God’s foot Print of Kwale

The iconic Kongo Mosque in Diani, Kwale county, overlooks the Indian Ocean. It is believed to have been built using coral stones between the 13th and 14th centuries by Arab merchants. The mosque, reputed to be one of the oldest in East Africa, still attracts worshippers.

Formerly known as the Diani Persian Mosque,  is named after Mr Swaddig Kongo, who was buried there centuries ago. Also within its compound are several graves believed to be of those who built it. The mosque was abandoned when the Arabs left the coast, so wild animals made it their home. Huge baobab trees gradually enveloped the mosque and shielded it from sight,>As a result, very few people, knew of its existence, until 300years ago, when local Muslim scholar Mwinyi Kombo claims to have had a dream directing him to the mosque. A few adjustments have been made since. They include the erection of three central pillars to support the structure. The interior has been renovated using modern building materials such as cement and paint. The caretaker, Mr HamisiSuleiman, says an extension was also added to the eastern wing to accommodate an increasing number of worshippers. Up to300 attend Friday prayers.

Lwayo LwaMulungu

The other wonder of this country is the Lwayo LwaMulungu tourist site five kilo-metres from Lunga Lungatown. In the local Duruma] age, the phrase means footprint. Many people visit the area daily to see the wonder. The since no human foot is that big.“Residents believe that God walked on the rock, leaving the mark, which has turned this area into a place of worship,” says MrKengo Mangale, a local.

Monuments and Sites

Monuments The region has many monuments and some are protected by the National Museums of Kenya. Apart from being a historical heritage, these monuments can be tourist attractions. The monuments include fertility caves such as Kiotyo near Kaya Waa, Shimoni Slave Cave, Galu 14th Century wall enclosure built by the Portuguese, Madago Mosque of the 14th Century at Kinondo, Similani caves at Ng’ombeni and Lwayo la Mungu (footprint on a rock at Lunga-Lunga (God’s footprint), Maji Moto (hot springs) at Shimba Hills and Congo Mosque at Diani. All these sites inspire great attachment to the local people as some are used for performing rituals and are therefore dearly conserved and protected. There is a need to document all these sites in the region for purposes of historical heritage as well as promoting them for tourism. This will create employment opportunities and income-generating activities for the local community. b) Kayas The importance of Kayas to the local people has already been discussed elsewhere. The known Kayas are Kaya Shonda, Kaya Kiteje, Kaya Ng’ombeni, Kaya Waa, Kaya Tiwi, Kaya Kinondo, Kaya Diani, Kaya Lunguma, Kaya Teleza, Kaya Miongani, Kaya Ganzoni, Kaya Fungo, Kaya Sega and Kaya Bombo, among others. Apart from being significant in portraying the customs and traditions of the Digo and Duruma Kayas can also be exploited for tourism purposes among other uses.

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