Things To Do In Mombasa
Mombasa holds the title of being the top tourist attraction in Kenya. Due to its location on the Eastern Coastline, it borders the Indian Ocean and hence houses many beautiful beaches. After the beaches, Mombasa is known for its world-class hotels, diverse marine life and amazing lively atmosphere throughout the year. Most of the tourists visit Mombasa to enjoy dolphin spotting trips, deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling and sun bathing. This city of beaches is full of interesting historical and cultural facts also. Tiwi beach, Bamburi Beach, Diana Beach, Nyali Beach and Pirate Beach are the best beaches in Mombasa. Being the largest port in East Africa, this city offers a mixed cultural history due to arrival of various Asian, African, Arabic, Indian, Chinese and Omanis immigrants.
Many people have the misconception about Mombasa being a very expensive city, but the reality is different than this. One can include tours of the town, camping trips and safaris in the parks in whole vacation plan. The night life is Mombasa is very exciting as there are a number of bars, casinos and dance clubs to keep the tourists entertained. Swahili and English are the official languages of Kenya, so there will be no problem in finding an English speaking guide. The people also understand German, French and Dutch languages. The city houses a population of about 75 percent Muslims. Halal food is available throughout the city and it is not difficult to spot a mosque. A trip to Mombasa will stay incomplete without a ride in Tuk-Tuks (an auto rickshaw). It is cheaper than taxis, but the ride can be bumpy and noisy. Due to the ocean-side location, a plenty of seafood options are available in Mombasa.
When To Go:
Mombasa is a sea port and the second largest city in Kenya. Most of the tourists make plans to visit Mombasa around the time to enjoy wildlife at its best. The overall climate of Kenya varies from region to region. Mombasa is located near to the equator in a tropical zone; hence there is very slight variation in temperature throughout the year. The average temperature stays near 86 degree F. April and May are considered as the rainiest months. Thus, most of the visitors come here all around the year except these two months to avoid getting caught in the rain. It can be said that June to September serve as the highest tourist season, due to summer holidays and cooler weather in Mombasa.
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The weather over here remains constant throughout the year, so one can visit here whenever he/she wants, except May. If you don’t want to visit any wildlife parks, it will be best to visit here in rainy season. The city will be less crowded and you will be given discounts on your stay too. However, we would recommend visiting Mombasa in November, as the liveliest festivals – The Mombasa Carnival is something you wouldn’t like to miss. It serves as the best event to taste the real culture of Kenya because music, dance, art and other cultural activities are performed from all over the Kenya.
Offering an energetic mix of cultures, entertainment, food and architectures, Mombasa is an excellent destination for the visitors to explore. Have a look at the things to do in Mombasa:
Safaris in Mombasa
Safaris in Mombasa are one of the top attractions, we dedicated a full article for it. To read more please go to:
Haller Park, formerly known as Bamburi Nature Trail, can be compared to heaven for animal and nature lovers. It was just a barren piece of land, but later these abandoned limestone quarries were transformed into a natural resource by Dr. Haller. He planted various trees, increased the mineral content of soil, added a fish farm and laid the foundation of a wildlife park. Today, more than 160 species of birds, animals, mammals and various wild plants can be found here. One can enjoy the natural beauty at its best. People can be found here jogging, cycling, exploring the nature and wildlife or just enjoying some family time.
The best thing about this park is that tourists can select one or more from Game Sanctuary, Palm Garden, Butterfly Sanctuary, Reptile Park, insect watching, botanical gardens or bird watching as their personal preference. This park is known to be the largest animal sanctuary in Mombasa. Hire a guide or just walk along the trail as it is the best way to enjoy looking at various animals on the way. Don’t feed reptiles like snakes without the supervision of a guide as it can be dangerous. Don’t miss the educational videos explaining the history and improvement of the trail.
Fort Jesus Museum
For Jesus is Mombasa’s most popular tourist attraction and is declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site (in 2011) being the most outstanding example of Portuguese Military fortification. It was built in the shape of a man, in 1593-1596 by Portuguese and was given the name of Jesus as a religious reference. The structure was designed by an Italian architect and it was the first European style fort constructed to resist canon fire. This fort was used as a prison during the period when British colonized Kenya (Arabs used this fort as torture rooms to keep slaves before shipping) and later was converted into a historical monument.
