Travels with my Art

Paintings and Photographs inspired by Travels Around the World

Mombasa – Paradise (Lost)

If I asked you to imagine paradise, I am sure many of you would picture the perfect tropical beach – glistening waves gently lapping against shimmering white sand, glorious sunshine beaming down from pristine blue skies, not a cloud or a person in site.

Well now I’m going to make you jealous, because the above description pretty much sums up our recent holiday to Mombasa.

If you manage to make it to the Kenyan coastline then you will be rewarded with some of the most amazing beaches in the world. Prior to our trip we had been landlocked in Nairobi for about nine months and we were pretty desperate to get out of the city and to the coast.

We were staying at the very swish and all inclusive Serena Beach Resort and Spa, courtesy of Grandma Joan and Grandad Bill. The hotel is situated on Shanzu beach, 15 kilometres to the north of Mombasa, and boasts to be be one of most beautiful white-sand on the Indian Ocean – and it is – it really felt as if we’d walked into paradise.

Shanzu Beach
Lottie, Leon and Frida playing in the sea and the Hotel pool

Our Accommodation 
Some of the other Hotel REsidents – Monkey, crabs, spiDERS and Birds 

I’m going to be honest, we spent most of our holiday at the beach resort – swimming, resting, having saunas, eating amazing food and generally chilling out. Although, we did venture into Mombasa, the whole idea of this holiday was a break away from the urban metropolis.

On the streets of Mombasa


So if you’ve got to this point in my blog post, you’re probably wondering why have I entitled this blog post Paradise (Lost) – well, it’s because of this…

This is Kibarani dumpsite.

Located at the gateway to the coastal city, before the Makupa causeway, along the Mombasa-Nairobi highway, Kibarani is more than a blot on the landscape, it is the landscape.

I saw the dumpsite as we were on the way home from our tropical paradise holiday and were driving through the city to the SGR train station to catch our train home. Looking at this eyesore, with people walking on it, sifting through the waste for things they can use or sell, the juxtaposition of where we had stayed and what I could see before  me left such a bitter taste in my mouth. Kibarani like the white beaches I wrote about at the start of my blog, seems to go on for miles and miles and as we drove past it I was struck dumb by the mountain of plastic and waste in front of me.

But apparently there is some good news, at the end of April Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho ordered for the closure of Kibarani dumpsite within 70 days. Whether he keeps to his word will be another story – but at least some action is being talked about and hopefully something will be done about Kibarani sooner rather than later.

The epic Paradise Lost, written by John Milton 1667, is about the Fall of Man and the stories of the rebellion and punishment of Satan and the creation of Adam and Eve. Milton declared that his aim in the poem was “to justify the ways of God to men.”

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  1. glendabjack June 12, 2018

    Thanks for being real. This happens as well in the Caribbean. We have amongst the prettiest natural resources in the world and they are being needlessly destroyed. Hispaniola is a prime example.

    • alidunnell June 12, 2018 — Post Author

      Thanks for commenting – this is sadly happening everywhere… I think the only solution is that everyone needs to act together and reduce waste and plastic for good.

  2. Ann C June 12, 2018

    So sad. We stayed almost the same place in 1975 as a stop over en route to our first UK leave with N and Q. Stunning place, but back then no Kibarani ….So much for our ‘progress’ in the world

    • alidunnell June 13, 2018 — Post Author

      I think so many places are heading this way in the developing world Ann, it is almost as if people in position of power have blinkers on when it comes to certain places and parts of the world 🙁

  3. thewonderer86 June 13, 2018

    I was so with you. Really waxing lyrical about that amazing beach, and then what a shock at the end. I can imagine how you felt when you saw it. Let’s hope something really is done about it.

    • alidunnell June 13, 2018 — Post Author

      I will keep in touch with the Kenyan news, and hopefully they will be true to their word. Ali

  4. Holly Goodyear June 13, 2018

    Kenya looks amazing. I feel so sad about the trash situation, but I think it’s good fur us to see it to give us a wakeup call.

    • alidunnell June 14, 2018 — Post Author

      Kenya IS amazing… but I think it is important to tell a full story – hence the inclusion of the information about the trash. Hopefully the Government will prioritise this soon. Thanks for commenting

  5. Zoe | Together In Transit June 13, 2018

    Enjoyed your reading style, so sad to see the real landscape away from the resorts. I find this always difficult that most guests at these resorts know nothing of this. But good to see how the children enjoyed their time on vacation.

