November 2018 - Magazine 13

Page 1

Issue 13 - November, 2018 Next Issue - December, 2018

LAMU Cultural


Festival DIANI






4. Coastal Forests of Kenya

8. Lamu Cultural Festival

18. Explore Mombasa

24. Community Based Tourism

28. Swahili on the go

077 505 9069

Cover Photo Credit: Darryl van Dyk

Rebecca Waller & Kelly Marie Martin

Coastal Footprints | 01

Here are just a few reasons to get down to the Coast



22 - 25 | 2018 LAMU TOWN




8 Dec - 2018

15 Dec - 2018












18 - 20 | 2019




Coastal Coastal Footprints Footprints | 13 3


FORESTS of Kenya By Kelly-Marie Martin Photos by: Leslie Kadane


he Kenyan coast is home to award winning beaches, and is a favourite holiday destination for many Kenyan and international tourists, ranging from the vibrant beaches of Diani and Lamu to the largely untouched beaches of Msambweni. However, there is another unique and often unspoken beauty about the coast, this being the highly diverse and endemic coastal forests. So unique, they are recognised by conservationists worldwide and are listed in the top 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world by Conservation International. In addition, hidden within these forests is a vibrant history and culture, with small protected patches of sacred forests and hidden ruins of old Swahili towns.

So what makes these forests so unique? Well, approximately 50% of the plants, 60% of the birds and 65% of the mammals which rely on forests in Kenya and many of which are nationally threatened are found in these coastal forests. Not only do Conservation International recognise its importance but also Birdlife International, whom rank it as one of the most globally important areas for endemic birds. In fact, Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, which stretches north of Mombasa, starting from Kilifi and running alongside Watamu coast, is recognised as the second most important site for the conservation of bird species on the African mainland, home to the endemic Clarke's Weaver, near endemic Sokoke Scops Owl, Amani sunbird and many others, all of which are globally threatened. In addition, 52 mammal species have been recorded, including the globally threatened Golden-rumped Elephant shrew (90% of the known population lives there). There are also elephants and buffalo living within the forest and more than 250 recorded butterfly species. The Arabuko-Sokoke forest has yet more to offer, once hidden away in these forests was a small Swahili town called Gedi (also known as Gede), dating back to the twelfth century. Being one of the most excavated sites by archaeologists along the coast, the ruins of mosques, palaces and houses have been rediscovered and the site is still seen as both sacred and spiritual to neighbouring communities.

This is not the only destination that both cultural richness and highly diverse nature can be observed. South of the ArabukoSokoke forest, Kaya forests can be found. These Kaya's, meaning 'home', are sacred forested areas, having great importance among the Mijikenda communities. So far, over 50 Kaya's have been identified within Kwale, Mombasa and Kilifi counties. Within these forests, at one time in history, contained hidden fortified villages, where the Mijikenda tribes would take refuge from their enemies. They are also the resting places for the ancestors and some are still used for cultural practices and some communities still bury their dead within these forests. These Kaya's also boost high biodiversity and endemism, home to more than half of Kenya's plants along the coast, many being endemic to these Kaya's. Furthermore, new species have been found, including plant species and a new moth species. These Kaya's, although small in size are home to over 80% of plant species that are threatened within Kenya, making them a haven for rare and endemic species. They have also been identified as globally important bird areas and over 10% of Kenya moth and butterfly species reside within these sacred forests. However, these forests and ecosystems are under threat, due to deforestation, wood carving for tourism, charcoal production and conversion of land for development, particularly agriculture and tourism, often with plants being replaced with exotic species. So how can we combat this and help conserve these irreplaceable forests. Well, by simply supporting these projects by visiting will promote the conservation and preservation of these forests, by giving them an economic value. ArabukoSokoke forest, although is free to visit, tour guides are available to show you around. Another great eco-tourism venture to visit is Kaya Kinondo, based in Diani, is a great project which both protects and promotes cultural heritage and biodiversity, a tour around Kaya Kinondo only takes 1 hour. You could purchase a tree from Colobus Conservation, this tree will be planted to help restore the forest cover and you can be reassured that the tree will be indigenous and purchased from the communities, further supporting and encouraging the planting of indigenous trees. When purchasing wood carvings, ask what wood it is, make sure you aren't promoting the cutting and carving of indigenous species and hardwoods, ask for coconut, mango and neem, all species which are fast growing.

