Kiwayu’s co-owner Simone Pelizzoli is a native Kenyan whose father bought the land in the Seventies, when elephants still hung out on the beach. Today tourism in Kenya is slowly picking up again after the violence in the wake of the country’s 2007 presidential election. While some visitors might be nervous about Kiwayu’s proximity to southern Somalia, where pirates menace the coast, Pelizzoli prefers to focus on the upside. At least the unrest serves as a deterrent to new Club Meds and, paradoxically, protects the things that lured travelers here in the first place. Pelizzoli makes this observation after returning from a late-afternoon walk on a deserted beach with her husband and their two-year-old daughter, who spent an hour and a half bouncing on dried seaweed and running after crabs.
“Often,” she says, “when there’s bit of trouble somewhere, the beauty remains, doesn’t it?”