Kilifi County, which is also known as 003, is currently in the top ten list of one of the counties in Kenya with a huge population of 1.4 million plus. You can visit the county by road as the infrastructure to the county from Nairobi is tarmacked, however should you choose to travel by air, the nearest airport is in Malindi and from there you can easily drive down to places such as Watamu which is around 21 km and Kilifi town, which is about 45 km away.
The county has seven sub-counties and boasts opportunities in agriculture, particularly dairy and crop farming. They also have a joint food security project, Galana Kulalu shared with Tana River County. The project addresses food security issues, and they focus on growing maize and other crops within the coast region. Due to Kilifi County proximity to the Indian Ocean together with Mombasa County, Kwale County and Lamu County their other key sources of economy include fishing and tourism. Kilifi county is filled with popular resorts and hotels located on the beach front, offering guests scenic and serene views of the coastal county.
In addition to staying in luxurious accommodations, guests can also visit a range of attractions sites both historical and adventure based. Below we have listed some excursions one can include during their visit in Kilifi:
Mnarani Monument & Snake Park
Cost: Kenyan – Adult: KES 100 | Child: KES 50
EA citizen – Adult: KES 400 | Child: KES 200 | Non-Citizen – Adult: KES 500 | Child: KES 250
This is a historical site that is open daily from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm. It contains the Mnarani ruins that date back to between the fourteenth and seventeenth century. When you visit the monumental site, you first get to see the tortoise and snake park set up right by the entrance. You can hold the baby tortoises and observe them as they move around.
Their oldest tortoise is around 20 years of age. The snake centre currently holds 13 snakes from, rock pythons, to a black mamba and different breed of cobras. A guide walks around with you and educating you about the history of each snake, which is quite an informative session. Thereafter you then climb up the stairs that lead you to the Mnarani ruins and the first point of arrival is the ruin of the big mosque and there you learn the history of the mosque and can thereafter go on a nature trail where you discover another small mosque ruin and storage facility, and you will then end the walk with the viewpoint of the Kilifi creek where you get to see the grand view of the Indian Ocean.
Mida Creek Boardwalk
Mida Creek Boardwalk starting point is a scene out of a movie with it being surrounded by mangroves and lined with palms. The boardwalk is explored by hiring a canoe with a guide by the creek who takes you around. A recommended time to explore the creek is close to sunset so around 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm as the views are impeccable and it’s a great place to bird watch from kingfishers hunting on shallow waters to flamingos feeding by the Mida. You can also visit the Giriama village too where you can unwind and relax after the boardwalk. A trip to the creek might be organised by the hotel or you can go straight to the creek and promote local tourism by hiring someone to take you around with their canoe. If you don’t have suitable shoes, you can hire crocs too and you can also support their local hustle where they sell bracelets, necklaces, key chains made by the Giriama women.
Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve
Costs from 1st Jan 2022: Kenyan & EA Citizen– Adult: KES 130 | Child: KES 125
Non-Citizen – Adult: $17 | Child: $10
Call the Warden office to find out time for low tide: 8.00 am – 5.00 pm – +254 202335684
Private boat: KES 4,500 | Boat with other people: KES 2,500
This is located bout 5 km from Malindi town, and it is advisable to call the local warden to find out time of low tide the day you plan to go as that affects one’s experience, although the recommended time of day is in the morning as it guarantees one to have a heightened experience. When entering the marine park, you must get rid of all plastic bottles as they are prohibited on the site and will need to be disposed before entering the premises. When you enter the park you can park your vehicle at the location, change at the bathrooms and toilets within the area, then thereafter you can negotiate with the local boat captains to take you on your preferred journey, and the options can be spending two-hours on the ocean both snorkelling and swimming by the coral formation, where you get this amazing opportunity to see a range of fish from red snapper, butterflyfish to the colourful parrotfish to also seeing sea cucumber, anemone and other species inhabiting the coral garden. Then after the snorkelling experience, the captain will then take you across to a makeshift island that appears when the tide is low for you to relax and swim.
You can also choose to make it a whole day trip whereby after you can go to an island on the Malindi coast where you can spend the rest of the day there by the beach coastline where you can swim in the ocean, relax on the beach and also get to eat food and fresh fish that has been caught that day or you can choose to carry packed food as an alternative and the prices per person will still be the same, which is currently at KES 2,500 per person.
Vasco De Gama
Costs: Kenyan Citizen & Students- Adult/ University Student: KES 100 | Child/ Primary & Secondary Student: KES 50 | Residents of Kenya & EA– Adult: KES 400 | Child: KES 200 | Non-Citizen – Adult: KES 500 | Child: KES 250
This is a beautiful historical site that is recommendable to visit when you’re looking to enjoy a quiet and serene stroll by the coastline, especially towards the early evening. The towering pillar, which is at the sea front along the beach, has been well preserved and is a place where you can walk and even seat by the benches or around the pillar, and revere over the scenic views and if you’re lucky you can catch the sunset too. There is a guide who can join you too and will brief you about the history of the pillar which was built by the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in 1498 and the pillar is named after him being one of the most famous and celebrated explorers from the Age of Discovery. This monument pillar is a renowned attraction site for both local and international tourists visiting Malindi.
Kilifi county is a family friendly environment and is a suitable place to visit for those looking for a calmer and peaceful holiday mixed with a range of excursions to explore.