So when you visit the coast, enjoy the beauty of the beaches, take the opportunity to snorkel and observe the marine life but also spend some time visiting the other side and enjoy the variety of birdlife, the calmness of the forests and learn about the beautiful history hidden away within.




Where better than the ‘best preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa’ to celebrate all things Swahili?


n 22nd to 25th November, Lamu will be celebrating its

The island retains the atmosphere of its early days. Alleys too

heritage at the Lamu Cultural Festival. And Lamu, one

narrow for cars weave through the Old Town. The houses, many of

of the earliest ports to be established on the coast of

which date back four or five hundred years, have the inside

East Africa, has quite some heritage to celebrate.

courtyards, carved doors and intricate niches of Yemeni and Arabic lands, while the markets that bustle on the seafront and in

The island is a unique fusion of cultures and peoples. From around the alleyways are all Africa. The port, dhows and cargo boats the 7th century AD, dhows from such far flung places as China,

pitching and manoeuvring, is a constant hum of movement, sound

Arabia and Persia were trading with the people of Lamu, bringing

and colour. Donkeys whiney as they're loaded with sacks, then

spices, pottery and fabrics – as well as ideas, customs and beliefs.

lumber, ears flicking and nostrils flaring, past pans sizzling with

In 1498, the Portuguese – under the command of famed explorer

mandazis, pots steaming with biryani and flat-plates sputtering

Vasco da Gama – first visited the island while fleeing up the coast

with frying fish.

from Mombasa where their arrival had precipitated hostilities from the local population. They returned in fury a couple of years later, conquering first Mombasa then Lamu. Raids from Turkey and Pemba amongst others failed to topple the rule of the Portuguese until Lamu was wrested from their grasp in 1652 by the Omanis. Under their lengthy and moderate protectorate the island flourished, becoming a centre of poetry and learning, arts and architecture. The turn of the nineteenth century heralded more of the upheavals that have been so much a feature of this island's life. Zanzibaris seized the island in the early part of the century, followed shortly afterwards by the Germans who established the first post office in East Africa there before being ousted by the British whose fervour for colonisation swept across the whole region. By this time, the people of the island had meshed and mingled with the peoples who had settled there and become the melting pot of cultures and traditions that it is today.

Photo: Barry Koenecke

Scents of cardamom, cinnamon and turmeric thicken the hot air, enticing the young men tethering dhows, urging on donkeys and shouting of their wares. Children sucking baobab seeds hurtle past women clustering around newly docked dhows to inspect the day's catch and clutches of old men poring over wooden boards of Bao. It was all this that Ghalib Ahmed Alwiy, known to all as Bush, wanted to showcase when he came up with the idea of the Lamu Cultural Festival in the year 2000. The island had been hard hit by El Nino: the road from the mainland had washed away, tourists were eschewing the place and young people were leaving to find work elsewhere. 'We had to do something to tell the world about Lamu,' says the enterprising Bush. And tell the world they did. The festival is a compendium of treats. The town square, decked out in ribbons, banners and streamers, holds the opening event: singers, dancers and drummers bring the ancient marketplace to life, drum beats ricocheting off trees, dancers spinning in the floodlights, and onlookers participating with songs, hand-claps and foot-beats. Lamu's donkeys, usually seen as a lowly mode of transport, come to the forefront in the keenly fought donkey race, careering along the seafront at a rate rarely seen in these gentle beasts. The choppy channel, usually heaving with boats, is the venue for the swimming races, while the path from Lamu to Shela is where the cross-country running races take place. Lamu's traditional cuisine is highlighted in the Swahili cooking contest during which local chefs pit their dishes against each other, using recipes that have been in their families for generations. Swahili food is on offer throughout the festival at the food bazaar where displays of traditional handicrafts sit side-by-side with Swahili bridal shows and local arts. The ancient game of Bao, said to be the oldest known game in history, is played skilfully and artfully at the Bao contest. Ancient poetry readings captivate today's poets and writers; henna painters adorn the wrists of hijab-clad ladies; musicians serenade the passers-by. On the last day of the festival, the dhow race brings the whole Photo: Barry Koenecke

island to the seafront. These elegant boats that once ploughed up and down the trade routes are now an icon of this island; from a young age Lamu youths hone their skills in sailing and racing them. Generations of knowhow come together in this competition, as the dhows, belying their heavy wooden frames, skim from buoy to buoy to complete the course in the quickest possible time. Author: Tamara Britten

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aturday, December 8, 2018 — Diani Beach, Mombasa — Innov8 Events Management are back in Diani, this time with their own brand event concept. The music festival takes place at DIANI BEACH CLUB. Located in Diani Beach — approximately 45 minutes from the Likoni Ferry — Innov8 Diani Festival is the perfect getaway for music aficionados who prefer to “experience” live music and interact with artists amidst beautiful natural settings.

