The Kenyan coast stretches 480kms from Somalia in the north to Tanzania in the south. From Malindi to Shimoni, some 230kms, it is protected by a coral reef which supports a multitude of exotic marine plants and animals.
|The first marine park was created in 1979 at Watamu, just south of Malindi, followed by Mombasa and Shimoni.
There are innumerable international class beach hotels, most of which are having their own web sites and hence will not feature here.
Originally Mombasa was a 15 square km island but urban sprawl has occurred in all directions on the mainland.
|It is connected by a bridge to the north east, a causeway to the north west and a ferry to the south and is the divide between what are referred to as the north and south coasts.
It is situated approximately 500kms from Nairobi and is accessible by air, road and train.
Both Malindi and Lamu have domestic airports with regular scheduled flights to and from Nairobi.
|Weather forecast||Tide timetable||Google map|
Climate: There are two rainy seasons in Kenya, the so called long rains from late March through early June and the short rains from late October through early December. Even in these months, however, there is an average of 4-6 hours of sunshine per day. As Kenya straddles the equator, the sun is never far from being overhead but the ocean breeze helps keep the coastal air temperatures and humidity manageable. Levels are at their highest late December through early March when they can exceed 30ﾟC and 70% respectively.
Health: With the exception of travellers arriving from a yellow fever infected country, in which case proof of vaccination will be requested, there are no mandatory health requirements. Malaria, however, is endemic and visitors should take whatever prophylactic is recommended at the time of travel. The malarial parasite is transmitted from human to human by way of the female anopheles mosquito so avoiding being bitten (insect repellants, mosquito nets) is preferable. Good quality health care is readily available but private so health insurance is recommended.
Transport: Due to the large distances involved and often poor road conditions Kenya has developed an extensive light aircraft network, with domestic airstrips at Diani Beach (Ukunda), Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu. The vast majority of travel, however, is accomplished by minibuses (matatus) which are cheap and flexible (they stop anywhere, much to the chagrin of other road users) but can be rather unpredictable as they don't follow a timetable. Numerous day and night coaches connect Mombasa to Nairobi and there is an overnight train three times a week, albeit with a reputation for being tardy.
Money: The local currency is the Kenyan Shilling which is readily convertible within Kenya at banks or forex bureaus. The best rates are for cash in the forex bureaus but ATMs, which are relatively ubiquitous, usually give a reasonable rate of exchange. All cash and personal belongings should be carefully looked after as petty theft has become somewhat endemic.
Language: Whilst there are up to 40 languages spoken regionally throughout Kenya, Swahili (also known as Kiswahili), along with English, are universally understood. Swahili is a Bantu language which has incorporated words from many other sources, mostly Arab and Indian traders/settlers and latterly English. Its alphabet has only 24 letters, missing Q and X, and is extremely phonetic in its pronunciation.