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Culture

The Swahili culture of the coast is an exotic mix of Omani, Portuguese and Bantu influences. Built on trade, the coastal town of Watamu was once an outpost for ivory, slaves, spices and shells. Local people are predominantly fishermen and farmers and the coast is rich in exotic fruit and sisal plantations. There is a languid pace to life here, quite different to the hectic rush of Nairobi. Middle Eastern influences are more apparent at the coast in the architecture and religion. Nearby Malindi has a distinctly Italian influence and you may be surprised to find pizzerias and gelaterias offering home-made Italian cuisine in the town.

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