Cultural Experience in North Coast, Mombasa
The North coast is home to many of the Mijikenda tribes,
predominantly the Giriama. 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. 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.
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.
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.