In the winding medieval streets and bustling markets of Lamu and Mombasa Old Town, lies East Africa’s oldest harbor city who thrill remains unchanged 400 years later.The region attracted the Omani & Arab traders in the 12th century and its prevailing cultural legacy was left by Omani Arabs, whose intermarriage with coastal inhabitants, the African Bantu formed the Swahili people, language, and the culture as well.
Today, the Kenyan coast’s blend of natural beauty and living history creates an exotic paradise & majestic experiences unlike anywhere else on earth. It is this same region where the wilderness meets the ocean which holds a world of spectacular coral reefs teeming with life and color. Visitors can easily indulge in diving, snorkeling, windsurfing and jet skiing along the white sandy beaches, take a thrilling game drive across Shimba Hills National Reserve to enjoys the sights of the big five or dive into the local cultures and enjoy the most authentic hospitality experience in Sub-Saran Africa.
The coast tourism region stretches 500 kilometers from Shimoni in the south to Kiunga in the north and inland to Tsavo, with Lake Jipe on the Tazanian border and includes the 7,500 foot high Taita Hills. The coast hinterland is a natural extension of the low lying coastal belt and national wildlife parks and private conservancies are just a few hours drive away.
The Kenya coast is home to the Swahili culture and language with centuries of visitors and shore settlers. Swahili is a lingua franca for traders developed over centuries with words originating from Africa, Arabia, Asia and Europe. Swahili is also a cultural fusion combining ideas from those places. There are museums, monuments and cultural festivals that highlight the coast’s rich history. Regarded as the friendliest region in Kenya, the coast offers a slower-paced, peaceful and historical contrast to inland Africa. There is also plenty of fun and entertainment and vibrant nightlife.
Game viewing is conveniently close at hand at Tsavo, Lake Jipe and Taita Hills with many camps or lodges providing tents or rooms. A treehouse at Shimba Hills and the Haller Park are both popular and a primate reserve in the Tana Delta offers something for the specialist.
Cruise ships call in at the port of Mombasa for their passengers to enjoy game viewing or history excursions or a brief stay at a luxury beach hotel. Every year hundreds of thousands of passengers arrive by air at Mombasa’s modern International Airport.
Conferences and Meetings at the coast are popular for business and government as it’s the perfect place to work and play. Many hotels have modern conference facilities.
Entertainment can be found at numerous hotels and clubs and throughout the year various musical and cultural events attract large crowds.
Beaches are everywhere and each has its own character. These include Shimoni, Funzi, Chale Island, Masembwene, Galu, Diani, Shelly, Nyali, Bamburi, Shanzu, Kikambala, Vipingo, Kilifi, Watamu, Malindi, Mambrui, Tana Delta, Lamu Island, Manda Island and Kiunga Island.
Accommodation varies from exclusive, expensive and chique Robison Crusoe style beach hideaways to large 600 plus bed beach resorts that often have 3 or 4 swimming pools for their guests. Villas and guest houses are available and the coast has something for everyone.
Water sports include excellent professional deep-sea fishing with catch and release, snorkelling and diving inside and outside the fringing reef at private sites or at the marine parks, dhow cruises, swimming with dolphins plus kiteboarding, surfing and playing on jet skis.
The coast is also a springboard for those that wish to go further up the country as Kenya is home to many other world-class game parks that include Amboseli, Aberdares, Mount Kenya, Shaba, Samburu, Lakes Nakuru and Naivasha and the Masai Mara.
The South Coast – Endearing more rustic feel than the rest of the coastal region, the South coast stretches of the coastline leading south from Likoni on the southern shores of Mombasa’s Kilindini Harbour.More than half of Kenya’s international hotels are located along the coast served by local direct flights as well as direct international flights from Europe. Most of the accommodation facilities have been designed with a feel of African heritage as most are thatched & furnished with local materials. Kenyan Coast can be divided into three major destinations;
- Mombasa – a small island which is the core of the Mombasa city, Kenya second largest city. Being the Oldest city in Kenya, Mombasa lies on the island, connected to the coast properly by two main roads and a ferry.
- The North coast which is nothing but a world of enthralling history and natural beauty. There is also a whole string of beaches along the north coast including Nyali, Bamburi, Vipingo, and Shanzu. The North Coast Stretches from the northern beaches of Mombasa all the way up to the Kenya-Somalia border.
- Lamu Archipelago – A small village that is believed to be more 600years old. The archipelago rich in historical and archaeological sites as well as numerous islands and islets. Popular islands include Lamu, Manda, Pate, and Kiwayu. To the Northern side of the town is Kiunga National Reserve.
Coastal Kenya Highlights
- Although Mombasa city is the second largest city in Kenya, Mombasa as a county is the smallest in terms of size occupying only 219km2 after Nairobi and Vihiga which have a size of 695km2 and 531km2 square kilometers respectively.
- The very first European to reach India by sea, Vasco da Gama, picked up his pilot to navigate with the monsoon winds to India in Malindi which is on the Kenyan coast.
- Africa’s first marine park, Malindi Marine National Park is also situated in Malindi on the Kenyan coast. It is also one of the world’s last great natural marine reserves, and its sister water-world, Watamu Marine National Reserve offers protection to one of the world’s most famous coral reefs.
- Diani Beach, Kenya is the three-time award winning beach as the Africa’s Leading Beach Destination from 2014-2016 as crowned by the World Travel Awards. CNN has also voted Diani number 3 of the 25 best beaches in Africa.
- Located in Mombasa, Mamba village is perhaps the largest crocodile farm in East and Central Africa, well known for the conservation of the crocodile species. The garden also showcases flowering orchids, aquatic plants, and carnivorous species.
- Located in Kilifi County, Arabuko-Sokoke National Park is the most important bird-conservation forest in Kenya. The forest also protects largest surviving tracts of coastal Brachystegia woodland and lowland rainforest in Kenya.
|Population||3.325 million (2009)|
|Internet Access||Average 10.0 Mbps|
|Electricity||220/240 Volts AC, 50Hz|
|Counties in Central Kenya||Mombasa County
Tana River County