In exchange for a minimal fee, the exhibition includes various finds reflecting a wide range of cultures including Arabs, Muslims, British and Portuguese. This fort provides an excellent introduction to the overall history of Mombasa. Tourists can enjoy artifacts, ceramics and potteries along with an awesome sound and light evening show. If you are not interested in History, make sure to enjoy some breathtaking views of the sea and the impressive site of big cannons. Hire a guide after entering the museum as they charge comparatively less.
Nguuni Night Wildlife Sanctuary
Nguuni Night Wildlife Sanctuary, located near Haller Park, acts as a reserve for ostriches, giraffes, elands, waterbucks, camels and other species of animals as well as birds. The geological formation of this sanctuary dates back to ancient Gondwana Land. It serves as a great place for having a BBQ/cold drink while lighting a campfire to enjoy the spectacular view of sunset. Tourists can book their table at an affordable price, bring their own drinks/food and enjoy the sunset while spending quality time with their family.
Moreover, the fire and grill is provided over here, this is why it is known as night wildlife sanctuary. The terrain and vegetation creates a romantic atmosphere. However, one can enjoy bird watching or picnic while visiting this place at day time. Make sure to hire a guide if you want to know more about the birds and animals over here. The management over this sanctuary works hard to keep the place clean and whole staff is very friendly. It can provide a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of Mombasa by presenting a refreshing evening in lap of nature.
Mombasa Old Town
Mombasa Old Town is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Mombasa. Widely known for its ancient buildings, Historical Arabic influence and awesome architecture with beautiful art designs, it presents itself as a symbol of the days when Portuguese ruled Mombasa. The inhabitants of this town are Arabian, Asian and European origin. Tourists can buy antique items at affordable prices over here along with unique ornaments, fruits, fragrant oils, spices, fabrics and other such items. History lovers spend many hours just exploring the narrow streets or enjoying the snacks while talking to local people. This quiet, peaceful yet beautiful place is ideal for spending a lazy afternoon just exploring the town.
The best thing about this place is that it is well-maintained; the streets look exactly like these were 100 years ago. The alleys can be quite messy, but still end up making for an interesting walk. There is a lot to see, but it will be good to hire a guide if you really want to know about the interesting historical facts behind this town. A few shops over here sell typical African artifacts; make sure to buy some, but beware of some greedy local people presenting themselves as guides just to get tips. Mombasa’s Old Town boasts several mosques of antiquity; the oldest one (named as Basheikh Mosque) should not be missed. This town is on the tentative list to qualify in the World Heritage List.
Bamburi Beach and Mombasa Go-Kart
It will not be wrong to call Bamuri Beach by the name ‘best tourist hub in Mombasa’. Located at the North Coastline of Mombasa, tourists can be seen here enjoying various water activities. There is wide range of accommodation from luxury resorts to beach bungalows to make the most of their trip. It is full of sand and the absence of stones provides relief to the feet. Various games and sports can be found to keep the tourists entertained. Sailors and staff of management works hard to keep the beach area clean.
Mombasa Go-Kart with a unique African charm is famous amongst people of all age groups. Tourists can be found bouncing around on the off-road buggies, zooming around the concrete track in go-karts and the younger kids might be busy in learning to dig in a Bobcat excavator. The track is floodlit at night and a family friendly restaurant nearby offers tasty food, computer games, a screen showing sporting events and a large playground for kids to enjoy.
Mombasa Marine National Park
Mombasa Marine National Park reserve has an endless number of activities to offer. Doesn’t matter if you like wind surfing or deep sea diving, you will be able to find something amusing over here. An awesome place to have some fun with family and friends gives you a feeling to stay here forever. You will find the visit to Marine Park interesting, even if you never tried diving.
For sea life lovers, this soothing place becomes an adventure. The management team is doing great efforts to rescue fishes and other animals every day. Make sure to learn as many names of fish as you can. Guides over here are very knowledgeable and excellent at their work. From snorkeling to sun bathing, this place offers many activities and ends up making the tourists fall in love with this place.
