By Philip Mwakio
Mombasa’s Kiembeni Estate is a unique residential area at the Coast, boasting of a wildlife sanctuary right at its edge.
With a potential of housing 100,000 residents the estate is fast growing, phasing out the typical Swahili homesteads. The Nguuni Wildlife Sanctuary is a walking distance from Kiembeni Estate and residents have made it a spot for parties and weddings.
Since the introduction of a variety of wildlife species into the rehabilitation centre, the sanctuary instantly became an attraction for residents and visitors alike. The sanctuary is home to ostriches, elands, Oryx, waterbucks, giraffes and camels.
The young and old mingle freely in this sprawling estate of an estimated 50,000 people who own or rented modern houses in Kiembeni. Most of residents here work for Bamburi Cement, a large-scale factory, while a good number work for tourist hotels, the Mombasa Port, or are ordinary business people.
The estate sprung up fast and today boasts of its own supermarket, several retail shops, salons and boutiques and a number of licensed drinking dens. These joints include The Wallet popularly known as ‘Container’, De Pot and Shillah bar, which is a haven for fried fish from Lake Victoria.
Kiembeni is one of the few residential areas with an open playground for children in its locality. Real estate investors are in the process of building an Olympic size swimming pool, which once completed will also house a fast food restaurant and a modern gymnasium.
Matatus ply the Kiembeni-Mombasa’s Central Business District (CBD) route for a fee of Sh40. From CBD they get to Kiembeni route through Bamburi and back to town.
The monthly rent ranges between Sh7,000 for a one-bedroom house. A two bedroom house goes for Sh10,000 a month while those seeking more space and eager to live in a three bedroom house will part with Sh15,000 a month.
However, residents here are seeking an urgent end to the perennial water shortages and heaps of uncollected garbage. They feel that a temporary garbage collection point should be established to help ease garbage pile ups.
Ironically, Mombasa’s newest Municipal dumpsite is less than eight kilometres away. To beef up security, residents have called on the Council to install streetlights in the area to enable them walk at night.