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Mombasa raha

Calling all coastal storytellers!

Are you enchanted by the beauty of Kenya’s coastal region and have a passion for sharing your unique experiences and perspectives through writing? If so, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to join our team at visitnyali

We’re on the lookout for guest bloggers who can capture the essence of the coastal region in their writing. Whether it’s a review of a hidden gem, a personal account of cultural immersion, or a culinary journey through the region’s flavours, we want to hear all about it!

By joining our team, you’ll not only have the chance to build your personal brand, but also receive an author spotlight page and backlinks to your personal website. This will give you exposure and an opportunity to connect with a wider audience.

We are accepting submissions on any topic related to the coastal region of Kenya, with the only limitation being that the article should be original and at least 400 words.

So, if you’re a local blogger, journalist or writer who is passionate about the coast of Kenya, don’t hesitate to send us your submissions at here. Share your love for the coastal region and let your writing shine on our website! You will have the chance to inspire others to explore the beautiful coastal area of Kenya and to create a community of people who share the same interest.

Don’t miss out on this chance to showcase your writing skills and to share your love and knowledge of the coastal region with the world. Submit your articles today!

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Taita-Taveta County

by admin

Taita-Taveta county is one of the six counties that make up the Pwani region block of Kenya. It borders kajiado county to the west -makueni , kitui, and tana river counties to the north, kilifi and kwale county to the east, and Tanzania to the south.

Quick facts
Taita-Taveta county is one of the five counties that make up the Pwani region block of Kenya.

Population: 340,671 as of 2019
Capital city: Mwatate
Weather: Tropical with an average of temperatures 32°C
Seasons: Main rainy season between mid-April
Short rains in late May, October, and November

Location

Taita Taveta County is approximately 360 km southeast of Nairobi and 200 km northwest of Mombasa, it’s a port and gateway to the United Republic of Tanzania through Taveta town.

Taita-taveta county consists of four sub-counties:

  • Taveta
  • Wundanyi
  • Mwatate
  • Voi

Climate

The climate in Taita-Taveta is semi-arid, the highest average temperature is 31°C in February and the lowest is 27°C in July. The lower regions receive an average of 440 mm of rain per annum, whereas the highlands receive up to 1900 mm. Altitudes range from 500 metres, above sea level to almost 2300 m at the highest point in the county Vuria Peak.

Attractions In Taita-Taveta County

Even though Taita-Taveta doesn’t have a coastline like all the other counties in the coastal region, it has plenty to offer its visitors. It covers an area of 17084.1km2 with 10,649.9 km2 being within Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks, the remaining 5,876 km2 consists of small-scale farms, ranches, sisal estates, and water bodies (such as Lakes Chala and Jipe in Taveta and Mzima springs), and the hilltop forests.
Some of the most popular tourist attractions include

  • Lakes: Lake jipe and Lake Chala
  • Mountains: Kisigau Mountain
  • Hills: Taita Hills and Shomoto Hill
  • Aruba Dam
  • Mudanda Rock
  • Yatta plateau
  • Lugard falls
  • Tsavo national reserve
  • Shetani Lava Flow
  • Mzima Springs

Accommodation options in Taita-Taveta County

Ranging from private safari camps to budget friendly camping sites Taita-Taveta county has plenty of options to suit all tastes, budgets, and trip types. Browse through the accommodation section or contact us for your perfect holiday.

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beach in mombasa

Mombasa County

by admin

Adorned with pearl-white sandy beaches stretching as far as the eyes can see, Mombasa is well known for its historical significance and glorious weather. Not only is Mombasa county the most multicultural region in Kenya, but it’s also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

Quick facts

Population: 1.2 million as of 2019

Size: 229.7 km2

Capital city: Mombasa

Weather: Tropical with an average of temperatures 32°C

Seasons: Main rainy season between mid-April  

                Short rains in late May, October, and November

Location

Situated in the southeastern part of the former Coast Province, Mombasa county borders Kilifi County to the north, Kwale County to the southwest, and the Indian Ocean to the east. Covering an area of 229.7 km2 ( excluding 65 km2 of water mass) Mombasa county is the smallest county.

Regions in Mombasa County

Mombasa county consists of four regions

  • Mvita- The island where the city was founded home to the old town and Fort Jesus
  • Changamwe- The gateway to Mombasa city, this is where the airport and the railway station are situated.
  • Kisauni- Fondly known as the ‘north coast’ home to luxurious beach resorts and shopping mall most popular areas Nyali 
  • Likoni: home to Shelly beach and often called the south coast

Transportation In Mombasa County

Mombasa county is connected through its capital city Mombasa. Mombasa is a node to several modes of transportation including an international airport, Moi Airport, Mombasa SGR railway station, and one of Eastern Africa’s most important ports, Kilindini, which is also the main port for goods to Uganda, Burundi, and Rwanda.

Getting here 

By Air.

