Kilifi is located in Kenya
Location within Kenya
Kilifi is located in Horn of Africa
Location within the Horn of Africa
Kilifi is located in Africa
Location within Africa
Coordinates: 3°38′S 39°51′E / 3.633°S 39.850°E / -3.633; 39.850
Country Kenya
CountyKilifi County
 • Total122,899[1]
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)

Kilifi is a town on the coast of Kenya, 56 kilometres (35 mi) northeast by road of Mombasa. The town lies on the Kilifi Creek and sits on the estuary of the Goshi River.[2] Kilifi is the capital of Kilifi County and has a population of 122,899 (2009 census[1]).

Kilifi is known for its sandy beaches and for the ruins of Mnarani, including mosques and tombs, dating from the 14th to the 17th century.[citation needed]

Geography and climate

Kilifi town sits on both sides of the estuary and is linked by the Kilifi Bridge which overlooks the estuary.[2] The south side has the Mnarani ruins and Shauri Moyo beach while the north side is the main part of Kilifi Town and Bofa Beach.

The weather is generally warm throughout the year (above 25 °C) with two seasons of moderate rainfall (about 800–1000 mm). Long periods of rain start around March and last into July, while the short periods start around October and last until December.

The terrain is generally flat with sandy-loamy soils with the common trees being Cocos nucifera, Anacadium occidentale, Azadirachta indica, and Mangifera indica.


Kilifi is a cosmopolitan town with mixed ethnic groups. The predominant inhabitants (about 80%) are from the Mijikenda groups (mainly Giriama and Chonyi).[3] Other groups include the Swahili-Arab descendants, Barawas, Bajunis, Somalis as well as other groups from inland. There is a handful of Indians, and Europeans, mainly British, German and Italian.


Dhows in Kilifi Creek

Like every coastal town, fishing in Kilifi is one of the historical economic activities. With time, the town has slowly been transforming from a fishing village to basic industrial and service.

The growth of the town was mainly fuelled by the cashew nut milling factory between 1976 and 1990; the district has been a producer of cashews since 1930.[4] The town almost became a ghost town when the factory was closed in 1990 due to a decline in nuts supply, mismanagement of the factory and increased global competition.[5] Other industrial activities include sisal farming at Kilifi Plantations.

Since 2008 with the transformation of the Kilifi Institute of Agriculture into Pwani University there has been substantial expansion of the service sector as a result of this. Banking activity has been growing with about 7 banks (KCB, Barclays, Postbank, Imperial, Equity, Cooperative, Diamond Trust Bank and most recently National Bank) as well as microfinance institutions. Retail businesses and hotels have historically been significant economic activities. 3 to 4-star hotels include Mnarani Club, Kilifi Bay Beach Resort[6] and Baobab Lodge.


The Kilifi County Hospital, which is also a referral hospital, serves all of Kilifi County and also supports the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme,[7] a large medical research centre collaborative between Kenya's KEMRI and the British Wellcome Trust, known for its work on malaria and bacterial and viral childhood infections. Several other private clinics can be found here. The Khairat Medical Centre which was recently opened is equipped with a modern laboratory, x-ray, and scan machines with qualified personnel and is situated in the Mtaani area of Sokoni Sub-Location opposite Masjid Hudaa. Mephi Hospital is also a registered and certified level 4 hospital situated in Mephi Plaza, Prison Road off Mombasa - Malindi highway, offering intensive medical services including dialysis, minor surgeries and radiological services.

Notable organizations

Kilifi is home to several notable organizations, including:

See also


  1. ^ a b "2009 Census Vol 1 Table 3 Rural and Urban Population | Open Data Portal". Archived from the original on 2016-07-29. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  2. ^ a b Weiss, Robert; Bahlburg, Heinrich (2006). "The Coast of Kenya Field Survey after the December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami". Earthquake Spectra. 22 (S3): S235–S240. doi:10.1193/1.2201970. S2CID 110486072.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Wekesa, E.; Mwangi, W.; Verkuijl, H. Adoption of Maize Production Technologies in the Coastal Lowlands of Kenya. CIMMYT. p. 6. ISBN 978-970-648-099-6.
  4. ^ Kenya National Assembly Official Record (Hansard). 5 July 2006. p. 11.
  5. ^ "Kenya: How Brokers Drove Cashew Nut Farmers into Poverty". 19 May 2021.
  6. ^ Kenya. Lonely Planet. 13 August 2008. p. 287. ISBN 978-1-74220-355-3.
  7. ^ "KEMRI Wellcome Trust". KEMRI Wellcome Trust. 8 August 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Pwani University". Pwani University. Retrieved 2023-05-15.