Mombasa is a city in the Kenyan coast, 484 km from Nairobi, and just one 1 hour flight away. It is located on Mombasa Island and is connected to the mainland to the north by the Nyali Bridge, to the south by the Likoni Ferry, and to the west by the Makupa Causeway, alongside which runs the Kenya – Uganda railway. It is the country’s oldest and second largest city. Mombasa is home to Kenya's only large seaport, the Kilindini Harbour, and Moi International Airport. Jambojet flies daily between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and Mombasa International Airport. Check out our Mombasa flight schedule to find the best flight for you and book your ticket today.
Mombasa has a tropical climate with the temperature averaging at 26.7 °C, but it could go as high as 33 °C. It is a lively city with an interesting mixture of exotic Arabian culture and progressive modern life. Mombasa's shoreline is renowned for its vibrant 24-hour entertainment offers, culinary offers and endless white sandy beaches. There are so many exciting things to do in Mombasa including water sports and family entertainment. This is probably why the city is commonly known as ‘Mombasa Raha’, which loosely translates to ‘Fun-filled Mombasa’
The coast North of Mombasa has several world class dive sites. Some of the best sites are in Mtwapa and Nyulli Reef.
- Mtwapa and Barracuda Reef. – Here you are guaranteed to see large shoals of angel and butterfly fish. There has also been occasional sighting of the world’s largest shark- the Whale Shark.
- For experienced divers, the best option is Nyulli Reef. This is a good deep dive with strong tidal currents which allow drifts through spectacular coral, snapper, barracuda, rare zebra sharks and massive Napoleon wrasse.
Water sports for Adrenaline junkies.
The expansive Indian Ocean offers you the perfect opportunity for both motorized and non-motorized water sports. Nyali Beach, Che-Shale, and H2O Extreme offer a variety of water sports including kitesurfing, windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, skim and boogie boarding.
Walk down the antique streets of Old town.
Known for its exotic Arabic appearance, its ancient buildings, amazing architecture with extravagant art designs that teleport you back in time. A walk down old town is very therapeutic, with the sound of children laughing and playing along the narrow streets.
Visit Fort Jesus
The fort was built in 1593 by the Portuguese, but later used by the Arabs as torture rooms, prison cells where slaves were kept in captivity before being shipped away. It is now a museum that is open daily for a small fee.
- Haller Park is ideal for cycling, jogging, and strolling along nature trails while inhaling nature in all its beauty. It has various options to choose from, such as the Game Sanctuary, Reptile Park, Butterfly Sanctuary and bird watching.
- Mamba Village is one of East Africa’s largest crocodile farms. With daily tours along the farm and a separate playground for kids to enjoy when they get bored with the tour, makes the farm ideal for wholesome family fun!
Marikiti Market which is at the heart of Mombasa town is the best place to get spices, rich Kenyan coffee, and Fruit Tea. You can also shop for quality khangas, fabrics or clothes laced with the rich Swahili culture.
Maasai market is souvenir heaven. If you’re in need of wood carvings or unique paintings for your home, then Masai Market located at the City Mall parking lot is the place to be every Wednesday and Thursday for a unique shopping experience.
Take a Stroll on the Beach
A leisurely walk along Mombasa’s white sandy beaches is the ultimate therapy. Imagine getting a deep tissue massage after a long tiring day? That is the same feeling you get, only in your brain. You can get lost in your thoughts or let yourself be drawn in by the sound of the water. You can sit by the beach and let the tide lick your toes, whichever way you do it, some alone time at the beach will do you a lot of good.
Take a TukTuk Ride
Want to explore the winding streets of Mombasa without getting stuck in traffic? Take a tuktuk! It might not be the smoothest or quietest of rides, but it is a fun, cheap and convenient means of transport.
Fun doesn't end when the sun sets. Mombasa’s nightlife is just as vibrant as the daytime life. Head out to the numerous clubs and make memories. For a chilled drink and some quality music, Tapas, The Lounge at City Mall or Bliss Lounge are the places to be. But if you want to take the party a notch louder and dance the night away, then Anuba, Hypnotica or the various pubs in Mtwapa are a sure bet for lively parties.
Mombasa’s food culture is one for the books. Here, put your forks and knives to the side and indulge with your bare, but clean, hands. Our partners at EatOut Kenya compiled a couple of must visit restaurants.
