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The Kenyan Archipelago coast.


The Kenyan Archipelago Coast, often simply referred to as the Kenyan Coast, is a stunning region located along the eastern coast of Kenya, in East Africa. This coastal area is renowned for its beautiful beaches, rich cultural heritage, and historical significance. Here are some key points about the Kenyan Archipelago Coast:

Geography: The Kenyan Coast stretches for approximately 536 kilometres (333 miles) along the Indian Ocean. It includes several islands, coral reefs, and coastal plains. Some of the major cities and towns in this region include Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu, and Watamu.

Beaches: The Kenyan Coast is famous for its pristine, white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. Popular beach destinations include Diani Beach, Nyali Beach, Bamburi Beach, and Tiwi Beach, among others. These beaches attract tourists from around the world who come to relax, swim, and engage in water sports.

History and Culture: The Kenyan Coast has a rich history influenced by various cultures, including Arab, Swahili, Portuguese, and British. The architecture, cuisine, and local traditions reflect this diverse heritage. The Swahili culture, with its unique language and traditions, is particularly prominent in the region.

Historical Sites: The Kenyan Coast is home to several historical and cultural sites, including:

Fort Jesus: Located in Mombasa, Fort Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular historical attraction. It was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and has served various roles over the centuries, including as a fort, prison, and museum.

Lamu Old Town: Lamu Island, part of the Lamu Archipelago, is known for its well-preserved Swahili architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town is characterized by narrow winding streets and traditional coral stone houses.

Wildlife: The Kenyan Coast is not only known for its marine life but also for its proximity to various national parks and wildlife reserves. You can find diverse wildlife in the nearby Tsavo National Park and Shimba Hills National Reserve.

Water Activities: The warm waters of the Indian Ocean offer opportunities for water activities such as snorkelling, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, and sailing. The coral reefs along the coast are home to a variety of marine species.

Ecotourism: The Kenyan Coast is also a hub for ecotourism, with conservation efforts focused on preserving the natural beauty and biodiversity of the area. Organizations and initiatives work to protect the marine life, mangrove forests, and wildlife in the region.

Cuisine: Coastal cuisine in Kenya features a blend of flavours influenced by the various cultures that have shaped the region. You can enjoy dishes like biryani, pilau, coconut-based curries, and fresh seafood.

Tourism: The Kenyan Coast is a significant tourist destination, attracting visitors looking for both relaxation and adventure. The tourism industry plays a vital role in the local economy.

Overall, the Kenyan Archipelago Coast offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and historical significance, making it a must-visit destination for travellers exploring Kenya.

Kenya Beach Holiday Destinations

Not only is Kenya popular for its wildlife, but also the beauty of its seaside. The Kenyan coast is irresistible. Kenya is an exceptional beach holiday destination with white sand and azure blue water. In the past years, the undisputed gem of the Kenyan coast was Mombasa and Lamu. However recently, more sister islands have been added to form the Kenyan archipelago. 

Lamu Archipelago

The Lamu archipelago is a series of many islands which lie between the towns of Lamu and Kiunga, near the Coast Province. Of these islands, the largest are Pate, Manda, and Lamu whereas Kiwayu and Manda Toto islands are among the smallest. Lamu in the Northeast of Mombasa is the largest town in the archipelago, most popular, and the perfect example of a historical Swahili city and beach destination in the world. Filled with history, the coastal town of Lamu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Kenya’s oldest and incessantly inhabited settlement founded around 1370 as a Swahili port. The island town is the largest in the archipelago and has since been populated by Europeans, Indians, and Persians thus becoming a hub of culturally diverse interactions.

Lamu Archipelago Kenya

Apart from visiting one of the island beaches, other top things to look out for include; strolling the convoluted streets to see a warren of rounded houses, airy courtyards shaded by palm streets, and to learn about the town’s rich history showcased in the impressive architectural features representing the Arabian, European and Indian styles with a Swahili touch. Sightseeing, dhow cruise, and donkey riding are also other activities not to miss.

The Kenya coast archipelago is best accessed by spice boats. There is possibly no more romantic way to move from one destination to the next than this.

Other attractions at the Kenyan coast.

The Colobus trust resembles a jungle playground, overhanging with vines and ropes, all a set-piece and sanctuary for the adorable Angolan Black-and-White Colobus monkey.

Black-and-White Colobus monkey

Further south of Diani, Kaya Kinondo is the protected kaya or sacred forest, of the local Digo Mijikenda tribe. The forest once housed the Digo and has been maintained in a virgin state as a centre of their religious and communal ceremonies.

Even the geographic nomenclature of the town or area is supremely romantic: it is divided into two halves, Zena (Beauteous) and Saudi (Fortunate), its 28 Mitaa, or districts, bearing such distinctive names as Makadara (Eternal Destiny) and Kivudoni (Smelly Place).

How to get to the Kenyan Archipelago.

The easiest way to get to Lamu is by plane. Flights from Nairobi and Malindi airports arrive in Manda Island. From here, you can cross by boat or dhow through the channel to Lamu. You can also choose to reach Lamu by boat from Mokowe.  

Kenya’s coastal archipelago is desirably ideal for a weekend or short safari. The whole safari to this Kenyan coast can commence once you contact us at Jewel Safaris for an itinerary and quotation.

Getting to the Kenyan Archipelago Coast, which includes popular destinations like Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu, and others, typically involves air travel or road transportation, depending on your starting point and preferences. Here’s how you can get to the Kenyan Archipelago:

By Air:

  • International Flights: If you’re traveling from outside Kenya, you’ll likely start your journey by flying into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi, which is the country’s main international airport. There are direct international flights to Nairobi from major cities around the world.
  • Domestic Flights: From Nairobi, you can catch a domestic flight to your desired coastal destination. The main airports serving the Kenyan Coast include Moi International Airport in Mombasa (MBA) and Malindi Airport (MYD). Lamu also has an airport, Manda Airport (LAU).
  • Flight Duration: The flight from Nairobi to the Kenyan Coast typically takes around 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on your destination.

By Road:

  • Driving: If you prefer overland travel or are already in Kenya, you can drive to the Kenyan Coast from Nairobi or other major cities. The road network is generally well-maintained, but the journey can be long, especially if you’re traveling from Nairobi. The distance and travel time will depend on your starting point.
  • Bus and Matatu: Public buses and matatus (shared minivans) also connect Nairobi to coastal towns like Mombasa and Malindi. This option is more budget-friendly but can be less comfortable and take longer than flying.

By Train:

  • There is a Nairobi-Mombasa railway line, offering a scenic train journey. 

By Sea:

  • If you’re on a cruise or traveling by private yacht, you can arrive at some coastal towns and islands in the Kenyan Archipelago by sea. Mombasa, for instance, has a deep-water port that 

an accommodate cruise ships.

Charter Flights and Boat Transfers:

  • Some remote islands and exclusive resorts in the archipelago may require charter flights or boat transfers arranged by the accommodation providers. If you plan to visit one of these more secluded destinations, it’s essential to coordinate transportation with your chosen resort or service provider.

Visa Requirements:

  • Ensure you have the necessary visas and travel documents to enter Kenya. Visa requirements can vary depending on your nationality, so check with the Kenyan embassy or consulate in your home country for the most up-to-date information.
  • Always confirm your travel plans, transportation options, and any entry requirements before embarking on your journey, as conditions can change over time. Travel advisories and safety precautions should also be considered when planning your trip to the Kenyan Archipelago Coast.

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