Finding Beneath the Baobabs

We are located in Kenya in the lush ancient coastal town of Kilifi (midway between Mombasa and Malindi) near the emerald green Takaungu creek. The 20 acre property is tucked away between the wild cliffs of Vuma, the turquoise waters of Kilifi Creek and the 10km white sand beach of Bofa.

While Kilifi’s very laid back beach atmosphere definitely has its own little charm, it has also attracted an impressive alternative community of eco-builders, artists, organic farmers, permaculture lovers and all kinds of dreamers wanting to be part of a more conscious living community.  <gallery>. Read more here what the Lonely planet has to say about Kilifi: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/kenya/kilifi/introduction

Kilifi New Year is located in a wild and new magical playground. Imagine 20 acres of wild jungle, colossal, wise and old ancient indigenous trees on the edge of a mythical gorge. The site is host to wild secret orange and lemon orchards, bamboo forests and monumental thousand year-old baobabs.

How do we get there?

From Kilifi, Mombasa and Malindi

Beneath the Baobabs  is just a short distance (2km) from Tusky’s Supermarket. We are located 2km off the main highway connecting Mombasa to Watamu, Malindi, and Lamu. If you are coming by local transport (matatu), jump off at Tusky’s Supermarket. From there, many motorbikes (“piki-pikis”) and tuk-tuks will be able to take you to the festival for about Ksh 200 (usually they’ll know about it!).

From Mombasa and Malindi airport: We can organize a taxi to pick you up from from Mombasa Airport (Moi International), Malindi Airport, and elsewhere. Daytime pick-ups are normally Ksh 4,500 and night-time pick-ups are normally Ksh 5,500. We’ve also started recently organising pick-ups from the Mombasa Terminus of the Standard Gauge Railway; these cost Ksh 5,500. Don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions or get lost. For taxi bookings, please email us at info@kilifibackpackers.com.

If you are driving your own vehicle: If you’re driving from Mombasa, we are located about 2km before Kilifi bridge between the Kaloleni turning and Mnarani – you’ll see the signs on the road! Follow the signs from there – we are located about 2km down this dirt road.

If you search ‘Kilifi New Year’ on google maps you will get our exact location and coordinates.


From Nairobi:

BY TRAIN: The recently launched Standard gauge Railway has replaced the ‘Lunatic Express’ and its often erratic timetable (to say the least…). It now takes 4 Hours by train from Nairobi to Mombasa, a reduction of 12-16 hours. Train tickets cost KSh 700 (USD 7) for a third class tickets and KSh 3,000 (USD 30) for a first class ticket. Unfortunately tickets are not available for online booking however you can book tickets over the phone: 0709 388 888. Once you get through to a customer care representative, you will be asked to provide your travel details: nature of your trip, the cabin of choice and the number of seats you want to book
Once informed of the amount to pay, you will receive an SMS with details of the Mpesa Paybill Number and the payment ID. Once the transaction is complete, you’ll receive an SMS with your ticket information.

BY BUS: Various bus companies make the 8-12 hour Journey all the way from Nairobi to Kilifi. Most take online bookings whereas others allow you to phone in. Try Modern Coast, Dreamline and Buscar!

BY PLANE: Flying to the coast significantly cuts down on travel time. Your trip will be even shorter if you fly to Malindi rather than Mombasa due to traffic – but flights are usually slightly more expensive when flying to Malindi. Shorter even, but more expensive,, you can fly into Vipingo Ridge 5 star Golf Course. This is about a 30 minute drive from our  site. Have a quick look online and see what suits your budget! Try Jambo Jet, Fly 540, Safari Link and Kenya Airways.

BY CAR: See above ‘From Kilifi, Mombasa, Malindi’.

From Abroad:

If you are flying from abroad, the easiest is to try to fly directly into Mombasa International Airport, only 60km away from us. Alternatively, you can fly to Nairobi and come down by train, bus, plane or road (see above).


