Mombasa is a coastal city located in Kenya, East Africa. It is the country’s second-largest city, after Nairobi, and is known for its beautiful beaches, historic sites, and vibrant culture.
Here are some key facts and information about Mombasa:
- Location: Mombasa is situated on the southeastern coast of Kenya, along the Indian Ocean. It serves as the main coastal gateway to the country.
- History: Mombasa has a rich history, with influences from Arab, Portuguese, and British colonial rule. This diversity is reflected in its architecture, cuisine, and culture.
- Tourist Attractions: Some popular tourist attractions in Mombasa include Fort Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Old Town, with its narrow, winding streets and Swahili architecture; Diani Beach, known for its pristine white sands; and Haller Park, a wildlife sanctuary.
- Economy: Mombasa is a major economic hub for Kenya due to its strategic location as a port city. The Port of Mombasa is the largest seaport in East Africa and plays a crucial role in trade for the region.
- Culture: The culture in Mombasa is a blend of various influences, including Swahili, Arab, and Indian. This fusion is evident in the local cuisine, music, and festivals.
- Transportation: Mombasa is well-connected by road, rail, and air. The Moi International Airport serves as the main airport for the city, providing both domestic and international flights.
- Climate: Mombasa has a tropical climate with high temperatures and high humidity year-round. The city experiences a rainy season from April to June and a drier season from July to September.
- Language: Swahili and English are the official languages spoken in Mombasa. Swahili is the most commonly used language in daily life.
- Cuisine: Mombasa is known for its delicious coastal cuisine. Dishes often include seafood, coconut, and a variety of spices. Some popular dishes include biryani, samosas, and pilau.
- Tourism: Mombasa is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors with its beautiful beaches, water sports, and opportunities for wildlife safaris in nearby national parks.
When visiting Mombasa, it’s essential to explore its cultural heritage, relax on its stunning beaches, and savor the diverse culinary offerings. The city offers a unique blend of history, natural beauty, and modern urban life.
Best Places To Visit In Mombasa County
Bombolulu Workshop and Cultural Centre
The Bombolulu Workshop and Cultural Centre has located a short distance from Mombasa. The Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya established the centre in 1969 to provide benefits such as housing, education, medical aid, and employment to the physically blind and disabled. As artisans, they create handcrafted jewellery as well as other items and products for both the domestic and international markets. Citizens and residents: (Adults) Ksh 250 ; (children below 16 years) Ksh 150. Non-residents: (Adults) Ksh 750; (children below 16 years) Ksh 550.
Mama Ngina Waterfront
Mama Ngina Waterfront, located next to the Likoni ferry channel, is one of the most popular places to visit in Mombasa on a budget. This 26-acre (10.52-hectare) park is always open and free of charge. It’s a great spot to take in the ocean breeze and watch ships arrive and depart from Kilindini Harbour.
Tourists are drawn to the park by activities such as horseback riding, bicycle riding, and photography. In addition, vendors sell coconut water, fried cassava, water, and french fries in and around the tourist attraction. Children enjoy playing in the large park as well. The waterfront park was renovated in 2019 and is now well-paved and tidy.
Explore Mombasa’s Old Town
Mombasa has a long ancient history dating back to 900 AD, making it the country’s oldest city. Due to its coastal location in the Indian Ocean, the city has been influenced by many external forces throughout its existence, culminating in its own distinct identity. There is no better place to witness this dramatic transformation than Mombasa Old Town, where you can stroll through the crisscrossing ancient streets full of old stunning yellow buildings that once housed Mombasa’s incredible mixed population.
Walking through the streets of Mombasa Old Town, you will notice an Arab influence in the carvings on many of the old wooden doors that are still in use today. You will also notice British and Portuguese influences on many of the colonial architectural features throughout the Old Town. It’s like travelling back in time. Mombasa Old Town is not large, and you should be able to cover the entire area in a few hours while also visiting some of the area’s attractions.
