Coastal Kenya, Kenya
Kenya’s coastline faces the warm blue water of the Indian Ocean and extends for 360 miles, from the border with Somalia in the north to Tanzania in the south. The Kenyan coast feels like a different world from the savannahs of safari country. Much of the shoreline is covered by an uninterrupted strip of splendid white softs and beach with the sparkling azure-blue of the Indian Ocean, backed by coconut palms, bright bougainvillea, floral shrubs, Casuarinas trees and frangipani.
The culture on the coast is very distinct from the rest of the country. Like the Tanzanian coast and Zanzibar, the Kenyan Coast is where Africans traded with Arab ivory and slave caravans. Under Arab influence, Swahili originated as a lingua franca used by numerous closely related Bantu-speaking tribal groups.
In the early 19th century, the spread of Swahili inland received a great drive from it being the language of the Arab ivory and slave caravans, which entered as far north as Uganda and as far west as Congo. Swahili is widely spoken in most East African countries.
Where to stay on the Kenya coast
There are direct flights from the Maasai Mara and most parts of Kenya to the coast and this makes it easy to add some time to the beach at the end of an exciting safari. But you can also use the coast as a base for your whole holiday, taking safari trips inland.
Normally, once you’ve checked into your hotel, you are left alone to enjoy the Kenyan coast at leisure, though there are plenty of activities to fill during your stay if you have the energy. From scuba diving and deep-sea fishing to city tours, shopping trips and cultural and historical excursions.
Mombasa is the second largest city of Kenya and the capital of the Kenyan coast and centre of the coastal tourism. Mombasa is generally split into three areas. The north and south coasts and the city centre. The city itself is an island, connected to the northwest by a bridge where the airport is located on the mainland.
A bridge also connects the city to the north coast where a range of resorts can be found. A ferry connects the island to the south coast. Here you find a number of beac...
Diani Beach is popular all over the world for good reason. It’s soft white sands, lush greenery and the striking shade of emerald blue that emerges from its clear warm waters.
The perfect place to get away from the stress of everyday life or to relax before and after an exciting safari. With its 17 kilometres of stunning, flawless, soft white sand, Diani Beach has been awarded the best beach destination in Africa for 5 years running. Diani offers everything a visitor could wish for: from...
Malindi is one of the oldest settlements of Kenya’s coast, dating back to the 13th Century where explorer Vas Co Da Gama first set foot in East Africa. In 1930, Malindi achieved fame as the ideal fishing and drinking haunt of Ernest Hemmingways who fished for the big game fish off the coast. Malindi offers visitors a range of world class resorts and quiet relaxing hideaways. Northwest of Malindi is the spectacular Marafa Depression, locally known as ‘Nyari’ and widely known as Hell’s Kitchen. An...
The famous Lamu archipelago includes the main island of Lamu, and Manda, where the district’s small airport is located, facing Lamu across a wide creek. To the north of Manda, Pate is a larger island, with several small towns, and interesting Swahili ruins. Much further north lies the remote sliver of Kiwaiyu island. Between the islands, swamps of mangrove forest and shallow seas make navigation tricky.
Lamu town is a prehistoric Arabic trading capital, and one of the ancient and best-pr...