The Innov8 Diani Festival has an incredible music lineup featuring acclaimed headliner, award winning Tanzanian artist HARMONIZE alongside three of the nation's crowd pleasers TIMMY TDAT, JOHNNY SKANI & GABU P-UNIT. Also sharing the stage is AFRIMMA 2018 nominated 'Best DJ Africa', international and region crowd favorite Crème De la Crème and Dubai based DJ, Kenyan born DJ Shero as well as Djs from Mombasa and Diani VJ Spice Kenya, Dj Azmoo, Dj Phauz, Dj Electrick and Dj Lesh. The public were also given an opportunity to have their say when we allowed them to choose the Innov8 Diani Festival MC by way of a week long Facebook poll.

Early bird Regular passes to the fest are Ksh1000, while VIP passes are Ksh2000 and give these lucky ticket-holders a premium festival experience. VIP perks include preferred viewing area, expedited entry, dedicated lounge, dedicated bar and kitchen and additional amenities. For those who purchase tickets at the Gate the prices are Regular Ksh1500 and VIP Ksh2500. Tickets for child entry are Ksh500.

The kids' programming will run from 12 noon to 6pm in the evening with an array of exciting activities specifically designed so parents can rest assured their children will be entertained throughout the day. Face-painting, jugglers and inflatables are just some of the attractions available to create a day to remember in the ultimate playground. Innov8 Diani Festival at Diani Beach Club is the quintessential fun day out and music festival for the entire family.

“The Innov8 Diani Festival concept has been created in an effort to build community, encourage unity and highlight Diani for all it has to offer. With over 12 hours of entertainment scheduled, this festival experience has something for everyone.”— The Innov8 Diani Fest Team

Innov8 Events Management is a predominantly Dubai based innovative events management and entertainment company focused on conceiving, creating, and executing impactful live experiences. Its founder, Kenyan born Shero Baluch alongside his team members Jennifer Kelly and Sheena Patel, have over 20 years of experience in hospitality, production and creative development. Now in its 4th year, Innov8 Events Management is proud of its works on large-scale events in the United Arab Emirates and is excited to continue to expand its business model in Kenya. The Innov8 Diani Festival is proud to be supported by: Diani Beach Club, Diani Beach Festival, Skydive Diani, Kompakt Records, Spice Lounge, Graphic World, Studio One Productions, 3D Experiential and Coastal Guide.

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Total time 20 Minutes Prep time : 10 min Cook time: 10 min

Ingredients: ·2 boneless skinless chicken breasts ·2 tsp olive oil ·salt and pepper ·1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced into 1-inch thick rings ·8 cups baby spinach ·1 handful of Rucola (Sweet Rocket) ·1 cup black olives ·1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced ·1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese ·quarter of a red onion, thinly sliced ·honey garlic vinaigrette Instructions: Brush the chicken on both sides with olive oil, then season generously with salt and pepper. Preheat your outdoor grill to medium-high, or heat a grill pan over med-high heat. Place pineapple slices and chicken breasts on the grill. Cook for about 5 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through, and no longer pink on the inside. Remove pineapple and chicken and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Then slice chicken into strips, and cut pineapple into chunks. In a large bowl, toss together spinach, rucola, olives, feta, red onion, pineapple and chicken until combined. Drizzle or toss with salad dressing, and serve immediately.

Honey Garlic Vinaigrette Ingredients: · 3/4 cup avocado oil (or any mild-flavored oil) · 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar · 3 Tbsp honey · 2 cloves garlic, minced · pinch of salt and black pepper Instructions: Whisk all ingredients together until blended. Let sit for at least 10 minutes for flavors to infuse. Whisk again until blended, then drizzle over salad.

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Author: Rebecca Waller Photos: Rahim Ali Khan


ombasa, Kenya's second city, captivates travellers with its intoxicating mix of cultures steeped in centuries of seafaring history. This island-city is a blend of Indian, Arabian and African influences and due to its position as East Africa's largest port has attracted more than its fair share of traders, invaders and sailors over the centuries. Dubbed in Swahili 'Kisiwa Cha Mvita' - the Island of War – Mombasa is a city of contrasts and its rich and vibrant history still reverberates today. Immigrants have enriched the city's architecture and cuisine, and beyond the Old Town, Mombasa offers tourists lots of exciting things to do, including wildlife parks, diverse marine life and vibrant nightlife.