Swahili spread: You may know Mombasa for many things, and in the middle of it all is the delectable Swahili dishes. Tarboush and Barka are the two restaurants renowned for their spreads. They are both located meters away from each other, off Madaraka road in Mombasa. Another favorite is Forodhani, located in Old Town Mombasa. Locals and tourists alike rave about the authentic Swahili food served at these restaurants. Here, you’ll enjoy some of the best shawarma, biryani, pilau and tikka around!
Drift ‘n’ dine: For those not troubled by seasickness, go aboard a restaurant like The Moorings in Mtwapa floating on the Indian Ocean and serving a wide variety of meals, including pizza. Or, take a cruise aboard the Tamarind Dhow, which winds its way around the Tudor Creek over a four course meal, allowing you glimpses of Mombasa’s Old Town and Fort Jesus as you dine and wine.
Grab a Quickie: Grab a bite at the Jahazi Coffee House in Old Town post tour. The coffee house is very affordable and features old Swahili architecture and seating as well as a menu of several tea and coffee options and Swahili snacks. Or, visit the Blue Room Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor for ice cream, coffee and tea.
Here is a list of Swahili delicacies that you should sample:
- ViaziKarai – These are fried potatoes that are often coupled with sauces as Chatini, a thick sauce made from grated coconut and, sometimes, sour additives, or Ukwaju (tamarind sauce which is a mix of water soaked tamarind, onions, garlic, salt and sometimes pepper).
- Mabuyu – Literarily translates as “baobab seeds” which is exactly what this snack is. The seeds are cooked with a nice smelling flavour, food colour and sugar to give them the characteristic colourful look and sweet taste that defines it.
- Achari – This is a sour/sweet snack made from mango. The mango is dried, sweetened or salted, and sometimes colored.Some do add pepper to give it a hot taste.
- Kashata – Kashata is a colourful snack made using dry grated coconut, food colouring and sugar, and comes in colours such as orange, pink and red.
- Mkate wa sinia – Mkate wa sinia is a delicious soft cake that has a wonderful silky sieve-like texture and tastes exotic and amazing, take it with tea or enjoy it as it comes.
- Mahamri – This snack is a form of fried bread, similar to doughnut, but with its distinct sweet tastes.
- Kaimati/Mitai – These crunchy dumplings in sweet sugar syrup are delightful snacks that can be enjoyed at any time.
- Haluwa – This food contain a lot of sugar and saturated fat, it tastes great but not recommended for diabetic patients.
Due to its popularity with both local and international tourists, Mombasa has a wide array of hotels and resorts to accommodate the high influx of tourists it receives all through the year. It is therefore quite easy to find accommodation that fits right into your budget and need.
If you need luxurious and high end accommodation are spoilt for choice. The Serena Beach Resort & Spa, Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa or Voyager Beach Resort promises just that. Other hotels that offer luxurious living with a touch of exclusivity and privacy are Alfajiri Luxury Beach Villas and Tijara Beach Hotel. The two offer exclusive accommodation with intimate gardens and a private beach. At the Royal Court Hotel which is at Shimoni Street Junction, Haile Selassie Rd, guests can enjoy a casino, a Rooftop restaurant and a bar.
Mombasa has many world class hotels offering Moderate to cheap accommodation. For Instance, The Ocean View Nyali Boutique Hotel is a fairly priced Hotel that delivers value for money. It is located in close proximity to Mombasa town, popular hangout joints and has a nice view of the ocean. If you want to spare a few coins for other fun activities, then this hotel won’t disappoint. Other nice options that aren't so hard on the pocket are The Kahama hotel and Bamburi beach hotel among others. We also like the White Rhino Hotel on Taratibu Street which will let you enjoy Mombasa without worrying about finances.
Are you looking for special needs accommodation? Then worry not. The Mombasa Backpackers – Tulia house offers various special accommodation options including Dormitories complete with bunk beds for large group of travelers, Funzi hammocks for those who want to experience African style accommodation, and camping sites for an outdoor night. There are also many beach villas, guest houses, holiday apartments and cottages for more homely accommodation. Among our favourites is Malaika Holida Villas which feature spacious apartments with fully equipped kitchens, Nesma Homes, Kenya Villa Rentals and much more.
There are a host of other affordable hotels all across the Mombasa Coastline. Check out Booking.com for your preferred accommodation in Mombasa.