The people of Shirazi call themselves Wa-Shirazi and are the descendants of a once-important group of the Swahili-speaking people. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, they ruled the coast from Tiwi to Tanga from their eight settlements on the shore, one of which is believed to have been this village. Around 1620, these towns were captured by the Wa-vumba, another Swahili group. The Wa-Shirazi, now scattered in pockets along the coast, speak a distinctive dialect of Swahili. Historians used to think that they originally emigrated from Shiraz, in Persia, but it now seems likely that very few of them have Persian ancestry and that the name was adopted for political reasons.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Kenya features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

23 incredible pictures of Kenya

23 incredible pictures of Kenya

Rough Guides photographer Tim Draper took an intrepid trip through Kenya to visit remote tribes and see stunning landscapes. Here, he shares his favourite pictu…

29 Nov 2017 • Tim Draper insert_drive_file Article
The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Dhows, donkeys and sundowners: why it's time to return to Lamu, Kenya

Dhows, donkeys and sundowners: why it's time to return to Lamu, Kenya

Lamu was once an essential stop during any trip to Kenya. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this historic Swahili town is home to wandering donkeys and lazy dhow…

09 Oct 2017 • Harriet Constable insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right