Diani is the ultimate destination for any traveler seeking a more relaxed, less chaotic but adventurous holiday. The beautiful white sandy shores of the Diani stretching around 17kms will leave you elated as it is the most striking feature in Kwale County. If you are still not sure about your next beach vacation destination, here are 5 interesting facts about Diani that might change your mind;
The Indigenous People of Diani are known as “Digo”
The Digo community is the second-largest tribe of the 9 Mijikenda tribes and are the indigenous people of Diani. With an estimated population of 400,000, the Digo are concentrated on the southern coastal strip of Kenya specifically Diani and the border of Tanzania. The Digo people speak chidigo, which is a Bantu language closely related to both Swahili and the other Mijikenda languages. Over 90% of Digo people are Islams.
Home to a Sacred Forest – Kaya Kinondo
Kaya Kinondo is a sacred forest in the Coastal region originally known as home to the Digo people. The Digo community migrated to the South Coast from Somalia and Northern Kenya about 800 years ago following some ethnic tensions. They built their homes known as “Kayas” and have since maintained this place as both a historical and cultural site. Visitors can learn more about the Digo community here; it’s cultural values while exploring the forest grounds.
Dining in a Cave at the Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant
Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant is perhaps the most unique romantic restaurant in Kenya. The cave restaurant is located in a coral cave off Ali Barbour’s road & is believed to be between 120,000 to 180,000 years old. On a typical evening, the restaurant glows in muted lighting of candles as your eyes are naturally drawn to the twin linking stars above. As you explore Diani’s white sandy beaches & stay in the exquisite resorts, it would be amiss to not go down to Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant.
The Kongo Mosque is the oldest structure in Diani
Kongo Mosque is the last remaining ancient Swahili structure in Diani as it is believed to have been built using coral stones between the 13th and 14th centuries by Arab merchants. It is also the oldest mosque in the whole of East Africa. Borrowing a name from the surrounding forest, Kongo Mosque was previously known as Diani Persian Mosque, a name coined by the Arab Merchants who occupied the area then, Kongo Mosque is today more than a worship centre.
Game Drive near the Beach at Shimba Hills
Being the most coveted beach destination in Africa, it hard to believe that you can actually pair that experience with game drives & excursions near the beach at Shimba Hills National Reserve. Shimba Hill is a small National Reserve located an hour’s drive from Diani Beach Shopping centre and about 33 km from Mombasa. The reserve is one of the largest coastal forests in East Africa and is home to many Elephants. It is the only place in Kenya where you can spot the critically endangered Sable Antelope. Other wildlife you can spot here includes Giraffes, Leopard, Genet, Civet cat, Hyenas, Waterbuck, Bush pig, Buffalo, African Bush Baby, Bushbuck & more.