Kenya’s Swahili Coast 2011

    • Gedi Ruins, Malindi
    • Gedi Ruins, Malindi
    • House of the Chinese Cash, Gedi Ruins
    • Blue monkeys live among the Gedi Ruins
    • Coral beach at Watamu
    • Watamu beachfront
    • Watamu's bay
    • Mombasa's bay
    • Mombasa
    • Coconut vendor, Mombasa
    • Beader with nimble fingers, Mombasa
    • Mombasa's Fort Jesus
    • Doorway in Mombasa's Old Town
    • Muslim girls in Mombasa
    • Mombasa's Old Harbour
    • Diani Beachfront shopping
  • Malindi is Kenya’s most famous resort town. An important Omani trading centre for centuries, it was also Portugal’s northernmost territory in East Africa.Four km from Malindi, the Gedi ruins show the remains of a 12th century Arab trading post, set in the midst of a coastal forest. The site is highly atmospheric and features the Great Mosque, the Palace and various tombs.

    Watamu is a small beach resort, perhaps best known for the luxurious Hemingway’s Resort. After a fabulous lunch at Hemingways, we drove south and marvelled at the creek at Kilifi. The mangrove trees which line the creek are home to thousands of carmine bee-eaters from November to April – we just missed them! North of Mombasa, we camped in Bamburi, its main claim to fame extensive cement quarries and a strip of tourist hotels, at Camper’s Haven & Jamboree.

    Mombasa’s history goes back at least 12 centuries, to the African kingdom of Zeng. Later it became an Arab settlement, which was sacked by the Portuguese galleons in the 16th century. We walked through the old town with its narrow streets lined with old Arab houses, visited Fort Jesus and the Old Dhow Harbour.

    On the south coast, 35km south of Mombasa, we checked out Diani beach, and intended to camp at Shimoni, but instead decided to push on to Tanga in Tanzania. It turned out to be the one and only time we arrived at our destination in the dark.