Mamba Village Center
Mamba Village, located in the Nyali Area, is East Africa’s largest crocodile farm featuring a comprehensive tour and a beautiful presentation on the life cycle and behavior of crocodiles. There is a separate playground for kids to enjoy in case they are bored with the tour. The best thing about visiting this village centre is a spectacular sight presented while fighting for food by blood-thirsty crocodiles during their feeding time. This village houses crocodiles from various categories and stages including the white crocodile, giant man eater and baby crocodiles.
The tour of the whole center takes up to 3 hours and the best time to visit this place is around 4 pm, as the feeding time of crocodiles is scheduled at 5 pm daily. The whole village is divided into four sections – The horse riding, the camel riding, the crocodile farm and floral magic. The floral magic has a beautiful collection of plants and flowers along with an aquarium. Other than these, one can enjoy Crocodile Bar, Mamba Disc and boat rides also. The Mamba restaurant serves excellent cuisine; grilled crocodile meat being the house specialty.
The Mombasa Tusks
The Mombasa Tusks were built to honor the visit of Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth’s sister, in 1954. Situated on the Moi Avenue, these are the symbolic representations of the entrance into the heart of the town. These were made of canvas stretched over wooden frames by the municipal engineers, but later were rebuilt in aluminum and moved to their present position in the 1960’s. Being a famous landmark in the city, these attract a lot of tourists. Everyone wants to capture this beautiful scene in their cameras.
Every tourist comes to Mombasa with a desire to take goofy photos while grappling the tusks. Most of the banks, shops and important markets are located near these. The most interesting thing about these tusks is that these spell (or form) the letter “M” for Mombasa. Being the entrance, this place can be crowded most of the time of the day. There is a park right opposite the tasks, where most of the tourists will be seen taking a stroll while munching on the baobab seeds.
Bombolulu Workshops and Cultural Center
Bombolulu Workshops and Cultural Center, a project of the association for the Physically Disabled in Kenya, is emerging as a major tourist destination. This workshop is an ideal place to learn about the real culture of Mombasa. Four sheltered workshops, a restaurant and a cultural center allows the tourists to explore traditional homesteads of Kenya. Tourists often enjoy their visit over here because the workshop includes traditional dances and food. This project was started with an aim to serve the handcrafts people.
The cultural center was established to empower people with social and economic disability. This non-profit organization enabled these people to realize their skills and help them to make various handcrafts like clothes. After visiting here, tourists often visit the Hindu Temples. These temples are attributes to Mombasa cultural diversity. Take a guide from the temple and enjoy various idols, cultural paintings, artifacts and cultural pictures.
Nyali Beach is the first stop while travelling north from Mombasa. Walking along the beach seems very tempting, but the moment you step out; a bunch of annoying people attack you with some interesting proposals, with an ultimate aim of stealing your money. They will even offer you massage or will try to sell some extremely pricey items. Just decline and they will leave you alone. Don’t worry, the security is very high and the management looks after the tourists very carefully. This beach offers a pleasant sight, the sea looks out of the world and one just cannot stop clicking pictures at the time of sunset. The water is clear as crystal and the staff is very strict about cleanliness. Take part in games like Volleyball, diving or swimming or just enjoy getting a tan. The beach is less crowded at mornings but most of the tourists visit here to enjoy sunset in the evening. There are various bars, shops and hotels nearby including the first mainland beach resort of Mombasa, known by the name Nyali Beach Hotel.
Mombasa, home one of the best white sandy beaches in Africa, is world famous an ideal place for vacation. Diversity is found in cultures, languages and cuisines as one can get anything from Indian to Italian. Explore the Old Town on foot, if you want to step back and explore the ancient era. The Fort Jesus, The Gedi Ruins, The Mandrhy Masjid will make you face-to-face with the rich history of Mombasa. If you are not interested in history, there awaits water-based fun to take you out of this wildlife adventure. Biashara Street and The Moi Avenue are excellent places to shop as one can get exciting deals on various local products. However, if you are looking for a vacation that you want to remember for a lifetime, Mombasa ensures to gives you one.
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