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kpalms.jpgTHE GLORIOUS COAST

Accomodation guide || Entertainment guide || Hotel review || Travel || Maps

Silver white sandy beaches fringed with palms, Casuarina, bright bougainvillea, mangrove swamps and magical creeks, all washed by the turquoise water of the Indian Ocean. The air is scented with sweetness of frangipani and refreshed by gentle monsoon breezes. Welcome to the exotic paradise of Kenya's 480 kilometer-long coast. Gazing calmly out across magical coral reefs to the open sea, this is one of the most idyllic resort areas in the world. Most come to enjoy the simple pleasures of this sun, sand and water wonderland. For those inclined to snorkel or scuba dive, the reefs, coral gardens and lagoons are some of the most beautiful.

For much of its length, from Malindi in the north to Vanga in the south, the shore is protected by a fascinating coral reef. lnside this protected environment in sheltered lagoons grow magical marine plants and other creatures and contains over 250 brilliantly coloured species of fish. National marine parks off Watamu, Malindi, Mombasa and Shimoni protect these reefs and the waters they embrace.

Mombasa is the old and colourful gateway to Kenya and is a vibrant mixture of the ancient and modern, with an interecting blend of Africa, Arab and Asian cultures. This beautiful port, evocative of the east, is actually an island. Fringing the dhow harbour is the old town, a maze of narrow streets, quaint shuttered houses and open fronted shops. The ancient Portuguese 'Fort Jesus' still stands sentinel- now a fine museum of antiques. The experience of Mombasa somehow isn't quite complete without a trip aboard the exclusive Tamarind Dhow.


THE SOUTH COASTiobc1.jpg

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South of Mombasa , across Likoni Creek lies a vast uninterrupted stretch of white sandy beach lapped by fascinating opal lagoons. Diani Beach is perhaps the most spectacular ribbon of flawless tropical beach, shaded with palm and Casuarina. Here one find a range of fine hotels offering a wide variety of watersports and activities. Behind the beach are patches of original forest, the most extensive of which is Jadini- a morning's trek from the beach hotels - where colobus monkeys, baboons, birds and butterflies run riot. A few more kilometres inland is the cool and refreshing wildlife getaway of the Shimba Hills National Park. At the far southern end of the coast is unspoilt Shimoni, with its relics of the slave trade and coral gardens. The Kisite/ Mpunguti Marine Park can be reached from Shimoni or nearby Wasini lsland, a lovely trip by dhow or motorboat to an intriguing underwater world.

AFRICANA SEA LODGE Pleasant, functional rondavels set close together, in pleasant gardens, back from the sea.

CLUB GREEN OASIS Villa and rondavels scattered on huge lawns on a cliff overlooking the sea.

DIANI GRAND REEF HOTEL A huge rambling complex on a pleasant stretch of beach offering various holiday activities.

INDIAN OCEAN CLUB Designed in Swahili style on one of the best settings on the beach. A wonderful exotic paradise.

JADINI BEACH HOTEL Has the atmosphere of a lively and colourful board walk with the beach and ocean in constant view. Church on hotel grounds.

KASKAZI BEACH HOTEL Resembles a magical palace right out of the 'Arabian Night'. Sophisticated and elegant.

PAPILLON REEF HOTEL An intimate hotel with spectacular tropical gardens, wooden bridges, lily ponds.

LEISURE LODGE A glitzy hotel-club-casino combination with multi-level blocks facing the sea.

spalms1.jpgNOMADS A return to basics, roughing it out in bandas, on the beach.

PEMBA ISLAND FISHING CLUB Small, delightful and personal, set overlooking the Pemba Channel- a big game fishing paradise.

PINEWOOD VILLAGE Attractive villas nestling along a coastal forest on Galu beach. The experience is more like renting your own condominium.

SAFARI BEACH HOTEL A comfortable and functional hotel with garden view room

SOUTHERN PALMS HOTEL Swahili-style decor with balconies facing the sea.


THE NORTH COAST

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The coastal area to the north of Mombasa, extending some 70 kilometres (45 miles) from the Nyali bridge to Kilifi, is another paradise of sand and bright blue sea. Here you will find some of Kenya's finest beach hotels. One of the coast's more recent National Marine Parks, the Mombasa Marine National Park, lies off the Nyali headland. On the northern end of the Nyali-Bamburi beach strip lies the fascinating Mamba Crocodile Village. Further north is Mtwapa Creek - an old river course cut deep into the limestone. The shores on either side are lined with marinas and watersports centres. At the Kenya Marineland and Snake Park you'll find turtles, sting rays, hand-fed sharks and a multitude of serpentine. From Mtwapa up to Malindi the scenery is a collage of rolling baobab, sisal plantations, cashew trees, thick jungle and swamp up to an even bigger extinct river course at Kilifi Creek. On the way there is the lost city of Jumbala Mtwapa - a long abandoned relic shrouded in jungle. The mangrove swamps are the seasonal roost of thousands of Carmine Bee-eaters which descend in a riot of exotic colour and is a most unusual sight.

