Discover the Swahili Coast: An Archaeological Odyssey

Kenya - Now Accepting 2025 Deposits
Kenya - Now Accepting 2025 Deposits
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3717
  • June 27 - July 9, 2025
  • 13 Days
  • TBA
  • Single Supplement: TBA

Our Newest Trip for 2025 - The Swahili Coast Tour

Embark on an extraordinary archaeological odyssey, tracing the cultural threads that weave through the Swahili Coast’s captivating landscapes. Explore the Lamu Archipelago, where Lamu Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Shela beckon with their contemporary stone towns, adorned with the Omani essence of the 18th-19th century. Explore living Swahili traditions in Lamu’s townhouses, mosques, and the museum within Lamu fort. Manda Island reveals the remnants of the splendid 7th-century site and the Takwa ruins, offering a picturesque journey through Swahili townscape evolution.

 Journey southward to Malindi and Mombasa, where modern stone towns bear traces of a bygone era. Uncover traces of Malindi’s past, epitomized by the Vasco da Gama monument’s Portuguese legacy. Then travel to the Gede Ruins, 14-15 CE, to see the first Swahili site to be excavated, and take in the coral townscape, tomb structures, and palace. Mombasa, a mosaic of Swahili layers dating back to the 10th century, unfolds its vibrant heritage amidst Omani and British colonial imprints. Explore the iconic Fort Jesus, a Portuguese/Omani bastion and museum on the waterfront, a testament to centuries of cultural amalgamation.

Transition to the Zanzibar Archipelago, a realm of historical marvels awaiting discovery. In Stone Town, a 19th-century marvel, every cobblestone tells tales of Zanzibar’s bygone eras. Traverse this captivating labyrinth, absorbing the cultural significance embedded in its architecture and alleys. While there, take a tour of Stone Town, explore the Persian baths, and Changuu, also known as Prison Island, where a former prison for enslaved people is now a compound for Aldabra giant tortoise conservation.  Join us on this immersive archaeological sojourn, where each destination along the Kenya coast and the Zanzibar Archipelago is a vibrant chapter in the rich narrative of the Swahili Coast.

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch

Swahili Coast tour led by:

Dr Stephanie Wynne-Jones

Professor of African Archaeology

University of York
Department of Archaeology

Why take this Swahili Coast Archaeology Tour?

  • Led by Dr. Stephanie Wynne-Jones, An Africanist Archaeologist, and Swahili archaeologist expert
  • See Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Lamu Old Town; Fort Jesus in Mombasa, and Stone Town in Zanzibar
  • Visit a site on the tentative UNESCO World Heritage List: the Gedi Ruins
  • Visit Pate Island’s three key archaeological sites including Shanga (7th-15th C.), Pate (10th C.) and Siyu (18th-19th C.)
  • Explore Zanzibar’s Stone Town including a cultural tour of the city and a spice tour featuring locally grown island spices
  • Stay in luxury hotels and resorts throughout the journey including the Majlis Resort, Serena Beach Resort and Kisiwa House
  • Optional Post-Trip Extension African Safari
  • Limited to 14 participants

Swahili Coast tour itinerary

(B) breakfast, (L) lunch, (D) dinner

Day 1Depart for Kenya

Day 2Arrive Nairobi

Day 3Lamu

Day 4Lamu Town, Takwa Ruins

Day 5Pate Island: Shanga, Tate and Siyu

We will have time to relax in this incredible fortified palace before we depart in the late morning for the short drive to Durham. The city is renowned for its UNESCO World Heritage Castle and Cathedral. Durham Cathedral, the Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St. Cuthbert of Durham, was built in 1093. The home of the Shrine of St. Cuthbert, the patron saint of Northumbria, the saint’s relics are enshrined behind the altar. Sitting opposite the sanctuary, Durham Castle was begun in 1072, shortly after the Norman conquest of England. William the Conqueror built the fortification to house the Bishop of Durham. Since 1837, the University College, Durham has occupied the space. We will tour both the Castle and Cathedral before returning to Langley castle for dinner and overnight. (B/L/D)

Day 6Malindi

Day 7 Malindi Stone Town, Gede Ruins

 

 

Day 8Mombasa

Day 9Fort Jesus, Jumba la Mtwana, Old Town

Day 10Zanzibar

Day 11Stone Town, Persian Baths, Prison Island

Day 12Zanzibar

Day 13Depart

Tour Information

Tour Cost & Inclusions

Price is based on double occupancy and includes:

  • Internal flights during the trip (if applicable)
  • The accompaniment of your scholar throughout the entire trip
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Hotel accommodations (3 or 4 stars; or best available based in the area)
  • Ground transportation
  • Airport transfers for arrivals and departures
  • Most meals as noted in the itinerary
  • Entry fees to all included sites and museums
  • Gratuities to guides, drivers, and restaurant and hotel staff
  • Coordination for any private presentations or tours

Trip prices are based on a minimum number of participants. If this minimum number is not met, trip prices are subject to change. Should the prices need to change, Far Horizons will reach out to registered guests to discuss directly.

Single Supplement

Should a roommate be requested and one not be available, the single supplement must be charged.

