Things To Do In Mombasa
THINGS TO DO IN MOMBASA – UNIQUE AND UNUSUAL
Soak yourself in adventure – be a culture vulture and learn about Portuguese defense architecture at Fort Jesus, shop for African handicrafts, swim with dolphins or get close to wildlife at the Haller Park. Kenya’s second largest city is steeped in history and color and visitors will soon discover that there is more to Mombasa than just fun in the sun.
Old Town in Mombasa
Mombasa itself is an island and is linked to the mainland by motorized ferry and new bridges. It was a major port for centuries On a day’s run from the resorts, take a walk around the atmospheric Old Town to soak up its history. This is a quarter of mosques, old houses on narrow streets built to give maximum shade and shops selling antiques and Kenyan crafts. Ancient buildings are decorated with intricately elegant fretwork balconies, large wooden doors and shuttered windows.
One of the more interesting things to do is to tour its mosques to get a sense of how old this section of town is. The white walled Mandry Mosque built in 1570 is officially the oldest but restricts visitor access. The green and white Basheikh Mosque is also thought to be very old and its square façade and geometric shapes reflect the best of Muslim architecture.
Tamarind Dhow Cruise
Nowadays, there are only a few dhows in the historically busy harbor which in the past was probably crowded with hundreds of seafaring vessels. Taking a trip on the Tamarind Dhow ranks high among the things to do in Mombasa. Choose either a lunch or a romantic evening dinner cruise.
As you step on board the dhow for a dinner sail, traditionally dressed waiters hurry over to serve their famous Dawa, a drink of vodka, lime, honey and crushed ice. The dhow sails around the harbor for a stunning view of the old town and Fort Jesus.
It then anchors in a sheltered bay while guests enjoy a grilled seafood dinner and dance under the stars to the swinging rhythms of the band. When you are let off the boat at the end of evening, you are disembarking with a pocketful of enduring memories as well.
For those enamored of the dhow, there are full-day dhow cruises to swim and snorkel with dolphins in the Kisite Marine Park. These excursions will either serve lunch on board while moored in a cove, or stop off at one of the islands for an authentic Swahili lunch.
Giraffe Feeding in Haller Park
Kids and animal lovers must make a trip to Haller Park. Transformed from limestone quarries into wetlands and park space, you can have giraffes feed off your hand, watch rhinos play in the water, feed giant century old tortoises as they waddle around, or gaze closely at antelopes, snakes, crocodiles and fish.
Look out for Owen, a young hippo, and Mzee, a giant tortoise more than 130 years old. These two had an unlikely and unique friendship for several years where they played, lived, slept together and communicated with their own system of nods and grunts.
This is not to be missed. Here are a few suggestions: -
- The market street of Makupa, a colorful, loud open air market in which you can find jewelry and baskets as well as wooden handicrafts
- Biashara Street for shops owned by Arab and Indian families that go back to the days of the pre-colonial era. Among things to do in Mombasa, shop for colorful coastal African fabrics such as khangas, head wraps, kikoys, multi-purpose fabrics and kitenges or sarongs.
- Bombolulu Handicrafts on the North Coast for handicrafts by physically disabled local artisans
- Akamba Wood Carvers for wooden furniture, masks, toys and sculptures. Artisans will make to order.
While shopping, be prepared to engage in bargaining as one of the things to do in Mombasa. If you run out of time, you can always come back for more.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Mombasa hotels are the perfect get away from the crowds. Ride a camel on the beach, snorkel in a protected lagoon or sail in a dhow – all these await you at the Mombasa hotels along the idyllic Indian Ocean coast.
Mombasa beaches have white sands, swaying palms & turquoise ocean. The North Coast starts at Nyali and stretch through Bamburi, Shanzu and Mtwapa, and further north to Kikambala beach.
Mombasa Kenya is laidback, friendly, steeped in history and totally unpretentious. It is living culture. A coral colored fort with cannons peeping out from its bastions greets visitors coming in from the ocean.
Everyday tips and insights shared about Mombasa Kenya from people who travel to Mombasa.
Soak yourself in adventure with things to do in Mombasa – be a culture vulture and learn about Portuguese defense architecture at Fort Jesus, shop for African handicrafts, swim with dolphins or get close to wildlife at the Haller Park.
Flights to Mombasa From Budget Airlines, International Airlines, Within Kenya, From North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.