KONGO MOSQUE REGATTA READY TO SAIL
(Posted 10th January 2014)
Tomorrow, Saturday 11th January is D-Day for the Kongo Mosque Regatta, which is held in conjunction with the South Coast Community Eco Tourism Association. The event promises a fun day out at the beach, or for sailors on the ocean, as the ‘arrival’ of the Kaskazi trade winds is celebrated, a long tradition which in ancient times, when much of the trade was done by dhows, marked the shift in winds and dictated the direction the trade was taking.
The Kongo mosque, in information availed overnight, is described as ‘Borrowing a name from the surrounding forest, Kongo Mosque is an ancient structure rich in history now turned – tourist attraction. Previously known as Diani Persian Mosque, a name coined by the Arab Merchants who occupied the area then, Kongo Mosque is today more than a worship center’.
Diani Life, a website dedicated to highlight the attractions of the Diani beach area along the south coast of Mombasa, adds:
Located in Diani Beach, South Coast, an area that is always bustling with tourists, the Mosque is a favourite destination for visitors. Although the architect of the mosque is not known, it is believed to have been constructed in the 14th Century. The Arabs who occupied the coast in the 14th Century put up the mosque as a place of worship being Muslims.
(Picture courtesy of www.dianilife.com)
The architecture has indeed stood the test of time and is still in use by locals to date. With minor tweaks, the local Muslim leaders have kept the Mosque in operation for prayer sessions and have even invited tourists to appreciate this great heritage. For that reason, Kongo Mosque is highly revered.
Characterized by giant baobab trees that overshadow the Mosque, the setting is quiet with a breeze constantly sweeping over the landscape. As a matter of fact, you can laze on the sun beds set along the Kongo River and enjoy the sight of the azure waters in the brilliant sunshine. The river empties into the Indian Ocean and besides the great shoreline you get the opportunity to view various bird species.
You can access the Kongo Mosque via the Indian Ocean Beach Club and savour the beauty of this ancient wonder. With such a great backdrop, breathtaking shots at dawn and dusk are memories worth taking back home.
In closing, this is as fine an example of local Muslim leadership embracing tourism for the benefit of their communities as it comes!