  • Mombasa is a popular route with more than five local airlines flying at various times of the day. A flight from Nairobi to Mombasa takes 45min. Airlines flying to Mombasa include Kenya airways, blue Panorama, Condor, Ethiopian Airlines. Fly540, Fly-Sax, Jambojet, Kenya Airways, Mombasa Air Safari, Neos, Qatar Airways, RwandAir, TUI, Turkish Airlines, Uganda Airlines, KLM, and Precision air.

By Train 

A 530-km-long (SGR) railway line connects Mombasa to Nairobi. Operating several trips per day ‘Mandarak express’ takes less than five hours and a ticket on the economy class costs Ksh 1000 or Ksh 3000 for first class.

Train schedule

Mombasa to Nairobi:

  1. Departure 08:00, arrival: 13:42
  2. Departure 15:15, arrival 20:14

Nairobi to Mombasa:

  1. Departure 08:20, arrival: 14:18
  2. Departure 14:35, arrival: 19:18

By Road

Both buses and minibus run daily from Mombasa to Nairobi and a ticket costs around 1200 off-season. The journey takes about 12 hours.

Bus Companies operating this route include Mash Poa, Coast bus, Dreamliner, Spanish Coach, and Modern Coast Express.

Getting Around

A matatu (minibusses) is the most popular way for the locals to get around. Though not comfortable, these brightly colored minibusses are in plentitude. They also transport people and commodities to other counties from Mombasa.

Tuk-tuk and Boda-Boda

For the more adventurous and seasoned tourists, the tuk-tuks and Boda Bodas (motorbike taxis) are other popular options for getting around. A typical journey will cost you anywhere between 50-100 Ksh. 

Taxi

International mobile hailing apps like Uber are available. Although much more expensive taxis are the safer and the most recommended mode of transportation for tourists. Other apps include bolt and the little cab

Attractions In Mombasa County

  • Mombasa Old Town 
  • Fort Jesus
  • Spice Market
  • Haller Park
  • Butterfly Pavilion
  • Nguuni Conservancy
  • The tusks of Moi Avenue
  •  Holy Ghost Cathedral
  • Wild Waters
  • Mangrove of Tudor Creek
  • Mamba Village & Lunar Park
  • Commonwealth War Cemetery Mbaraki
  • Commonwealth War Cemetery Manyimbo

Experiences and sports

  • Mombasa Yacht Club
  • Mombasa Sports Club
  • Nyali Golf Club
  • Mombasa Florida Golf Club
  • The Beaches
  • Water Sports
  • Nyali Cinemax
  • Nyali Golf Club

Shopping

Shopping malls & supermarkets

  • City Mall Nyali, 9AM-10PM
  • Carrefour Hypermarket
  • Nyali Center
  • Naivas Supermarkets. 6:45AM-8:30PM
  • Chandarana Food Plus Supermarket 8AM-8PM
  • Nawal Centre Department store 8:30AM-7PM. A 7-floor department store mainly displaying household items and clothing.
  • Ratna shopping mall

Restaurants & Bars

Ranging from budget eateries by the road to high-end restaurants offering various cuisines, Mombasa county has enough options to suit all diets and budgets. Head over to our Dining section to find the best restaurant for you.

Accommodation In Mombasa County

Whether you’re looking for an exclusive island getaway or a remote off-the-beaten-track beach holiday, our selection of accommodations is sure to inspire you. Browse through our accommodation section or contact us for your perfect in Mombasa County.

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Tana River county

by admin

Named after the longest river in Kenya (Tana River)Tana River county covers an area of 35,375.8 square kilometers and is home to a population of 262,684 according to the 2012 census. The county is divided into three divisions – Bura, Galole, and Garsena ( Hola or Galole is the capital city)
Tana river county borders Kitui County to the West, Garissa County to the North East, Isiolo County to the North, Lamu County to the South East, and Kilifi County to the South.
The main source of income for the residents of Tana river is agriculture and pastoralism.

Attractions

The landscape here comprises several areas of forest, woodland, and grassland. The most notable landmarks are two rivers (The Tana river and the Lagas river) and Bilbil hills. These two rivers are a source of water for irrigation in the county.
The main attraction sites in Tana River are the Kora National Park, Arawale National Reserve, Tana Primate National Reserve. Tana river county is home to several Monkeys, lions, Zebras, Elephants, and Birds.
Other attractions include inselbergs, Grand Falls, wilderness, Sand Dunes, Riverine Forest, Mangrove, Woodland, Kora rapids, and George Adamson’s grave.

Climate

The county lies on a semi-arid area with an average rainfall of less than 600ml per year. The daily temperature ranges between 29.61º to 30ºC.

How To Get To Tana River County

By Road

The county is situated 280km northwest of Nairobi and can be easily accessed via road through Thika, Mwingi road passing through Kyuso village.

By Air

Hola town is home to a small civilian airport (Hola Airport)serving Hola and surrounding communities.

