Kilifi & Mnarani

Mnarani

On the south side of the creek is the village of Mnarani. The village is made up of private homes and small businesses and is a great place for a wander. Take the time to walk the streets and chat with the local people. On the cliff above the village are the Mnarani ruins - the remains of an old Swahili settlement - a good spot to find out a little more about how Arab traders brought their culture, architecture and religion to this coast and resulted in a way of life and language that still exists today.

A walk up the beach from the old ferry road to the headlands will give you the chance to see local fisherman repairing their nets, children playing in the shallows and the dhows sailing up the creek. If you turn inland from the same spot you'll reach Kilifi Boatyard. The working boatyard is also home to a chilled creek-side bar, set underneath the palm trees, serving cold beer and fresh seafood at good prices.

Across the main road from the village is the Kilifi Plantation, which is a working sisal farm and dairy. Its a great spot for a run or a ride and you get to see the sisal itself harvested and drying in the sunshine before being baled for export. The plantation also leads down to the waters of 2 creeks: Kilifi on its northern edge and Takaungu to the south. Both creeks are a magical spot for a swim or a paddle.

Things to do whilst in Mnarani:

  • Buy some fresh mandazi to munch on
  • Join with a local team for a game of football
  • Watch the fishing boats come back to the jetty with their catch
  • Bike through the Plantation & surrounding villages or explore on foot
  • Head out on the water for sunset in a dhow

Kilifi

Kilifi is a bustling market town and a main hub on the Mombasa-Malindi highway. A walk in the town is a great introduction to the noise and pace of a matatu stage, contrasted with the peace and calm of general life! You can wander through the street, buy fresh juicy mangos from a market stall, barter for a kikoi and enjoy chapati and chicken choma for lunch.

A great way to see the town is by bicycle or on foot and taking the time to talk to people will give you a much better insight into the local area than you'll ever get from watching a Nat Geo documentary! There aren't many tourists in Kilifi so don't expect the hubbub of Mombasa or Watamu, take the chance to enjoy a different pace of life.

On the north side of the creek, hemming in Kilifi town,  you'll find the iles of white sand known as Bofa Beach. This beautiful beach is lined with private houses, but access is public and you can get a drink at the beach bar at Kilifi Bay Hotel and enjoy the truly tropical view.

There are a small number of local bars and restaurants, so after dark head out by tuc-tuc to enjoy a beer or two by the water and soak in the sounds of a warm African night.

Things to do whilst in Kilifi:

  • Buy fresh mangos at the local market
  • Walk the white sands of Bof beach
  • Have a cold Tusker at Kilifi 'members' club overlooking the creek
  • Enjoy great food and hospitality at Nautilus - great food and wonderful hosts, right on the water
  • Ride a boda-boda, a piki-piki and a tuc-tuc (although not all at the same time!)