The coastal counties in Kenya have a long and exotic history, and a distinctive Swahili culture derived from the Arabic influence on the coast. Here’s a look into some of the locations along the Kenyan Coast:
1.Mombasa: This is the second largest city in the country and is characteristic of tropical beaches with long stretches of sand, coral reefs and sheltered waters perfect for swimming, boating and water sports. Waterfront full mangrove forests are found along the river deltas. The city is warm and moist and has a relaxed atmosphere, with locals dressed in traditional costumes moving as slowly as possible in the scorching heat. The Arab influence is evident in the architecture, clothing and food. The city has arguably the most vibrant nightlife in Kenya.
2. Watamu: A small town that is located north of Mombasa. It looks out over the Indian Ocean and enjoys a blinding white-sand beach and a soft breeze coming off the water. Some of the great features in Watamu include the white sand beach as well as the coral formations spotted at the beach and bays. Watamu is known for it’s turtle conservation trust Local Ocean Trust, that works hand in hand with the local community to raise awareness and protect sea turtles and other marine life. Additionally, its natural endowments, great dining scene and relaxed village vibe makes Watamu an excellent base for filming.
3.Lamu: This is the oldest town in Kenya. It is located on the island of Lamu. The town’s vernacular architecture coral walls spanned by mangrove poles, inner courtyards and arched openings and its narrow winding streets create a unique scenery for filming. In 2001, UNESCO recognized Lamu as a World Heritage Site for its contribution to world culture. Subira feature film that’s coming out later this year was filmed in the Lamu archipelago.
Also set and shot in Lamu & Watamu is The Sea Turtles Of Lamu; a documentary that tells the story of LAMCOT & Odo, a conservancy trust and a former poacher, who together have single-handedly saved sea turtles on the remote Manda Island off the coast of Kenya in the Lamu archipelago. They are helping the turtles overcome the odds of 1 in a 1000 to survive.
4.Shimoni: Located at the south coast and is a port town famed for its ocean side fascination and prevailing beauty. It’s a destination with an intriguing coastal culture. Shimoni is 80km south of Mombasa, near the border with Tanzania. This is an area of pristine beauty, unexplored. Other attractions are the caves of Shimoni, Shimba Hills National Reserve in south Mombasa and Arabuko Sokoke Forest north of Mombasa. The coast is simply irresistible; you must consider this area when scouting for filming locations.
5.Malindi: It’s a 100 km north of Mombasa on the coast coralline, with plenty of protected coral reefs and beaches. Malindi is one of the beautiful coastal towns in Kenya, steeped in rich heritage with several cultural and historic places to discover or re-discover. Its many beaches make the town an amazing setting for film, it also has diverse landscapes and it is truly a paradise with serene beauty. The Distant Boat film is among films that have been produced and shot in Malindi.
6.Kilifi: It happens to be the first town located north of Mombasa. The beautiful beaches are a centre of attraction and well preserved overlooking Kilifi Creek Mnarani its ruins are a point of interest.
Some of the attraction sites include, Jumba ruins, Mnarani ruins, Takaungu slave market, Arabuko Sokoke forest reserve, Gedi ruins, Watamu marine national park, the falconry, Vasco da Gama pillar, German chapel and pillar tombs, Hell’s kitchen and the just discovered Mosque Kiblar and human graves at Kijipwa to name but a few. Kilifi is simply a venue of choice for world class filming.