The circuit is mainly made up of Mombasa, North Coast and South Coast.
This circuit consists of dazzling, fascinating and historical attractions including stunning beaches, Marine parks, reserves, religious forests and historical sites. This circuit covers the Kenyan Coast region. If you are looking to relax in pristine white beaches and enjoy a swim in the ocean, dhow cruise, enjoy Swahili cuisine, some fresh sea food and water sports this is a perfect region to visit. The circuit offers numerous activities ranging from water sports to guided tours around the towns. There is also the rich culture and cuisine inspired by different cultures.
The circuit is mainly made up of Mombasa, North Coast and South Coast.
Best MOMBASA day tours from ksh 3000($30)
Mombasa has a colorful history stretching back a thousand years ago. Invasion siege and trade have all made their mark on the culture of this coastal island city. East Africa’s largest port, Mombasa is the getaway to all landlocked countries of East and Central Africa and the second largest city in Kenya. Mombasa is known as the Swahili Island of war, because of its volatile strife ridden history. In the 11th century the town was an important trading center between East Africa and the Indian Ocean trade routes. Its major exports were ivory and slaves. There’s evidence that ibn Battuta, Marco polo and Zhang He all docked at the Mombasa. Linked to the mainland by Makupa causeway to the north coast by Nyali Bridge and to the south coast by likoni ferry. The old town is on the eastern edge of the island, the modern city has expanded to fill the whole island. Moi International airport in the north of Mombasa has daily scheduled flights to destinations around Kenya and a number of cities around the world. Mombasa is linked to Nairobi by a railway and a road. Highlights; Fort Jesus Museum, Old Town, Mombasa Marine National park, Haller Park
The people from Mombasa are predominantly Muslims.
Fort Jesus; Built in 1593 by the Portuguese under the order of King Philip 1. It was designed by an Italian engineer Joao Batista Cairato, the fort build in the shape of a man was meant to secure the safety of the Portuguese living on the East Coast of Africa. Fort Jesus which guarded the old town of Mombasa had witnessed much turbulence. Between 1631 and 1875 the fort was won and lost nine times by the powers contesting control of Mombasa. From 1837, the Fort was used as a barrack for soldiers and when British protectorate was proclaimed in 1895, it was converted into a prison. It was declared a historical monument in 1958 and became a museum in 1962. This is one of the top affordable destinations in the Kenyan coast.
Mombasa old town is an attractive labyrinth of narrow streets, liberally sprinkled mosques and Swahili buildings. The old law courts have regular exhibitions of local art. The spice market heavy with atmosphere enticing scents gives an insight in the spice trade in the old town.
Mombasa Marine National Park comprises a marine area with crabs, sea urchins, sea cucumbers starfish and jellyfish amongst mangroves, sea grass, sea weed and coral gardens. Activities include boat trips, scuba diving and snorkeling.
Haller Park is a former disused quarry that has opened as a small private sanctuary. The park shot fame in 2004 when a baby hippo orphaned during heavy floods was adopted by an elderly giant tortoise. The story of Owen and mzee Kobe attracted the attention of thousands of travelers. The park has blossomed into an area of lush beauty, and its home to variety of wildlife including giraffes, elands and Oryx.
NORTH COAST ( Malindi and watamu) day Tours from ksh 3500
This is one half of Kenya’s east coast. The north coast beaches are Nyali, Bamburi, Shanzu, Kikambala, Vipingo, Takaungu, Kilifi, Watamu, and Malindi. Mombasa to the south has an international airport called Moi International airport. Malindi to the north has a domestic airport that receives scheduled flights daily from destinations in Kenya. The Road network in North coast is generally good. Stretching from Nyali to Malindi, the north coast is known for its long white beaches. It’s trading history and its Swahili ruins. Highlights includes Tana river delta, Malindi Marine National park, Jumba la Mtwana, Marafa Hell’s kitchen, Vasco Da Gama pillar, Mnarani ruins, BioKen snake farm, Kaya forest, St Francis Xavier chapel
Tana River primate reserve on the lower Tana River has a riparian forest, dry woodlands and savanna habitats. Two endangered primates, Mangabey monkey and red colobus monkey are found here as well as a variety of wildlife and over 200 species of birds. The reserve offers bird watching, primate watching, walking trails and game viewing.