No visit to Mombasa is complete without a visit to Fort Jesus, one of the city's top attractions. This UNESCO World Heritage site, built by the Portuguese between 1593 and 1596 to the designs of Italian architect Cairati, bears witness to Mombasa's turbulent history and the interchange of cultural values. The fort changed hands nine times between 1631 and 1875, before finally resting with the British. Although partially ruined, Fort Jesus houses a museum and exhibits include a vast collection of ceramics and pottery reflecting the various cultures that traded along the coast. Beyond being one the most outstanding and well-preserved examples of 16th Portuguese military fortification, the fort also boasts stunning coastal views and offers a great introduction to the fascinating history of this island-city. The Old Town, where the fort is located, offers further opportunity to step back in time and admire beautiful, if sometimes slightly dilapidated, old buildings with ornately carved doors and balconies. The meandering narrow streets are the perfect place to soak up the city's atmosphere and fully appreciate its rich cultural diversity. Despite now being home to many souvenir shops, the Old Town is very much alive and offers visitors the chance to sample great street food and Swahili delicacies.

To further whet your appetite, it's well worth checking out the city's main spice market. This is an evocative experience where your senses are likely to be overloaded with the vibrant colours and rich fragrances of the mounds of spices, and the general hustle and bustle of this busy marketplace. For those looking for quality handicrafts, Akamba Handicraft Cooperative makes a great place to see skilled sculptors at work and buy a wide range of wooden souvenirs at fair prices. Just beyond the Old Town on Moi Avenue, visitors can find the city's iconic 'Mombasa Tusks'. Commissioned in the 1950's to celebrate a visit to Mombasa by British Royals, today they are a key landmark and a symbol of this great city. Mombasa's rich cultural and religious diversity is further evidenced

In addition to dhow dining, another way to experience Mombasa from the sea rather than the land, is a trip to the Mombasa Marine National Park. The park lies between the Mtwapa and Tudor Creeks and its waters are ideal for a variety of water sports, including snorkelling and diving. This protected environment is home to a colourful variety of marine species including crabs, starfish, stone fish, cucumbers, sea urchins, corals and turtles. The beautiful palm fringed beaches and azure waters also offer the perfect setting for a little rest and relaxation away from the buzz of the big city. Haller Park and the nearby Nguuni Nature Sanctuary are the perfect place to experience Kenya's iconic and diverse wildlife and lie only a short drive north of the city. Formally known as Bamburi Nature Trail, Haller Park is a thriving ecosystem and home to a million trees, monkeys, birds and insects. The park is a symbol of a miraculous transformation from lime quarry wasteland to wildlife paradise and showcases conservation at its best. It's a microcosm of Kenya's beauty and wildlife and a great natural retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

by the large number of temples dotted around the city, alongside mosques and churches. The enormous Lord Shiva Temple is worth a visit, being light and airy and home to an interesting sculpture garden. It is best to enjoy its peace and tranquillity in the morning, as the temple is usually closed between noon and 4 pm. A Tamarind Dhow dinner cruise offers a very different kind of dining experience from the hustle and bustle of the Old Town, allowing diners to indulge in delicious freshly prepared seafood in idyllic surroundings. The four-hour cruise includes cocktails and a resident DJ, but more importantly the chance to see the twinkling lights of Mombasa from the sea and enjoy stunning views of Fort Jesus from the comfort of an authentic ocean-worthy Jahazis – a traditional Arab sailing boat.

The nearby Nguuni Nature Sanctuary is the lung of Mombasa, and home to the Haller Education Centre. This hub for vocational training actively supports thousands of children from informal settlements and inspires them to think about how to protect nature for future generations. It is also the perfect place for a day out, offering the opportunity to walk and picnic in an idyllic setting, surrounded by animals such as giraffes, ostriches, elands, and waterbucks as well as hundreds of species of birds and butterflies. Beyond history, culture and wildlife, Wild Waters makes for a great day out for kids of all ages. This water park boasts 15 water slides as well as a fun mix of other entertainment facilities such as a rain dance disco arena, bumper cars and several themed rides. And for the sporty tourists who want to appreciate Kenya's abundance of natural beauty at the same time as a little exercise and adrenalin, a half day cycle tour up the north coast is the perfect option.

