What would you do if, upon responding to a knock on your gate, you came across a crocodile? You might think that is far-fetched, but that is precisely what the residents of a posh estate in Mombasa have to deal with, following a crocodile invasion.
On Monday, at around 4am, Mr Martin Ngoa, a security guard at Beach Road Estate in Nyali, heard a knock from the gate.
“When I came out to see who was at the gate, I did not see anyone. But when I got out, I saw a crocodile staring at me,” said Mr Ngoa.
This has been the situation for the last two weeks, since the crocodiles from Mamba Village, owned by former Nyali MP Hezron Awiti, invaded the area.
Mr Francis Katana, a caretaker at the estate, said that recently, the crocodiles were spotted on three consecutive days.
On Sunday, Mr Katana said, one was hiding in a thicket close to the estate. There is a pond about 600 metres from some of the houses near which the crocodiles have been spotted.
“One of the resident was the other day early morning heading to the mosque when he stepped on one and sent a photo to our WhatsApp group. When we came out we saw it hiding in a thicket,” said Mr Katana.
Mr Katana, who took a video of the crocodile, said the residents were forced to take a risk and capture the reptile after the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) took too long to respond to their calls.
One of the videos shows a crocodile is seen in front of a gate with its mouth wide open.
“It is now almost normal to see a crocodile both during the day and at night. You might be coming out of you’re your house, only to find one on your doorstep,” he added.
On two occasions, he said, the KWS officers have taken the crocodiles back to their ponds.
Ms Hindya Ali, who has been living in the high-end estate since 2015, said she fears for the safety of her children.
“My children attend Madrasa just within the estate, but you do not know what those crocodiles can do to them. A boundary wall should be put around that village for the sake of our safety,” she said.
When the Nation visited Mamba Village, it established that the crocodiles were getting out through an opening at the bottom of a gate.
During an interview, Mr Awiti acknowledged that some have recently been escaping from their ponds, adding that it was because some ponds were being renovated.
He said he had operated the ponds for more than 30 years, without any bad incidents.
Contacted to find out what steps the have taken, KWS Assistant Director Coast Conservation Area Arthur Tuda said his officers are in talks with Mr Awiti in to find ways of dealing with the situation.