BAMBURI BEACH HOTEL A busy hotel with a small beach front.

HOTEL INTER CONTINENTAL More formal and glamorous atmosphere with tasteful decor and sea views.

LE SOLEIL A condominium style complex set back from the ocean.

MOMBASA BEACH HOTEL Five storey accommodation blocks facing the sea.

NYALI BEACH HOTEL Built in 1931 this grand old hotel of the coast offers hospitality and excellence.

SERENA BEACH HOTEL lntriguing Lamu style architecture, luxury and attention to detail has contributed to making this the only member of "The Leading Hotels of the World" on Kenya's coast.

SEVERIN SEA LODGE A large, rambling hotel with some unique architectural features.

SUN'N SAND HOTEL Traditional Swahili architecture along Kikambala beach.


MALINDI AND WATAMU

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Watamu is set around Turtle Bay, a curve of aquamarine water with coral gardens and atolls sweeping inland into the recesses of Mida Creek. Not far away is the 'lost city' of Gedi, an early Islamic port which was suddenly and inexplicably abandoned some three hundred years ago. The Watamu National Park embraces an amazingly wide strip of coast and sea. At the northern end of this reserve is the Malindi Marine National Park. Together, these two reserves present a remarkable showcase of the wonderful tropical marine ecosystem.

Watamu's central motif is Whale Rock, a humpbacked piece of coral that is an important breeding ground for a multitude of birds. With a rich history behind it, Malindi stands on one of the few places along the coast where one can surf all year round. Watersport is Malindi's prime tourist attraction with sailboarding, water-skiing and diving. Together with Watamu, Malindi offers excellent deep-sea fishing- being among the best deep-sea fishing areas in the world. The Birdland aviary contains some 1000 birds covering about 230 species. ln Malindi itself there is interesting 'old town' Swahili quarter with a large busy market.

COCONUT VILLAGE Casual two-storey thatched beach villas with sea views.

DRIFTWOOD BEACH CLUB A low-key banda style hotel with a unique character.

diver7.jpgHEMINGWAYS An intimate and exclusive hotel with special attention to detail, service and pampered luxury. A famous big game fishing centre.

INDIAN OCEAN LODGE Prestigious Arab-style houses set on a small hill overlooking the ocean. An exclusive, beautiful and exotic experience.

KINGFISHER LODGE Spacious cottages set in beautifully maintained gardens.

SILVERSANDS VILLAS Cottages and villas some distance from the beach, surrounded by gardens.

TURTLE BAY BEACH HOTEL A pleasant hotel with a relaxed ambience and range of family activities.

WHITE ELEPHANT SEA LODGE A classy and elegant small lodge with unusual decor and aura of nostalgia.


LAMU ISLAND - PATE ISLAND - MANDA ISLAND

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Lamu- a town, island, archipel- ago and a trip back in time. lt is the last remaining bastion of the Shirazi- the oldest of the cultures at the coast. This magical town carries on just as it has for centuries past with its ancient architecture, intricate carved plasterwork, mosques and a very fine museum. Lamu still retains an air of slumbering mystery. Shela beach is a virtually endless stretch of rolling sand dunes and it is here that most of Lamu's hotels are situated.

Pate lsland is hours away from Lamu by boat where one can see the ancient ruined towns of Faza and Siyu. This impressive island has to be explored entirely on foot. Manda lsland has wonderful beaches to where elephants have been known to swim across from the mainland occasionally. A wonderful underwater paradise awaits along the reefs in the Kunga Marine National Park and there's a remote hideaway on Kismayuu-f or those who dream of deserted tropical islands in the sun.

BLUE SAFARI CLUB An exclusive island paradise. An established idyllic retreat for the rich and famous on Manda lsland.

KIJANI HOUSE A small hotel surrounded by tropical gardens full of flowers.Very picturesque.

KIPANGANI SEA BREEZES A private and secluded getaway, nestling under palm trees on a sandy bay.

KIWAYU SAFARI VILLAGE Luxurious cottages combining great natural beauty, exotic accommodation, wonderful food and absolute tranquility and privacy.

LAMU PALACE HOTEL A Lamu style hotel on the waterfront, in close proximity to down-town Lamu.

PEPONI HOTEL A tranquil and beautiful hotel right on the water's edge.

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Updated: 1 Novemberr 2001 - Copyright © 2006, Web pages authored by STUDIO 2001