Kilifi & Around Beneath the Baobabs:

How is the security at Beneath the Baobabs and the region in general?

After spending 7 years in Kilifi, we find it to be a safe place. Like everywhere in the world, some minor and more violent incidents do occur from time to time, yet remain very isolated occurrences.
Nevertheless, rest assured we do not take security lightly – we have a comprehensive, lasting, and versatile security system to ensure guests their peace of mind. We will have tens of trained security professionals, day and night, around the festival perimeter and patrolling within the festival area. We will also have armed Administration Police patrolling the site as well as around perimeter and main gates. We also have Amini local Neighborhood Patrol and KK Security on standby.

Most importantly, we live in a very peaceful part of town with friendly and watchful neighbours.


What is Kilifi’s infrastructure like?

The infrastructure of Kilifi is starting to be well developed. Most guests have no trouble finding everything they need right here in Kilifi!


  • Banks with ATMs (Diamond Trust, Barclays, Equity Bank, KCB as well as smaller banks)
  • Supermarkets including Tusky’s, local food markets (butchers, vegetable market), bottle shops, Italian delicatessen, fresh juice stands, and more!
  • Post office, internet cafes, hairdressers, weavers, tailors, carvers, mechanics, etc.
  • Curio and handicraft shops as well as extensive street markets for clothing and fabric,
    hardware and electronics shops
  • Kilifi District Hospital, private clinics, pharmacies/chemists/ vets, as well as a KEMRI – an international medical research institute.
  • Wide range of restaurants and bars from the most traditional/local to the highest standards.


What activities are there to do in Kilifi?

There’s a lot to do in Kilifi – from exploring 10km white sand beaches and the beautiful countryside, diving, sailing, delicious restaurants, and much more. For more info, have a look at the Activities page of Distant relatives Ecolodge & Backpackers.

I want to go on Safari – can you offer advice?

We are neighbours and partners of Distant Relatives Ecolodge & Backpackers which is also located in Kilifi and which can organize very affordable safaris to nearby National Parks (Tsavo East, Tsavo West, Amboseli and more). Prices start at 250 USD per person for a two day safari (minimum four people). If you’re interested in knowing more, don’t hesitate to send Distant Relatives Ecolodge  a quick email at info@kilifibackpackers.com. They’ll be glad to answer all your questions!


Is Beneath the Baobabs right on the beach?

No, we are not exactly on the beach although we’re just a few minutes drive away from Kenya’s most beautiful beach, the famous 10km white sand Bofa Beach. There are also several hidden coves and magical secret beaches scattered around the area.

Beneath the Baobabs located on a pristine lush plateau along a wild and meandering green valley set beside the wild and stunning Takaungu Creek on the edge of the Indian Ocean, home to secret wild orange and lemon orchards, bamboo forests, thousand-year-old baobabs and other ancient indigenous trees… magic!



Here you can find some information about Kilifi Roots Festival and the area of Kilifi. Hopefully it will help answer most of your questions. If not, please contact us and we’ll do our best to get back you within 48 hours.



What is Kilifi Roost Festival?

After years of excitement dreaming along with some of East Africa’s finest musicians, artists and other creative souls, we are finally ready to announce the first edition of Kilifi Roots Festival! For two days and three nights, from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd April 2019, in the same location as Kilifi New Year at Beneath the Baobabs.

The word “Roots” intends to describe the very nature of the festival: to celebrate the roots of East African culture, food, music and arts. Kilifi Roots aims to bring East Africa together as a community, sending the world a message of togetherness, unity, and peace, a platform for artists to connect, for humans from all horizons to mingle and exchange stories to the sounds of drums, beats and beautiful voices in the shade of thousand-year-old baobabs while enjoying the best of what the regions has to offer. You can expect a celebration of sustainability and diversity, a gathering of free, open-minded and creative souls – coming together to celebrate, dream and co-create this beautiful world we inherited.


What are the dates of the event? When can we start camping?

