No worries at Hakuna Matata

Hakuna matata, what a wonderful phrase. It is also a wonderful place to stay if you are ever in the Diani beach area south of Mombasa, Kenya.

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I have written before about how much of Diani is taking up by identikit resorts which could have been plucked from any sun drenched stretch of coast line in the world. They are without charm and hugely expensive to boot.

Hakuna Matata, the name of the cottage where I have stayed for the last 10 days, is on the other hand all charm and a bargain for what is on offer.

The three-bedroomed double storey villa is built in a traditional Swahili style, with the dark wood beams stretching across the ground floor supporting an upper living space which sits beneath an intricate circular roof structure made of reeds. The decor evokes Africa, and makes you feel like you have a special holiday ahead of you, without falling into the trap of looking like a safari gift store.

The bedrooms all have fans to keep you cool during the humid Kenyan nights and there is a kitchen so you can prepare your own meals, using the fresh catch of the local fisherman if you so wish.

There is a large garden where you can hear an occasional thud as a coconut falls to the ground as well as resident colobus monkeys which come to play in the late afternoon (Note: I say “play” in a linguistic sense. Do NOT play with the monkeys, they are wild animals!)

And it is but a hop, skip and a jump away from one of the most beautiful sand pits in the world on the edge of the warm Indian Ocean.

All of this, of course, helps Hakuna Matata move up the charm scale, and you get all of this for 5000 Kenyan shillings, or £50 each for ten days when six people share. But the most charming aspect of the villa, and the whole experience, is the caretaker, Masudi.

Masudi is of the local Digo tribe, 38 years old and has worked at Hakunu Matata for the past 15 years under 3 different owners.

He starts work at dawn, tending to the garden, placing your seafood order at the beach, and cleaning your laundry of its sandy deposits.

He goes about his work eagerly, always with a smile and an infectious giggle. He is always there to help you, whether it is to learn how to get the milk from a coconut or gut the red snapper you crave for dinner. But Masudi is somehow always in the background too, never obtrusive, only popping by occasionally to check you have everything you need or to wish you a good night.

Perhaps Masudi has acquired his charm by osmosis, or perhaps Hakuna Matata owes its success to his hard work and attention to detail.

In the end it doesn’t matter. Come to Hakuka Matata and you will have no worries.

For more info and to book your stay visit the website

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