What is Kilifi’s infrastructure like?
The infrastructure of Kilifi is well developed with:
- Banks with ATMs (Barclays, DTB, Equity Bank, KCB)
- Supermarkets including Tusky’s, local food markets (butchers, vegetable marketS), bottle shops, fresh juice stands, and more!
- Post office, internet cafes, hairdressers, weavers, tailors, carvers, mechanics, etc.
- Curio and handicraft shops as well as extensive street markets for clothing and fabric, hardware and electronics shops
- Kilifi District Hospital, A private doctor right in town, plenty of pharmacies (chemists), as well as a malaria research and treatment centre
- Wide range of restaurants and bars from the most traditional/local to avant-garde international restaurants.
- Immigration office to renew visas as well as all other authorities
Most guests have no trouble finding everything they need right here in Kilifi!
What about malaria?
Just like anywhere else along the Kenyan coast and most of East Africa, Kilifi is an endemic area for malaria. However, Kilifi is home to a site for the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, a major centre for clinical and epidemiological research on malaria. Thanks in large part to KEMRI, hospital admissions for malaria in the area have decreased from 18.43 per 1000 children in 2003 to 3.42 in 2007 (divided by 5 in 4 years). Even so, we do recommend the use of prophylaxis to prevent malaria while you are in a malaria zone, but feel free to contact us should you have any questions in this regard. We can recommend to you which prophylaxis to take and where to buy it. There are also homeopathic alternatives such as ‘Neem’ mentioned in this paper.
The CDC has an in-depth section of their website that we also find pretty useful.
Can you comment on the general safety of Distant Relatives and Kilifi?
Kilifi is a relatively safe place, even by night as a foreigner. Some violent incidents have happened in the past, yet remain very isolated occurrences. At Distant Relatives we have a comprehensive, lasting, and versatile security system to ensure guests their peace of mind. We have permanent security guards on watch day and night, as well as a private security company and a community watch group on call with emergency buttons spread throughout the premises. Most importantly, we live in a very peaceful part of town with friendly and watchful neighbors who have never been too worried about security issues.
How long has Distant Relatives been open?
We’ve been officially open since November 2012, and couldn’t be more proud! We are still a work in progress in regards to many things, but have come so far in such a short amount of time.
What activities are there to do in Kilifi?
Can I bring my overland trucks or other vehicles?
What’s all this nonsense about visas?
If you are not a Kenyan citizen, you will be required to obtain a visa upon arrival in Kenya. Depending on your nationality, you will be able to obtain a tourist visa at immigration at the airport for US $50. Kenyan tourist visas typically last for three months, and if you need to extend your visa for another three months (after which you must leave East Africa), Kilifi has a very good Immigration Office where queries are dealt with promptly and professionally.
Who are your guests at Distant Relatives?
Distant Relatives has become a hub for people of all ages, nationalities, and backgrounds. We’ve always loved open-minded places where more than simply ‘accepting’ everyone applies, and instead diversity is actually valued. The more diverse we are, the more stimulating and remarkable everything becomes. This was our original idea – and it seems to have worked! Our guests are young volunteers, older NGO families, some with children, Kenyan and foreigners alike, students and professionals from Mombasa, Nairobi, and even further up-country. Many guests are, of course, humble travellers and backpackers, who have just come to visit Kenya for a few weeks. We also love to host the people who know that Kilifi is the best-kept secret of the Kenyan coast. Some simply love the eco-friendly approach and community projects. It is slowly becoming a meeting point for all those dreaming of more sustainable livelihoods and also just for those who simply want to have a great time!
So then is Distant Relatives appropriate for families with children?
YES! Though Distant Relatives is often filled with younger travelers seeing the world, finding themselves, and staying up late for another beer or another dance, we are very open to children and families and often host birthday and pool parties. We love kids of all ages and are more than happy to host 0-100 year-olds! Check out our Terms and Conditions for our pricing policies on children.
What about things like sun-screen and mosquito repellent?
Bring them! The equatorial sun can be ruthless and the morning and evening mosquitoes love tourists. We don’t provide any of these so it’s in your best interest to have them on hand yourself if you feel you need them. Remember, we do provide clean and protective mosquito nets for every bed!
Should I be worried about Somali pirates?
There is an evidential disparity between the perception of this threat and the reality of this threat. No one in the entire community of Kilifi is in any way worried about Somali pirates apart from sailors. The location of Kilifi in the southern region of the Kenyan coast and its relative lack of tourism infrastructure combine to significantly diminish any real security threat. Paul Simkin, Senior Consultant of Conflict Dynamics International and former Deputy Director Governance at UNDP Somalia predicts that the threat’s downfall is imminent (personal communication 2012).
What is the weather like on the coast of Kenya?
Being only three degrees south of the equator, Kilifi and most other parts of the Kenyan coast are pretty hot all year round. “Hot” can be a relative term though, depending on where in the world you are coming from, but most guests (unless they live elsewhere on the East African coast) find it hotter than they are used to. The rainy and therefore cooler (again, relative) season of this area is normally April and May, as well as October and November. Click here to view charts of average temperatures and rainfall in Kilifi.
Where to next?
Though we do wish you’d stay with us just little longer, we understand there is so much more to see! If you head north from Kilifi you’ll first hit Malindi, where there’s great snorkeling and diving and awesome Italian food, and you’ll eventually end in Lamu, a wonderfully unique island with a prominent Muslim influence and some utterly fantastic chocolate banana juice. Turning south from Kilifi takes you to Mombasa, the largest port city in East Africa. Spend a day walking down Biashara Street and buying fabrics, walking through the ruins of Fort Jesus, and eating lunch in Old Town. Spend the night with our friends at Mombasa Backpackers or Backpackers Nirvana, and hop on the Likoni ferry the next morning to go to South Coast. South Coast is home to Diani Backpackers and even more incredible things to see and do. After you leave the coast you can stop in Tsavo East or Tsavo West for a safari and game drive, or head up-country to Mt. Kenya, Hell’s Gate, the Maasai Mara, Lake Victoria and more! We do hope you keep a few grains of coastal sand stuck in your shoes and lots of pictures and memories to keep you coming back. Travel safe! Safiri salama!