The full name Jumba la Mtwana means in Swahili “the large house of the slave”. Within this area four mosques, a tomb and four houses have survived in recognizable condition. These houses include the House of the Cylinder, The House of the Kitchen, The House of the Many Pools, which had three phases, and the Great Mosque. The inhabitants of this town were mainly Muslims as evidence by a number of ruined mosques.
Outside the hall is a large skeleton of a sperm whale, a reminder of trade in ambergris, a secretion in the intestines of the sperm whale used to manufacture perfume.
The site lies some 15 kilometers north of Mombasa on and above the beach some 1000 meters north of the mouth of Mtwapa creek; 4 kilometers from the Mombasa-Malindi road and extends along the shore for a distance of about 300 meters and 250 meters inland.