Kilifi may be more popular with budget travellers, but in south of Kilifi Creek there are high-end properties like Kamili House which is perfect for those looking for luxury, privacy and unmatched views.
It sits in a tropical garden on a cliff offering the ultimate view of the sea, which in the mornings, is lined with traditional dhows as fishermen return home.
The design and decor are to-die-for; Moorish doors open out to a large and airy lounge room with white terrazzo floors accessorised with Persian rugs, antique pots and walls lined with paintings.
There are plenty of books as well as a TV room. The house is self catering, but the kitchen staff can whip up some seafood.
For Sh75,000, it can host up to 11 people. Kamili House used to be Heather Stewart’s a home, a bush pilot who flew relief missions where few have gone. She apparently made some good money flying miraa (khat) to Somalia. She died and the house is owned by her children.
Silver Palm Spa & Resort, a luxury resort
With 38 rooms, this contemporary Swahili-style resort sets the benchmark for chic luxury accommodation in Kilifi. A grand pool wends around the midsection of the resort which majestically sits on a cliff overlooking the sea.
The best part about our one-bedroom executive suite which came with a living room, shower and bathtub was that we could step right from the terrace of the living room and into the swimming pool.
The beach bar offers tropical classics like the (Kilifi) sunrise, and there is also the option of Bustani Lounge Bar and Mambrui Restaurant.
Rates start at Sh6,000 per night.
Distant Relatives Kilifi, for budget travellers
This place is ideal for budget travellers as rooms range from Sh600 (camping in the low season) to Sh10,000 for a private banda in peak season.
Dorms are not my style so I always stay in a private banda; a main room with a double bed, bunk beds and work desk, perfect for a group of friends or a family.
This is an eco friendly resort with a kitchen for those looking to make their own meals. Otherwise, the menu is fresh with lots of vegan and vegetarian options.
The very outfitting of this ecolodge seems hell-bent on getting you to lose all sense of time with comfortable Ankara-upholstered lounges, a teepee, sunbeds and hammocks, noticeboard with plenty of activities such as yoga or a relaxing sunset cruise and great music. This is the type of place you go to forget all your worries for the time being, meet fellow travellers, largely millennials, and trade stories from the road.
This eatery inside Kilifi Plantation is run by Warren Wilson, a man truly passionate about his food. The quirky and rustic space, best described as “a high end kibanda”, is surrounded by fig and baobab trees with the welcoming wall being covered by a striking mural by 4 Shore shop with a studio next door.
The innovative dishes on the menu change constantly, and each is a carefully curated blend of flavours that one might either not think to put together or an entirely new take on a classic.
Their mahamri stuffed with salmon and scrambled eggs was a pleasant surprise, and last I checked, Warren was working on a bacon ice cream.
Nothing on the menu costs more than Sh1,000 as gourmet as it might all seem!
The Terrace Bar & Restaurant
Ever since I discovered this place, it has fast become my favourite spot to grab a drink in Kilifi thanks to its enviable cliff top location overlooking Kilifi Creek where you will spot many a boat sailing past
While this spot is a sure winner just for its unrivalled views, the appeal extends to the simple but tasteful decor and a menu which is surprising for what one would expect to find in Kilifi.
My favourite food was the freshly caught fish, filleted and tossed in a savoury garlic herb butter, creamy coconut fish and their good old fashioned garlic bread. Prices are generally under Sh1,000. The sunsets are absolutely spectacular, and sundowners are a must for anyone in town.
I ended up at this spot thanks to a friend who went to Kilifi from Nairobi for a visit and never came back. The friend had kept raving about this spot which I had until then only heard about for its affordable accommodation, but shall henceforth always recommend for its mixed seafood platter.
For about Sh 2,300, we got a sharing platter which came with skewered calamari, potato wedges, several pan seared prawns, two grilled lobster portions, a side salad, fish fillet, fresh lime, and a dip made with mayonnaise and tomato sauce.
Coupled with a bottle of sparkling wine, by the time we were done, I had to lie back for some 30 minutes just to be able to function again! If you’re in Kilifi, do yourself a favour and stop by for this platter.