Time GMT + 3 hours
Flight time 8½ hours to Nairobi; 10 hours to Mombasa via Nairobi
Population – 41,000,000
Seasons – Jan – Feb (hot & dry), Jun – Oct (warm – best time for Wildebeest Migration), April - May (rainy)
Country Code- +254
International Access Code - 00
Capital – Nairobi
Languages – English & Swahili
Money – The Shilling. Major credit cards accepted. Carry change on safari.
Visa Required – Yes
Travel to the coast to soak up the sun on a prime white-sand beach fringed with palm trees. Kenya’s coastline is full of marvels and makes a rewarding destination for the traveller. Where the beaches meet the Indian Ocean and the wilderness meets cosmopolitan city life, Kenya’s coastline is a fascinating travel experience. The Kenya coast holds many reminders of this part of Africa’s unique melting pot of African, European and Arabic cultures. The small towns that dot the coastline are living examples of a diverse and interesting mix of languages, nationalities and histories. Signs of the ancient Arabian Spice Trade route are still in evidence. Fascinating towns include the Port of Mombasa and Malindi, as well as the islands of Shimoni and Lamu. Pristine beaches are found in both north and south Mombasa and all along the coast. Mombasa is Kenya’s main port and also the second biggest city in the country. It is located on an island connected by bridges and boats. The harbour is full of traditional and modern sailing vessels. The town of Mombasa is an intriguing mixture of ancient tradition and modern entrepreneurism. Visit the Old Town and walk through a twisting maze of narrow streets, alleys and stairs, looking at the elaborately carved doors and the beautifully decorated Arab terraces. There are plenty of opportunities for shopping in Mombasa’s bazaars, antique shops and markets.
Visit Fort Jesus, an historic fort and now a museum set at the entrance to the old harbour. Look around Mombasa’s collection of Hindu temples, mosques and churches or take a trip to the Mombasa Marine Park to see the underwater wildlife. The beaches to the south of Mombasa have calm, turquoise waters protected by extensive reefs. The beaches back onto coastal rainforests with lush vegetation and an abundance of birds and wildlife. Spot monkeys, leopards, lizards and baboons from your hammock on the shore. Kenya’s south coast has a range of accommodation options from boutique hideaways to luxury resorts. The coast to the north of Mombasa is also characterized by turquoise waters and palm trees. The beaches take you round to Kilifi Creek, a popular stop for sailors and yachts. Well-known beaches in north Mombasa include Shanzu, Vipingo and Nyali and the more isolated beaches at Mtwapa or Takaungu provide deserted stretches of sand. Visiting Lamu Island is a must on anyone’s itinerary. This remote destination is the home of the oldest town in Kenya and still possesses great character and charm. Enjoy the car-free island and travel around by dhow, motor boat or donkey cart. Here you’ll discover some of Kenya’s most pristine and inviting beaches and the chances are you will have a long stretch of sand all to yourself. Explore the Old Town with its narrow streets, markets and historic fort. The Old Town was a Swahili settlement in the 14th century and shows the influence of cultures as diverse as Turkish, Arab and Portuguese. Life on Lamu is laidback and relaxing. Sit back and watch the world go by. If you’re interested in a more active day trip, take a dhow safari to explore the hidden villages and historic ruins among the nearby islands. Also remote and with no cars to spoil the atmosphere, Shimoni Island and Wasini Island are traditional fishing communities unspoiled by the 20th century. These scenic islands also put you within easy reach of the Kisite Marine National Park, a trip you can make by dhow. Malindi is famous for its Marine National Park, a fascinating expanse of water filled with colourful corals and fish and a huge range of marine life. Take a trip in a glass-bottomed boat to get a closer look at the wildlife or for a really closer look take a snorkelling tour. The laidback village of Watamu is south of Malindi and offers a gloriously relaxed base for an indulgent holiday. Take a snorkel trip to the national park or stroll along the wide white-sand beaches. You can also take a trip into the forest reserves where you may spot rare birds and interesting animals. A visit to the coast wouldn’t be complete without enjoying some of the water and beach-based activities the region has to offer. Take part in a scuba diving excursion to check out the wildlife beneath the waves. Or enjoy a big-game fishing expedition to seek out some of Kenya’s impressive fish. If that all sounds a little too active, relax on a scenic dhow cruise along the coastline and watch the sun set over Kenya’s coastal sands.
SAROVA WHITESANDS RESORT
7NTS FROM £1,065 PP INC FLIGHTS BASED ON TWIN SHARE, LIMITED AVAILABLITY
TURTLE BAY, WATAMU
Turtle Bay, Watamu set on 200m of white sand beach on the boundary of the Watamu National Marine Park
VOYAGER BEACH RESORT
Voyager Beach Resort is located on the sweeping white-sand Nyali Beach, 7km north of Mombasa, Kenya