Exclusions

  • International round trip airfare
  • A separate donation check of $150.00 per person to a designated donation project
  • Passport or visa fees
  • Required vaccines or tests
  • Airport or departure taxes
  • Alcoholic drinks, beverages or food not included on set menus
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Personal tips and hotel incidental expenses
  • Laundry or other items of a personal nature

Donation Checks

As a tour company that benefits from the cultural and natural riches of our destinations, we have a policy of donating to the scientific and cultural sites and projects which we visit. This has created a bond between Far Horizons and the academic and local communities that has helped us establish an extensive list of lecturers and contacts in each of our destinations. We ask that each participant donate to the noteworthy project we designate. The donation amount is $150.00 per person. Note that the donation is required as part of your registration for the trip and that it is non-refundable.

Exchange Rate Fluctuations

Prices are based on currency exchange rates keeping below a projected level. While it is unlikely, if the exchange rates should change substantially, Far Horizons reserves the right to charge an additional amount to the trip cost.

Registration

A deposit of $1000 per person is required along with your registration & health forms, which will be linked in the email confirmation you receive once you pay your deposit on our booking platform. Final payment is due 120 days before departure. Prior to departure, you will be sent a reading list and a tour bulletin containing travel information.

Cancellation

Cancellations received in writing at least 120 days before departure will receive a refund less a $500 per person administrative fee. Cancellations received less than 120 days before the departure date will not receive a refund. If for any reason you are unable to complete the trip, Far Horizons will not reimburse any fees. Upon registering for the tour, the purchase of travel protection with both trip cancellation and emergency evacuation is strongly advised. Links to recommended insurance policies will be included in the email you receive confirming receipt of your deposit.

Air Ticketing

International round trip flights are not included in the cost of the trip. If Far Horizons must change the trip dates or cancel the trip for any reason, Far Horizons is not responsible for any air ticket you may have purchased. Please send your complete air schedule as soon as you have it. NOTE: Please contact Far Horizons if you would like for us to handle your air ticketing.

Private Tours and Talks

The private tours of archaeological sites and talks by specialists are scheduled in advance and include a donation to each. Specialists working at these sites are excited about showing their work to interested enthusiasts. However, please be aware that there may be times when the director or a member of the staff may not be on site when our groups arrive due to other commitments.

Walking and Standing

Far Horizons expects all participants to be physically active and able to walk and climb independently throughout the full touring days. This includes walking over uneven terrain (uphill and downhill) for 2 miles or more at each site. You should expect to be on your feet for much of each day, averaging as much as 5 miles of walking per day. As such, each participant should be able to walk unaided at a pace of 3 miles per hour for at least an hour at a time, and to stand unsupported for at least 60 minutes. Bearing this in mind, we suggest that, if you have not already done so, you begin walking several miles every day, ideally including stairs and hills. If you have questions about your ability to keep up with the group or the strenuous nature of this trip, please contact the Far Horizons staff.

Expectations During Travel

This tour is designed for flexible, energetic people who like to be active, have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. We have designed this trip to be as comfortable as possible, while also aiming to visit some remote or unique sites that other companies do not attempt to include in their itineraries. There may be days where we have very long drives and the conditions of the roads may vary. Hotels and transportation in some remote areas may not be up to western standards. There may be times when no bellhops are available; please pack with the understanding that you need to be able to handle your own luggage at times. Sometimes we may be walking over uneven trails for a mile or more; hiking boots are strongly recommended. Not every meal will be haute cuisine and several lunches may be picnics or box lunches. By maintaining a flexible attitude we will soon be captivated by the beauty of the natural scenery, the hospitality of the local people, and the fascinating sites we will see. Your flexibility and patience will be appreciated.

Itinerary Changes

Changes in our itinerary, accommodations, and transportation schedules may occur. While we are committed to keeping as close to the published details as possible, sometimes it is simply not possible. Weather events, government affairs, or other factors out of our control sometimes come into play. A good book to read as well as patience, flexible attitude, and a sense of humor are essential.

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend that you consider purchasing travel insurance. Should illness or an unforeseen event force you to cancel your travel plans after your final payment or during your trip, it would be doubly unfortunate to incur a significant financial loss. Trip cancellation protection will enable you to be reimbursed for the loss of your payment if you are unable to travel for any of the covered reasons in the “Outline of Coverage” section, or should you have an accident or suffer from any medical conditions during the trip.  
Far Horizons offers customized protection plans through Travel Insured International (a Crum & Forster Company) with the following benefits:
 
• Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption for covered reasons
• Trip Delay
• Baggage Loss and Baggage Delay
• Emergency Medical Expenses and Emergency Medical Evacuation
• 24-Hour Accidental Death & Dismemberment
• 24-Hour Travel Assistance & Concierge Services
• Option to upgrade to ‘Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR)’
 
We recommend reviewing the language in detail so you are aware of specific parameters; Depending on the policy, to waive the Pre-Existing Medical Condition Exclusion or to upgrade to CFAR coverage, the plan must be purchased within 14 to 21 days of the initial trip deposit, full trip cost must be insured, and traveler is medically fit at time of plan purchase. Otherwise, coverage may be purchased at any time prior to departure. 
 
To obtain a personalized quote and/or purchase a plan through Far Horizons/Travel Insured International, simply click HERE. For specific questions regarding the Worldwide Protector Plan, please contact Travel Insured International’s Customer Care Center at 1-800-243-3174 or by email at customercare@travelinsured.com, and refer to Far Horizons’ account number: 54070.

Swahili Coast Tour Map