Accommodations In Tana River County

The main accommodation options here include Kipini Tana River Lodge, Tana River Lodge, Delta Dunes Lodge, and Kipini Conservancy House. Browse through our accommodation section for information on the above facilities

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A tuk-tuk in old town mombasa

Apart from the beautiful expansive coastal line, luxurious resorts, and swaying palm trees, Mombasa is also dotted with small colourful three-wheeled vehicles that have almost become an emblem of the region, Aptly named for the rough “tuk-tuk-tuk”

sound of their single-stroke motors. These ubiquitous Tuk-Tuks can be spotted in almost every tourist postcard picture of Mombasa. Taking a wild ride in one of these sputtering three-wheelers is a thrilling experience by itself, an adventure that is not to be missed, and for most first-timers, there is a good chance you will get taken for a “ride” by the smooth-talking driver.

riding in Tuk-Tuks in Mombasa

Although riding Tuk-Tuks in Mombasa can be described as more chaotic than comfortable by most visitors, it’s a fun, convenient, and affordable way of getting around for residents and tourists alike!
Here is everything you need to know about this local rite of passage for the next time you visit the Pwani region.
Despite varying in design from country to country, tuk-tuks have been around for a few decades and are still a popular mode

of transport in other areas (including Europe, Africa, and South America) that has been around for longer than you’d imagine. Rickshaws even appear in comics such as Tintin and Blue Lotus when the adventurous journalist and his dog Milu visit Shanghai in 1934.
The ones found in Kenya mainly have a sitting capacity of three passengers, but just like a taxi, mostly boards one passenger at a time and come with additional space at the back that is allocated for luggage. They are also equipped with a dropdown

riding in Tuk-Tuks in Mombasa
Image by @kapturedbyabbas instagram

side flap for the rainy days which is otherwise rolled up most of the time to allow for a breezy experience as you zoom around the city.

How do the locals use Tuk-Tuks?

Preferred for their compact size and swift manoeuvrability, tuk-tuks make getting about Mombasa easier. Their ability to negotiate tight corners, and park almost anywhere, is perhaps the main reason why the locals favour them over the regular taxis and are mostly used for either transportation or delivery. In the early mornings or evenings, you’ll find them near the bus stops or ‘STAGE’ where, rather than operating on a private-hire basis they function as shared vehicles, running up and down a pre-determined route.

How to take a tuk-tuk in Mombasa?

Here are a few to help make the unforgettable experience a smooth sail.

Pricing

riding in Tuk-Tuks in Mombasa

Find out the local rates before hailing a tuk-tuk.
Most locals are friendly and ready to help, just ask anyone and they will gladly tell you the approximate if not the exact price for your ride or go digital with the now common Tuk-tuk hailing apps available for both android and IOS users. Popular taxi-hailing apps like Uber and Bolt in Kenya have the option of Tuk-Tuks, just download and enter your location and destination and it will give you the exact price for your journey.

Bargain

Always agree on the price of your ride before you get into the tuk-tuk and expect to haggle – your driver will likely quote an initially overpriced fare, anticipating that you will knock him or her down to at least some degree. Most tuk-tuks will start charging at about 50 shillings for a short ride, which is also the standard cost for most places around the town.

Avoid

Hailing a passing tuk-tuk on the street — major thoroughfares are better — is often cheaper than approaching drivers who have parked in front of tourist places or shopping centres all day.

Say the name of the place, instead of the street name.

Most Tuk Tuk drivers in Mombasado not know the street names and addresses but know how to get to famous destinations.

riding in Tuk-Tuks in Mombasa

 To make things easier write down or memorize the name of the building or tourist attraction, give them the name of the place you want to go to, not their address.

Safety: What to remember when riding in a tuk-tuk in Mombasa

While the tuk-tuks are normally safe, it’s also advisable to take care of your belongings while you’re on board.
Tuk-tuks don’t have seat belts; you ride at your own risk!

Riding Tuk-tuk in Mombasa is fun

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride while chatting with the driver. You might learn a thing or two about the area, also keep an eye on the funny sayings and the colourful artwork at the back of the other tuk-tuks and matatus.

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fireworks in mombasa 2021

One of the best things about celebrating new years eve is sitting under the stars with your favourite drink and of course with family and friends while waiting for the “kabooms” that light up the night sky.
Unfortunately, last year, New year’s events and firework displays were cancelled in most places around the country due to the rapidly spreading coronavirus. Thankfully, restrictions have been lifted off as more and more people get vaccinated.
Whether you are spending this holiday weekend at the beach, camping, or hosting a backyard cookout, there is sure to be a fireworks show near you that you can watch near you.
But if you’re not sure where to see the best displays of fireworks near you, we’ve rounded up a selection of where you can watch fireworks tonight.

