Kenya's coastline faces the warm blue water of the Indian Ocean and extends for 360 miles, from the border with Tanzania in the south to Somalia in the north. Much of the shoreline is covered by a continuous strip of magnificent white soft sand beach, backed by coconut palms, frangipani and casuarinas trees, interspersed with mango and avocado trees, floral shrubs and bright bougainvillea.

The culture on the coast is very distinct from the rest of the country. Like the Tanzanian coast and Zanzibar, the Kenyan Coast is where Africa, the Arab world, Asia, the Far East and Europe come together as one predominant Swahili culture. Here you will see men dressed in white Kanzu gowns with kofia caps and Arab robes and women wearing brilliantly colored kangas and kikois outfits or head-to-foot bui-buis.

Our favorite properties on the coast include Kinondo Kwetu, Alfajiri, Masambweni, Waterlovers and Funzi Keys on the South Coast, Al Hamra, Turtle Bay, Hemingways-Watamu and Che Shale on the North Coast and Peponi and Manda Bay on Lamu.

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Elizabeth Gordon