The Coast:

Throughout history, the coastal region of Kenya and the interior have experienced very unique but connected histories. The first traders on the coast were Arabs from the Persian Gulf and by the 12th century several substantial settlements had developed. The primary trade export during this period included leopard skins, ivory, and tortoiseshell. Settlements continued to grow into established towns by the end of the 15th century. The inhabitants were primarily Arab although there were significant numbers of Africans who worked as laborers. Intermarriage was common and a unique culture developed that more closely resembled people of the Islamic Persian Gulf than tribes of the interior of Kenya. Today the people of the coast are the Swahili who speak KiSwahili, a language that evolved as a means of communication between the locals and the Arab traders.

The Portuguese arrived in 1498 and quickly gained control of the entire coastal region. Trade remained their primary interest until the 17th century when they became distracted by competing interests. In 1698 the sultans of Oman united to attack Fort Jesus, a Portuguese stronghold. Before long the entire coast was under the control of the Omani ruler, Seyyid Said. It is during this period that the slave trade flourished as laborers were shipped to the plantations on Zanzibar and beyond. As economic activity developed, the export of coconut, cloves, ivory, and hides slowly replaced slave trade as a revenue producer. Seyyid Said signed a treaty banning the export of slaves in the mid- 1800s. Despite this concession, the British East Africa Company took over the administration of the interior of Kenya, allowing a 10-mile wide coastal strip to remain in the Sultan’s control. In 1920 this coastal area became a British protectorate as the rest of the country became a British colony.

Today, the region is a curious mix of historical sites, trading ports, beautiful beaches, and luxury resorts. The architecture is heavily influenced by the many cultures that have claimed the coast, especially the Arabs and Portuguese. The Indian Ocean provides some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world. The water is generally calm and clear, ranging in temperature from 25C (77F) in the fall to 29C (84F) in the spring. There is very little coastal fishing traffic which allows fish to grow to enormous sizes. The coral reefs in the marine parks at Malindi, Watumu Bay, and Shimoni grow undisturbed and feature aquatic life found no where else in the world. Kenya’s white beaches are kept pristine during and after the kas-kazi, or Northeast Trade Winds that blow from December to April. The sand is swept clean by the offshore current and, not surprisingly, this period coincides with the coast’s high season. From May to November the Southeast Trade Winds or kusi often blow debris and trash to the shore. During this time the seas run high and there is daily rain.

Similar to the early days of trade and cultural conflict, today the coast is separated into distinct regions of influence. Mombasa remains as the urban center of activity. North are the islands of Lamu and Pate, Malindi and Watumu Bays, and Kilifi. Shimonis attracts visitors south of Mombasa. In between, few areas are developed for public use. The main coastal road is paved and in good repair, although excursions off the beaten path may require a sturdy four-wheel drive.


Once a quiet fishing village, this resort town has gained popularity over the years as a world-class location for snorkeling and deep-sea fishing. The coral reef is protected as part of the 10 sq km Watumu Marine National Park and contains unparalleled marine views. The area also features crystal clear warm water and white sand beaches. Although the tourist trade is firmly established, an authentic African village still thrives of the outskirts of the resort development

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The success of your vacation depends on the symphony of the booking agents, the sales team and the driver guides with you in the field. Coordination and teamwork is therefore very essential for the success of your safari vacation in Tanzanian. Untamed personnel are continuously trained in team building and outdoor schools.

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