The Fort is located in Mombasa City along Nkurumah Road on the coast of Kenya. Fort Jesus is Mombasa’s most popular tourist attraction. The fort, which was built by the Portuguese in 1593 and was designed by Italian architect Giovanni Battista Cairati, has withstood the test of time. It was constructed to ensure the security of the Portuguese population residing on the east coast of Africa. The fort has survived numerous assaults and hostilities. It even served briefly as a prison. The fort is now a significant historical site and a museum.
People can now visit Fort Jesus as a museum to learn more about the small island and to see some of Mombasa’s historical buildings, such as Oman House, which served as the Sultan’s residence when he served as governor of the East African coast. An exhibition of artefacts from the excavations at Fort Jesus, Manda, the Gede ruins, and Ungwana can be found inside Fort Jesus.
Haller Park is located on the Kenyan coast, on the North Coast of Mombasa, along the Mombasa-Malindi road, next to the Bamburi Cement Factory. The Park is popular among animal lovers. This inspirational project, formerly known as the Bamburi Nature Trail, began in 1971 when Dr René Haller transformed the abandoned limestone quarries here into a thriving nature reserve.
Dr Haller improved the soil’s mineral content, planted trees, built a fish farm, and established a wildlife park where each animal serves a purpose in the thriving ecosystem. Giraffes, Cape buffalo, zebras, waterbucks, and hippos are among the animals found here. The giraffe feeding is a highlight, but make sure to check the times before going. The park was also home to a famous interspecies couple, Mzee, a 130-year-old tortoise who adopted Owen, an orphaned hippo, who became an Internet sensation.
The park is also teeming with birds. More than 160 species, including weaver birds, cranes, pelicans, and storks, have been introduced to the area. Walking and cycling paths wind through casuarina groves, and other attractions include a reptile park, palm garden, butterfly pavilion, and crocodile pens. Nguuni Wildlife Sanctuary is about a 15-minute drive from Haller Park if you want to see more wildlife. Close encounters with giraffes are possible, as are sightings of ostriches, eland, oryx, and numerous bird species. It’s also one of Mombasa’s most popular picnic spots.
Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve
Lies between the Mtwapa and Tudor creeks on the Mombasa coast. Mombasa Marine National Park is characterized by warm turquoise waters, swaying coconut trees, and beautiful sandy beaches. The park was established as a marine park in 1986. The park protects a variety of Marine life including vegetation, marine life, and birds. Vegetation includes sea grasses and marine algae, birds include crab plover and roseate tern. Marine life includes crabs, corals such as Acropora, turbinaria, and porites, sea urchins, jellyfish, sea stars, and sea cucumbers.
The park’s azure waters are great for windsurfing, water skiing, boat trips, birdwatching, snorkelling, and diving. Adults pay Ksh 200 while children pay Ksh 125 to access the park.
Nguuni Nature Sanctuary
The Nguuni Nature Sanctuary is situated off the Kiembeni Road – 4km from the Bamburi Cement Factory and a 10-minute drive from Bamburi beach. Just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of Mombasa.
It is a wonderful man-made sanctuary that has been named to the United Nations Environment Programme’s Global 500 list. The sanctuary is located 4 kilometres from the main entrance of the Bamburi cement works on a hill and contains three distinct habitats. Open Savannah, woodland, and wetlands all attract a variety of birds. Visit the location to spend quality time watching animals, being surrounded by nature’s beauty, and enjoying an open-air barbeque. It’s an African safari from the comfort of the resort. Enjoy nature, flora and fauna, and food, as well as a variety of activities available at the sanctuary. They include game drives, a visit to the ostrich farm, elands & oryx farm, feeding the giraffes, taking a bird walk, bird watching, sitting by the campfire, and perhaps the most loved moment that of catching a glimpse of the exquisite sunset behind the Nguu Tatu Hills.
