Mombasa is the second largest city in Kenya. Laying next to the Indian Ocean, it has a major port and an international airport. The city also serves as the centre of the coastal tourism industry. The original Arabic name is Manbasa; in Swahili it is called Kisiwa Cha Mvita (or Mvita for short), which means "Island of War", due to the many changes in its ownership. The town is also the headquarters of Mombasa District, which, like most other districts in Kenya, is named after its chief town.
Mombasa has undoubtedly one of the best white sandy beaches in Africa. The warm waters of the Indian Ocean cater to all types of tourists: those looking for a quiet swim, a place for kids to play, deep-sea fishing, and water sports activities such as scuba diving and sailing. When coupled with its large selection of beachfront hotels, Mombasa becomes an ideal place for a vacation.
In addition to its beautiful beaches, Mombasa offers a diverse cultural history. The City traces many of its cultural traditions to former Portuguese, Arab and British settlers – all of which have left a lasting influence on the City's food, architecture, and people. Tours of the town, safaris in game parks, and camping trips can all be included in your vacation plan.
Things to Do
Safaris located in Mombasa offer the best vacation experience. Take a 1- up to 21-day safari, guided by Mombasa's finest tour guides. Many tours offer drives through the local sanctuaries where you can spot elephants, lions, buffalo, zebra and giraffe.
An all day event, the Tsavo East National Park tours offer the drive and lunch break at the nearby Safari Lodge. Hiking is featured on longer tours consisting of 2 days or more, taking in the sights of this region's natural setting.
The beaches are a tropical getaway around Mombasa. Beach resorts line the region and offer lots of popular water activities. Visit Fort Jesus for travel through time to see how the fort once barricaded the city for the soldiers. Cannons line the walls that once held off invaders.
Where to Stay
Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort located in Bamburi,Sun n Sand beach resort (This resort is 18 acres of paradise and living area) in Kikambala. The customer service leads the pack in friendly hospitality. Gardens bloom year round and the rooms feature many Western amenities. The pools lie close to the open water and views are pleasant for relaxation.
Diani Reef Grand Hotel, located in Mombasa, offers an Arabic styled resort. This 30-acre accommodation center is right next the beach. The relaxing atmosphere and restaurant area with buffet has entertainment in the evenings.
Cottages are available for rental along the beaches in Mombasa. The Kijiji, Warandale, and Coral Kenya Beach Cottages offer reasonable price ranges and sleep up to 5 people.
Where to Eat
Fresh seafood and local cuisine are on the menu at many places in Mombasa. If you are downtown, try the Blue Room. Light lunch and ice cream grace the expansive menu for a budget price. Fine dining at Tamarind Mombasa is the best on the island. View the old harbor while enjoying lobster and fresh seafood.
Eat at an outdoor restaurant in the heart of Mombasa. Mubin's offers popular fare in Africa including barbequed beef and chicken. If meat isn't typical on your menu, try the salads at Mubin's.
If you are looking to party in the evening, head to the Pirates Beach Bar on the North Coast. This club is usually packed and offers different varieties of music. Bora Bora Night Club has a cabaret show geared toward adults. Other shows at Bora Bora include Russian dancers. The atmosphere for this North Coast club is relaxing with good music.
Kenya's second largest city is not much like Nairobi at all. The hustle-bustle, cell phones, and expensive suits of the capital are replaced by a laid-back attitude, where locals dressed in traditional Islamic garb move as slowly as possible in the blistering heat. The Arabic influence is quite evident in the dress, architecture, and food of Mombasa.
Mombasa is just an hour or two from three nice beaches, with glorious white sands. When you're not in the water or soaking up the sun, take a stroll into Old Town to get a taste of Swahili culture and street food, then visit the historic Fort Jesus, or check out some of the hottest clubs in the country.
There are many excellent beach activities for individuals, couples, and families including reef tours. Guided boat tours take you out to the reef where you can walk along the edge and watch the sharks swim at the lower depths. Make sure to wear water shoes or flippers though, the sea urchins can deliver a nasty sting if you are not careful.
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