An exotic paradise in the African tropics is what comes to mind when people think of Mombasa. The cosmopolitan tourist hub is filled with lots of fun-filled activities and boasts amazing sites that guarantee you will never get bored. It is no wonder that hundreds of visitors grace its shores each year and leave with delightful tales to tell.
Here are 10 amazing things you can do and see in Mombasa.
Mombasa is a coastal city of Kenya along the Indian Ocean. The city is known as the white and blue city in Kenya. It is the country’s oldest and second-largest city.
1. Go To The Beach
It would be absurd to take a trip to the tropics without once heading towards the coast. Mombasa has several beautiful beaches that are a popular destination for sun-bathing, swimming, walking or just relaxing. Diani, Nyali and Bamburi beaches are three fantastic choices with fine hotels and eateries along the shore.
2. Visit Fort Jesus
Constructed by the Portuguese in 1593-1596 and designed by Italian architect Cairati, Fort Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Although it is partly damaged, Fort Jesus was built in the shape of a man and is a fine display of 16th-century Portuguese military architecture. Enjoy the exhibitions of the wide collection of ceramics and pottery reflecting the various cultures that traded along the coast. Within the compound are many fascinating battlements and derelict buildings, including Omani house, a building with Omani jewelry and displays on Swahili life.
3. Take A Walk Around The Old Town
After looking over at the harbor from Port Jesus, you might feel compelled to take a stroll into the old town. Historians will be in awe at the uniqueness of this port once ruled by the Portuguese. Most of the current residents are of Asian, Arab and European origin, and the architectural style reflects their different cultures. Come check out the narrow streets bordered by old buildings with ornately carved doors and balconies. Stop by at one of the many shops that sell antiques, souvenirs, spices and fragrance oils, and dine at one of the many cafes if you get hungry.
4. Take A Trip To Haller Park
Formerly known as Bamburi Nature Trail, Haller Park is a hit with bird enthusiasts and animal lovers. Take your family over and explore wildlife exhibitions of giraffes, Cape buffaloes, zebras, waterbucks and hippos. And don’t forget the famous inter-species couple who became an internet sensation after the 130-year-old tortoise, Mzee, adopted the orphaned hippo, Owen. More than 160 species of birds also call the park home. Haller Park was a project of Dr. René Haller that begun in 1971, when he transformed the abandoned limestone quarries into a thriving nature reserve.
5. Go Scuba Diving And Snorkeling
One of the joys of Mombasa are the endless marine activities that are held on the beach every day. For those who prefer a more adventurous maritime experience from the ordinary kayaking and swimming, there is the opportunity to go scuba diving and snorkeling. The Mombasa Marine National Park provides such services where you will be delighted to see mangroves, sea grass beds and the coral reef that it protects. Be fascinated with the stingrays, seahorses and eels that are a part of its habitat.
6. Take A Picture Beside Mombasa’s Elephant Tusks
A trip to Mombasa is incomplete unless you take a picture next to the famous Mombasa Elephant Tusks. Located in the city center along Moi Avenue, the tusks were built in 1952 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s visit. The intersecting tusks, made from aluminum, form the letter ‘M’ for Mombasa and mark the entrance to the heart of the city. From a distance, the aluminum tusks resemble elephant ivory and are nicknamed ‘Pembe Za Ndovu’ by the locals, a Swahili word meaning elephant ivory.
7. Try Go-Karting
If you have children or you’re a kid at heart, then go-karting is always an epic activity. Located on Malindi Road, Mombasa Go-Kart is a company that offers thrilling go-kart rides. On the complex can be found a beautiful tropical garden with an amazing motor sport facility. Enjoy karting around a track with a small four-wheeled car. Have a go on the off-road buggies. Visitors older than seven can test-drive one of the bulldozers. Maximize the fun on the trampoline, play table tennis and go bowling.
8. Visit Mamba Village Center
Take advantage of the opportunity to see East Africa’s largest crocodile farm at Mamba Village Center. Not only will you acquire superior knowledge of these fascinating reptiles, but you can also ride on horseback and admire the beautiful botanical garden and its aquarium. The garden exhibits flowering orchids, aquatic plants and carnivorous species. One of the most exciting things to do is watching the crocodiles fight for food during feeding time. There is a restaurant that prepares game meat such as crocodile, ostrich and zebra delights.
9. Take A Trip By Dhow To Wasini Island
Wasini Island lies south of Mombasa and it has an area of only five square kilometers. Trips to the island by dhow from Mombasa are very popular, as visitors are always excited to see dolphins that often cruise by. It is also a wonderful idea for passengers to stop to snorkel or dive near the coral reefs along the way. The trip provides a rich cultural experience since ancient Swahili villages lie around the coastal scrub. Explore the Shimoni Caves, thought to have held slaves before their shipment to Arabia, and then stop by Wasini Village for some tasty seafood.
10. Visit Shimba Hills National Reserve
Shimba Hills National Reserve is the perfect option if you are in search of a quiet getaway from the commercial hub of the city. Shimba Hills is home to a number of endangered plant species, birds and animals. Visitors will be taken aback by the sheer beauty of the surroundings, which boast enchanting waterfalls, woodlands, savanna, lily-top ponds and a rich rain forest. Don’t miss the opportunity to see one of the highest concentrations of elephants in Kenya, as well as leopards, sable antelopes and an abundant bird life. Visitors can cool off in the refreshing swimming hole after an exciting tour.