Giraffes, waterbucks, and ostriches roam freely, and when you visit, you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the serene animals as they feed during sunset and come and feed on your hands if you are willing. Small rustic shelters are set up for visitors to enjoy their picnics or to grill their packed foods. Evenings are spent sipping your best-brought beverages while the attendants light a bonfire as you chit-chat under the starry skies.
The Rabai Museum is located inside Kenya’s first Christian church, the Rabai Church, situated northwest of Mombasa in Rabai. It displays exhibits about the history of Christianity, archives on the Slave Trade, and artefacts related to the Mijikenda peoples, such as traditional clothing, tools used to prepare food and regalia.
The Rabai Museum primarily focuses on the work of German missionary Johann Ludwig Krapf (who built the church) and the contribution of other missionaries over the past 150 years. One would also find the first translation of the Christian Bible in Swahili and different local dialects here, along with beautiful pottery done by the locals. The church was also used as a rescue centre for slaves. Outside the church is one of the first classrooms built in the country to disseminate Christianity.
Mombasa Go Kart is located along Malindi road, just a few miles away from Haller Park. It has a track of about 500 meters long and 5 meters wide that comes complete with floodlights for night racing. Go-kart is Kshs 1,400 per adult and Kshs 700 per kid, that is for a 10 minutes race. One hour race-program is Kshs 2,800.
The Wild Waters entertainment park is located in Mombasa, Kenya, and is home to a plethora of rides and activities. This entertainment centre also has a coffee shop, a bar, and a food court. The exclusive range of water slides includes spiral water slides and a fume bowl for adults along with a kids’ pool and a play station area. Apart from the wet rides, there are also several dry rides, including bumper cars, alongside short and long rides.
Tudor Water Sports Marina
Tudor Water Sports Marina is an excellent value for money. It’s home to some of Mombasa’s best watersports, and you can spend a day on the water without breaking the bank. Deep-sea fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, and sailing are some of the most popular water sports here. The cost of kayaking is Ksh 300 per hour. You can go there as a group to participate in water sports. This tourist attraction also includes a seafront restaurant, a gym, and lodging.
Mamba Village Centre
Mamba Village Centre in Nyali is one of Africa’s largest crocodile farms. Here, you can learn about the life cycle and behaviour of these fascinating amphibians. Kids love the chance to hold a baby croc, and another highlight for many visitors is watching the crocodiles fight for tasty morsels during feeding time.
Mamba Village Centre also offers horseback riding and a botanical garden with an aquarium. Orchids and aquatic plants are specialities, but the gardens also display carnivorous species. Carnivores will love the restaurant, which specializes in game meat such as crocodile, ostrich, and zebra.
Spend time at Nyali Beach. It is one of many unrestricted beaches in Kenya and the city of Mombasa. You’ll fall in love with its crystal-clear waters, smooth white sand, and breathtaking views. You will also not be charged to enjoy yourself on the beach. You are free to swim, sunbathe, cycle, or relax in the shade of palm trees.
Mombasa Butterfly House
Visit the Butterfly House the next time you are in Mombasa. Butterflies are lovely creatures, and the Butterfly House is a great place to get up close and personal with them. It’s also an excellent place to learn more about these fascinating insects. The Butterfly House’s staff is enthusiastic about their work and eager to share their knowledge with visitors.
The Butterfly House is a fun and inexpensive place to spend an afternoon. Non-resident adults pay Ksh 500 for admission, resident adults pay Ksh 200, and adult citizens pay Ksh 100. Children under the age of 16 are charged half the admission fee. This conservation office is open from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm and is only a three-minute walk from Fort Jesus.
Nyali Theatre or Nyali Cinemax, located on Main Nyali Road in Mombasa, is the country’s first and only Barco digital cinema hall. It has two movie theatres with comfortable and spacious seating, amazing sound systems, and large screens. It is well-known for showing Hollywood and Bollywood films. One can even watch a 2D or 3D movie here, though the glasses are not free and should be purchased elsewhere. Concessions sell snacks such as popcorn, chips, ice cream, and beverages. There are a few restaurants and cafes near the Cineplex.
