Kilifi, Kenya

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Kilifi, Kenya

Region: Kilifi

Geographic Coordinates: -3.633300, 39.850000
Temperature Range: 20.0°C to 35.0°C (68°F to 95°F)
Climate: Kilifi, Kenya has a tropical climate with high temperatures and two rainy seasons: from March to May and from October to December.
Population: 122899
Language: Swahili

Kilifi is a stunning coastal town situated in the Kilifi County of Kenya. It’s located approximately 56 kilometers northeast of Mombasa and 120 kilometers southeast of Malindi. The town is renowned for its beautiful beaches, Rich cultural heritage, And breathtaking natural landscapes. One of the most popular attractions in Kilifi is Bofa Beach, Which stretches for about 10 kilometers along the Indian Ocean coastline. This beach has soft white sand and crystal-clear waters that are perfect for swimming, Sunbathing, And snorkeling. Visitors can also enjoy various water sports activities like jet skiing, Windsurfing, And kiteboarding.

Another must-visit attraction in Kilifi is the Mnarani Ruins dating back to the 14th century. These ruins were an important Swahili trading center during that era. Visitors can explore them with knowledgeable local guides. For nature enthusiasts, Kayaking or canoeing through Kilifi Creek’s winding channels offers a unique opportunity to see mangroves up close while enjoying birdwatching as well. The Gede Ruins are another historical site worth visiting while in Kilifi; they date back to the 12th century when they were home to a thriving Swahili city-state before being abandoned in the early 17th century.

Apart from its natural beauty and cultural heritage sites, Kilifi also boasts an active nightlife scene with several bars and nightclubs offering live music performances by local artists. visitors should not leave without trying some delicious seafood dishes such as grilled prawns or fish curry prepared using locally sourced ingredients from nearby fishing villages. Overall, Kilifi offers visitors an unforgettable experience with its combination of natural beauty, Cultural heritage sites exciting nightlife scene as well as delicious cuisine making it one of Kenya’s top destinations.

Important Landmarks

  1. Mnarani Ruins are ancient Swahili ruins dating back to the 14th century.
  2. Kilifi Creek is a scenic estuary that offers boat rides and water sports.
  3. Bofa Beach is a pristine white sand beach known for its calm waters and stunning sunsets.
  4. Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve is a protected forest with diverse flora and fauna, including rare bird species.
  5. Gede Ruins are an important archaeological site with remains of an ancient Swahili city.
  6. Vasco da Gama Pillar is a historical landmark marking the spot where Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed in 1498.
  7. Watamu Marine National Park and Reserve is a marine park with coral reefs, sea turtles, dolphins, and other marine life.
  8. Bio-Ken Snake Farm is a research center breeding venomous snakes for antivenom production.
  9. Malindi Museum showcases Malindi’s history and culture through artifacts such as pottery, weapons, clothing among others.
  10. Kilifi Boatyard is a place to watch traditional boat building techniques still in use today by local craftsmen.

Primary Industries

Major Industries and Businesses in Kilifi, Kenya

  1. Tourism
  2. Agriculture
  3. Fishing
  4. Mining
  5. Manufacturing
  6. Education
  7. Healthcare
  8. Retail Trade


Kilifi is a popular tourist destination with attractions such as the Bofa Beach, Watamu Marine National Park and Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve.


The region is known for its production of cash crops such as coconuts, mangoes, pineapples and cashews.


Kilifi has a large fishing industry that exports fish to various parts of the world.


Mining is another important industry in Kilifi due to deposits of minerals like titanium and iron ore which are mined by companies like Base Titanium.


There are several small-scale manufacturing businesses producing goods such as textiles, food products and construction materials.


Education services are provided by several schools and universities in the area including Pwani University which caters to students from all over Kenya.


Healthcare services are also available through several hospitals and clinics in Kilifi.

Retail Trade

Finally, retail trade plays an important role with many small shops and markets selling various goods including clothing electronics foodstuffs among others.