Easter Weekend is one of the longest weekends of the year with both Friday and Monday being public holidays. Hence we want you you to make the most of it! The campsite will open its gates from midday on Friday 19th April and close midday on Monday. Anyone with a ticket will be allowed to camp for free.

Gates will open from 4PM Friday afternoon for a pleasant afternoon and evening spent listening to some great music, relaxing on the deck under our giant baobab, exploring the Mind, Body & Soul areas and the farmers market. The event will properly start on Saturday from 1PM and run until late Sunday evening.

What is the minimum age to attend Kilifi Roots festival?

We love wonderful humans of all ages and they are very welcome to enjoy the festival. During night hours, for safety reasons, we will be asking parents to ensure children are accompanied at all times (this will be strictly enforced). We thank you for your understanding!


Parking: Where will we park?

The Festival site has a dedicated secure carpark on site located about 100m away from the main festival entrance. The route to the carpark is well lit at night  with security stationed all along the route, as well as several security guards watching the cars.


Disabled access & Parking?

Disabled Parking will be available – we will let you drive all the way into the festival site. We would greatly appreciate if you could email us info@kilifinewyear.com to let us know in advance. Please let us know of any specific requirements in advance to ensure we cater to your needs best we can


Sustainability – will Kilifi Roots be an eco-friendly festival?

The founders of Kilifi New Year are also the dreamers behind Distant Relatives Ecolodge & Backpackers. Our philosophy has always been to work around nature, rather than making nature work around us. For us, caring for the environment and supporting our community is a passion – it’s what makes us happy. It has also been a great pleasure to attract such a conscious crowd of attendees – some of them are whom we can now proudly call residents of Kilifi!

The natural beauty and biodiversity of the local ecosystem at Beneath the Baobabs is simply breathtaking. Naturally, we want to protect it, it’s our responsibility and we want to get you to enjoy it!

So what do we do exactly? The list doesn’t end because we try to minimize impact at every step of every decision we take. Waste is an important element: We try to minimize waste at every step of the process. We avoid single-use plastic containers of any kind for example. We encourage our attendees to bring their own cups and we sell re-usable cups for those who need. We work closely with our stall holders to ensure they apply the same philosophy. We separate the waste into 4 different categories at the source. Organics go to compost, plastics and metal get recycled, glass bottles get cut and sanded upcycled as glasses for Distant Relatives Ecolodge & Backpackers and also used for construction. Our artists also try to reuse any waste they can into artwork – in 2018 they built a 3-meter chameleon entirely made from waste collected around Kenya. Our 200 square meter deck is made from melted recycled plastic waste. We only use sustainable and locally sourced materials for construction (roofs, toilets, showers, timber etc).

Our custom-made dry ‘eco-toilet’ design allows not only to reduce water consumption dramatically, but also prevents water table pollution, and creates nutrient rich compost for our gardens. Our taps and showers grey water each feed independent banana circles.

We feel very lucky to have old secret citrus orchards and a bamboo forest which we try our best to protect. In November 2018, we hosted our first Permaculture design Course attended by more than 30 people. And through last year’s ticket sales we have planted 4000 indigenous trees on both our land, and in schools in the area. Check out our tree planting partner <www.greenworld.org> to see their
amazing work!

If you have any bright and brilliant ideas on how you think we can make the festival even more friendly to our beautiful planet, please send us an email! We’d really love to hear from you and share ideas. We have hope for the world, a lot of hope!


What do we not tolerate?

We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to sexual harassment, or any other form of violence or aggressive behaviour – we are one peaceful family. We also will not tolerate any form of discrimination or racism.  If you feel disrespected, If you experience or observe any such behaviour, please immediately report to the festival’s senior management (at the Gate or Office), we will be delighted to remove these people from the festival grounds and take legal action if necessary.