Fireworks Near Me

Xanas Restaurant And Lounge

Location: Cowrie shells Beach Apartments

http://www.zanaslounge.com/

Phone: 0728 140105

MoonShine Mombasa

Location: Nyali Mombasa, Coast Province, Kenya

http://www.reefhotelkenya.com/moonshine

Phone: 0722 904681

Kilua Beach Resort 

Location: Dolphin Rd Mombasa, Coast Province, Kenya 80100

http://www.kilua.co.ke/

Phone: 0759 001001

EnglishPoint Marina

Location: Silos Road, Mombasa

https://hotelenglishpoint.com/

Phone: +254 730 930107

Char-Choma Restaurant

Location: Aga Khan Beach Cottages, Mombasa

http://www.charchoma.co.ke/

phone: 0794 673598

GOVERNOR’S FIREWORKS 

Mamangina Drive

Location: Mombasa Island Mombasa, Coast Province, Kenya 80100

Phone: 0750 856511

Fort Jesus Sound and Light Show

https://www.fortjesusmombasa.com/

Location: Fort Jesus Mombasa, Coast Province, Kenya

Phone: 0726 520759

PrideInn Flamingo Beach Resort & Spa

Location: Shanzu Mombasa, Coast Province, Kenya 80109

http://flamingobeach.co.ke/

Phone: 0709 374000

Kusini Tavern

Location: Mnarani-Kilifi Kilifi, Coast Province, Kenya 80108

https://www.facebook.com/kutavern

Phone: 0115 976370

Kingston Beach Lounge

Location: Baobab Rd, Mombasa

https://www.instagram.com/kingstonbeachlounge/

Phone: 0714 555666

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frangipani

What’s your background?

Ethnically, I am Indian. Born and bred in Kenya, I moved to the USA to study. Later, I completed my undergrad degree in Toronto, Canada. I majored in Design/Illustration.

When did you begin making art?

My earliest memory of creating art is in nursery school. I got very serious about art after finishing my A levels in Mombasa. I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a career, so I took a few odd jobs and nothing satisfied me at the soul level. I would paint in the evenings and I used to fantasize about making it my ‘job’.

What does your work aim to say?

My work celebrates the mundane. I paint flowers, people and occasionally animals. I paint to create a 3D space on a 2D surface. Therein lies my challenge. I really love the idea of creating ‘space’ in a painting using just colour.

Who are your biggest influences?

A painting of a dog

My teachers, college professors, and colleagues have influenced me to paint. My parents have also always encouraged me to stay creative. They love my paintings. I used to paint with a friend in Toronto. His voice is often still in my head. He was an old man and he taught me a great deal about painting.
In Art History, I often refer to the work of Richard Diebenkorn and Paul Cezanne whenever I am stuck, so you can say they influence some of my work.

“Trends are for the anxious. I don’t follow trends…I make them!” Lord Maclean
I teach art at a high school. My students love to challenge me with their favourite trends. I find myself drawing superheroes!! That is something I never thought I would do. Anime is a huge deal with students, but I try to encourage them to draw in their own style rather than copying Anime. Having said that, I may have developed a new obsession with rather small works of art done with a biro pen.

Where do you find inspiration?

My favourite quote is “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” — Pablo Picasso. It may sound narcissistic, but I find encouragement and inspiration in my previous paintings-ones that I feel are successful. I study them to see how I made it work before, and I have to encourage myself to believe that if I did it before, I can do it again. Life around us is also inspiring. Nature is the greatest artist of all and I celebrate the same by painting natural forms.

When is your favourite time of day to create?

I am a morning person. I am most fresh, clearheaded, and motivated in the morning. But then again…anytime is creative time.

How has your style changed over time?

I used to think only super realistic work is art. I used to paint extremely blended and realistic paintings that took months to complete. Now I paint in a much looser style. I still struggle with letting go of control, but it’s getting there.

What are your favourite and least favourite parts of professional art?

My favourite parts are creating and teaching art. I love discussing art with other artists and designers. Least favourite has to be selling art and negotiating deals.

Describe your ideal working environment.

I like working alone in my studio. I have painted with others though. Having an artist residency where like-minded people can paint together would be really awesome.

Describe your dream project.

I would really love to be commissioned to create art for cafes and hospitals.

Anthurium

Describe the best piece of art you’ve created.

I think the best is yet to come!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? What advice do you have for others starting out

The best advice I have been given…that would be to celebrate my own style and strokes. It is when you try to paint like someone else, using their style…that is when you begin to get into frustrations.
For others starting out: draw a lot of still life. Keep objects in front of you and draw. Learning colour theory early on is also essential.

What’s your most embarrassing moment in art?

I think flipping through art history textbooks with my students….sometimes we see nudes and I feel more embarrassed than they do. Even though I am not at all prudish, I am teaching kids, so I try to limit their exposure if I can help it.

What wouldn’t you do without?

The internet. Am I right? Everyone, everywhere depends on it for everything.

Ravens

How do you balance your time in the studio with other commitments such as a part-time job, family ?

I work full time. these days I have adapted to painting small paintings and in watercolour, so they don’t take much time and I can still create daily.

Covid and the lockdown helped me focus a lot, so I spent a lot of quality time with family and did a lot of painting during that time.
I spend time with my family after work and on weekends.

How do you know when a work is finished?

It’s never that it is finished…At some point, I have to just stop because I feel like if I go back into it again, I will ruin what is there already. Other times, I have a deadline so I am forced to stop and call it ‘done’.

lilac-breasted roller

What’s your work-day like?

