The North coast is home to many of the Mijikenda tribes, predominantly the Giriama. For more information on these tribes, see the Related links above. Many of the hotels in this region can arrange cultural visits to Giriama villages.
The North Coast was a area of great importance to the development of the Swahili culture. for more information on Swahili culture, see the Related links above.
This particular area saw several Swahili settlements, most of which are now gazetted historical sites. Jumba la Mtwana (The Mansion of the Slave), near Mtwapa is a good example of a simple Swahili town. The town was deserted around 500 years ago. The majority of the town no longer stands, but the ruins of stone mansions of the privileged and their mosques and tombs still remain. Archaeological evidence suggests that the people of Jumba where devoutly religious and committed to the Islamic virtue of cleanliness. Most houses contain the remains of water cisterns, washing platforms and stone lined latrines.
Jumba la Mtwana is an interesting place to visit, and is beautifully located in a baobab forest. The ruins overlook a deserted beach, and the largest Mosque faces the sea.
This area is home to the Rabai community, a small but culturally strong people, with their own language and customs. In an effort to both celebrate and preserve their cultural traditions, an annual Rabai festival is held in this region.
It was from this area that one of Kenya's first European visitors Germany missionary and explorer Ludwig Krapf, first established a mission in August 1846. This became his base for exploration into the hinterland. A small museum in the village of Rabai, commemorates both Krapf's life in Kenya and local Rabai culture.