Malindi Marine National Park is Africa’s oldest marine park; located to the south of Malindi town the marine park has fringing reefs, coral gardens, mangroves and high diversity of marine life and shore birds. Activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, boat rides and nature walks. There is a resource center a library and an education entre. Malindi town is a 12th century Swahili town, around which resorts, bars, casinos and shopping centers has grown.
Watamu Marine National Park. This large eco system is formed by Arabuko Sokoke National Reserve and Mida creek, this ecosystem supporting a huge diversity of plants, animals and birdlife. Marine life includes fish, turtles, dugongs and crabs. Activities include windsurfing, snorkeling, water skiing scuba diving and trips in glass bottomed boats.
Mida creek is one of the most productive mangrove ecosystems in the world. Itborders Watamu Marine National park. It is a large tidal inlet with productive mangrove forest. The high density of mangrove species provides refuge to both resident and migrant bird species. The suspended boardwalk makes it an ideal place from which you can enjoy bird watch or a sundowner.
Arabuko Sokoke National Reserve is an indigenous coastal forest and home to over 500 species of birds, mammals, butterflies and reptiles. Activities here include nature walk, bird watching and night tours are offered. Nyari viewpoint and the tree platform have wonderful views. It is also possible to camp in the forest or on the tree platform.
Gede ruins are one of the most significant ad attractive Swahili ruins in Kenyan coast. Established in the 13th century. Gede became a trading post. Ming Chinese porcelain and glazed earthenware from Persia have been found here. The compound consisting of housed palaces, mosques and tombs was mysteriously abandoned in the 17th or 18th century. Activities include guided tours and nature walks.
Kipepeo Butterfly Project: At the entrance to the Gede ruins there is Kipepeo butterfly project that gives visitors a chance to see a variety of butterflies. Here they breed and sell butterflies taken from Arabuko Sokoke Forest. The profit supports local conservation projects.
Jumba la Mtwana: The name Jumba La Mtwana though popularly interpreted as the ‘House of Slaves’ could also mean ‘House of the Big Man’. The magnificent historical ruins are the remains of the 13th century Swahili settlement called Jumba La Mtwana. Nestled among giant baobab trees commonly known as mabuyu, the ruins include the remains of four mosques, several houses and a rich man’s tomb. Notable in the architecture are elaborate coral walls, stone lined latrines and deep fresh water wells. There are historical artefacts that include Chinese Porcelain and traditional Swahili artefacts. It was abandoned in the 15th century after only two centuries of inhabitation; possible causes of failure might have been failure in the fresh water supply, diseases or an attack by hostile raiders
Marafa Hell’s kitchen: This is an odd sandstone canyon in Malindi. It was once a great sandstone ridge worn by wind, rain and floods into a series of gorges. The layer cake colors of the sandstone reveal whites pinks oranges and deep crimsons making the striking at sunset when the tones of the ribbed sandstone are highlighted and mirrored by the setting sun.
Vasco Da Gama pillar: This was Kenya’s first Christian symbol located in Malindi. It was erected in Malindi by the Portuguese explore Vasco da Gama in 1498. It was moved from its original location due to security reasons.
Mnarani ruins: Mnarani is a Swahili word meaning a pillar. The ruins are located on a steep cliff overlooking the Kilifi creek. Archeological findings indicate that the site had some settlement till the late 16th century. Mnarani formed the city state of Kilifi. Highlights at the site include a the great Mihrab mosque which is the most inscribed and carved mosque, there is a smaller mosque that has unique coral cuttings used for storage of lighting lamps and keeping rosary beads. The site has giant baobab trees, mangroves and mysterious 104 steps.
BioKen snake farm: The farm specializes in the ‘Big Five ‘African snakes; the Python, Cobra, Puff Adder, Boom slang and Mamba. The farm is a major produce of venom which is used to develop anti-venom. A visit to this farm is educative and exciting.
