Visiting Mombasa

Inside info

The coastal city of Mombasa which is the second largest city in Kenya is one of Africa’s main tourist destinations. Its beautiful beaches attract visitors from all over the world as well as its history and culture which has influences from its former Arab, British and Portuguese settlers. Take a stroll in the ‘Old Town’ a part of the city which was heavily influenced by Arab settlers. This area is well known for its ancient buildings, and its many shops selling antiques and Kenyan souvenirs. The best way to visit this area is by foot and with a tour guide as the streets are too narrow for cars. Visit the Mombasa Tusks, which are symbols that represent the entrance into the heart of the town. They were built in 1952 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s visit to the town. These tusks were meant to welcome the Queen and the British Empire into the town and its social structure. Mombasa has a wide variety of restaurants that serve cuisines from all over the world. If you are looking for casual dining, try the outdoor restaurant, Mubins in the centre of town which serves the best ‘mishkaki’ (barbecued mutton or beef skewers). If you are looking for something a bit fancier, try Sea Heaven, located on the north coast with beautiful views of the beach. This restaurant serves some of the best seafood in town.Fort Jesus is well worth a visit. Situated along the coastline near the Old Town, this amazing piece of architecture was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and has a museum with displays of various artifacts from the time when the city was a transit point for the slave trade and commodities. Inside the fort, there are prison cells and torture rooms where slaves were kept in captivity before being traded.

Travel review

I travelled to Mombasa with my wife a couple of years ago on a two week trip to Kenya. We stayed 3 days in Mombasa at the Vasco da Gama Hotel and although the room was basic, it was very comfortable and clean and most importantly it was air conditioned! Good value for money although avoid booking any excursions from the hotel as they are really overpriced!The hotel staff recommended a visit to the Bombollulo Workshops. These workshops assist disabled people in creating employment and the crafts that they make are simply amazing. All the money that is made goes back into the village where they live. We enjoyed a lovely local lunch here plus local dancing. A great experience!Both of us enjoy history and we really enjoyed our trip to Fort Jesus. A guide took us around and it was great listening to him talk in detail about the history of the city – really fascinating! There were fantastic views of the sea from the fort and the museum had a good collection of artifacts. Well worth a visit.On our last evening, we enjoyed a lovely meal at the Mvita Grill at the Nyali Beach Hotel. The surroundings were great and when we were there, there was a very talented jazz trio playing live music which added a special touch to the evening. The food was very nice too, cooked with fresh ingredients. The service was impeccable and the evening was perfect. A very nice way to end our trip.

Did you know ?

The Portuguese navigator, Vasco da Gama visited Mombasa in 1498 and his first journey to India.

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