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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, returning by night to your digs along one of the most beautiful beaches in Africa?

Governed by Swahili rhythms and the rise and fall of the tides, life here moves to its own beat. Thanks to the long interplay of Africa, India and Arabia, this coast feels wildly different from the rest of Kenya. Its people, the Swahili, have created a distinctive Indian Ocean society – built on trade with distant shores – that lends real romance to the coast's beaches and spice to its food, and to Mombasa, a city embraced by poets for many centuries.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout South Coast.