There are some places on our beautiful continent that no matter how many times one has visited, they always have to be rediscovered over and over again…simply because they are so unique and full of surprises.
Mombasa, the coastal city of Kenya, is one of these magical places that will always leave one refreshed. Well, I must admit that at the airport in Brazzaville, three different people working at the airport asked where exactly was Mombasa…because it surely isn’t part of the tourist destina- tions known in other parts of Africa.
Mombasa, located in the Indian Ocean’s bay is at 555 km from Nairobi and is one of the most dynamic cities of the country be- cause of her port and the num- ber of tourists that it attracts. The city was founded in 750 and is a combination of Arab traders, Portuguese and British coloniza- tion.Today it is a real cosmopoli- tan city that boasts of more than forty-two tribes.
Mombasa is a real tourist desti- nation because of its permanent sun, beaches and the diversity of its marine life. There are so many offers in terms of accommoda- tion. This time because it was a fami- ly vacation, we decided to rent an apartment in Nyali, one of the beautiful areas in Mombasa. The apartment was a service fur- nished one located right on the beach and few meters away from the City Mall.
Though the weather was ex- tremely hot, the morning breeze, the sound of the waves in the night, the afternoon activities on
the water, relaxing on the beach and riding on horseback were simply awesome and rejuvenat- ing. From my experience, here are 8 different ways you can re- discover Mombasa.
- City tour of Mombasa in TukTuk Well, every visit starts with a city tour. There is no better way to do this in Mombasa than in aTukTuk, a three wheel motorcycle origi- nated from Asia but available almost everywhere in Momba- sa. The city tour of Mombasa is very interesting because of the history, cultural heritage and the sea one sees from almost every- where. At some point, one has the impression of being in an Ar- abic city because of the many women wearing burghas and all covered up from head to toe in black.
- Port Jesus and old Mombasa Living in the steps of the numerous captains…the visit is very interest- ing and the tiny roads of the old city a must experience. To avoid being bothered, it is better to take a guide to take you through the museum and later on to the old town. The preservation of the old mosques and buildings make this visit an incredible one as one has the impression of walking in the same tiny streets of rulers of the city.
- Why not try a Swahili meal? Stop at a typical Swahili restau- rant. I went to the Barka restau- rant right in the old town that specializes in Swahili dishes. Most popular dish: Biriyani with mut- ton Pilau rice and a glass of fresh tamarind juice. Apparently, Pres- ident Uhuru Kenyatta recently went there for lunch and since then, this place has become very famous though this is a tra- ditional local food where most people eat with their hands.
- Visiting a Hindi temple Mombasa is full of Indians Muslims who have been living together for centuries now. My curiosity made me visit one of the beauti- ful Hindi temples down town. You would surely love to be received by a temple keeper who will take time to explain some of the ritu- als.
- Time to Dive If you are an adventurous person like me, you will definitely want to go scubadiving in this clear Indi- an ocean. Well, Mombasa is the right place because even for the less experienced, you can prac- tice snorkeling (mask and snor- kel) almost everywhere on the beach.
For less adventurous people, you can also catch on a glass bot- tom boat trip over the coral reef that will introduce you to a co- lourful world of tropical fish and other sea life.
- Indulge in fruits as much as possible For a fast and busy city like Mombasa, it is surprising to see the number of fruit sellers by the roadside. At every corner and with50KShs (approximately 7$) one can have a big bowl of sev- eral fruits sliced right before you. I loved doing this every single day and this is probably one of the best fruit eating experiences I have had.
- Unwind at Nyali Beach Nyali Beach is 14 km from Moi International Airport and 10 km from Mombasa Island.You would surely love Nyali because you can live there without going to other sides of Mombasa be- cause it gives youa glimpse into the country’s past and present with a City Mall, the Golf course, churches, mosques etc. Sunset on the beach is awesome.Nyali is just the perfect place to unwind
- Go feed animals at Hallar Park You cannot visit Mombasa with children and not take them to this extraordinary park where one can see different species of animals, from snakes, tortoises, giraffes, monkeys. Located at al- most 5 km north from the island, the feeding time of animals is ob- viously the most spectacular part of the visit so do plan your visit there for either 11am or 3pm.
Kenya is beautiful and has so much to offer. Mombasa is the perfect place to travel to unwind and relax. I will surely come back. I refuse to count the number of times I have visited; I guess I can never get enough of this beauty and serene ambiance.