    • alidunnell June 14, 2018 — Post Author

      They had a great time. But I agree, so many people’s eyes are averted from these environmental catastrophes… we must continue to raise awareness and hope the Governments start to act. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  6. Amy Fujimoto June 13, 2018

    Hm, sad to hear about that dumpsite, but hopefully everything falls through nicely and gets fixed up! Here in Hawaii we made our dumps into parks so I wonder what they plan to do with it.

    • alidunnell June 14, 2018 — Post Author

      I’m not sure what will be done, but at least it is on the Government’s agenda. Let’s just hope it is sooner rather than later. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  7. TheGreatAmbini June 13, 2018

    It looks like you had a great time at the hotel, it such a shame about the dumpsite but at least there is some awareness now about it. Hopefully the current push to reduce single use plastics in the west will be significant in the rest of the world and will stop such devastation!

    • alidunnell June 14, 2018 — Post Author

      I agree – also here in Kenya the Government have already banned the use of plastic bags, so I believe this problem will be addressed. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  8. Emily June 13, 2018

    Love the stained glass and the street vibe looks and sounds really interesting! Shame about the dumpsite, though. I though I’d seen pollution in Southeast Asia, but it’s nothing like this 🙁 Thanks for sharing such an honest post… Really important to raise awareness and hopefully inspire some change.

    • alidunnell June 14, 2018 — Post Author

      Kenya has already made some moves towards this and banned plastic bags, but the Government here and in so many other places need to do more. Hopefully we will see this in the near future. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  9. Kathryn Rossiter June 13, 2018

    Ah I was just about to say how epic Mombasa looks… but those dump site pics are a totally different story! So sad that beautiful parts of the world are affected like this. Here’s hoping this changes soon.

    • alidunnell June 14, 2018 — Post Author

      Sadly this is the story of so many places now… I just hope raising awareness of this global problem will make all the Governments act together. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  10. Bangali Backpackers June 13, 2018

    I really appreciate how you bring the attention of the reader to the dumpsite. It’s not just serene and gorgeous; there are also these people struggling with poverty scavenging for resell-able items in a dumpsite. I hope the government keeps its promise and does something to restore the landscape.

    • alidunnell June 14, 2018 — Post Author

      I hope the Government keep their promise too – I felt it was so important for me to include these images of the dump, as it the problem with plastic waste and the environment is something we should all be trying to address. Thanks for commenting .

  11. SecretMoona June 14, 2018

    Thank you for this truthful post. It’s great picturing the beautiful side but showing the un-pretty side is important too. Sadly most of the African countries are like that since they don’t have the right infrastructure. It’s the same with my country of origin (Mali) I can only hope that one day, this will be tackled by the government.

    • alidunnell June 15, 2018 — Post Author

      Kenya and other countries are have already taken some steps, like banning plastic bags, so hopefully things are moving in the right direction… I just hope that they prioritise this environmental disaster, sooner rather than later. Thanks for commenting

  12. Marvi June 14, 2018

    The last part of your post certainly took me by surprise. Reading how wide the dumpsite is saddening. I’ve seen my share of this kind of situation (though thankfully not the same as the dumpsite), but often it’s a sad reality for areas near resorts. Good to know they are doing some action to resolve this. Hopefully it’ll be fast and efficient. Serena Beach Resort and Spa looks amazing btw. The kids certainly looks like they’re having so much fun!

    • alidunnell June 15, 2018 — Post Author

      We all had a great holiday, but I really hope something is sorted with this dumpsite sooner rather than later. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  13. Ketki Gadre June 14, 2018

    Wow Mombasa looks absolutely gorgeous! Would love to laze around the beach. Great post.

  14. Taru June 17, 2018

    There’s always the other side of beauty…. When walking on a paradise beach its so easy to forget the realities. Thanks for sharing.

    • alidunnell June 18, 2018 — Post Author

      I felt on this occasion I could not ignore what was staring my in the face. Hopefully if we all continue to raise awareness of these environmental disasters then Governments will start to act. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  15. Hazel Joy June 17, 2018

    Like other commenters, the last part of this was a shock. But glad you included this as this is also the reality of the destination and one mustn’t shy away from the reality as well. How else are we going to make the world better.

    • alidunnell June 18, 2018 — Post Author

      I agree Hazel. I think sometimes we only tell half the stories, I know I am certainly guilty of this at times – but on this occasion I felt that it was important to include this ‘blot on the landscape’. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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