Owning a private islands is a show of wealth, opulence and just the desire to be secluded from the chaos of crowded spaces. The privacy and exclusivity that comes with islands has also made the rich spend their money on these pieces of land surrounded by water.
In this article, WoK brings you the story of Carol Otieno, a Kenyan entrepreneur who owns the Kigamboni Private Island in Mombasa.
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Carol Otieno is a large scale farmer in Kilifi but lives in the leafy suburbs of Nyali estate, Mombasa County. Having lived in Mombasa the better part of her life, she would go on a vacation in Funzi Island where she would spend days exploring the mangrove forests. In 2013, she acquired land in one of the several islands named Kigamboni Island. She constructed a five-bedroom ultra-luxurious eco-lodge in the one and a half acre piece of land. During a past interview with one of the local dailies, she revealed that the land cost her Ksh 6 million.
“There is no place like this place. Funzi is like heaven on earth…and the Villa offers unbroken views of the sea. The land cost me Ksh 6 million and despite it being lonely in the middle of nowhere, it is safe,” she told Business Daily.
Acquiring a Private Island
In order to acquire a private island in Kenya, there are set of rules and regulations that one has to fulfil and adhere to. First, one needs to get a permit from the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). The buyer has to commit to conserve the mangrove forest ecosystem and prove to be able to balance luxury and sustainability.
“You first apply to the chief conservator of the forests requesting to be allowed to carry out eco-tourism services. Then the Kenya Forest Services (KFS) will assess the area on its sustainability before the decision on occupation can be given or rejected,” a KFS ecosystem conservator told the BD.
Once you are given the go ahead to acquire the private island, one is provided with guidelines on how to live in the island without conflicting the eco-system. For example, you are not allowed to cut the mangrove trees or throw rubbish into the water among other regulations. During the interview, Carol revealed that since she acquired the land, she has committed herself to conserving the sea wildlife.
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“I protect rare species of flora and fauna, nesting grounds for marine animals like turtles and birds such as leatherback, loggerhead, hawksbill, green and olive ridley sea turtles,” she explained.
If you are not able to buy a private island, there is an option of leasing the land. The cost varies from Ksh 20,000 to Ksh 500,000 per year depending on the size of the land.