European travellers deserted Kenya’s beaches long ago, but, in recent years, you may encounter a new, increasingly familiar sight: mature white women surrounded by muscular Kenyan men. During a work trip to Mombasa, Kenya, Danish photographer Sofie Amalie Klougart accidentally stumbled upon a money-bathed buffet of sexual performances. This phenomenon, known as “romance tourism,” sees Kenyan men offering themselves to older western women who travel to the impoverished country in search of companionship.
For the price of a five-star hotel and meal ticket, widows, divorcees, and spinsters can fill a hole in their lonely lives. For the price of loveless sex, Kenyan bachelors can experience the unknown luxuries of wealth and life beyond survival—an existence they often hope to extend by travelling back to Europe with their lovers. These relationships often blur the line between fact and fiction; living in contrived romance novels, many of these women are distraught when they realize they are simply being used.
The transaction between love and economy is the perfect breeding ground for loneliness.