Kaya Mzizima Forest: Found at the Tudor creek on the edges of Kombeni River. This is the second main Kaya (Religious forest site of the Rabai people) and is used for thanks giving. After the elders have prayed in Kaya Mudzi Muiru and their prayers were answered they proceeded to Kaya Mzizima for thanks giving to the ancestors. Women and youths are not allowed to enter this Kaya which is believed to be very holy. The elders who enter this Kaya are selected by Mlosi. The selection is done according to elder’s behavior.
St Francis Xavier chapel: Located in Malindi, it’s commonly known as the Portuguese church. It was the first church to be built in Kenya in the early years of 15th century. It still standsand in its compound are graves of early Christians.
THE SOUTH COAST day trips from ksh 4000 ($40) Protected by an offshore barrier coral reef, the south coast is famous for beautiful and safe beaches, spectacular diving, and fishing and surfing; high end resorts. Major towns are Likoni, Tiwi, Diani Beach and Shimoni. Shimoni is Kenya’s southern angling headquarters, with boats heading out into the Pemba Channel in search of the denizens of the deep sea.
What is referred to as the south coast is the southern half of Kenya’s east coast linked to Mombasa Island by the likoni car and passenger ferry. The beaches joined by coastal road are Shelly, Pungu, Sand Island, Tiwi Diani Galu Kinondo, Msambweni and Shimoni. The main islands are Chale, Funzi and Wasini. There’s a domestic airport; Ukunda airport that has daily scheduled flights to destinations in Kenya. South Coast is known for its long attractive white beaches, vibrant nightlife, Marine Park, a reserve, a sanctuary and remote Islands. Highlights include Diaini beach, Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park, Shimoni caves, Shimba hills National Reserve, Mwalunganje Elephant Sanctuary, Kaya Kinondo Sacred Forest.
Diani beach is the longest and liveliest of the beaches. It has been voted as Africa’s leading beach destination. It offers a variety of water sports including kite surfing, windsurfing scuba diving snorkeling jet skiing. Also found here are, beach resorts, golf courses, Spas, restaurants, bar nightclubs. Found here is the colobus trust a project protects the rare colobus monkeys.
Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park covers a Marine area with four small islands surrounded by coral life. The islands have dense coastal equatorial forest; sea grass and marine algae cover the reef. Attractions include dolphins, coral gardens and more than 250 fish species have been recorded. Snorkeling, scuba diving bird watching is offered in our packages. (Attach daytrips in south coast link)
Wasini Island. The island lies in Southeast Kenya off the coast of the Indian Ocean. Located just next toKisite Mpunguti Marine National Park, Wasini Island is arguably the most gorgeous snorkeling reef in the coast.
Shimoni Caves. Shimoni means a place of caves in Swahili. This is a coastal fishing village, south of Diani. The caves are believed to have been holding pens for slaves prior to their transportation to Zanzibar. Now a community owned project the caves provides an income for the local people. From Shimoni boat trips to go to Wasini Island and Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park are both famed for snorkeling.
The Shimba Hills National Reserve has one of the largest coastal forests in east Africa after Arabuko Sokoke forest. The reserve is rich in flora and fauna and is home to elephants, other species include the Rare Sable Antelope, Genet Cat, Greater Galago, Elephant Shrew, bushy tailed mongoose, fruit bat, leopards and its home to the lovely Sheldrick falls. The reserve has recorded over 100 bird species of which 22 are coastal endemic such as Africa hawk eagle, greater honeyguide, crowned hornbill and uluguru violet backed sunbird. Activities include game viewing, bird watching, camping and trekking.
Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary. This is a community project established in 1995. It covers and an ancient elephant migration route between Shimba hills and Mwaluganje forest. The sanctuary is known for its rare dinosaur cycads and fan like plants species, Gods Bridge and the traditional shrine that characterizes the sacredness of the community. All six of Kenya’s cycad species are found here.
Kaya Kinondo: Thisis a sacred forest in the South Coast of Kenya. It’s a place of worship for the Digo people who are mainly the original inhabitants of the South Coast of Kenya.
Chale Island, Funzi Island and Wasini Island are all little developed rustic islands with mangroves, dolphins and crocodiles. The wasini womens self-help group manages the board walk.