Overview of Kilifi County
Kilifi is located in the former Coast Province, about 420km south-east of Nairobi and 60km north of Mombasa.
It covers an area of 12,609.74 square kilometers.
Kilifi shares it borders with four other counties; Mombasa and Kwale to the south, Tana River to the north, and Taita Taveta to the west.
Kilifi County Government
Kilifi County constitutes seven constituencies: Kilifi North, Kilifi South, Kaloleni, Rabai, Ganze, Malindi and Magarini. The county's top leaders are Amason Kingi (Governor), Erastus Ekidor (County Commissioner), Stewart Madzayo (Senator) and Aisha Katana (Women Representative).
Other top leaders in Kilifi County include Maitha Mungaro (MP-Kilifi North), Mustafa Idd (MP-Kilifi South), Mwinga Gunga (MP-Kaloleni), William Mwamkale (MP-Rabai), Shehe Safari (MP-Ganze), Daniel Kazungu (MP-Malindi), and Harrison Garama (MP-Magarini).
People of Kilifi County
Kilifi County is home to 1,109,735 people (male - 48% and female - 52%), according to the 2009 National Census. The main communities living in Kilifi County include Mijikenda, Swahili, Bajuni, Indians, Arabs and European settlers.
Other communities of Kenya including Kamba, Kikuyu, Luo, Kalenjin and Luhyia are found in Kilifi County as well. Most people from these communities are early settlers who migrated from their native regions during the colonial times while others came in to work or engage in small and large-scale businesses.
Religion and Traditional Culture
Majority of people living in Kilifi County are either Muslims or Christians, although the county has several smaller religious communities such as the Africa Indigenous Religion and Hindu.
Kiswahili and Mijikenda language are widely spoken across the county. The Mijikenda (nine cities) is a wider grouping that comprises nine sub-tribes; Giriama, Digo, Chonyi, Kamabe, Jibana, Kauma, Duruma, Rabai and Ribe. All of these sub-groups speak the Mijikenda language.
Traditionally, the Mijikenda believed in a supreme god, Mulungu. The community has a sacred forest - the Kaya - which is used by the elders as a place of prayer to Mulungu. The Kaya forest was enlisted as a World Heritage Site in August 2008.
Mijikenda are small scale farmers mainly growing coconut palm, cassava, cashew nuts, yams, millet and sweet potatoes. They are renowned for their rich folk music tradition that involves rhythmic percussion.
Located about 120km north of Mombasa, Malindi is the headquarters of Kilifi County. With its pristine beaches and favourable weather, Malindi is popular tourist destination in Kenya. It has been graced by high profile tourists including supermodel Naomi Campbell and Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore - who has even built an exclusive private resort in the town.
Located about 60km north of Mombasa, Kilifi town is the main stop on the Mombasa-Malindi highway. The town is set on Kilifi Creek between Mombasa and Malindi, which is about 52km away. Kilifi is renowned for its tourist attractions such as Bofa Beach - located 2.5km from the town, Mnarani Ruins and the Vasco da Gama Pillar. The town is home to many resorts including Kilifi Bay Beach Resort and Bofa Beach Resort.
Other urban centres in Kilifi County include Mtwapa, Mariakani, Watamu, Majengo, Mazeras and Magarini.
Climate and Weather
The county is generally warm throughout the year with temperatures ranging between 21°C during the coldest months (June and July) and 32°C during the hottest months (January and February). The county receives between 900mm and 1000mm of rainfall annually. It has two rainy seasons; April to June (long rains) and October to December (short rains).
Agriculture, tourism and fishing are major economic activities in Kilifi. Cash crops grown in the county include cashew nuts, sisal, coconut palms, pineapples and mangoes. Staples like banana, cassava, maize, green grams, cow peas are also cultivated. Along the coastal plains, farmers grow horticultural crops and vegetables such as tomatoes, chillis, onions, brinjals and okra.
Dairy and beef farming is also practised, accounting to a significant quantity of beef and milk consumed in the county and beyond. Buzeki Dairy, which produces the popular Molo Milk brand, has a milk processing plant in Kilifi Plantations. Small-scale farmers also keep sheep, goats, rabbits, pigs and bees.