Our  message of respect & inclusivity lies at the very heart of the foundations of the festival. We are all distant relatives, we are all one big family, we are so much richer together and we have so much to learn from one another. Our aim is to bring people together by creating peaceful platforms where all feel welcome regardless of their age, gender, skin colour, nationality, sexual orientation or economic status. If this is a topic that is as important to you as it is to us, please come our Mind Body Soul area where talks will be held on topics of gay rights, racism, sex & taboos and many more.


Are pets allowed on site?

We have a strict no pet policy! We love animals, but a festival site is no place for dogs. Guide dogs and assistance animals are the exception but please let us know in advance.


How is the security at Kilifi New Year?

After spending 7 years in Kilifi, we find it to be a safe place. Like everywhere in the world, some minor and more violent incidents do occur from time to time, yet remain very isolated occurrences.

Nevertheless, rest assured we do not take security lightly – we have a comprehensive, lasting, and versatile security system to ensure guests their peace of mind. We will have dozens of trained security professionals, day and night, around the festival perimeter and patrolling within the festival area. We will also have armed Administration Police patrolling the site as well as around perimeter and main gates. We also have Amini local Neighborhood Patrol and KK Security on standby.

Will there be emergency responders on site?

We will have a Red Cross ambulance with paramedics on site 24 hours in case of any medical issues. These are highly trained professionals and will be able to assist in any emergency. If you have any concern about pre-existing medical conditions, we suggest you visit them upon arrival to discuss your concerns or send us an email with any specific questions.


Do I need to bring cash? Is there an ATM? Can I pay by credit card or MPESA?

Yes, cash will be best to allow you to buy food and crafts from the many stalls. In terms of drinks, you’ll be able to buy vouchers with credit card, cash or by MPESA. Keep in mind that there will be no ATM’s on site, but plenty available in town which is just a few kilometers.


Will I be able to swim?

While we’re not on the beach, we’ll still have all kinds of water features, showers and water games for everyone to cool down whenever they need.

What do i need to bring?

  • Ticket (printed or on your mobile) and ID for entry
  • We strongly encourage you to bring your own reusable bottles and cups. If you do not have a cup or lose yours, we will be selling cups at 300ksh ($3) at the bar. We are taking a hard line against single use plastics!
  • Sunglasses, hat, sunscreen and mosquito repellent
  • Cash for any purchases from our stalls and vendors
  • Torch (especially if you are camping)


What am i not permitted to bring?

  • Illegal drugs: There will be a zero tolerance policy on the use of or dealing of illegal drugs. Anyone found to be dealing will be handed over to the police.
  • Alcohol: No outside alcohol is permitted on the festival grounds, including the campsite. We will have a full stocked bar open 24 hours for all you thirst quenching needs.
  • Weapons: Obviously! (water pistols and bubble guns are encouraged)



Where do I buy tickets?

You can Buy your Ticket Here!


Will I be able to buy tickets at the gate? Does the event sell out?

Tricky question! This is the first time we have held the event so we are not sure if it will sell out. To be safe, best to plan ahead and purchase your tickets in advance, they are also cheaper! If the event is not sold out, we will have remaining tickets for sale at the gate.


I bought a ticket and cannot attend. Can you refund my ticket or can I transfer it?

Ticket conditions will depend on which Ticket outlet you purchased your ticket from. Please contact them directly. Thanks for your understanding.


I have a ticket. What do I need to bring for entry?

Great! All you will need to bring to retrieve your wristband at the gate is your ticket (either printed or on your mobile) AND your ID. Without ID we will unfortunately not be able to allow you in.


Are there any VIP Tickets?

Sorry, we do not offer any VIP tickets, on purpose. The whole purpose of the event is to gather everyone together, to all feel like we are on the same level as a community, for everyone to mix and not to feel like some are wealthier than others for example. We want everyone to feel welcome, to feel at home. Saying that, in terms of accommodation, we will indeed be offering a Boutique Camping option on site. More details to come!




What are your suggested accommodation options?  


Free Camping

Camping is free for anyone attending the event. Camping grounds will open at 10am of Friday 19th, and close by 1PM on Monday 22nd April. A large shaded campsite, toilets and showers will be provided on the camping grounds, but campers must bring all their own equipment (tents, sleeping bags, towels, torches etc). Please note under 18s will not be permitted to camp on site.


