Anyone visiting Mombasa will be happy to visit the city’s historical center on the island in the middle of town. Old Town (as it is called) is famous for its historical buildings and vibrant city life. It has a beautiful spice market on one hand, and the historical Fort Jesus on the other. Here you can take a tour that goes from Fort Jesus, down to Old Town all the way to the Spice Market. Enjoy learning about Mombasa’s interesting history while taking in all the scents and images of this beautiful old town.
- 16,- per person (excluding transfer costs)
- 4 hours
Fort Jesus is listed on Unesco’s World Heritage List and is Mombasa’s most visited site. The Portuguese built the fort in 1593 to serve as their headquarters in this corner of the Indian Ocean. Between Portuguese sailors, Omani soldiers and Swahili rebellions, the fort changed hands at least nine times between 1631 and the early 1870s. Under British control the fort was used as a jail but in 1960 it opened as a museum. The fort makes for an interesting visit for those who want to know more about Mombasa’s history.
From Fort Jesus you walk straight into the multicultural Old Town of Mombasa. Its tapered streets and ancient architecture provide a reflection of the mix of African, Arab, Portuguese, Asian and British inhabitants that resided in Mombasa. Old Town is busy, with lots of traffic, people, businesses and communities. Here you can experience the energy of a vibrant African city with its beautiful people, culture and sometimes old-fashioned way of living.
The oldest mosque of Mombasa can be found in Old Town and dates all the way back to 1300. Additionally, the Mandhry Mosque in Old Town from 1570 has a minaret that contains a regionally specific ogee arch. It is an excellent example of Swahili architecture, which combines the elegant flourishes of Arabic style with the comforting, geometric patterns of African design.
Don’t miss out on Mombasa’s spice market (west part of Old Town), which is an evocative, sensory overload! Expect lots of jostling, yelling, wheeling, dealing and, of course, exotic scents. Stall upon stall offer cardamom, pepper, turmeric and curry powders. Around the corner more stalls along Langoni Road sell delicious street food, which makes for a great snack or lunch. Make sure you have dinner in one of the restaurants on the waters’ edge, where you have beautiful views over the bay and the ocean.
Old Town and Fort Jesus