mombasa lead to Fort Jesus
Landward view, from the Indian Ocean, of the deep water Mombasa port and Fort Jesus 



Panoramic Pause # 1.

Panoramic Pause # 2.

Old Town Mombasa - heritage buildings with wooden filigreed porches
Further yet more elabotate wooden filigreed porches in the Old Town precint


Trade in the off tourist and rainy season is exceedingly slow - time for a breather and a friendly smile


You are very welcome!  Expressively written all over the face of Ibrahim Ahmed Mohamed T/A Swahili Styles Furnitures - Old Town Mombasa ( The sheer beauty of the Old Town is that its a 'working one' with people living and working there, as was the case for centuries, like any other town. 


Colour, character, charm and culture - Old Town-style!


In 1920 Kenya became a fully fledged British colony and the Mombasa Club was one of the very first exclusive colonial 'institutions' - ironically a stone's throw from another former seat of foreign/colonial occupation in Fort Jesus.

Moi Avenue - obviously renamed after gaining independence from Britain in 1963 with many eye-catching architectural landmarks
Another landmark in the traditional CBD and well within walking distance of Old Town Mombasa
Flying Kenyan indepedence high!


More eye-catching landmarks in the CBD

The eclectic blend of architectural styles is easy on the eye and soul, making the Mombasa CBD an extremely interesting destination 


Street scene CBD - Mombasa

Mombasa's heritage retained and protected irrespective of the era - past and present


Mombasa's public beaches are vibrant, exotic and a huge drawcard for adventure-junkies - note the camel on the right foreground.
Colorful backdrop on the sugary sands of Mombasa public beach


Weekend - beach and party time!


The off-peak tourist season .... pristine beaches



Vacant upmarket beach resorts - sadly experiencing mass tourist stayaways as a consequence of numerous travel advisories put out by western governments in the wake of an upswing in Al Shebaab terror attacks.