I am an early riser, so I am up by 5 am. I pray, meditate, shower, etc., then, I am at work by 7 am. I teach art so I prepare for my classes for the day. It involves a lot of research and it does not feel like work at all. I really enjoy teaching. I am

done teaching by about 3. Usually, I am home by 3.30 and then I paint or draw a little. I have to stay healthy, so I go to the gym for an hour or so. After dinner, I am with my family. We play card games or just talk for a while. Bedtime is around 10.

Where can I get prints of your paintings or find you?

I have not started making prints yet, but you can buy my work either directly from me (0737-800-594, or @millymamma on Instagram.) or from Diani Art Gallery.

Email: millymamma@yahoo.com

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Donkeys on lamu island

Lamu County

by admin
People ferrying goods in Lamu
No cars in Lamu

Lamu County is located on the Northern Coast of Kenya and is one of the Six Coastal Counties of Kenya. Divided into two constituents (Lamu West and Lamu East ) Lamu county borders the Tana river in the southwest, Garissa county to the north, and the Indian Ocean to the South. With 130 kilometers of coastline, Lamu county stretches across 6273 kilometers of land surface and is home to over 65 beautiful islands that form the Lamu archipelago and 43,920 people, according to the 2019 census.

Lamu

Believed to have been established around the 1370s. not only is Lamu town one of the original Swahili settlements along the coast of East Africa, but also Kenya’s oldest continually inhabited town. Its most popular attraction – Lamu

Old Town, was accorded the UNESCO heritage site status in 2001, making it the only cultural landscape in Kenya to be bestowed a cultural title. Lamu town is also one of the few places on earth where there is almost no motor vehicles, and life moves at the pace of a donkey or a dhow.
It also contains several historical sites including, the German Post Office, the Lamu Museum, and the Lamu Fort.

Main Attractions In Lamu County

Lamu Old Town

Lamu Old Town is the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa. Characterized by narrow streets and magnificent stone buildings with impressive curved doors, influenced by a unique fusion of Swahili, Arabic, Persian, Indian, and European building styles. The well-preserved buildings show the development of Swahili building technology.

Lamu Museum

By far one of the best museums in Kenya, Lamu Museum is dedicated to giving its visitors a glimpse of the past including, boat-building, domestic life, weddings, intricate door carvings, Swahili ruins, and the nautical heritage of the coast.
There are guides at the reception who will happily walk you around while offering an in-depth explanation about the available artifacts.

Lamu Fort

Located in a central position of Lamu town, about 70 meters (230 ft) from the main jetty on the shore, Lamu fort was built by the Sultan of Paté between 1810 and 1823. From 1910 right up to 1984, it was used as a prison. It now houses the Island’s only library, which holds one of the best collections of Swahili poetry and occasional holds community events. Entry is free with a ticket to Lamu Museum.

German Post Office Museum

The German Post Office Museum once housed the first German Post Office ever established along the East African coast. Established on November 22nd, 1988, by the Germans. The German Post Office was under the leadership of Clement Denhardt. It was in full operation for more than two years before its closure on March 3rd, 1891, following the withdrawal of the German settlement in Witu.

Donkey sanctuary

The donkey sanctuary was established in 1987 by Dr. Elisabeth Svendsen from the UK. Following her first visit to Lamu Island in 1985, Dr. Elisabeth was moved by the treatment and health condition of the donkeys in Lamu and decided to open a donkey sanctuary to help the abused or sick donkeys. The Sanctuary currently provides treatment to the 3000 donkeys on Lamu county for free.

Shela Village

A 15-minute dhow ride from Lamu town or a 45-minute walk along the sea shoe will land you at Shela Village, a bohemian beach paradise known for luxurious beachfront accommodation properties, unfussy, barefoot atmosphere, friendly residents, and unclouded pristine beaches.

Manda Bay

Besides the allure of the beautiful quiet beach, Manda Bay is home to some lavishly luxurious beachfront accommodation and the only airstrip on the islands. Manda Bay is also known for its archeological sites including, the ruined towns of Takwa and Manda.

Manda Toto Island

Manda Toto island lies to the west of Manda Island, an uninhabited island known for its abundant sea life, stunning coral reef, and pristine waters. Though not regularly visited Manda Toto Island offers one of the best snorkeling locations in Kenya.

Manda Maweni Kisumu ndogo

Although located on the mainland of Manda island, the easiest way to get there is by boats or dhows that regularly cruise on the Lamu waters. Unlike other villages around the Lamu archipelago, Manda-Maweni was founded by quarry workers in the 1980s, and stone mining is still the main occupation of the 1000 residents. Guided Walks around the village and the quarry sites are offered at a small fee. The mining of the coral blocks is done manually with the aid of a few hand tools. The bricks are ferried to the shores of Lamu, where the growing population is driving the increasing demand for housing.

