North Coast Beaches
The coastline North of Mombasa is a world of enthralling history and natural beauty. The coast is lined with pristine palm fringed beaches, and the calm inviting waters of the Indian Ocean. The beaches are broken by the wide mouth of Kilifi Creek, whose azure waters are a popular port of call on the international yachting circuit. The beaches of Nyali, Vipingo, Kikambala and Shanzu are home to a wide range of World Class resorts with fine cuisine and services. The peaceful beach havens of Mtwapa and Takaungu offer an ideal escape from the outside world, with endless deserted beaches. The offshore reefs are alive with coral, myriad fish, sea turtles and dolphins. Both outer and inner reef walls offer world class diving with spectacular coral gardens and drop offs, and Kenya’s best cave diving.
South Coast Beaches
The coastline south of Mombasa is a tropical paradise of palm fringed white sand beaches, where the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean meet beautiful coral reefs. The protective reefs have created ideal beaches with calm, inviting waters. Days are filled with sunshine and nights are balmy and warm with gentle sea breezes.
The offshore reefs are alive with coral, myriad fish, sea turtles and dolphins. Both outer and inner reef walls offer world class diving with spectacular coral gardens and drop offs. At Kisite-Mpunguti, a Marine Reserve has been established around beautiful Wasini Island, an ideal day trip for divers and snorkellers.
The beaches are bordered by lush green coastal rainforests with prolific birdlife and variety of wildlife including baboons, rare colobus monkeys and even leopards. A wide range of World Class resorts, centred around Diani Beach allow visitors to relax and enjoy this natural paradise with the best standards of accommodation, service and cuisine. The south coast also has many smaller quiet getaways such as Tiwi Beach, ideal for travellers looking for a low key break. Inland, the fertile hinterland of Kwale District consists of small villages inhabited by the Wakamba, Digo and Duruma tribes. Further south, the small fishing village of Shimoni is home to a series of deep mysterious coastal caves that stretch from the sea to deep into the jungles. Historically, these caves were long used as a refuge for Dhow Sailors, Arab slavers and explorers.
Shimoni is also an excellent base for big game fishing in the waters of the Pemba Channel.
Whether you are looking for a base to actively explore this fascinating region, or just somewhere to unwind and find peace, Kenya’s south coast has everything you could wish for.
Under water life
At Watamu a Marine National Park has been established, an ideal day trip for divers and snorkellers alike. Northwest of Malindi is the spectacular Marafa Depression, locally known as Nyari and popularly known as Hell’s Kitchen.
An extensive series of sandstone gorges and sheer gullies, this unique and other worldly landscape has become part of local folklore.
Mombasa is a place steeped in history, yet at the same time fascinating commercial and cosmopolitan port city. Mombasa is an island connected to the mainland by bridges and ferries. The town overlooks a wide harbor, where commercial shipping mingles with traditional sailing dhows. The true heart of Mombasa is found in the exotic old town, among the narrow winding streets and Arab architecture. The air here is always heavy with the scent of spices. Women wearing the traditional bui bui fill the narrow streets and busy markets. At the dhow docks fresh fish and goods from all along the coast arrive daily.
The streets are alive with the bright colours of the traditional coastal khanga and kikoy, the all purpose wrap around cloth worn by both men and women.
At the waters edge is Fort Jesus, an imposing fort that stands watch over the harbor. The high gun turrets, battlements and underground passages of this 16th Century Fort were the centre of a historic struggle for control of the Kenya coast between the Portuguese army and the Shirazi Arabs.
This war was waged around Mombasa over hundreds of years and countless battles, and the Fort stands as a testament to this tumultuous past. Modern Mombasa is a city of great diversity and life. This is a city where all are welcomed and quickly absorbed into this great coastal melting pot. Mosques, Hindu Temples and Christian churches surround streets that thrive with a world of cultures- all at their pace!
Mombasa is a place where both history and progress are greatly valued, where a busy harbor existence is lived at its own unique, tropical pace.
No Cars Please
Lamu is a place like no other, a peaceful tropical island where live is lived (we mean living!) at its own rhythm but yet a place whose history is as mysterious as the winding streets of its medieval stone town.
The island itself is a place of rolling dunes and endless beaches, where tiny villages nestle among coconut and mango plantations and lateen sailed dhows ply the blue waters.
But Lamu’s true attraction is its old town. The town of Lamu’s life began as a 14th century Swahili settlement and the island has seen many visitors and influences, including Portuguese explorers, Turkish traders and the Oman Arabs. All left their mark yet Lamu developed its particular culture which has ultimately endured.
Lamu’s narrow streets remain unchanged, and in the markets and squares around the fort life moves at the same pace as it always has. There are no vehicles on this island, and the donkey and the dhow remain the dominant form of transport. Lamu is a Unesco protected site and is best accessed by air.
There are scheduled flights daily from Nairobi and Malindi. The island is serviced by an airstrip on neighbouring Manda Island. The strip can also be used by private charters. A dhow ferries arriving passengers to either Lamu town or Shela. Many yachts also come to Lamu, often sheltering in the channel near Shela. There are no vehicles in Lamu. The winding streets of the towns are best explored on foot. Shela village and the beaches are also accessible by foot. Alternatively dhows regularly carry paying passengers back and forth from Lamu town to Shela. It is also possible to hire donkeys to ride around the island.
Malindi and Watamu
The small town of Malindi is at the centre of a strip of idyllic tropical beaches offering the visitor a range of world class resorts and quiet relaxing hideaways. Further south, the sleepy village of Watamu is fronted by wide white beaches. This tranquil haven is home to several well established resorts, and many private guesthouses scattered through the forest along the deserted shore.
At Watamu a Marine National Park has been established, an ideal day trip for divers and snorkellers alike. Northwest of Malindi is the spectacular Marafa Depression, locally known as Nyari and popularly known as Hell’s Kitchen. An extensive series of sandstone gorges and sheer gullies, this unique and otherworldly landscape has become part of local folklore.
The thick jungles of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest reserve hide a world of wonders. In the cool of the forest winding paths will take you in search of rare endemic birds and mammals, and visiting herds of Elephant. The forest holds another secret, the lost town of Gedi, a deserted trading Swahili town hidden deep in the forests, whose winding passages and crumbling walls tell of a long and mysterious past- Gedi Ruins. Walk through the Forest, explore the mangroves by boat, dive on the reef or try your hand at big game fishing. At the North coast you have all these choices and more, with the space and freedom to relax, unwind, and soak up the atmosphere.