Campsite Rules No personal sound systems will be permitted in either of the campsites. campsite is for sleeping and relaxing in the sun, and we ask that you please respect your neighbours. No BBQs or Fires are permitted.


For those who do not have camping gear or that are looking for a more luxurious experience, our official Boutique Camping provider will be able to organize everything for you. While our Glamping booking platform is not yet open, we’d recommend that you email us at info@kilifinewyear.com if interested in Glamping and that way you’ll be first in line once we launch.

Accommodation options elsewhere in Kilifi?

A full range of camping options will be on offer on site (see above), but if you’re looking for something off site, there are plenty of hotels and private houses available for rent in Kilifi.

Be warned, Easter can be a busy time in Kilifi, so we highly encourage that you book your accommodation sooner than later!

Distant Relatives Ecolodge and Backpackers, located just a few kilometers away from the festival site, is the social hub of Kilifi, where everyone gathers around a drink dreaming of making the world a better place. Distant Relatives offers a full range of options from basic camping to ensuite Bandas with private courtyards. Visit www.kilifipackpackers.com, email info@kilifibackpackers.com or give us a call on +254 702 232323

For private homes, we suggest checking out Airbnb for options or https://kenyacoast.com/kilifi-homes/


Can I bring my 4×4 with roof tent an/or park next to my campsite?

Yup! We have prepared an awesome area for you to park your car or van. We’ll have showers and toilets available for you but no power. Spaces will be limited and fees will apply. Please send a request to info@kilifinewyear.com



Can I volunteer?

Yes you can! Volunteer positions are limited but it’s possible. The reason why positions are limited is that we lack time to train new crew. While Kenyan citizens are most welcome to volunteer with us, keep in mind that volunteering in Kenya for foreigners, just like employment, is prohibited by Kenyan Law unless you acquire the relevant permit from the Department of Immigration. More info and application to come


Are press accreditation possible?

Absolutely! More info and application to come


I am a photographer and/or a filmmaker. Can I cover this event?

Yes, we would love to welcome you but please understand that only a limited amount of spots will be available. More information and application to come.



I’m coming from overseas, do I need a visa?

If you are not a Kenyan citizen or a Resident with a work permit, you will be required to obtain a Tourist Visa. Depending on your nationality, you will be able to obtain a tourist visa at immigration at the airport for US $50 (check with your embassy).


You can also apply for your visa online prior to departure. Kenyan tourist visas typically last for three months and is renewable once after which you must leave East Africa. Nearest Immigration offices are in Mombasa and Malindi.


What about Malaria?

Just like anywhere else along the Kenyan coast and most of East Africa, Kilifi is an endemic area for malaria.

Kilifi is also home to a site for the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, a major centre for clinical and epidemiological research on malaria. Thanks in large part to KEMRI, hospital admissions for malaria in the area have decreased from 18.43 per 1000 children in 2003 to 3.42 in 2007 (divided by 5 in 4 years). Since we moved to Kilifi in 2010, near to no one has ever had Malaria. Even so, we do recommend the use of prophylaxis to prevent malaria while you are in a malaria zone.

Read here for more info on some of your best options:
You could also consider looking into homeopathic alternatives.


What about things like sunscreen and mosquito repellent?

Bring them! The equatorial sun can be ruthless and whilst its is the dry season, there will still be a few mosquitoes around.


What is the weather like on the coast of Kenya?

Being only three degrees south of the equator, Kilifi and most other parts of the Kenyan coast are pretty hot all year round. “Hot” can be a relative term though, depending on where in the world you are coming from, but most guests find it hotter than they are used to. The rainy and therefore cooler season is normally April and May, as well as October and November. Click here to view charts of average temperatures and rainfall in Kilifi.


Above doesn’t answer my question. How do I contact you?

Click here to go through to our contact page.