FESTIVE SEASON

Where to holiday besides beach

Crowding in the beach does not seem like the best idea this year

In Summary

• Tourism stakeholders recently rebranded the Coast to showcase diverse experiences

A Southern Cross tour van carrying domestic tourists to Tsavo East National Park for a game drive
A Southern Cross tour van carrying domestic tourists to Tsavo East National Park for a game drive
Image: ALPHONCE GARI

A corona Christmas means the beach Kenyans love flocking to is less appealing this year. Luckily, the Coast has more to offer, and below are just some of the options.

SAFARI

The famous safari to the Tsavo East and Tsavo West National park can be ideal for families visiting the Coast to have a taste of the rich wildlife, flora and fauna in the region. The national parks can be accessed from Mombasa, Kilifi, Watamu and Malindi.

There are many companies that offer one-day safari, two days and more, where local tourists can sleep in camps and enjoy game drives at affordable rates. There is also Galana conservancy, which borders the park. It is managed by Galana Kulalu camp and has a rich biodiversity of wildlife.

MALINDI TOURISM CIRCUIT

You can go on a tour of the Vasco da Gama pillar, an ancient historical site that dates back to 1490.It was recently refurbished by the National Museums of Kenya and gives the ultimate experience of the ancient town and its trade links with the outside world. The Portuguese chapel is a three-minute drive away, and there is a church believed to have been the gateway to Christianity in Kenya.

You can also visit the House of Columns along the beachfront. This is an old building with rich historical information, and faces the Malindi beachfront project built by the Kilifi government.

Then proceed to Malindi museum, which has a rich history of the Swahili, Mijikenda and other coastal communities, as evidenced by the artefacts in store.To complete the circuit, go to Hell’s Kitchen in Magarini by late evening. It is ideal for a sundowner.

MAGICAL WATAMU

Watamu is the only destination that has three products within a radius of 5km from the beach, to the Mangrove rich creek and the Arabuko Sokoke forest.

Those in Watamu can go snorkelling, dolphin watching, and then go for lunch at the Wakawaka Island along the Mida creek, which has unique bird species.By evening, one can also visit the Crab shark restaurant, a recycling plant being managed by Watamu Marine Association, where waste products from the ocean are turned into useful products.

There is also the Gedi Ruins, a historical site that offers a unique experience of the coastal history, the Kipepeo butterfly project that enables one to have a glimpse of different butterfly species and a snake farm that is within the ruins.Arabuko Sokoke has amazing sites to visit. There is bird watching, snake watching, Viewpoint, Elephant point, among many other sites within the largest remaining tropical forest in East Africa.

Within the forest, there is a traditional village where locals have lots of entertainment of dances and traditional displays.

Mida creek cannot be left out as there are several excursions, ranging from board walk, canoe rides to the mangrove forests, and there is also a dhow restaurant that belongs to women in conservation.

MOMBASA AND SOUTH COAST

One can visit Fort Jesus, an ancient historical site, then visit Old Town, which offers a taste of the rich Swahili culture. There is also Haller park in Bamburi, teeming with wildlife at the manmade forest.

In both Watamu and Mombasa, there is the new Dhow cruise tourism, which is becoming popular. One can enjoy dinner in the ocean quietly while enjoying the breeze.