Kenya: Kilifi Countryside

Post by Willie for Notes from Africa

On leaving for my first trip to Kenya I got the usual instructions from Lisa to take lots of photographs.  I travelled to the coastal area of Kenya and stayed and worked in and around the town of Kilifi.  I worked there with my good friend Colin, a soil scientist extraordinaire.  He was much more specific – take photographs of the houses at all the different sites.  I soon discovered that the walls of most houses in the countryside are constructed by first building a wooden frame, which is then plastered with mud that is made right there where the house is built.  The colour of the house then tells you about the soils in the area.  Personally, I wanted to take photographs of the magnificent baobabs that grow in abundance in this area.

The coastal area reminds me of central Mozambique with palm and other tropical trees.  With the same heat and humidity.  We were fortunate to get off the beaten track and travel through the countryside to the west and north of Kilifi.  As part of the work we visited and met with many of the local farmers, a special treat as it gave some insight into their daily lives.

Local village on a hill-top (house colours light brown). ©WMB/

Ladies fetching water walking tall – this is part of their daily chores as it is in most of Africa. ©WMB/

River crossing with part of the team driving ahead in the Toyota Probox. Stopping and composing photographs was not always possible, so I had to settle for photographs featuring the Probox. ©WMB/

House being constructed, wall structure is complete, plastering comes next. ©WMB/

Friendly farmer’s wife sorting some maize. I always asked for permission to take photographs, which was granted in this case, but in a lot of other cases was not (Houses on this farm brown red). ©WMB/

Typical scenes at a busy road intersection. Little markets are found everywhere. The Probox forging ahead. ©WMB/

Cycads and termite mound with a view towards the coast. Cycads are very common on this ridge. ©WMB/

Mondays are wash days everywhere (house colours light brown). ©WMB/

One of the many baobabs in this area. ©WMB/

We were on the road to nowhere, eventually had to turn around. ©WMB/

Another village build with deep red soils – would be interesting to see this area in one of the rainy seasons. There are two – the big rains and the little rains. ©WMB/

Valley of baobabs just south of Kilifi. Direction was difficult at first, being close to the equator – at lunch time the sun is right above you and not at an angle like here in South Africa. ©WMB/

Further south on the way to Mombasa – sisal farms with giant baobabs standing watch . ©WMB/

Sisal farm ©WMB/

Sisal farm ©WMB/

This post is part of my daily posts for October 2016 – otherwise known as The October Dash


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Guest Bloggers, Lifestyle/Travel


I am a forestry scientist living and working in the Southern Cape, South Africa.


Subscribe to the Notes from Africa RSS and Twitter feeds to receive updates.

7 Comments on “Kenya: Kilifi Countryside”

  1. October 3, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

    An excellent and informative series of photos, Willie – thank you for telling us about your trip to Kenya.

    • Willie
      October 4, 2016 at 11:23 am #

      Thanks Reggie, it was a great experience. There were so many great photo opportunities, but we would not have gotten any work done it we had stopped for everything. So I had to resort to drive-by photography.

  2. Eha
    October 4, 2016 at 2:01 am #

    Thank you!! This makes me think of seeing Walt Disney’s ‘It’s a small world after all’: at first glance some photos could almost come out of Australia, some of the village houses one would see on one of the Fijian islands. Being a road cycling racing ‘fanatic’ have JUST finished Christopher Froome’s ‘The Climb’: he was born in Nairobi to a well-heeled Anglo-Saxon family but from an early age spent most of his time learning his craft and honing his passion on the backroads of the country: still loves it to bit! Lots of pictures and lots of baobab trees too 🙂 !!

    • Willie
      October 4, 2016 at 11:24 am #

      Thanks Eha, Interesting how you relate to the images. I did the same and saw the DNA of other African countries also running through Kenya.
      Have to check out Christopher Froome’s book, sounds like a great read.

  3. October 7, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

    Whenever I see deep crimson soil, it makes me homesick. The dirt in Alabama- home for me- is a deep shade of red and seems to stop at the state lines.

    • Willie
      October 8, 2016 at 10:19 am #

      Hi Emily, Red sands used to make me think of the Kalahari. I have not seen intense red soils like these in Kenya for a while. I normally look at the trees on top of the ground, while Colin takes the auger to the soils.

      I see that Alabama has a lot of red clay soils, but also an interesting area called the Blackland Prairie – wonder if you have seen this area?

      • October 9, 2016 at 9:09 pm #

        I have been to that area- but- I can`t say that I noticed the soil. But after reading this post, I will be paying closer attention. Especially after looking at the link seeing the other types as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: