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Kilifi District, Coast Province, Kenya

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Kilifi District covers an area of over 12,464 sq. km including 109 of water surface in the Indian Ocean. The area around Kilifi township contains some of the best farming land in the district, where livestock rearing and tropical fruit farming are the dominant activities.


Kilifi Town is situated on the Kenyan coast about 60 km north of Mombasa. It is a small town of around 10,000 people. The hospital and town itself are on the north side of the bridge with some residential areas in Mnarani to the south of the bridge. It has a reasonable range of shops for basic supplies, a post office and two banks.

Mnarani House - Kilifi District, Coast Province, Kenya

Kilifi town is situated in Kilifi District of Coast Province, Kenya. Kilifi District is one of the six districts which make up Coast province. To the south is Mombasa District, to the north Malindi, Tana River and Lamu districts, to the west Taita Taveta whilst to the east lies the Indian Ocean.


Kilifi District has four major topographical features. These are the Coastal plain, the Foot Plateau, the Coastal Range and the Nyika Plateau.

The Coastal Plain is a narrow belt, varying in width between 03 km. and 20 km. It lies below 30m above sea level except for occasional prominent peaks on the western boundary. The rest of the area is broken by creeks and estuaries giving rise to excellent marine and estuarine swamps, with mangrove forests and untapped potential for marine culture, Kilifi lies in this strip.


The narrow coastal belt receives an average annual rainfall of about 900mm to 1000mm. The pattern of rainfall in Kilifi District is bimodal. The long monsoon rains fall from April to June with a peak in May. The short rains, on the other hand fall from October to December. Apart from monsoon rains the other dominant feature of the weather along the coastal strip is the heat, temperatures range from a minimum of 21oC to 32oC.

Economy and population

The two primary forms of economic activity in the District are agriculture and tourism. In Kilifi District tourism is concentrated around Malindi and to a lesser extent Kilifi. The revenue earned effects only a small proportion of the population.

Agriculture, employing 85% of the population remains the backbone of the local economy and since the population density is high in relation to the agricultural potential, the District is one of the poorest in Kenya in terms of per capita income. Waged employment only absorbs 4% of the population.

The population of the District is estimated to be 720,000, over 80% being drawn from the Mijikenda group. the Mijikenda (nine tribes), are a loose grouping whose Bantu languages are to a large extent mutually intelligible and closely related to Swahili. They are believed to have arrived in their present homelands in the seventeenth century from a quasi-historical state called Shungwaya.

This centre was probably located in south-west corner of present day Somalia. The group is comprised of the Giriama, Digo, Rabai, Ribe, Duruma, Chonyi, Jibana, Kauma and Kambe. The Giriama and Digo are the largest and best known sub-groups. Kilifi is an endemic area for Malaria and it is one of the major causes of infant mortality in the region. Malnutrition is also another major problem affecting the children in the District.

The Kilifi Coast

Set amidst a backdrop of a most stunning white sandy beach, a startlingly beautiful blue and emerald creek and a magnificent coral reef, Kilifi is an ancient coastal Swahili town, midway between Mombasa and Malindi on the North Side of the creek, about 58 kms from Mombasa International Airport. It is steeped in history and African Culture, famous for the ancient Mnarani ruins dating back to 14th century and the elegant friendly Giriama people.

Crab in Bofa Beach

The soft white sandy beach at Kilifi is a haven for sun worshipers and stretches for miles. Known as 'Bofa Beach',it is said to be the finest beach along the Kenya Coast and one of the most idyllic in all the world. It is protected by a magnificient coral reef, unspoilt and practically deserted; being well away from the crowded beaches of the tourist hotels near Mombasa and along the South Coast.

Kilifi Town

Kilifi is the first town north of Mombasa about half-way to Malindi. There is a nice beach in Kilifi, although it’s a bit hard to get to. While you’re there, check out the well preserved Mnarani ruins overlooking Kilifi Creek.

Shopping Facilities at Kilifi include a Supermarket, Banks, Post Office, General Stores, Chemist, Local Craft Shops, Rugmaking, a Daily Fruit and Vegetable Market and a few excellent Restaurants in and around the area. A local Farm Shop stocks fresh supplies of milk, meat and day to day produce.

Kilifi Creek

One of the most delightful ways to see the beauty of Kilifi Creek is to take a dhow trip. The small Swahili kijahazi dhows criss cross the creek visiting the tiny bays and inlets and provide a wonderful vantage for photographing the mass of birdlife and scenic surroundings. Regular 'sundowner' trips are a great favourite with the local residents and visitors to Kilifi.

Activities in Kilifi

Scuba Diving, Snorkelling and Game Fishing
The vast coral reefs with fresh water entering from the creek offers amazing opportunities for Snorkelling and Scuba Diving. The open Indian Ocean behind the reef is the ideal place for World Class Big Game Fishing.

The Kilifi Creek offers the ideal smooth water for a great spin.

Arabuko Sokoke Forest
A beautiful, nearly untouched nature reserve, well worth seeing, take a closer look by following the link in the list of documents related to this region at the end of this article.

Monkeys in Arabuko Sokoke Forest

Tsavo Safari
The Tsavo Safari Game Park, where you can see some beautiful sunsets is a reasonably close reserve for Big Game Photographic Safaris.

Mnarani Ruins
Overlooking Kilifi Creek from the Southern side, some 200 metres from the Mombasa Road, you will find the old ruins of Mnarani, an ancient coastal settlement dating back to the early 14th Century.

The site consists of two mosques and a group of tombs. The first mosque was not built until about 1425 although the area was first settled in the early 14th Century. The smaller second mosque that remains was built in about 1500, however, there was another mosque that was built before it on the same site around 1475.

Mnarani was destroyed by the warring Galla people in the early 17th century. Also at the site of the ruins you will see the largest baobab tree on the Kenya coast. A large hole has been made in the side of the tree where local people leave offerings. Many people visit this peaceful site to meditate and to picnic.

Kilifi Accommodation

The Crooked House ,


Feedback From Clients

David Masters

Dear Davies, The safari experience exceeded my expectations. Each of the parks we visited was unique. We saw all the animals that Africa had to offer. The vehicles used were excellent. The quality of the lodges was beyond my expectations. I thought the guides were adequate. They did alot of driving and were skilled at that activity. Although, they were very knowledgeable about the animals and let us know what we were viewing, I would have liked to have had more information on the countries that we visited, the people, the economy, politics, etc. In this regard they did not volunteer much information beyond telling us about the animals. The guide in Tanzania was somewhat more informative than the guide in Kenya. Both were extremely pe...

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