Mombasa is a city with many faces. Salt, spices, slaves, dreams, battles and trade have influenced its history and today the resultant rich cultural mix entices tourists from the world over. Hear the muttered chants at a Jain temple competing against the powerful call to prayer from a muezzin. See dhows disappearing into the sunset whilst herbal medicine sellers set up near sleeping cows. The blend of India, Arabia and Africa here offers a heady brew, the busy port keeps you on its toes, the beaches offer relaxation and, in the distance, the call of the wild – in the shape of safaris, deserts and forests – beckons.
Areas & Neighbourhoods in Mombasa
The Old Town – The evocative remains of the historic Forte Jesus de Mombaça (Fort Jesus) and the historic buildings of Portuguese and Islamic architecture are testament to the centuries of trade that has shaped modern day Mombasa.
Mtwapa Creek – On Mombasa's north coast this Indian Ocean inlet offers small marinas surrounded by beautiful tropical vegetation. Watch the birds, mountain bike around the creek or head off for some deep sea fishing. As night falls make sure you hang around for some of Mombasa’s best clubs and nightlife.
Funzi Island – Accessible by dhow this unspoilt island contains the Ramisi River Mangroves, which you can explore by canoe to spot crocodiles and birdlife.
Shimba Hills National Park – Just a short drive south of the city this mountainous national park contains lush tropical vegetation that houses elephants and antelopes amongst forests and waterfalls.
The Beaches – Over on the north coast Bamburi Beach offers white sand, clear waters, palm trees and a great choice of restaurants. On the south coast you should check out Tiwi beach for a quiet, relaxing spot or Diani beach for watersports and the nearby primate conservation centre.
Things to See in Kenya
The cultural mix of this trading port throws up many sights, including Hindi temples, magnificent mosques and Jain places of worship. The Old Town offers colonial and Muslim architecture to explore and the Mombasa Tusks on Moi Avenue are an iconic reminder of the city’s past.
Things to Do in Mombasa
The wild nightlife of Mtwapa Creek is complemented by the wildlife safaris available by day, including the Shimba Hills National Park for elephants and antelopes, Avicennia Island for its submerged mangrove forests and Funzi Island for crocodiles and birdlife. A visit to the Bombolulu Workshops is an excellent way to shop for jewellery, textiles, wood and leather crafts. For a taste of modern India in modern Kenya head for Nyali Theatre, where the latest Bollywood releases play in a complex that includes a bowling alley, casino and Indian street food sellers.