Kilifi County

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Kilifi County number 003 is one of five counties that comprise the Kenyan coastline. It shares its borders with four counties. Tana River County to the North and North West, Taita Taveta County to the West, Kwale County to the South West, Mombasa County to the South while the Eastern flank borders the Indian ocean.


Its capital is Kilifi town while its largest town is Malindi town.

Kilifi town lies on the Kilifi Creek, between Mombasa and Malindi.


The County has a population of 1,109,735 people as per the 2009 census. Kilifi County has a mix of cultures and is home to Mijikenda’s nine communities (Giriama, Digo, Duruma, Rabai, Chonyi, Jibana, Kambe, Kauma and Ribe). The Giriama and Digo are the most populous, well known and dominant along the Kenyan coastline. It is common for outsiders to refer to all Mijikenda sub-tribes as simply Giriama or Digo. The Mijikenda and in particular the Digo are considered among the best cooks in Kenya.

Malindi Town, the biggest and a haven for tourist villas, hosts a large population of Italians, Arabs and Bajunis.

Tourist Attractions

The main attractions in Kilifi are Malindi Marine park and Watamu Marine Park, historical sites such as the Mnarani ruins that date back to between the fourteenth and seventeenth century, Gede Ruins, Vasco da Gama Pillar and Rabai Church.

Other attractions include Mtwapa town famous for its thriving nightlife and 24-hour economy, Mangrove Forests, Arabuko Soboke Forest which hosts the Tsavo East National Park and Kafuloni, Sabaki and Rare Rivers.

Sportfishing has also taken root, with fishing clubs established at various spots along the coastline associated with tourist hotels and resorts.


It experiences two seasons of rain with an average rainfall of 900mm per annum while temperatures range between 21–35oC.

Road networks

Tarmacked 147.7Km, Gravel/Murram 258.3Km and Earth Surface 656Km.

Education and Literacy

The County has approximately 160 primary schools with an enrolment of 154,848 and a teacher to pupil ratio of 1:39. It has 23 Secondary schools with an enrolment of 61,112 and a teacher to pupil-ratio of 1:30.

It has 10 Youth Polytechnics which cater for the high number of students who do not make it to secondary schools.

It is endowed with three tertiary institutions; Pwani University College, Bandari College and Kilifi Medical Training College.

Financial Services

Established commercial banks such as Equity, KCB and Cooperative have opened branches in Malindi, Kilifi and Mtwapa. Micro Finance Institutions also have a presence in the area.


The Malindi Level Five Hospital is the ranking health institution in the county. Others are Magarini District hospital, 2 Sub District Hospitals and several dispensaries. One notable hospital is the privately owned Mariakani Hospital along the Nairobi – Mombasa highway and strategically located near the Mariakani weighbridge.

Prevalent Diseases are HIV/AIDS, Malaria and diseases of the digestive system.

Political Leadership

With the adoption of the new constitution in 2010 which ushered in the devolved system of governance, the Governor is the Executive authority in the County together with his deputy, the Senator is to represent the County at the Senate and through the affirmation of women and youth rights, the Woman Representative is to represent the County’s women and youth issues at the National Assembly.





The County comprises of seven constituencies; Kilifi North, Kilifi South, Kaloleni, Rabai, Ganze, Malindi and Magarini. These are further divided into 35 wards with Kilifi North having 7, Magarini 6, Malindi and Kilifi South 5 each and the rest 4 each.



Tourism and Fishing are the major economic activities due to its extensive white sandy shores along the Indian Ocean which occupies 109Km2 of the total County surface area. The county boasts some of the best white sandy beaches, popular resorts and villas along the Kenyan coastline. It has tourist beaches in Kikambala, Watamu, Malindi and Kilifi.

Deep-sea fishing is a lucrative venture due to high demand for fish from the hotel industry. The county has 14 landing beaches and over 5,000 fishermen. Sportfishing has also taken root, with fishing clubs established at various spots along the coastline associated with tourist hotels and resorts.


More than half of the land in Kilifi is arable, with maize and cassava being the main subsistence crops grown in the County.

The main cash crops grown in the county include coconuts, cashew nuts, sisal and citrus fruits such as mangoes and Horticulture (Flowers, Fruits, and Vegetables) such as the pineapple fields in Magarini. Opportunities exist in their expansion, thanks to the fertile soils and a good weather pattern. The county had a successful cashew nut milling industry and opportunities exist in its revival.

Livestock farming

Livestock and poultry farming is a major economic activity in the county. There are 4 private and 8 group ranches in Kilifi on which dairy and beef cattle are kept as well as bee-keeping. Other livestock reared include; goats, sheep, pigs and rabbits; mainly on the small-scale basis by subsistence farmers.

Mining and manufacturing

The county has a strong industrial sector represented by cement manufacturing firms of Mabati Rolling Mills, Bamburi Cement Factory and Athi River Mining, Kaysalt, a salt extracting company in Malindi, Milly fruit processing at Mtwapa, Sandal factory in Kikambala and a milk processing factory in Kilifi.

These contribute heavily to the region’s economy both in employment and wealth creation.

Kilifi County is rich in minerals; mainly titanium and iron ore, that have spurred extensive industrial mining activities. Other minerals extracted include barites, galena, rubies, pozzolana, gypsum and limestone.

Salt mining and sand harvesting have been carried out over the years taking advantage of the sandy, salty waters.

Other natural resources in the County with potential for exploitation include Iron Ore, Titanium, Arabuko Sokoke Forest, Mangrove Forests and waters from the Indian Ocean, Kafuloni, Sabaki and Rare Rivers.

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