Takwa Ruins

Founded around the 1500s and probably abandoned around 1700. Takwa town was tactically placed at the narrowest part of the island. A strategy that was supposed to render the Takwa town inaccessible during the low tides. Notable structures still standing include the Jamaa mosque, the perimeter wall, and the Pillar Tomb, which has an inscription with the date 1681–1682. The village has later abandoned due to the salination of its freshwater. Its inhibitors settled across the bay, now Shela village but twice a year, the people of Shela come to the Pillar Tomb in Takwa to pray for rain. The Takwa Ruins were designated a Kenyan National Monument in 1982 and are under the primary care of the Kenya museums.

Matondoni Village

Matondoni lies at the NW coast of Lamu island, 7.3 km (4.5 mi) near Kenya’s border with Somalia. The village is equipped with a modern jetty which makes the logistics of the more than 3000 village residents easy.
The village is famous for the production of some of the finest dhows in the world, a craft that is quickly disappearing due to the emergence of the more modern and low-maintenance fiberglass boats.

Kipungani Village

The village is known for its hand-woven straw mats, baskets, hats, and kifumbu (a woven strainer used to squeeze milk from mashed-up coconuts) KipunganiVillage can be easily reached by boat or walking.

Pate Island

Pate Island is situated 20 kilometers to the northeast of Lamu Island. Pate island comprises several smaller settlements including, Faza, Pate, Siyu, kizingitini, and Shanga.
Compared to other parts of Lamu county, Pate Island receives a significantly small number of tourists although, it has some of the most well-preserved ruins in the region. The ruins are found at Nabachani and further up the coast at Shangu.

Shanga Ruins

Located in Pate Island Shanga Ruins is an archaeological site that covers an area of 13 acres. First settled between the 8 and 9 centuries by the Swahili people, it was dated back to 200 years. The excavation of Shanga ruins took place in the 1950s under the leadership of Dr. James Kirkman.

Siyu Village

Siyu settlement is located on the North Coast at Pate Island and is believed to have dated back to the 13th century. Unlike the Mombasa and the Lamu forts (which were constructed by foreigners), the Siyu fort was built by a local -Bwana Mataka, in the 19th century, with the sole aim of safeguarding its residents from Omani Arabs domination. It is now under the management of the Kenya museums.

Kiwayu Island

Kiwayu

Kiwayu Island is arguably the most beautiful of all the islands along the Kenyan coast. It is also a renowned biodiversity hotspot in the greater Kiunga Marine National Reserve and a priority conservation site in the Western Indian Ocean.

Kiunga Marine National Reserve ( Kiwayuu )

Stretching about 60km along the coastline Kiunga Marine National Reserve lies in the confluence of northern East Africa – coastal currents and the South flowing, nutrients rich Somali current.
The Kiunga Marine National Reserve is known for its teeming marine life, coral reefs, seagrass, and extensive mangrove forests that provide a refuge for sea turtles and dugongs. The reserve offers ideal opportunities for windsurfing, diving and snorkelling, water skiing, and sunbathing.

Main Festivals celebrated in Lamu County

Maulid festivals

Lamu county annually hosts the historic Maulidi festivities. Maulidi or Maulid is the popular name given to Milad-un-Nabi an Islamic festival held during the third month of the Muslim calendar (Rabi ul Awwal) to celebrate the birth of the Prophet Mohammed. The Maulid festival attracts thousands of Muslims from Kenya as well as other parts of East Africa. During the last four days of the festival, the National Museums of Kenya organizes various community-building competitions such as swimming, dhow races, henna competition, tug-of-war, and donkey races.
On the last day of Maulidi, the men of Lamu gather at the town cemetery and surround the town of Habib Swaleh. Following quiet prayers, groups of men and boys join together and begin a procession (Zefe) into town, holding hands and interlinking arms. The colorful, energetic procession winds along the seafront towards the center of town, with the crowds reciting qasidas together.

Lamu Cultural festival

People taking part in Yoga Festival in Lamu kenya

Each year, Lamu comes to life during the annual Lamu Cultural Festival. Several competitions and races take place during this week-long festival. These events are designed, to encourage local skills or practices that are central to Lamu’s life including, traditional Swahili poetry, Henna painting, and Bao competitions.

Lamu Yoga Festival, mid-March.

Initiated by Monika Fauth of ” Banana House and Wellness Centre ” the event features, over 150 yoga classes taught by 26 professional practitioners during the four-day festival. The participants have an opportunity to try the many, and perhaps yet unknown, yoga varieties. Activities include numerous yoga workshops and meditations, a chance to taste the Swahili cuisine, sail on a dhow and interact with yogis from all around the world. The festival activities are held in Manda Island, Lamu Old Town, and Shela Village.

Dhow Racing-various dates throughout the year.

The renowned Lamu Dhow Races occur on New Year’s Day, at Easter, in August, and also during other annually scheduled Lamu Festivals as their final celebration.

Accommodation In Lamu County

Ranging from private beach villas to barefoot luxury resorts, Lamu has enough options to suit all tastes, budgets, and trip types. Whether you’re looking for an exclusive island getaway or a remote off-the-beaten-track beach holiday, our selection of Lamu accommodation is sure to inspire you. Browse through the accommodation section or contact us for your perfect Lamu stay.

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Introduction

My name is Mariam Suleman, born June 29, 1996. I am a self-taught visual artist born and bred in Mombasa, Kenya. I have been fascinated by art throughout my life but, my travel to China cultivated an interest in mandalas. Which I further developed upon my return with a twist of Islamic geometric art. Most people that come across my Mandalas have compared them to the Persian intricate artworks.

How long have you been making art ?

Since I was a kid, I always looked for an opportunity to translate what I experience into art, and since 2015 I have led a life fully devoted to art.

What does your work aim to say ?

Mandala artist Mariam Suleman

Before I get to the message behind my work, I’d like to highlight the definition of a mandala. Mandala means a ‘circle’ in Sanskrit. It’s famously known as a spiritual and ritual symbol in many Asian cultures. Inspected closely, there are many hidden symbols in the artistic details. When I chose this path, I decided not to dwell much on the symbols to relay a message but to explore my endless imagination and see where creativity would take me. I always pour my heart and mind into each piece and let the audience speak for themselves.

Who are your biggest influences ?

My biggest influences are a French-Tunisian artist called El Seed and a Pakistani artist called Bin Qulander. I know their works don’t resonate with my work but, I adore their masterpieces, lifestyle, discipline, and mostly their journey in the art field. I guess I am a mandala artist with a strong bond to calligraphy.

When is your favourite time of day to create ?

My favourite time of the day to create is most definitely at night. I won’t even think twice about this haha! It’s at this time when I get some ‘me’ time. No responsibilities to attend to, just me and the world at peace.

Describe how we can encourage your career growth.

I wish the answer to this question gets the loudest attention. I wish we had art residences where we could appreciate artists of all genres.
For instance, most galleries in Kenya prefer a specific genre of art: ‘African art’ Leaving artists like me feeling left out.
I’d encourage people to appreciate other forms of art, offer support both financially & mentally, lastly, we need more quality supplies at a reasonable price.

Describe the best piece of art you have created so far ?

A Persian carpet painting that I worked on for almost a month or two I think. It was the biggest piece I had created at the time. When I look at it, I feel proud and satisfied, but of course, it doesn’t end there. There’s still a fire in me to create better ones. Whenever I look at it, I see change, just like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. It was with this piece that I started working on something else apart from mandalas. It was my transitioning point.

What is the best piece of advice you have received ? What advice do you have for others starting out ?

I can not pinpoint which one is the best because all just marry each other, but here are some of my favourites

  • Remember, you have to make mistakes because each mistake will help you develop a new technique. 
  • Challenge yourself because the more you stay in your comfort zone, the harder it is to get out. 
  • You have to work with your heart and brain and keep improving yourself.

Advice for those starting out

  • Being an artist takes a lot of discipline and hard work. 
  • Know your identity and your roots these two will make you remember who you are every time you work on a masterpiece.
  • Lastly, keep feeding your brain to stimulate it.

When do you know that you have finished your work ?

This has always been a constant battle, every time I think I’m done, I see something else I could add or remove, but then I remember Leonard da Vinci said that “Art is never finished only abandoned”. So, I only stop when it feels right.

How do you balance your time in the studio with other commitments such as family ?

It’s all about setting priorities right. As a wife and a mother, I first make sure I’m done with my daily responsibilities during the day. This gives me ‘me’ time at night.

What is your working procedure ?

Sketching, drawing, painting, outlining, cleaning, and lastly, embellishment.

Where can I get prints of your paintings or find you ?

You can find me on my social media platforms, both Instagram and Facebook @marman399. Find out more about Mariam on her website

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Kikambala beach village

The forgotten village by the sea.

Can you visit Kenya without going to the coast? Not in my opinion. Whenever I travel to Kenya, I like spending some quality time in rural places. Since Kenya’s coastal region is a popular travel destination among both local and international tourists, I was not sure if it was a possibility this time around.

I luckily stumbled upon a detailed travel article about Kikambala online. It described Kikambala as a small beautiful village in the coastal region of Kenya that has maintained its authenticity. From the blog, Kikambala was supposed to be a challenge to access from the main road. It sparked an interest in me. I knew that this was going to be my next adventure, as I love exploring and finding hidden gems less travelled to. I have learned, the more troublesome, the fewer tourists.

Getting from Nairobi to Kikambala on your own

After landing in the capital, I got myself a taxi to Nairobi’s Syokimau area. Where the Nairobi–Mombasa’s Standard Gauge Railway (Madaraka-Express) terminus, is located. With about 7 stops in between, the train finally landed me in Mombasa city. The journey was a smooth, effortless journey all through from the booking process which I seamlessness made online through Mpesa.

Beautiful day at the beach in kikambala Mombasa Kenya
Beautiful beach at Kikambala, Mombasa Kenya

I remember sitting and relaxing on the train while watching my first wild elephants as we travelled through the Tsavo national park. From my seat, the mighty giants looked like tiny ants scattered in a vast Savannah wilderness, a sight that made my 4,5 hours train ride extra special.

