Mombasa, the Perfect Holiday Destination
So, you have been on a safari in Kenya and have viewed all the game. What better way to finish your exploration than in the country’s hotspot for relaxation. Offering nearby beach resorts, as well as cultural and active pursuits, Mombasa is the perfect après beach holiday destination.
Mombasa is Kenya’s second largest city after Nairobi, and the main part of the city is an island linked to the mainland by a bridge as well as a ferry service.
A Little History of Mombasa
At Muthaiga Travel, we believe it helps to appreciate the make-up of Mombasa, if you know about the origins of the city. The Portuguese colonized the city and left their influences, from the late 1500s to the early 1600s. It became a British protectorate in the mid1800s. Later, it became a trading port which attracted immigrants from the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, who arrived as traders and skilled craftsmen. With all these international influences, a cosmopolitan city was the outcome.
This is a historical monument built by the Portuguese when they first invaded East Africa. In this place, many battles were fought between the Portuguese and Arabs for supremacy, and this fort was their first line of protection. Later the British used it as a prison. It is the oldest architecture in Mombasa, built by the Portuguese in 1593 for protection from the Arabs and the British. It is open for sightseeing between 8am-6pm.
Old town depicts Mombasa s mix of Arabic and Swahili influence. This is reflected in the historic buildings, narrow streets, huge carved Lamu doors, the old harbor and the Swahili style of dress.
The Elephant Tusks
These are located along Moi Avenue in the Mombasa City. The two enormous tusks arch over both sides of the road. They were built in 1953 to welcome Princess Elizabeth who then became Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain whilst still in Kenya.
Haller Park Bamburi
This is a thriving ecosystem created from a rehabilitated limestone quarry. Key attractions include game, porcupines, peacocks, a snake park, fish farm, crocodile farm and a restaurant that specialises in game meat. It is home to a famous couple – Owen the hippo and Mzee the tortoise, who share an extraordinary bond. It is open between 8am-6pm.
Ngomongo Villages is a new and popular local excursion. It is a collection of diverse tribal homesteads each complete with hut, cultivated crops, domestic and wild animals, wild animal traps, charms and fetishes, tin smiths and even a village witch doctor.
Each village has a tribe and specific village activities for you to engage in such as archery, rafting, tribal cuisine, hook fishing, grinding and pounding maize. The cultural village is open daily between 8am-5pm.
This is the largest crocodile farm in Africa. Apart from the popular feeding time, Mamba Village also has horse riding, camel riding and picturesque botanical gardens to visit. It is home to thousands of crocodiles of all ages and sizes. Feeding time is daily and is indeed an interesting sight. Mamba Village is open daily between 8am-6pm.
Vipingo Ridge is a destination for everyone who enjoys the best life has to offer. Set in 2,500 acres on Kenya’s North Coast, Vipingo Ridge brings a range of elements of luxury living together in a peaceful and secure gated community. It offers a wide range of amenities including: two 18 hole championship golf courses, private airstrip, game sanctuary, clubhouse, private beach club.
Shopping for Souvenirs
Consider buying Mombasa sandals. These hand-made sandals, made from leather and old tires (for the soles), are stylish shoes and a great souvenir from Mombasa. You can find them in most souvenir shops or purchase them from street merchants. Local craftsman use colourful beads and pieces of leather to create a vast variety of shapes and decorations. No two pairs are alike.
Mombasa is one of the best places in Kenya to buy African fabrics, which are available in curio shops and markets throughout the city. Lesos are colourful, printed fabrics that come in pairs and are traditionally worn by Swahili women. Kikois are typically striped or plaid and are usually worn as shawls.
Beach Volleyball, windsurfing, scuba diving, kite surfing, and sailing.
A popular sport with most guests. The animation team organises daily matches for guests to participate in.
Nyali Beach is the closest beach to Mombasa, and is known for its many top class hotels and white sand beaches, making it a popular destination. The coast here is bordered by white sand beaches protected by a coral reef and loved by divers. This is a part of the Mombasa Marine Reserve, managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service. Activities include windsurfing, scuba diving, kite surfing, and sailing.
Diani Beach is located 30 kilometres/19 miles south of Mombasa and the beach itself is about 10 kilometres/6 miles in length. It also offers excellent hotels and restaurants.
Bamburi Beach is 10 kilometres/6 miles from Mombasa and has some of the best hotels in the region. The beach has beautiful white sand and is surrounded by palm trees. Restaurants along the beach very much invite you to sit under the palm trees to enjoy a drink.
Buccaneer Diving, the biggest diving operator on the north coast led by Kenya s only PADI Course Director, has its premier IDC Centre at Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort where you can learn diving and experienced divers can go deep-sea diving with Buccaneer.
The Blue Lagoon Water Sports Centre offers a wide range of water sports including sailing, water scooters, para-sailing and snorkelling.
Mtwapa Creek is a place to visit on Mombasa’s north coast. On an ocean inlet, with some small marinas and beautiful tropical vegetation, it is known for bird watching, mountain bike tours around the creek, and is the starting point for deep sea fishing trips. Mtwapa is also famous in Mombasa for its clubs and active nightlife.