Mombasa Tusks have appeared in photographs and postcards, but what exactly are they? They are four massive aluminium tusks located opposite Uhuru Gardens in Mombasa. Furthermore, the tusks are a well-known landmark in Mombasa and one of the city’s most photographed attractions. They were built in 1952 along Moi Avenue, formerly Kilindini Road because Princess Margaret was to pass through the road on her way to the port. Her five-week journey to Mauritius and East Africa began in Mombasa. There are usually photographers nearby who charge a reasonable fee to capture and print the images. You are also welcome to bring your camera to the site.
Mombasa Memorial Cathedral
The Mombasa Memorial Cathedral is an Anglican Church located in Mombasa between Nkrumah Road and Cathedral Road. Its architecture is similar to that of a mosque and was built during the British colonial period. The white structure has several arches and is topped with a silver dome. The church also houses Tiwi School, which educates local youth, as well as a Music School. It is also known for organizing fun activities and games for families regularly. Attending their services in person is possible, as is listening to their sermons online via their website.
Shimba Hills Nature Reserve
Shimba Hills, located just under two hours south of Mombasa by car, is a shining example of East Africa’s coastal forests teeming with wildlife. The park is home to the most African elephants in Kenya, as well as leopards, giraffes, hyenas, colobus monkeys, and other wildlife. Join a safari to see the animals roaming the grasslands, or go on a night walk to see nocturnal creatures on their evening adventures.
Mtwapa Creek is a tranquil creek in Mombasa known for its water activities, scenic views, and picnic area. Because of its currents and temperature, it is ideal for fishing and scuba diving. Visit near sunset or sunrise, when the sky and water are orange and blue. It is also a fantastic location for photography. Rent a boat and cruise the creek while eating and admiring the dense forest and houses that surround it. Turtles, spiny lobsters, kingfish, yellow tail barracuda, and other aquatic creatures can also be found at Mtwapa Creek. Be wary of the jellyfish that can be found here.
Cruise in a Tamarind Dhow
Mombasa’s central island is dotted with seafood restaurants, but the Tamarind Dhow isn’t just a restaurant – it’s a boat. For centuries, Arab dhow boats have been a common sight along Africa’s East Coast, but the Tamarind is unique in that it allows you to eat grilled lobster while floating on the sea. On the 246ft (75m) wooden vessel, sip a signature cocktail or three while listening to live music.
Jumba La Mtwana
Jumba la Mtwana, near Mtwapa Creek in Mombasa, is well known for its archaeological relics. The ceramic relics suggest that this ruined village was built around the fourteenth century. Among the surviving structures are four mosques, one tomb, and four houses.
Bamburi Beach is an exceptionally calm beach with fine soft sand and calm waters. It is unquestionably one of the best places to visit for a memorable vacation with family. The beach is an ideal destination for sun worshipers and sand seekers, and it is a must-see for anyone who enjoys walking, swimming, or relaxing on the beach. It has everything a beach should have. The beach is also well-known for its abundance of nightclubs, restaurants, and modern hotels. Water sports such as scuba diving and snorkelling are available here. Camel rides are another popular activity in this area.
Tiwi Beach in Mombasa is known for its white sand and secluded location. It is ideal for diving and snorkelling. Birdwatching is another popular tourist activity in the area. The view is enhanced by palm trees that line the beach. The coral reefs are 50 meters from the beach and are accessible by boat. The weather is generally warm, and the best time to visit Tiwi beach is in February when the heat is less intense and the water temperature is comfortable. Tiwi Spot can be reached by taxi or public transportation from Diani Beach. One can rent an umbrella and a sling chair to enjoy the view while also feasting on the local delicacies available at the adjacent cafe.