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Donkeys returning from market on Swahili Coast Kenya Traditional dhow Tanzania

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Frequently Asked Questions:
Swahili Coast

Where is the Swahili Coast?

The Swahili Coast includes the islands of Lamu, Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia.  Lamu is part of the country of Kenya, and Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia are part of the country of Tanzania. 

How much time do you recommend that I spend on the Swahili Coast? 

We recommend spending three to six days with a mix of beach and culture.  Our Swahili Coast suggested itineraries have a mixture of both, but call us to discuss other options. 

Why should I visit the Swahili Coast? 

The Swahili Coast offers an exotic blend of history, culture, and peaceful beaches.  The Swahili culture is an ancient culture at the crossroads of trade between Europe, Asia, India, Africa, and the Arab peninsula.  Trade goods were brought to the Swahili Coast from the interior of Africa, including gold, ivory, precious stones, exotic woods, herbal medicines, and shells.  These trade goods were taken all over the world traveling by caravan routes to Europe, China, and India, as well as on traditional sailing ships called dhows.  The beaches are quiet, calm, and lazy.  You can have the beach all to yourself.  Swahili people are warm, welcoming, and hospitable. 

Is there a better time of year than others to visit the Swahili Coast?

Avoid the rainy seasons in May and November.  All other times of the year have an inviting climate.

What kind of weather can I expect on the Swahili Coast? 

Middays are hot, but mornings, late afternoons, and evenings are comfortable.  The Swahili Coast has a tropical, breezy climate.

What type of clothing do I need to bring? 

Definitely warm weather clothing suited to tropical climates. You need to wear modest clothing when exploring town, meeting locals, or visiting historical sites.  Sandals or water shoes for beach combing.  Bathing suits and beach clothes for enjoying your own private beach. 

What type of activities are available?

You can sail on the traditional dhow sailing boats, hike on the beaches, go both deep-sea fishing and out with local fisherman on traditional dhows.  Swimming, snorkeling, and diving are all available. There are many areas that have world class snorkeling and diving. You can swim with whale sharks off Mafia Island and there are several areas what you can observe green and hawksbill turtle hatchings. You can explore ancient ruins dating back to 1000 AD.