Visitors to Kilifi often visit attraction sites such as Gede Ruins, Mnarani Ruins and the Vasco da Gama Pillar - which in combination attract thousands of tourists creating employment for the local communities.
Fishing is widely practiced because of the high demand for fish in Kilifi's hotel industry. Sand harvesting and extraction of gypsum, limestone, rubies and barites have been carried out over the years. The discovery of rare minerals in Kilifi, including titanium and niobium, is expected to generate alot of revenue from the county's mining industry.
Kilifi has several healthcare facilities serving the residents of the county. Large hospitals include Kilifi District Hospital, Malindi General Hospital and Watamu Hospital.
There are 160 primary schools and 23 secondary schools in Kilifi County, serving 154,484 pupils and 1,112 students respectively. The county's Teacher to Pupil Ratio is 1:39 for public primary schools and 1:30 for public secondary schools.
Some of the top high schools in Kilifi County include Malindi High School, Bahari Girls Secondary School, Ribe Boys High School and Mariakani High School. Institutions of higher learning include Pwani University, Kilifi Medical Training College, Mount Kenya University (Kilifi Campus), Kenya Utalii College (Ronald Ngala Campus) and Bandari College (Kilifi Campus).
Some of the famous people in Kilifi County include former lands minister Noah Katana Ngala, former MP for Kaloleni Mathias Keah and the once-powerful local government minister Karisa Maitha.
Places of Interest
Tourist attractions in Kilifi include Gede Ruins, Mnarani Ruins, Vasco da Gama Pillar, Arubuko Soboke Forest and Indian Ocean among others.
Lying inside the Arabuko Sekoke Forest, 16km south of Malindi town, Gede Ruins are remnants of a small town (sitting on 45 acres) that was built in the 13th century and suddenly abandoned by the residents in 17th century. The ruins include mosques, cemeteries and mansions. It is not clear why the residents abandoned the town.
Mnarani Ruins, located along the Mombasa-Malindi road, are an ancient Swahili settlement that dates back to 14th century. The settlement was destroyed in the 17th century by the warring Galla people. It consists of two mosques and elaborate tombs.
The imposing Vasco da Gama Pillar, which is set on the southern edge of Malindi town, marks Vasco da Gama's last destination in Africa before the Portuguese explorer cruised across the Indian Ocean to India in 1948. The pillar attracts thousands of local and international tourists.
Travelling to Kilifi County
Kilifi County is accessible by road from Mombasa and Nairobi. There are scheduled flights to Kilifi and Malindi via Vipingo Ridge airstrip and Malindi Airport respectively. Fly540 operates flights to Vipingo from Nairobi Wilson Airport via Malindi on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
For those seeking fine hotels and resorts, Kilifi County offers some of the best five-star accommodation in Kenya. In Malindi top resorts include Eden Rock, Billionaire’s Resort (owned by Italian billionaire Fravion Briatore), Mwembe Resort, Dream of Africa, Angels Bay, Tropical Village, Kilili Bahari and Coral Key among many others found in this popular coastal town of Kenya.
In Watamu there is Hemmingways, Ndovu Resort, Turtle Bay, Aquarius, Blue Bay, Garoda and Jacaranda Beach Hotel, Ocean Beach hotel among many others. Around Kilifi there is Sea Horse, Baobab Lodge and Mnarani Club. Sun and Sand Beach Hotel in Kikambala is also a popular facility that attracts many tourists to the county.
Kilifi County is served by several commercial banks including Kenya Commercial Bank, Equity Bank, Barclays, Post Bank, Imperial Bank. Safaricom M-Pesa services are readily available in most parts of the county.
Kilifi town and Malindi have dozens supermarkets and retail shops offering a wide range of products to shoppers, including beverages and foodstuffs. Curio shops and open-air markets are found in every corner selling fruits, vegetables, dry grains and local products such as baskets, kikois, mats, carvings and other artefacts can be found around major tourist attractions around the county.
TOP of the Kilifi County