What to see absolutely in Mombasa in Kenya

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Lluis Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references


Mombasa is there second largest city in Kenya. Unlike the economically more developed capital Nairobi, Mombasa still retains an ancient and historic charm. There are not many attractions to visit and it all boils down to an imposing Renaissance fort and a few beaches and parks, but among the alleys of the Old Town there is no shortage of typical African markets with unparalleled colors and scents, craft shops and local restaurants, which is why Mombasa is still worth a visit.
Find out with us what to see absolutely in Mombasa in Kenya!



Index

  1. Fort Jesus Museum
  2. Mackinnon Market
  3. Pembe Za Ndovu
  4. Mombasa Waterfront
  5. Shelly Beach
  6. Mamba Village Center
  7. Haller Park
  8. Plan your stay in Mombasa: info on flights, hotels and tours
  9. User questions and comments

1 - Fort Jesus Museum

The Fort Jesus Museum is there main attraction of Mombasa, since 2011 it is part of the UNESCO sites for its rich historical and cultural heritage.

The fort represents for Mombasa a important piece of history given the role it has played over the years between clashes and fighting in order to protect the port. The structure dates back to the Renaissance, designed by the Italian Giovanni Battista Cairati on commission of the Portuguese between 1593 and 1596. It is currently the best Portuguese fortification and the best preserved of that period. Inside are many military artifacts dating back to the various battles and also a beautiful panoramic view of the Indian Ocean opens up.


  • from the center of Mombasa, it is a few minutes walk but can also be reached by tuk tuk at a cost of only 50 KSH (about € 0,45) - Get directions
  • every day from 8: 00 to 18: 00
  • 1.200 KES (€ 10,00)
  • Mombasa: City Tour with Fort Jesus and Haller Park Entrance

2 - Mackinnon Market

At the gates of the old city, right in the heart of Mombasa, there is an incredible, almost surreal place. Mackinnon Market is a city ​​market where you can find everything, from meat to fish, from vegetables to spices, and even preserves.

A tour of this market will leave you speechless for its colors and scents, but above all for the unusual products you will encounter such as camel meat or the spicy baobab fruit, which there will be an opportunity to taste thanks to the generosity of the sellers always super enthusiastic to make their flavors known. In short, a typical African market for the shopping of local families, where however tourists are still welcome!


  • reachable from any area of ​​the city on foot or by tuk tuk at a cost of only 50 KSH (about € 0,45) - Get directions
  • every day from 7: 00 to 21: 00
  • free
  • Mombasa: Discovery Day Tour and Haller Park

3 - Pembe Za Ndovu

Pembe Za Ndovu is a iconic monument of Mombasa! This is not a real attraction to visit, but a large structure located in one of the most chaotic streets in the city, Moi Avenue.

So what does Pembe Za Ndovu represent? It is about four giant elephant tusks constructed of aluminum which cross at the top of the street forming two arches. Surely very special and features to take a photo on the fly and continue!


  • it is a 20-minute walk from the city center and about 10 minutes by tuk tuk, at a cost of 100 KSH (about € 0,88) - Get directions
  • always open
  • free

4 - Mombasa Waterfront

The Mombasa Waterfront is comparable to a waterfront with a beautiful view. From east to west, heading towards the end of the island of Mombasa, this winds its way long walk in the green, also very popular with local people.

On the way they meet stalls of street food and Kenyan handicrafts, while in the most central part there is a wide view of the Indian Ocean with a succession of sheer cliffs around it. It is very suggestive to travel this stretch towards sunset!


  • it is a few minutes walk from the city center but can also be reached by tuk tuk at a cost of 50 KSH (about € 0,45) - Get directions
  • always open
  • free

5 - Shelly Beach

Leaving the island of Mombasa, moving towards the south coast, one meets Shelly Beach, one of the beautiful white beaches typical of Kenya.

The peculiarity of the beach lies in its naturalness despite its proximity to the city, in fact there is no shortage of very high palm trees to surround it and indescribable turquoise waters. On the beach, among other things, there are no particular services except some private stretches owned by the resorts, and this makes Shelly Beach ideal for relaxing away from the chaos of the city.


  • from the center of Mombasa you have to reach Likoni Ferry port with a tuk tuk (100 KSH / about € 0,88), then take the ferry (free) and finally another tuk tuk (100 KSH / about € 0,88) - Get indications
  • always open
  • free

6 - Mamba Village Center

The Mamba Village Center is the most popular tourist attraction of Mombasa, loved by both adults and children, above all thanks to its low cost in relation to everything that the center offers.

It is a center entirely dedicated to reptiles, spiders and crocodiles dedicated to their breeding, care, conservation and respect. In addition to the various specimens of spiders, snakes and crocodiles, there is certainly one section dedicated to local botanical species and another where you can refresh yourself at the end of the visit with a restaurant and bar corner.


  • is located in the Nyali district, 10 minutes by bus from Mombasa, reachable with about 150 KSH (about € 1,30) - Get directions
  • every day from 8: 00 to 22: 30
  • 800 KSH (about € 6,90)

7 - Haller Park

Haller Park is the largest natural park in Mombasa, located in the nearby Bamburi district. This large green area is the result of an ecological project dedicated to the creation of new natural habitats for birds, insects, mammals and other species introduced over time to balance the ecosystem.

Inside, the park is divided into several dedicated areas for example to butterflies, hippos, turtles, giraffes and beetles, one real find especially for young visitors!

  • is located in the Bamburi district, 15 minutes by bus from Mombasa, reachable with about 200 KSH (about € 1,70) - Get directions
  • every day from 8: 00 to 17: 00
  • 1600 KSH (about € 14,00)
  • Mombasa: Discovery Day Tour and Haller Park Mombasa: City Tour with Fort Jesus and Haller Park Entrance

Plan your stay in Mombasa: info on flights, hotels and tours

Reaching Mombasa is very simple both from Italy and from other locations in Kenya. The flight from Italy costs around € 400,00 e provides at least one stopover depending on the company with which you travel. If you are already in Nairobi instead, the two cities are well connected by a railway whose train takes about 8 hours, while from the neighboring seaside resorts such as Watamu and Malindi to the north and Diani Beach to the south, you can reach it by taxi or local buses, which however take a very long time.
As for accommodation and food, Mombasa is very cheap and you can find accommodations starting from € 10,00 per night in the hostel and from € 15,00 per night in the hotel and guest house, eat street food specialties for a few cents or a hearty single dish for about 600 KSH (about € 5,20).

I most proposed city tours touch all the attractions listed above, or most of them, at a total cost of 6.000 KSH (approximately € 52,00). Our final advice is to dedicate a maximum of 2 nights to Mombasa being a city that can be visited in a short time but also a good starting point for seaside resorts and for safaris in Tsavo National Park.

  • starting from € 386,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 10,00 per room -
  • Mombasa: City Tour with Fort Jesus and Haller Park Entrance From Mombasa: Watamu Marine Park & ​​Sudi Island Excursion Tsavo National Park: 2-Day Tour from Mombasa

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