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hese days the term 'ecotourism' is a buzz word used to

To ensure long term sustainability for its conservation and

describe all sorts of tourist activities. But at its core, it should community engagement activities, MCCC needed to think be about responsible travel to natural areas that helps conserve creatively about how to generate an income. Due to their the environment and improve the well-being of local people (TIES, 1990). Community-based-tourism (CBT) is a type of ecotourism and the perfect way to spend a few days when

beautiful surroundings, tourism was identified as a key part of the income generating strategy.

holidaying on the Kenyan Coast. Today, tourists can stroll along the mangrove boardwalk, be CBT is about local communities coming together to conserve

amazed by the abundance of birds and enjoy a spectacular sunset

their natural environments, preserve their culture and traditions

before tucking into delicious seafood platters at Mida Creek's

and earn some additional money from tourism. If that's not

Crab Shack restaurant. There's also the opportunity to further

reason enough to want to investigate what's on offer, CBT also

enjoy the mangroves on a guided canoe ride or to visit the Sita

offers visitors authentic experiences and a chance to engage with locals on their own terms within an environment of exchange and mutual respect. There are projects running up and down the Kenyan coast, where

Community Snake Farm, initially set up educate the local community about the area's snakes and reptiles.

And in addition to all the fun activities to be enjoyed by tourists,

community members have come together to harness tourism as a there are the positive impact these activities generate. More means to fund conservation efforts and to generate much

than 200 local families directly benefit from the tourist activities

needed employment. For example, in Diani, visitors can explore

through employment, and MCCC also has programmes in place to

the mangroves along the Kongo river during a canoe ride and

support the wider community. For example, they set up Dabaso

village tour organised by the Mwakamba Jitegemee Youth Group. Further south in Gazi there's the opportunity to learn all about the importance of mangroves, discover the beautiful surroundings and enjoy local delicacies during a boardwalk tour

fish farm and use the income from the fish to pay teachers at the local school. They also have a no interest loan scheme to help parents support their children through higher education.

provided by the women of the community. The ongoing success of all CBT initiatives and the conservation But here we're going to discover the Dabaso Conservation Group

and community programmes they support depend on tourists

working alongside the Mida Creek Conservation Community

themselves. Marketing is unfortunately a skill many of these

(MCCC), located in an idyllic setting near Dabaso village, to fully appreciate the amazing the potential of CBT. The Mida Creek community used to be affected by problems such as illegal logging and fishing. In response, MCCC was set up in 2000 to help

projects lack, but spending a little extra time investigating what's on offer is definitely worth the effort. This type of tourism truly is a win-win proposition for hosts and guests alike.

raise awareness about these issues amongst the local community and to initiate conservation activities such as mangrove replanting and beach clean-ups.

Author : Rebecca Waller Photo Credit: Madge Photography






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Here are a few basic greetings and phrases you can use to interact with the coastal Swahili people. Kenyan people appreciate it when you try to speak Swahili so please do not be shy, try out some Swahili and have some fun!

Basic greetings… • Hello - Jambo • How are you? - Habari Yako? • I am fine - Niko salama • My name is… - Jina langu ni… • What is your name? - Jina lako nani? • Pleased to meet you - Vyema kukutana • Do you speak English? - Unazungumza Kingereza? • Goodbye - Kwaheri • See you later - Tuonane Baadaye • Have a good journey - Safari njema!

Useful words and phrases… • Excuse me - Samahani (to get attention or say something) • Please – Tafadhali • No – Hapana • Yes - Ndio • No thanks - Hapana asante • Thank you! - Asante! Cat - Paka Cow - Ng’ombe • Where? – Wapi? Dog - Mbwa Buffalo - Nyati • Here - Hapa Goat - Mbuzi Zebra - Punda Milia • When? – Lini? Elephant - Ndovu Hippo - Kiboko • Now - Sasa Giraffe - Twiga Rhino - Kifaru • I don’t understand – Sielewi Lion - Simba Wildebeest - Nyumbu • Speak slowly – Ongea pole pole • Friend - Rafiki • My friend – Rafiki yangu • I’m hungry – Nahisi njaa • I’m thirsty – Nahisi Kiu • Where are you going? – Unaenda wapi? • I am going to the hotel - Naenda hotelini • How do you say in Swahili – Unasemaje kwa Kiswahili • Cheers! (While sharing a drink) - Maisha marefu (Meaning long life) • I love you! - Nakupenda! • Help! - Msaada!

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