Calu Odhiambo: Marine Engineer Behind Mtwapa’s Jambo Cruise Floating Restaurant

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Jambo Cruise restaurant PHOTO/Courtesy

Calu Odhiambo is the founder of Jambo Cruise, a unique restaurant floating on the edges of a mangrove forest along Mtwapa Creek.

Having lived abroad for over 15 years, Odhiambo was keen to replicate a similar project in Kenya.

His venture has proven success and he hopes to open more floating restaurants across the East Africa coastline.

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Here is Odhiambo’s story at narrated by WoK.

Idea

Odhiambo lived in Sweden where he worked as a marine engineer for over 15.

Upon his return to Kenya, the now businessman wanted to venture into the hospitality industry, however, by introducing something new.

“I was looking forward to giving Kenyan tourism a unique venture, something that would be so different from what people are used to when they visit the coast, and at the same time something that would work well with the current generation,” Odhiambo told Business Daily.

Investing millions

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Odhiambo pumped millions into the business considering he had to source some materials from abroad.

He also had to ensure that he got high quality and rusty free material since the restaurant would be floating on salty water.

“The project cost millions of shillings because the most important items like floaters had to be shipped. The figure went up due to paperwork and the complex nature of the project

“The other most expensive project to do is the one done on water, and not just water, salty water with high corrosion ability,” Odhiambo said.

Odhiambo also noted that in such a business, security is key and for his matter he has heavily invested on the same.

“We have all the safety measures in place having been cleared by the Maritime Authority. We have life jackets that one must have while boarding the transfer boat

“In addition, we have life rings in case of an emergency, and have security guards who double up as divers on board at all times,” he said.

Onboard experience

The hotel charges from as low as Ksh 500 for both local and international clients.

While visiting the hotel, clients access the floating restaurant by taking a boat at the land-based hotel reception.

At the restaurant, they are served with varieties of meals and once they are full, they can change and enjoy water sports activities like snorkelling, surfing, and kayaking.

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