Mombasa, Kenya Travel Guide by Wanderlist Travel
Mombasa is the picturesque city on the coast of Kenya. It is the second largest city in Kenya after the capital city Nairobi. Amazing heritage, scenery, white sandy beaches and great historical significance are what await you when you get to Mombasa. It the best place for relaxation on holidays and people usually refer to the place as Mombasa ‘raha’ which means fun. You will always have places to visit and have the best moments of your life when you are in this amazing town.
WHAT TO DO: TOURIST VERSION
The city has so many places to visit and if you can’t make to visit all, these are some places that should be a must-go for you.
- Once you get to Mombasa the first thing you should do is make a reservation for a hotel in the Diani beach and engage yourself in kite surfing sporting activity which will definitely make your adrenaline boil while surfing over the blue waters of the beach. Take a stroll down the white sandy beaches as you also view the impressive sunset views of the sun as they go down the oceanic horizon. You also get to see the wide stretch of vegetation which is provided by the palm trees that surround the beach.
- Visit the spectacular Haller Park on the Island which is the ideal attraction site for animal lovers. There are animals like zebras, giraffes, hippos, waterbucks and so many species of birds. You go for horse riding and tortoise riding in the natural park. This is the best gateway on a weekend from a long busy week in the city.
- Enjoy the oceanic view of the region in The Mombasa Marine Park which ranges from crystal clear blue waters and panoramic view of the sea vegetation which is perfectly viewed while riding a boat. If you are a fan of snorkeling diving then you should visit this place more to dive in the blue waters of the park.
- Visit the old town to marvel at the eye-catching Arabic Architecture. Its surrounding Portuguese building designs and narrow streets filled with warm will leave you wanting to go back to the place once you have visited it.
- If you are a person that is keen on religious historical past events then you should definitely visit The Mandhry Mosque which is located in the Old Town of Mombasa.
- If you are a person who is usually fascinated by visiting museums then The Fort Jesus should be in your priority list on places you should visit while in Mombasa. This place which is highly monumental and has sanctuary which has not been changed from time immemorial. The Portuguese canons which face the Ocean make it well worth your time and attention and will leave you with a nostalgic experience. The beauty of this place is just out of this world.
- The Jain temple which is a place a lot of historical significance is a place you should visit especially because of its religious value. It is located outside the Old Town hence you don’t have to walk for long to find it. It is usually compared with the Greek Temples and it is decorated using marble structures with magnificent statues, gold spires silver doors. The sculptures in the temple will leave you in awe. It is said that there is no such temple in the African continent and the only one similar to this is found in Asia.
- The North Coast Beaches are other sites to behold in the area which you should visit. From clear blue waters, coral reefs and palm-lined beaches, there are plenty of recreation activities in this place. From heading to the north from Mombasa, you will first make a stop at the Nyali Beach then moving further you get to the Bamburi Beach and Shanzu Beach which are great places to go for swimming and sunbathing especially when it’s hot and you need to cool down your body.
- The Mombasa Tusks are heavenly site to marvel at and they are strategically located at the entrance of the city of Mombasa. The tusks intersect to form letter “M” which stands for Mombasa. This is the most beautiful thing you will see first when you enter the town.
- You should never leave this place without visiting The South Coast Beaches which consist of the Shelly Beach, Tiwi Beach which you can use the Likoni ferry to get to and the Diani Beach. There are plenty of water sporting activities such as sailing, diving, snorkeling, water-skiing and windsurfing. The Tiwi Beach offers a good site for sunbathing due to its beautiful palm shades.
WHAT TO DO: LOCALS DO IT BETTER
- Take a mid-morning road trip to any of the nearby towns of Mombasa such as Watamu, Malindi and Diani and you can carry a camera so you can catch those sweet memories for you won’t be able to re-live them. Mid-morning is convenient for that road trip to avoid getting caught in traffic as people rush to the ferry.
- You can talk a walk down the Old Town and get to learn the rich culture of the people that live there.
- Go for hiking, bike riding and jogging on the nature trail on the road of the Mombasa-Malindi highway.
- If you a great lover of photography then make sure you visit the Whitesands Hotel which carries nature’s beauty with animals like monkeys, birds and crawlies which provide a great scenery.
- Visit Le Club at Continental Resort at night to enjoy the cool breeze of the beach as you watch the beautiful town at night. The entry at the club is free and there is good music to be enjoyed especially on weekends.
- If you have visited Mombasa with friends and Saturday finds you there you should take advantage and hire a boat and go out to the sea and enjoy the sun. Spend your day having fun in the sea and in the evening you can set a table at a sunset restaurant and order their mouth-watering dishes as you watch the sun go down.
WHAT TO EAT AND DRINK
Mombasa has a lot of hotels and restaurants where you can sample the food you would like to take with nutritious and versatile delicacies. Mombasa is truly a mixture of everything.
- Galaxy Chinese - If you are Chinese or you are a person used to Chinese cuisines, then this is the place for you. There are pancakes, chicken chow mein, black bean beef among other regional and international delicacies.
- The Jahazi Coffee House located in the old town offers delicacies ranging from delicious bhajias ,samos, smokies and smoothies and fresh juices.
- The Blue Room Restuarant is the perfect place to find African and European foods. From pizzas, burgers, ice cream, milk shakes as just some of the delicacies in this place that suits every person from any country.
- If you are looking for a place to indulge in Swahili dishes such as Shawarma, Biryani, Pilau and beans in coconut sauce at an affordable price then you should visit Tarboush Restaurant. Their mouth-watering dishes will make you come back some other time.
WHERE TO SHOP
In Mombasa you can shop from shopping malls to markets depending with your budget.
- City Mall Nyali: For fashion enthusiasts who like to go out for shopping every now and then, this is the best place for you. You will find fashionable items from well known brands like Levi’s and Woolworths.
- Bombolulu Workshops: Here the lovers of art are able to buy necklaces, handicrafts, jewellery, wood carvings among other items which are done by Kenyan artists.
- Coast Zanzibar Curio Shop: Here you can be able to get jewelry, framed paintings which are really appealing and leather bags. When you are leaving Mombasa, make sure you visit this place to grab yourself a souvenir.
TIPS TO HAVE A SAFE STAY
- When you are in Mombasa and you feel you would like to visit Nairobi, you should use the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) which is cheap and fast compared to the other means. The SGR also provides a spectacular view of the beauty of the towns that are in between.
- For the men who are about to visit this place, be aware of the ‘slay queens’ in this area who will befriend you when you arrive. These beautiful ladies can’t be trusted and they dry your pockets if you are not careful. Visitors are known of coming to this place and getting involved with these ladies and before they know it, all their money is gone.
- There is great danger of catching malaria as there so many mosquitoes in the area. Take malaria medication prescribed by a doctor ahead of the visit to keep you off danger.