Have you ever thought of having breakfast in a cave?
Visit Shimoni Caves, a fascinating historical site, on the Kenyan South Coast to get such a rare and unique experience beyond imagination.
With prior arrangement, heavy-breakfast can be served in a cave, dim light, chirping of bats and smell of the sea. The scenery normally leaves most guests with the “I want more” expression on their faces.
At the height of the infamous slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Shimoni caves were used by the Arabs as godown/store to hold slaves pending the arrival of ships to transfer them by water to the main slave market in Zanzibar.
Historical accounts has it that Shimoni was the headquarters of the Imperial British East Africa Company before being moved to Kwale town.
Today, the caves have been converted into a tourist attraction centre, putting this tiny sea village in the world map. Formed millions of years ago by coral polyps under the sea, there are several caves joined together and believed to extend some 5 kilometers inland.
Shimoni has developed to become an important tourist haven, thanks to the conversion of the caves into a tourist attraction and its proximity to Wasini Island – another tourist attraction.
It is about 75 km from Mombasa City down the smooth tarmac through the palm plantations of Kwale and Msambweni.
“We normally receive visitors from all corners of the globe. Some are scholars interested in the historical part of these cave and others are just tourists out to fatten their souls.” Explains Mayasa Simba, one of the guides manning the caves.
“The caves were also used as a hiding place for the native people who hid from attacks by marauding tribes from the hinterland.” Mayasa explains.
Inside the caves, chains which were used to tie and hold slaves are still on display as part of that history. Residents use some corners of the caves for rituals.
The thicket around these caves is the home of Columbus monkeys and other small animals, thus walking around them is another experience visitors cannot afford to miss.