In Mombasa the drama of its history rises from its foundations – the blend of Arabic, Portuguese, Asian, and Swahili cultures fill the streets and inspire the look of the city’s structures.
This is a truly international port in the old sense of the word. Throughout the centuries, waves of traders, visitors, and marauders have taken control of Mombasa and left their influences on the food, culture, and feel of this ancient seaport city.
Here in the Old Town, you can get lost in the colorful bazaar filled with cloth, spices, and wares evoking a feeling of another time and place.
But nearby you’ll discover broad, clean beaches hugging the clear waters of the Indian Ocean. And in between, great historic sites like the storied Fort Jesus will draw you in with its tales of conquest and control of the trade routes to the east.
Spices and Other Goods
A signature aspect of Mombasa’s Old Town is the collection of stalls with their proprietors hawking the colorful and savory scents of cardamon, turmeric, pepper, curry, and more. It’s a visual and sensory overload of smells, bargaining, bodies, and activity.
The food stalls here reflect those same pungent spices in their offerings, so sample some of this local cuisine as you shop for souvenirs, carvings, fabrics, jewelry, and more in these bustling, back-alley warrens.
Camels, Dhows, and More
Mombasa is a centuries-old port and shows its Arabian influences still. Relax on its comfortable beaches and don’t be surprised when you see a camel stroll by. You can hop onto one of these patient creatures for your own camel ride on the sands as you take in the expanse of the port and the sea.
You may spot an Arabian dhow, plying the easy waters of the Indian Ocean. Join the fun with a romantic sunset sail and dinner aboard one of these authentic ships.
The Living History of Fort Jesus
Perhaps no other fort in the world has seen as much change and turmoil as the massive citadel of Mombasa’s Fort Jesus. The great fort with its imposing walls has witnessed no less than nine conquests since the 17th century, for whoever controlled the fort also oversaw the trade routes to the east.
Thus, the centuries witnessed multiple waves of fighting forces – Portuguese, Muslim soldiers, Swahili warriors, and British colonialists. Because so many different cultures passed through its walls, the fort reflects their architectural influences – you’ll find European cannon batteries mixed with Koranic inscriptions throughout the stronghold.
Mombasa is Also a Marine Park
Perfectly complementing its coastal location, you’ll also come upon a dazzling underwater world to discover near the city. At Mombasa Marine National Park, the great coral reef is home to a kaleidoscope of sea life – tropical fish of infinite variety, sea urchin, crab, starfish, octopus, rays, turtles, and dolphins.
And if you’re itching to do more than snorkel and dive, stretch your vacation horizons and partake in waterskiing, jet skiing, sailing, and windsurfing.
Mombasa will entertain after hours with its busy nightlife of restaurants, bars, and clubs. It’s an international scene – old and new. Plus, we can safari you in or out of the city with our dozens of adventure offerings. Let African Kenya Safaris introduce you to this rich, pulsing Kenya city.