A beautiful island on the Indian ocean, located in Southeastern Kenya with a population of approximately 1.2million people, Mombasa City is a destination to behold.
Mombasa is ambience, beauty, warmth, class and history served in a beautiful cocktail glass. If you have plans for taking a vacation to bask in the sun, surrounded by towering palm trees, letting the ocean breeze caress your skin like a new lover, taking deep breaths of salty air, then Mombasa City is your perfect destination.
Mombasa is warm with a tropical wet and dry climate. Actually, it is only rainy in April and May but sunny most of the year.
This is the major Seaport in the country. It is an island separated from the mainland by Tudor Creek and Kilindini Harbor.
How Mombasa City Came to Be
From journals of history, Mombasa is the oldest town not just in Kenya but in the whole of East Africa. Mombasa is as old as 900 AD! The Old Town still stands so if you want to travel back in time and have a feel of the distant past, you got a destination.
It was founded by the Arab traders, informing the dorminant Islam and Swahili Culture. Mombasa means “Kisiwa Cha Mvita” translating to Island of War.
For a long time it was ruled by Sultans of Oman and Zanzibar interchangeably. In 1593, it was captured by the Portuguese after the visitation of the first white man, Vasco da Gama, making it the trading center for the Portuguese Merchants.
This led to the building of the famous Fort Jesus as a Landmark to symbolize the Portuguese Rule.
In 1837, the British took over and made Mombasa the Capital City of British East Africa.
The lovers of history will love it in Mombasa City since the skeletons of history still stand tall in the city, well preserved and handed down the generations and sometimes they roam freely to be seen.
Infrastructure and Accessibility.
Mombasa Island is connected to the mainland by Nyali Bridge in the North and Likoni Ferry in the south. In the west The Makupa Causeway does the trick.
The road network in the city is modern with the Mombasa -Nairobi Expressway taking the lead.
With the introduction of the SGR, The Standard Gage Railway, that stops at Miritini, Mombasa Terminus, traveling to and from Nairobi has been made way easier than road. Miritini is 20kms away from the City Center.
There are Ferries in Kilindini and Mutongwe to Likoni. This could be an interesting and thrilling experience for those who like daring the cosmos.
The easiest and fastest way to those who love quick destination gratification, is to travel is by air. Moi International Airport is so far the best in Africa and one can fly in from any part of the world.
Within Mombasa City, to avoid the bridges and Ferries one can fly in direct from Nairobi to the South Coast, the home of exotic beaches and hotels.
14 Most Scenic Places to Visit in Mombasa City and it’s environs.
Mombasa is so vast you might not exhaustively tour it in a few days. Every place has a unique tale and experience to it. Ranging from Aqua-tourism, wildlife, nature trails, water sports, the pristine sandy beaches, the people, the cuisines, the historic sites… the list is endless. Here are a few of the top twenty.
- The City Tour
Mombasa is a unique city with a picturesque aura around it. It is beautifully built, laid back with no bustle that is usually witnessed in Nairobi and other cities. The people are respectful and extremely polite. It is also a shopping hub for those who love buying exotic things. The city is uniquely planned with a touch of Arab, Swahili and indegineous African architecture that will leave you inspired and refreshed.
2. Haller Park
This is located in Bamburi. Bamburi is a few Kilometers from Mombasa town. To escape the heat and hide in the trees,you can make a visit to Haller Park. Here you can carry out Nature walks, take photographs, watch birds and other animals. It is a quiet get away place with fresh air.
3. Nguuni Nature Sanctuary
This is four kilometers from Haller Park. It is a beautiful sanctuary with lots of wild species to see. You can picnic here or go for a nature trail. It is possible to extend from Haller Park or opt for this sanctuary should Haller not work for you.
4. Mombasa Mamba Village
Ever heard of Crocodile farming? Here you get to walk in a crocodile farm, watch a movie on the vicious creatures and watch them savagely scramble for food. This is nerve wrecking!
5. Mombasa Marine National Park
Located between Mtwapa and Tudor Creek, this is a perfect place for all the water thrills you can ever experience. The inviting blue waters are so alluring to the water lovers. Here, snorkeling and deep diving are the famous activities. The ocean is full of species waiting to be seen and discovered.
6. Watamu Marine Park
See sharks and dolphins. This is an awesome place to visit with lots of water fun, ranging from sailing and snorkeling. You can watch various birds here as well.
7. Diani Beach
This is the most classy part of Mombasa. It is 36Kms from the city. From Nairobi, one can fly from Wilson Airport to Ukunda. The South Coast is home of extremely exotic hotels and private sandy beaches. You wouldn’t want someone preempting on Diani. You have to see it yourself.
8. Shanzu Beach
Those who love water sporting including snorkeling, boat riding and sailing this is your haven.
9. Pirates Beach
Also known as the Jomo Kenyatta public beach is the most accessible beach in Mombasa. Since it is a public beach it’s usually crowded. If you want to experience Kenyans in their natural element, interact with them then here is a place for you. It is closer to the town center. Here you will experience something close to a street life only with water and sand.
10. Old Town
Basically a home of Swahilis and Arabs. Old Town is filled with the ancient Arab Architecture and hosts a rich cultural experience.
11. Fort Jesus
Built in 1953, it is a major tourist attraction. The majestic building stands tall on the Island. It is an architectural wonder that you must just see, walk in and listen to it’s walls.
12. Bombolulu Workshop and
Located on the North Coast, here you can buy the handmade artifacts for keeps sake. They are artistically made, exotic and unique. Here you will find the best gifts to bring back home.
13. Ngomongo Villages
Here we got eco-friendly villages built in the coral limestone quarry.. The beauty of reserving nature is proven here. It is an excellent therapeutic fresh environment to spend a day or two in.
This is for the lovers of the wild and its life. Tsavo is so vast you need days to satisfactorily tour the East, West and the entire park. The Big Five: Lions, Elephants, Cheetahs, Leopard, Buffalos are hosted here. This is the Wild Wild. Camping, bonfires, poetry nights, and group tours can be done in the Tsavo.
10 Most Popular Reasons For Visiting Mombasa City
- The beach life is extremely exquisite and exotic.
- There are many other islands around Mombasa to visit and explore e.g Kisite, Sudi, Wasini among others. The exploration never ends.
- Hospitality! The hotels, restaurants, the cuisines… you will be treated well and your palates will have a tantalizing explosion of flavors in meals. Sea food is out of this world. The spices will leave you immunized.
- Mombasa is an island of Romance. There are beautiful scenic places to rekindle love, show love and even find love. You never know.
- Mombasa has the most relaxed atmosphere. There is no bustle and the rush you will find in other cities.
- The weather is perfect. It is warm. The heat is taken care of by the breeze from the ocean. The freedom to dress lightly and swim any time easens the excess heat moments.
- You will experience Eco-tourism in Mombasa.
- The rich History is beyond the ordinary. As old as 900 AD, you literally get a chance to walk back in time.
- Mombasa has a very vibrant Nightlife. The Swahili music is very sensational and lovely.
- Mombasa is rich in culture. There are various tribes each with a unique cultural exposition. You can’t finish them all and each will awe you in a unique way.
Mombasa is not all about fun. It is fun, learning, experience, creating memories and discoveries all in one package. It should be a long vacation you are planning.
Emily Khalayi Wekulo