The Kenya Coast is at the epi-center of Kenya’s tourism, luring thousands of guests to the coastal towns of Kenya every year.
Kenyan coast has beautiful coastline with white beaches donned with palm trees, the warm Indian Ocean, coral reefs, and sand dunes. The average temperature of 82°F (28°C) contributes to high humidity but there is a relaxing cool breeze from the sea.
The Kenyan Coast has a rich history steeped in merging of two different cultures to bring about a very interesting and unique culture that is today. It is a place where Arabs and Africans lived together and through inter-marriages created a new culture, unique only to the coast province of Kenya. Arab merchants from the East doing barter trade with Zanzibar pitched bases in the Kenyan Coastal strip. The early settlements grew into important towns with Arab and African inhabitants. Intermarriage became common and a unique culture (Swahili) developed that resembled the people of the Islamic Gulf states.
Today, the people of the Kenyan coast region are the Swahili, who speak a blended Arabic and native African language called Kiswahili. A language that is now spoken in almost all parts of East Africa including Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Eastern Congo.
The Portuguese first arrived at the Kenya coast in 1500 and took control of the entire Kenyan coast region. They built a fort with high and thick walls for protection called Fort Jesus. Trade flourished until 1698 when the Sultans of Oman attacked and took over Fort Jesus and the entire Kenyan coast. After the take over, the Kenyan coast fell under the control of the Seyyid Said, the ruler of Oman. Trade resumed which involved exports of coconut, cloves, ivory and hides.
In 1800, slave trade was banned and the British took control of Kenya’s hinterland but left the 10-mile wide Kenyan coast strip to the Sultan of Zanzibar. In 1920 this coastal Kenyan region also became a British protectorate
Today, Kenyan coast is full of historical sites, trading ports, beautiful beaches, and luxury resorts. It is the place that truly reflects Kenya’s rich cultural heritage. Unique to the Kenyan coast is the harmonious mix of African, Arabic and European cultures.
The major resort centres on the Kenyan coast include Malindi and Watamu on the North Coast, Mombasa Island and Ukunda/Diani beach on the south coast