Upon our arrival at the Mombasa Terminus, I boarded a matatu (locals form of public transport) that took me through the city, where I transferred to another one heading to Kilifi.

In Kenya, matatu drivers are known to be notorious for their driving skills. So bear in mind, you might be a bit shocked if you hope for a smooth and relaxing drive while taking in the view.

Eventually, the matatu driver stopped and pointed me in the direction of Kikambala, I got off and was immediately disappointed. Back home, I had imagined fighting my way through a jungle or at least a bush. Then it would make sense to use the words “difficult to access” Instead, I was gazing at a long stretch of a tarmacked 5-kilometre road. On top of that, a bunch of guys were looking for a taxi job with their motorbikes. That made entering Kikambala one of the most simple things to do.

On the bike, I was holding my breath as we entered the village. What else from the blog post would be different from what I expected?

The Charming Kikambala

kikambala, Mombasa Kenya

But I was in luck. The rest of Kikambala was as described. A long-forgotten village with some few hotels by the beach. Camels were strolling through the main street, with the herders trying to rush them. A local tailor sat behind a sewing machine steadily sewing. She glanced up and sent my way a genuine smile that felt welcoming looked like sunshine to me.

I stayed at a local guesthouse in the centre of the village. I have learned that this is the best place to meet all kinds of Kenyan travellers, from business people to young backpackers. It’s also the perfect way to get inside tips about the country.

The guesthouse itself was an excellent place, with wild monkeys running over the tin roof early morning. They made it sound like thunder, after which they would sit peacefully in the trees eating tamarind fruit. Quite a memorable way to wake up and enjoy my morning coffee.

It only took about ten minutes to walk to the beach. With the white sand, the palms waving softly in the morning breeze, and the Ibises sat on top of the palm trees overlooking the sea it looked, absolutely stunning! There were hundreds of tiny crabs scuttling around in the sand coconuts sprinkled decoratively along the shore, all of which left me feeling like walking into a cover of an exotic travel magazine.

camels in mombasa

As I walked around, my smile grew more prominent, and I kept pinching my arm while pleasantly thinking: nature still beats photo editing.

Shared time is a memorable time.

Just as I had hoped for, I met with the locals in the most relaxed way possible.

In the morning, I hooked up with rasta guys we would then clean the beach and afterward burn the garbage as it’s customary in Kenya.

The heat was insane by the coast. At approximately 10 am, my white skin would prefer the shadow. That meant hiding out with the tiny crabs. It seemed we got attracted to the same small caves along the shoreline. As I watched them, they impressed me too. So many represented at the same time, but not even once did they crash into each other.

The following day I got the pleasure of being invited home to a family. I hurried down to the local shop and bought some tea, sugar, and rice. In Kenya, a guest will be provided for really well, but it is polite to bring a gift to ease the financial burden on the host.

Since the family lived outside the village, I was picked up by the daughter. Together we walked along the beach for about 1,5 hours to their home. The walk was pleasant- watching monkeys play around some abandoned hotels before the path turned into the countryside with small farms and forests with palm trees.

making of chapati

As we arrived, the kids surrounded me. I was happy I had bought some chocolate muffins as well. For some reason, most Kenyan children think white people’s pockets are full of candy. Who am I to be a myth-buster?

After the greetings the family, and I cooked together. They were impressed with my skills but not because I knew how to cook Kenyan food (They had to teach me everything step by step) But because the elders in the family, were convinced that white people have no practical skills. They told me; white people always have to hire black people to cook and clean for them as they didn’t know how to do it themselves. The thought of helpless white people in Africa made us all laugh and share more stories.

In the afternoon, we bought a hen, slaughtered it, picked the feathers, and fried it. We enjoyed the wonderful meal together while the sun gave it up for the moon and the stars. And what a night sky it was. The Milky Way was standing sharp like a bright belt on black velvet. It was time to say our goodbyes, not only for the night but for this time. Cause the next day would bring me to Narok.

The men of the family escorted me back to the village. That was a great idea as we passed some palm wine bars and happy but heavily intoxicated people on our way. I have never tasted palm wine, but it’s said that it hits just as hard as if an elephant runs into you. That might be the reason I have never dared to. Solo traveling and being drunk is not the perfect match.

At night lying in my bed thinking of my stay at the coast, I felt delighted. My stay in Kikambala was everything I looked forward to. Rural, not touristic, and with a lot of positive interaction with the locals. That is when I feel I get the most out of my travel experiences.

One of the things I was also glad to experience was the Blue Lagoon, a reef area, which I highly recommend. It was stunning to watch the corals and the life surrounding them. I got one of the local fishermen to show me around for a small fee, but keep in mind that the locals there are not trained professionally to do the tours. Therefore, it is a shared responsibility to act appropriately to preserve the beautiful reef.

Travel blog and pictures by Cathrine.

Write to us here We would love to hear about your memorable trip to the Kenyan Coast A.K.A Mombasa.

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