Top ChoiceMuseum in Lamu Town

Lamu Museum

The best museum in town (and the second best in Kenya) is housed in a grand Swahili warehouse on the waterfront. This is as good a gateway as you’ll get into Swahili culture and that of the archipelago in...

Top ChoiceSerpentarium in Watamu

Bio-Ken Snake Farm & Laboratory

This humble-looking place is one of the world's most renowned snake research centres. Bio-Ken specialises in antivenin research and acts as an emergency service for snakebite victims throughout the region....

Top ChoiceBeach in Shela

Shela Beach

Most people are here for the beach – a 12km-long, wide sweep of pristine white sand where you’re guaranteed an isolated spot (at least if you’re prepared to walk some way) to catch some rays. Swimming is...

Top ChoiceCanyon in Malindi

Marafa Depression

One of the more intriguing sights inland from the north Kenyan coast is Hell’s Kitchen or Nyari (‘the place broken by itself’). About 30km northeast of Malindi, it’s an eroded sandstone gorge where jungle, red...

Top ChoiceNatural Feature in Kilifi

Vuma Cliffs

Just outside the village of Takaungu, you fly on the back of a motorbike down dirt roads, past spiky fields of sisal and giant baobabs towering above maize crops. Abruptly, the land ends in jagged black coral...

Top ChoiceRuins in Manda Island

Takwa Ruins

What sets these ruins, the remains of a city that existed between the 15th and 17th centuries, apart from other archaeological sites on the coast? Quiet. When you’re here and the light shatters in the trees,...

Top ChoiceRuins in North Coast

Gede Ruins

This extensive collection of 13th- to 17th-century coral palaces, mosques and town houses – some of Kenya's most important Swahili ruins – lies quietly in the jungle’s green grip. Excavation has unearthed many...

Top ChoiceWildlife Reserve in North Coast

Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve

This 420-sq-km tract of natural forest – the largest indigenous coastal forest remaining in East Africa – is most famous as the home of the golden-rumped elephant shrew. It's also home to about 240 bird species,...

Top ChoiceWildlife Reserve in Watamu

Watamu Turtle Watch

This excellent organisation protects the approximately 50 hawksbill and green turtles that lay their eggs on Watamu Beach. The centre provides much-needed education in the local community about the fragility of...

Beach in Kilifi

Bofa Beach

Bofa Beach is a wide slash of white sand, with swaying palms and rolling Indian Ocean surf. It's the stuff of which fantasies are made. A path to the left of Kilifi Bay Beach Resort takes you there.

Archaeological Site in Paté Island

Shanga

Shanga, south of the village of Siyu, is the world's most complete example of a medieval Swahili town. Arguably the oldest archaeological site on the Kenyan coast, it includes the ruins or foundations of some 130...

Ruins in Kilifi

Mnarani

The partly excavated, atmospheric ruins of the Swahili city of Mnarani are high on a bluff just west of the old ferry landing stage on the southern bank of Kilifi Creek. The best-preserved ruin is the Great...

Ruins in Paté Island

Nabahani Ruins

Located just outside Paté Town, these ruins are slowly vanishing under a riot of tropical vegetation and banana plantations. There is nothing to stop you from wandering among the tombs, ancient mosques and other...

National Park in Malindi

Malindi Marine National Park

The oldest marine park in Kenya covers 213 sq km of powder-blue fish, organ-pipe coral, green sea turtles and beds of Thalassia seagrass. If you’re extremely lucky, you may spot mako and whale sharks....

Wildlife Reserve in Lamu Town

Donkey Sanctuary

A man without a donkey is a donkey, claims one Swahili proverb. Or, as the staff of this sanctuary might tell you, a man who doesn’t look after his donkey is a donkey. With around 3000 donkeys active on Lamu,...

National Park in Watamu

Watamu Marine National Park

Watamu Marine National Park

The southern part of Malindi Marine National Park, this reserve includes some magnificent coral reefs, abundant fish life and sea turtles. To get here to snorkel and dive, you’ll need a boat, which is easy enough...

Village in Paté Island

Siyu

It’s hard to believe today that Siyu was once the major city of the Lamu archipelago, with 30,000 inhabitants and several major universities. The only remnant of this glory is an enormous intact fort, which,...

Village in Paté Island

Paté

Paté vllage, on the west side of the island, is a maze of streets carved out of orange and brown coral ragstone. The modern village itself is almost identical in design and construction to the nearby ruins and,...

Farm in Gede Ruins

Kipepeo Butterfly Farm

Visit this butterfly centre on a Friday morning, and you might spot exotic pupae being packed for export to the UK and USA. The farm pays locals to collect live pupae from Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve and the...

Landmark in Malindi

Vasco da Gama Pillar

More impressive for what it represents (the genesis of the Age of Exploration) than the edifice itself. Erected by the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama as a navigational aid in 1498, the coral column is topped...