Mombasa is the main port in East Africa, the second largest city in Kenya and the former capital of the country, the administrative center of the Coastal Province. It is one of the oldest cities on the continent and was the capital of Kenya until 1906. During the Great Geographical Discoveries, this city was one of the richest ports. Mombasa still retains its medieval appearance, combining both European and Arab-Persian traditions. Although the city is based on an island, it is connected to the mainland by dams. Tourists, first of all, are attracted by the many kilometers of beaches on the shores of the Indian Ocean. The population of the city according to the latest data is about a million people.
The history of the city is more than 900 years old. This Arab port city was first mentioned in 1151 by the famous geographer Al-Idrisi. In those days, the largest center of the slave trade was located here. The next mention dates back to 1331, when the famous traveler Ibn Battuta stayed in Mombasa. He was amazed at the skill of local architects and the beauty of the wooden mosques. Making his way to India, Vasco da Gama himself stayed here at the end of the 15th century. In the first half of the 16th century, the city was repeatedly attacked by the Portuguese. In 1593 a magnificent fortress was built in the city – Fort Jesus. Subsequently, this Portuguese building became the main attraction of Mombasa.
Founded: XI century
Area: 294.7 km 2
Population: 1,208,333 (2019)
Currency: kenyan shilling
Language: English, Swahili
The old part of the city consists of a narrow labyrinth of streets and many workshops. This place is a real treasure trove for tourists. Here you can admire for hours old colonial houses, carved doors, etc. In addition to the Fort Jesus fortress, special attention should be paid to such places as the summer residence of the President of Kenya, the second largest seaport in Africa, the ancient Mandri mosque, the Hindu temple of God Shiva, Heller- a park with a butterfly pavilion, an oceanarium. Mpunguchi and Kisite Marine Parks are adjacent to Mombasa. The colorful underwater world of the local reefs attracts diving enthusiasts from all over the world, and the numerous beaches are great for all kinds of water sports.
How to get there
The city has its own airport, which receives both domestic flights and International flights from many European countries. Domestic flight from the capital is approximately 45 minutes. In addition to air transport to Mombasa from Nairobi, there is a railway transport, buses and “matatu” minibuses. The tourist infrastructure of the city is well developed. There are many hotels along the coast to suit every taste and budget. The northern resort coast, connected to the Old Harbor, is full of restaurants, casinos, nightclubs and discos. In order to get to the southern resort coast, you need to take a ferry.
2 tourists were here
Mombasa Airport accepts both domestic flights and flights from many European countries. Domestic flight from the capital of Kenya, …
Where to go in Mombasa
Fort Jesus in Mombasa is one of the most visited attractions in Kenya. This is a fortification.
Kaya Mijikenda Forests are sacred forests on Kenya’s coastal strip. They stretch for about 200 kilometers.
Mombasa National Marine Park (not to be confused with the Mombasa Marine Reserve) is part of the eponymous..
In the cities and towns of Kenya, there is a large number of souvenir shops and shops, as well as markets with handicrafts. Among the authentic souvenirs, tourists especially appreciate clay animal figurines, paintings by local artists, ebony and teak handicrafts, leather goods, ethnic masks, handmade carpets, braids, drums. Kenyan tea and coffee are equally popular and are sold in all supermarkets in Mombasa. Decorations and details of the Maasai national dress are extraordinarily beautiful. However, prices in local markets are often unreasonably high, so tourists can and should bargain. Sometimes, by bargaining, you can drop the price of a product by as much as 50%. The export of ivory products from the country is prohibited, and the skins of wild animals can be exported only with a special permit.
The range of souvenirs in all shops is almost the same. In big cities, there are shopping centers and shops with well-known brands. In Mombasa, the shops and market of the Old City are especially prized. Almost all retail outlets are open Monday through Friday from 8.30 am to 5 pm with lunch breaks, and on Saturdays from 8.30 am to 12.30 pm. In places where tourists congregate, shops can work until 20.00 without a lunch break. Supermarkets are open until almost midnight. There is no tax free system and credit cards are only accepted in major stores. Many Kenyan shops sell safari clothing made from special materials and covering the entire body. Also in Kenya, you can buy precious and semi-precious stones, for example, tanzanite, tzavorite, malachite, tiger’s eye. However, the export of gold and diamonds from the country is prohibited.
The Internet has become widespread in Kenya due to the large number of service providers. Today, in almost all cities of the country, tourists can find Internet cafes, and most hotels, lodges and restaurants offer their own Wi-Fi. You can also use international tourist SIM cards to access the Internet. Connection rules and tariffs should be checked with the operators.
Kenya uses the international standard GSM-900. In cities, communication is consistently good, and in some remote areas, communication may be lost. Local SIM cards are sold at the offices of Safaricom and KenCell operators. Such cards can be purchased immediately upon arrival at the Nairobi airport, or in communication salons, which are found in almost all more or less large settlements.
Telephone communications are not well developed in Kenya. So, for example, pay phones are found only in large cities of the country. Some of them work on coins, and some on special cards. These cards can be purchased at post offices. The central point of international negotiations is located in Nairobi. From this point you can call directly abroad. It is also possible to make a call from the hotel, but at a double rate. To call local numbers, you need to dial the international Kenya code – 254.
Kenya is a country with an ambiguous security situation. On the one hand, Kenyans are very friendly to foreigners, and on the other hand, being in some outlying areas can be unsafe. Usually, these are areas outside the tourist centers. The outskirts of Nairobi and Mombasa are also unsafe. Pickpockets, crooks and even armed gangs can operate in such places. It is better to refuse evening walks alone and, if necessary, use a reliable taxi service. In the north of the country, gangs of separatists are often found, and poachers are often found in protected areas. The situation is especially unfavorable on the border with Ethiopia and Somalia.
Compared to other African countries, Kenya has a relatively favorable situation in terms of epidemiology, but one should not forget about the risk of contracting malaria, various forms of hepatitis, HIV infection, and yellow fever. For this reason, increased precautions are recommended. In particular, when entering the country, tourists may be required to have a certificate of yellow fever vaccination. To prevent malaria, you should take a course of certain medications prescribed by your doctor. Vaccinations against tetanus, poliomyelitis, hepatitis, A and B are also recommended. Timely insurance will allow you to reimburse costs in case of force majeure.
In Kenya, it is not safe to drink tap water or eat food purchased from street vendors. Fruits and vegetables must be washed with boiled water. Smoking in public places is strictly prohibited, but there are specially designated areas for this. The fines for violating this prohibition can be quite high. Kenyans are not very fond of being photographed by strangers without permission, but for a special fee they may agree. It is forbidden to take pictures of border posts, people in uniforms, objects of military importance, the central square of Nairobi and the area near the mausoleum of Jomo Kenyatta.
When traveling on safari, you should not get too close to wild animals, and in many national parks it is even forbidden to move on your own. The best way to explore the protected areas is by jeep and with a professional guide. Feeding animals in national parks is also prohibited and is fraught with a large fine. In lodges and campsites, it is recommended to monitor the condition of the mosquito nets. For a trip to nature reserves, it is better to choose clothes that cover all parts of the body as much as possible. Wide-brimmed hats, tall but comfortable shoes, sunscreen, repellents and plenty of drinking water are highly recommended.