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Is Bamburi turning into Mombasa's Las Vegas?


They say if you want it to end in premium tears, date a lover from Bamburi fisheries area. Once a quiet, local place reserved for fishermen and their clients, Bamburi is now the second home to Nairobians and upcountry folks who have settled in Mombasa and slowly turned the area to a sin city where all nasty pleasures take place when darkness falls.Nightclubs line up the roughly 800-metre stretch, with countless wines and spirits shops in and around the neighbourhood, and all blasting with music day and night.

Bamburi has become the new party zone, giving life to a 24-hour economy for hookers, restaurant owners, lodgings, hotels and now Airbnbs which have come popular.In fact, most of Nairobi folks who want to get naughty and and fulfil their fantasis away from prying eyes of locals, are setting camp in Airbnbs. Here, they are assured of security and privacy minus strict hotel regulations.

Airbnbs in Bamburi have gained a negative reputation among locals for hosting sex orgies.  They have also been termed as havens for thriving scandalous affairs, where men move with college girls and old women get down with Ben-Tens.  Most of the visitors who come for tours and conferences prefer to visit Bamburi for a marvelous night out to enjoy raving in over 20 clubs full of skimpy clad young women to well-manicured mature women all mingling looking for agood time.

“Nairobians like hanging out here to enjoy the young women who are willing to dance all night in clubs, drinking booze and getting cash from the excited men from upcountry,” says Marion Sakawa, a club manager at one of the famous clubs in Bamburi.She says it will cost you an arm and leg if you want to get the classy Asian and Swahili women who always hang out in high-end clubs near Naivas Nyali, just a stone’s throw away from Bamburi.

‘Las Vegas’

Sakawa says Bamburi and Nyali have killed the vibe of Mtwapa that was once revered as ‘Las Vegas’ for being home for strip clubs, 24-hour parties and a second home to retired Italians.“You can secure a night of pleasure for as low as Sh100 at Bombolulu area to Sh 10,000 per shot in the high-end places along Nyali,” says Sakawa.Then there is Diani, a tourism gem to both international and local tourists, more so those from Nairobi who like to stay in the white sandy beaches that host the top-five star hotels and party joints.

Monica the Boss Chiq (not her real name) is a masseuse at one of the massage parlours along the beach. She says hookers around the area are sophisticated and charge an arm and a leg for services and most prefer to offer escort services. She says most women are used to luxurious lifestyles and always source for loaded men. “If you wish for a good night company, you have to be willing to spend unlimited amounts because the women here are used to big boys who are big spenders,” says Monica.According to Millicent Awino, Manager at Havana restaurant, there has been an increase of Nairobians who visit Diani to relax away from the bustling and crazy life of the city.Awino says that most of the visitors from Nairobi love to book Airbnbs because of the freedom and because they are relatively cheap compared to five star hotels that have more restrictions.

She however says the flight rates from Nairobi to Mombasa are currently expensive, with a one-way ticket ranging between Sh12,000 and Sh17,000 per person. She urges the airlines to increase the number of flights instead of increasing the prices to maximize on the profits during the festive season.“Let the airlines introduce more flights that fly into the late night instead of hiking the air charges. That way they will make more profits,” says Awino.“A person with a family of four will be forced to pay around Sh70,000 on a one-way flight before even booking for a hotel, they will not have much to spend on the holidays,” says Awino.

No discrimination

She notes that Kenyans have a habit of complaining that they are being discriminated in terms of services at the restaurants, yet it is a matter of first come basis and prior booking.Awino says it is always frustrating when some local tourists think they are being discriminated at the restaurants when the food seems to delay but it is a matter of early bookings.“Most of the guest usually call early to make reservations at the restaurants, there is no discrimination. So Kenyans should stop saying they are being discriminated because they are black or have less funds when they see other being served before them. We cannot progress with such kind of mentality,” says Awino.The hotelier believes that having put Covid-19 and the lengthy lockdowns behind us, people are starting to enjoy their vacations and the resounding freedom.Just a few weeks ago, Kenyans were among the thousands of tourists that flocked Lamu Archipelago to celebrate the 20th Annual Lamu Cultural Festival after a three year ban due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lamu Governor Issa Timammy said the return of the cultural extravaganza was meant to project the beautiful and diverse local cultures and traditions of the island dwellers.These include traditional Swahili poetry, henna paintings, donkey races, dhow sailing, traditional craft and embroidery.Lamu tourism Association chairman Ghalib Ahmed Alawy said marketing Lamu as an Island of Festivals will ensure that Lamu enjoys visitors all year round and boosts the local tourism sector.

Most of the local tourists have also taken interest in visiting the seven islands in Watamu, with others preferring the Jacaranda Beach Resort, one of the top white sandy beaches that has been voted five times as the best beach in AfricaThe Kenya Coast-Uganda tourism partnership has also seen an increased number of Ugandans visiting the south Coast.

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