Kilifi is often regarded as a meeting point of cultures and traditions. It’s a beautiful coastal county with limitless tourist attractions that include; white sandy beaches, national wildlife reserves, ruins dating back to pre-colonial years, museums, resorts, and tasty cuisine. Here’s a list of the top 10 places to visit in Kilifi County.
1) Mida Creek
Mida Creek is a 32-kilometer squared tidal creek that stretched from the ocean to Arabuko Sokoke Forest. The creek is filled with beds of seagrass and coral that invite a variety of fish and turtles. It’s also surrounded by dense mangroves that are home to diverse birdlife. There is a long boardwalk through the creek and the mangroves that offers the most serene nature walk leading to a bar and restaurant ( you can imagine the sundowners here). The creek provides a unique opportunity for various water sports such as; kayaking, waterskiing, and wakeboarding.
2) Jumba La Mtwana Ruins
Jumba La Mtwana Ruins are situated north of Mtwapa Creek, approximately 4 km from the Mombasa-Malindi road. Jumba La Mtwana is Swahili for ‘the large house of slaves’ and locals believe that the town was an important slave port. Clearance and excavation were first carried out in 1972 by James Kirkman and 10 years later, gazetted as a National Monument. Within the site, four houses, four mosques, and a tomb are in recognizable condition.
3) Kilifi Creek
Kilifi Creek is located about 2 hours from Mombasa. It stretched from Kilifi Town to the ocean. The turquoise blue water and picturesque surroundings are nothing short of breathtaking. While here, you can decide to relax by the golden shore of the creek or take a cruise toward the ocean.
4) Gedi Ruins
Gedi Ruins is a national museum and historical site, found 16 km south of Malindi. The town of Gedi is believed to be one of the largest and most prosperous towns along the East African coast. It was inhabited by sailors, traders, and settlers from Oman. The earliest evidence for occupation is a gravemarker that has been radiocarbon dated between 1041-1278. A tour of the ruins, museum, and information center will give you a better understanding of early Swahili culture.
5) Arabuko Sokoke National Reserve
Arabuko Sokoke National Reserve features the largest remaining indigenous coastal dry forest in East Africa. Arabuko Sokoke Forest spans an area of 420 kilometers squared. It’s home to a variety of wildlife including; buffalos, elephants, impalas, leopards, and over 250 species of birds. Some of the bird species are globally threatened like; Sokoke Pipit, East Coast Akalat, Sokoke Scaps Owl, Amani Sunbird, Clarke’s Weaver, and Spotted Ground Thrust. Game drives through the reserve are a one-of-a-kind experience.
6) Watamu Beach
Watamu Beach is a tranquil white sandy beach found in Watamu. It stretches about 7 km south to Mida Creek. Some stretches of the beach are public and therefore free, while other parts will require that you buy food or drinks from the resort on that particular stretch. Watamu Beach is a popular destination for boat rides, snorkeling, diving, and sundowners.
7) Vasco Da Gama Pillar
The Vasco Da Gama Pillar is one of the more popular historical sites and tourist attractions in Kilifi County. It’s found in Malindi town. The pillar is a bell-shaped monument with a cross on top. It is one of the oldest monuments built on the East African coast (built in 1498). It was put up by the Portuguese to give directions to sailors who were following the sea route to India.
8) Malindi Museum
The museum is in Malindi town, a walking distance from the Malindi fish market. Based on its architecture, the building is believed to have been built towards the end of the 19th century. It was handed to the National Museums of Kenya in 1999 and opened to the public in 2004. The museum is a center for the exhibition of cultural artifacts by early Arabs and Swahilis. It’s also an information center for Malindi’s tourist attractions.
9) Mnarani Ruins
Mnarani is a Swahili word meaning ‘the tower place’. The ruins are found on a hill and you have to go up lots of stairs to get to them. The site contains ruins of 2 mosques, madrassa, pillars, and some tombs. The ruins offer the most spectacular views of Kilifi Creek. The area is surrounded by thick Baobab trees believed to be more than 800 years old. It’s also a sacred site for the locals who go there to pray and offer sacrifices.
The park is in Malindi town, approximately 110 km from Mombasa. It was the first marine protected area in Kenya and the oldest marine park in Africa. You find marine life like; coral, seagrass, mangroves, turtles, and a variety of fish. It’s the perfect destination for snorkeling, glass-bottomed boat rides, and diving.
I am a charismatic 23-year-old student at the University of Nairobi. I enjoy traveling be it planned or impromptu. I also enjoy partying. I'll be there with a drink in my cup all through the night, chasing the sun. Life's too short not to choose the fast lane. Carpe diem!