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Mombasa

Mombasa is Kenya’s oldest and second largest city. Ever since the 12th century it has been a prosperous trading town, due to it being an island, situated strategically of the coastline of the Indian Ocean. Up to this day it is an important port in East Africa, and the city even has its own international airport.

These days the historic part of Mombasa (called Old Town) is situated on the island, while the town as a whole expanded over the years. The Nyali Bridge connects the island to the north part of town, where the beautiful residential area Nyali and the Bamburi beaches lie. A ferry connects Old Town to the south part of town, and eventually to the paradise beaches if Diani Beach.

Mombasa city

Mombasa is – like most African cities – busy and loud. But the town definitely has flair! Since it has a rich history, it makes for an interesting visit. A new directive requires all buildings in Old Town and the Central Business District to be painted white with an Egyptian blue trim. As a result, the already beautiful old buildings will soon look picture perfect!

One of Mombasa’s most popular places to take a picture is Moi Avenue, where the so-called tusks stand. The tusks were built in 1952 to comemmorate Queen Elizabeth’s visit. Made of aluminum they form the letter M for Mombasa. As such, they mark the entrance to the heart of the city. The locals call them Pembe Za Ndovu – the Swahili word for ivory. And rightfully so; from a distance the aluminum tusks seem to be made from elephant ivory.

Fort Jesus

Another must-see is Fort Jesus on the historic island of Mombasa. This 16th century fort is on Unesco’s World Heritage List and as such is Mombasa’s most visited site. The Portuguese built the fort in 1593 to serve as their headquarter 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. It opened as a museum in 1960.

Old Town

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 Arab, Portuguese, Asian and British inhabitants that resided in Mombasa. The oldest mosque of Mombasa stands here. It 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.

Lastly, Mombasa’s spice market (west part of Old Town) 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.

Mombasa North - Nyali and Bamburi

When visiting Mombasa make sure to head north of town after exploring the historical island. Nyali Bridge connects the island with the northern areas of Nyali and Bamburi. The beautiful beaches and the entertainment industry of these areas attract many tourists and are worth a visit.

Nyali is a populair residential area, with supermarkets, a multiplex cinema, shopping malls, an 18 hole golf course, banks, schools and holiday resorts. Neighboring Bamburi is home to Jomo Kenyatta public beach, which is commonly known as Pirates. Also Haller Park can be found here – its nature trails are great for shaded walk and cycling tours. In its wildlife conservatory you can hand feed giraffes, see hippos, crocodiles, snakes (in terrariums) and other wildlife, and visit a butterfly pavillion. Bamburi has a nice beach with many resorts and restaurants, a go-kart-track and bars.

Nyali Beach

Climate Mombasa

Climate Mombasa

Information

  • On average, the temperatures are high
  • The months of April and May have a high chance of rain
  • The warmest months are February and March with an average temperature of 28°C
  • The coldest months are July and August with an average temperature of 24°C
  • May is the wettest month. One should avoided it if not a big fan of rain
  • February is the driest month and October had the most hours of sunshine

Activities Nyali and Bamburi

  • Haller Park consists of a game sanctuary, a reptile park, a smal fish farm area, a palm garden, crocodile pens, a butterfly pavillion and a giraffe viewing platform where you can hand feed the giraffes twice a day
  • Bamburi Forest Trails is great for shaded walks, jogging and cycling tours. Lose yourself in the beautiful surrounds of a lush forest that was just under a decade ago a barren waste land stripped of all flora and fauna. There are four nature routes along empty quarries through lush forest, lakes, streams, palm grooves and plantations of indigenous trees. Sunis and Duiker antelopes, elands and oryxes are some of the animals you might see in this forest.
  • Mombasa Go-Kart is were you can get your adrenaline flowing! The 1500ft concrete track has fourteen Swiss made 200ccm karts and a professional a computer timing and reporting system. Additionally you can play a round of paint ball combat or practise target shooting. Other activities include Rodeo bull riding, archery, zip lining, Hi-strike, VP-Rollercoaster, Bowling and Billiard
  • Glass bottom boat trip/ snorkeling: discover the beautiful underwater world in the calm inside reef on a snorkeling trip. Once the tide is out you will be able to take a walk on the emerging sandbank.
  • Tamarind Dhow: The lunchtime cruise departs from the Tamambo Jetty at 1pm, cruises serenely up the Tudor Creek to a secluded spot where the dhow moors. Lunch consists of a delicious Tamarind seafood platter or a prime Kenyan fillet steak followed by a fresh tropical fruit salad and rounded off with Kenyan Coffee and halwa. The dhow returns to the jetty at 3pm. The dhow sets sail daily except Sunday, day and evening. Private charters can be organised for Sunday.
  • Wild Waters Kenya offers numerous and exciting water slides for all ages. If the ocean is not enough, this is the place to go for a fun day out with the family!
    The park features a full day of fun for the entire family – whether you take a thrilling plunge down the waterslides, or just relax and float around the lazy river… there is something for everyone.
  • Nguuni Nature Sanctuary is a great place to see animals such as giraffes, oryxes, waterbucks and ostriches, roaming through their natural habitat. If you go for a walk, be aware that you will be walking through the African wilderness so remember to wear appropriate trousers and shoes and don’t forget to bring along some mosquito repellent. Relax and unwind afterwards at the picknic area surrounded by breathtaking scenery. You will have the chance to handfeed the giraffes and as you watch the sun set behind the enchanting Nguu Tatu Hills a bonfire will be lit.