Noteable History

  1. The Kilifi Creek Massacre occurred in 1997 when a group of tourists was attacked and killed by armed bandits while on a boat trip.
  2. The Mnarani Ruins are believed to date back to the 14th century and are thought to have been an important trading center between East Africa and the Middle East.
  3. Sheikh Ali Mwinyi was a prominent Islamic scholar and leader who lived in Kilifi during the 19th century.
  4. William Northrup McMillan, an American philanthropist, established a hospital in Kilifi in 1925 which is now known as the Kilifi County Hospital.
  5. The Giriama Rebellion occurred in 1913 when members of the Giriama tribe revolted against British colonial rule, which became known as the Giriama Rebellion.
  6. Sir Alibhai Jevanjee was a Kenyan businessman and politician born in Kilifi in 1869 who played a key role in Kenya’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule.
  7. The Malindi Declaration was signed by African leaders at Malindi Beach near Kilifi in 2002, committing themselves to promoting peace, security, democracy, and development across the continent.
  8. Drusilla Koech is a Kenyan long-distance runner born in Kilifi District in 1978 who won several international medals during her career.
  9. The Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve located near Kilifi is home to several rare species of birds, butterflies, primates, and other animals.
  10. Sheikh Abubakar bin Muhammed Khatib al-Shaikhawi was an Islamic scholar who lived during late-19th century Kilifi and wrote several influential works on Islamic law and theology that are still studied today.

Museums and Things To See

  • Gede Ruins is a historical site that dates back to the 12th century and features ancient Swahili architecture and artifacts.
  • Mnarani Ruins is another archaeological site with ruins of a mosque and tombs from the 14th century.
  • Kilifi Creek is a scenic spot for boat rides, fishing, and bird watching.
  • Kaya Kinondo Sacred Forest is a protected forest that is home to rare plant species and traditional Digo culture.
  • Bofa Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Kilifi with clear waters and white sand.
  • Kilifi County Museum showcases local history, culture, art, and crafts of the region’s indigenous communities.
  • Watamu Marine National Park is an underwater park famous for its coral reefs, marine life, turtles, dolphins & whale sharks.
  • Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve is a protected area known for its biodiversity including rare bird species like Amani sunbird.
  • Mida Creek is a tidal inlet that is rich in mangroves which provides habitat for numerous bird species.
  • Haller Park is an animal sanctuary where visitors can see giraffes, hippos, crocodiles among other animals.

  • Cultural Events

    1. Kilifi New Year Festival is an annual event held on December 31st and January 1st. It features live music, dance performances, and fireworks.
    2. Kilifi Gold Triathlon takes place every September and attracts athletes from all over the world to compete in swimming, cycling, and running.
    3. The Kilifi Mango Festival celebrates the mango harvest season in July with various activities such as cooking contests, exhibitions of different varieties of mangoes, and music performances.
    4. The Mnarani Cultural Festival is held annually in August to celebrate the cultural heritage of the Mijikenda people who are indigenous to Kilifi County.
    5. The Jumba la Mtwana Festival occurs every October at the Jumba la Mtwana ruins site where visitors can enjoy traditional dances, live music performances and explore ancient Swahili architecture.
    6. Although not located directly in Kilifi County, the Lamu Cultural Festival takes place nearby on Lamu Island which celebrates Swahili culture with traditional dances, food fairs and dhow races among other activities.
    7. Kaya Festivals take place throughout the year at various sacred forest sites (Kayas) within Kilifi County where locals come together for traditional rituals such as cleansing ceremonies or making offerings to their ancestors while also showcasing their cultural traditions through dance performances and storytelling sessions etc.


    • Swahili dishes such as biryani, pilau, samosas and chapatis
    • Seafood dishes such as grilled fish, prawns and crab
    • Ugali (a maize meal porridge) served with a variety of stews

    Popular restaurants in Kilifi:

    • Distant Relatives Ecolodge & Backpackers – known for its organic farm-to-table meals and seafood dishes
    • Mnarani Club & Spa – serves a range of Swahili cuisine including biryani and pilau
    • Nautilus Restaurant – specializes in seafood dishes such as grilled fish and prawns

    In addition to these restaurants, there are also many small local eateries called kibandas that offer affordable meals to locals and tourists alike.

    Parks and Recreation

    1. Mnarani Ruins Park is a historical park that features ancient ruins and a nature trail.
    2. Kilifi Creek is a popular spot for water sports such as kayaking, windsurfing, and sailing.
    3. Bofa Beach is an idyllic beach with white sand and clear waters that are perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
    4. Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve is a protected forest reserve that boasts diverse wildlife species such as elephants, buffaloes, monkeys, and birds.
    5. Gede Ruins National Monument is an archaeological site with ancient ruins of a Swahili city dating back to the 13th century.
    6. Watamu Marine National Park is a marine reserve famous for its coral reefs, sea turtles, dolphins, and whale sharks.
    7. Haller Park is an eco-tourism park with wildlife including giraffes, zebras, hippos and crocodiles.
    8. Kuruwitu Marine Conservation Area- This marine conservation area boasts coral reefs that are great for snorkelling or diving.
    9. Gede Forest Reserve- This forest reserve offers great opportunities for hiking or bird watching.


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