Mombasa & the South Coast
From the hypnotic port city of Mombasa south to the border with Tanzania, this stretch of Kenyan coast is anything but ordinary. Where else can you see snow-white beaches framed by kayas (sacred forests), soft-sailed dhows and elephant watering holes, all in one day? Governed by Swahili rhythms and the rise and fall of the tides, life here moves to its own beat.
Mombasa: city of salt and of spice, of dreams and of battles, of poetry, of seafaring stories and of wave upon wave of traders from faraway lands. 'It does not reveal the great secret it holds,' wrote the classical Swahili poet Muyaka about his hometown. 'Even those who are well-informed do not comprehend it.
Central Highlands & Laikipia
The Central Highlands are the green-girt, red-dirt spiritual heartland of Kenya’s largest tribe, the Kikuyu. This is the land the Mau Mau fought for, the land the colonists coveted and the land whose natural, cyclical patterns define the lives of the country’s largest rural population. These highlands form one of the most evocative sections of Africa's Great Rift Valley.
With an Italian-sounding name, some of the best pizza in all of Africa and, well, plenty of Italian tourists, it would be easy to dismiss Malindi as just another European holiday resort. Until, that is, you wander through the alleys of the atmospheric old town, stop for fresh oysters beside the Indian Ocean and pause for Swahili cakes on Jamhuri St.
South of Mombasa
From Mombasa to the Tanzanian border there's some serious sand. And not just any sand; oh no, these beaches are some of Africa's most splendid. Think sweeping coves buttered with lashings of white sand, framed by emerald waters and topped with buff kitesurfers. There are far worse places to spend a few days. And yet, this stretch of Kenya is about more than just beach life.
With a flawless stretch of white-sand beach hugged by lush forest and kissed by surfable waves, it's no wonder Diani Beach is so popular. This resort town scores points with a diverse crowd: party people, families, honeymooners, backpackers and water sports enthusiasts. But if that sounds like your typical resort town, think again.
The Arabs called them the ‘Seven Isles of Eryaya’, while sailors called them a welcome port of call when en route to, or from, India. Hundreds of expats who've fallen irrevocably in love with these islands call them home, as do the Swahili, who trace the deepest roots of their culture here.
Southern Rift Valley
It's hard to believe that the geological force that almost broke Africa in two instead created such serene landscapes. But this southern slice of Africa's Great Rift Valley is cool and calm, swathed in forest and watered by moody mineral lakes that blanch and blush with the movements of pelicans and flamingos.
Calling all explorers! We dare you to challenge yourself against some of the most exciting wilderness in Africa. Step forward only if you’re able to withstand appalling roads, searing heat, clouds of dust torn by relentless winds, primitive food and accommodation, vast distances and more than a hint of danger.