Start your love affair with Kenya at Mnarani, your home-away-from-home. Mnarani is the perfect central point from where guests can explore some of Kenya’s rich history and vibrant attractions. Travel North and explore places such as the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, Marafa Depression or the Takwa Ruins, or travel South and learn more about the Jumba la Mtwana Ruins and Old Town Mombasa. Whether you choose to stay in and enjoy all of the facilities on offer at Mnarani or go out and travel the area, you really will not have a dull moment while on vacation at Mnarani.
North of Mnarani
Arabuko-Sokoke Forest – (17,8km | 34min)
The Arabuko Sokoke Forest is a “biodiversity hotspot”, rich in rare endemic fauna and flora, including nine globally threatened bird species. Experience a guided walk through the forest to the popular treehouse lookout point, high up in a giant Gum Copal tree, from where you may even spot the forest’s resident herd of elephants!
Read more: Arabuko Sokoke Forest Wildlife
Watamu Marine National Park & Reserve – (33,8km | 34min)
The Watamu Marine National Park & Reserve is a ten square kilometre park, home to green turtles and dugongs and forms part of a complex of marine and tidal habitats along the Kenyan north coast. With abundant and diverse birdlife, fish and unique coral gardens – visitors to the Park can experience white sandy beaches, snorkelling, water skiing, and windsurfing.
Read more: Kenyan Marine Parks
Mida Creek Boardwalk and Bird Hide – (38,2km | 38min)
Commune with nature during your next visit to the Mida Creek Boardwalk and Bird Hide. This fantastic destination is perfect for bird watching and boasts an incredible sea view for all who complete the walk. Traverse through the eight types of mangroves which numerous birds, including the rare crab plover, call home.
Ruins of Gedi – (47,4km | 48min)
Buried deep within the dense Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is the medieval Ruins of Gedi. The Ruins consist of a walled town which housed mosques, a palace and numerous houses, made of stone or earth and thatch. The location of this ‘town’ made it an important trade centre around the eleventh century.
Vasco da Gama Pillar – (63,9km | 1h 10min)
In 1499, the Portuguese explorer – Vasco da Gama built the Vasco da Gama Pillar, otherwise known as Vasco da Gama’s Cross or the Padrao, to mark his successful discovery of the route to India. Initially, Vasco da Gama built the pillar next to the Malindi Sheikh’s Palace – however, Muslim residents believed that the cross atop represented Christian domination and destroyed the pilar. After talking with the Sheik and describing the importance of the pillar, the Sheik allowed Vasco da Gama to set it up further away from his palace. It was then rebuilt in 1512 on the seafront using authentic Portuguese limestone. This pillar may be the oldest European monument in Africa.
Marafa Depression – (99,8km | 1h 50min)
The Marafa Depression, also known as Hell’s Kitchen or ‘Nyari’ (the place broken by itself) by locals, is a sandstone canyon approximately one hour from Malindi. This geological wonder was once a vast sandstone ridge worn down by wind, rain, and floods into a series of jagged gorges. The best time to visit is just before sunset. The setting sun highlights and mirrors the hues of the sandstone.
Takwa Ruins – (279km | 4h 23min)
The Takwa Ruins are what remains of a thriving Swahili trading town from the 15th and 16th century. Abandoned in the 17th century due to the lack of freshwater and endless fighting between the Takwa and Pate people; the Takwa Ruins are a mere 30 minute (or more) boat ride from Lamu Town. This National Monument is open daily to the public, and local guides are available to show visitors around the ancient coral buildings. Amongst these buildings is a unique Mosque, a pillar tomb, several houses and a partial boundary wall.
South of Mnarani
Mnarani Ruins – (1,6km | 6min)
Overlooking the Kilifi Creek and only 6 minutes from Mnarani Beach Club is the Mnarani Ruins. Dating back to the 14th century; these ruins include Mosques, a settlement and several tombs. The first Galla (also known as Oromo) attack happened around the 16th century. The Galla eventually destroyed this Swahili settlement in the early 17th century.
Jumba la Mtwana Ruins – (39,4km | 55min)
Jumba la Mtwana, or “the large house of the slave” as it is known in Swahili, is where visitors can explore four Mosques, a tomb and four houses which have survived in recognisable condition. There are no written historical records of the town – however, ceramic evidence shows that the settlement was built in the 14th century and abandoned early in the 15th century. This site is recognised as a National Monument and stands among a baobab forest that overlooks a desolate beach.
Nguuni Nature Sanctuary – (51,0km | 1h 15min)
Nguuni Nature Sanctuary is home to Giraffe, Eland, Ostrich, Antelope and more and offers visitors close communion with nature by providing educational tours. There are more than 250 species of birds with nesting areas in both the everchanging wetlands and woodlands. This sanctuary is a paradise and a haven for nature lovers.
Wild Waters – (51,3km | 1h 11min)
There is no better way to cool off from the Kenyan sunshine and heat than with a fun-filled day at Wild Waters – Kenya’s largest waterpark. This waterpark offers something for everyone – from a lazy river for those wanting to unwind, to slides which will get the adrenaline-junkies heart racing. Their all-day slider ticket allows visitors access to the park – however, the ticket does not include food or drinks.
Old Town Mombasa – (59,0km | 1h 28min)
Kenya has a rich history and is a melting pot of diverse communities. Old Town Mombasa is no stranger to this fact. These historical buildings date back to the 18th century and combine African, Arabic and European influences. Old Town Mombasa is a mere 56.9km from Mnarani Club; take your time and walk along the narrow streets and browse the local goods, which range from antiques and souvenirs to spices and fragrance oils. Enjoy local cuisine at one of the many cafés that pepper the street.
Have you visited any of the above places during your Mnarani stays? Are there any places you think we should have included? Share your thoughts with us and give us a follow on:
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