Mombasa holidays: The Ultimate Kenyan Experience
Mombasa holidays rock!That is something we can all attest to and which dates back to 1330. The famous Moroccan scholar and traveller Ibn Battuta once spent a day in the coastal town and couldn’t help but write about its charm.
And he was neither the first nor the last. Other travellers like Arab geographer Al Idrisi had written about the City’s trading prosperity in 1151 and the writings continued in the 19th Century and still continue.
Mombasa as it stands now is a new age cosmopolitan port city but with great facets of history engraved in it. It’s an island connected to the mainland by bridges and ferries and it overlooks a wide harbor, where commercial shipping mingles with traditional sailing dhows.
The port surely has the story to tell with many great people having set sail on it. It’s also County Number 1 in Kenya currently under the stewardship of Hassan Ali Joho.
If I was sit down and narrate the rich history, then this excerpt will never be over. What I want to highlight are the main reasons why Mombasa holidays are the epitome of vacaying;
Every year, droves upon droves of holiday makers throng the Kenyan coast line for a piece of the pristine white sandy beaches. Synonymous with great weather, breathtaking views, endless palm trees and cool breezes, it’s the perfect destination for those looking to relax and get away.
With a range of activities to savour from like Swimming, beach sports, diving, snorkeling as well as boat rides with transparent glasses at the bottom that allow you to see the rich marine life below are common; the experience is out of these world.
And the Kenyan coastline is really stretchy with quite a wide array of beaches to make your stay unforgettable. They include;
Bamburi Beach which is only 10KM from the City Centre with several beachfront hotels, apartments and villas. The famous public Pirates Beach is located on this stretch and so is the Mombasa Marine Park which is a great attraction to marine life lovers.
Bamburi beach is always a beehive of activities with various parties and events always underway and also fun activities like water skiing, beach volleyball and what not. You can enjoy all this with friends while swimming or taking madafu, a popular drink on the Kenyan Coast. The place can be accessed using public transport like matatus or tuk tuk a popular mode of transport at the coast.
Right next to Bamburi Beach is the exquisite and relaxing Shanzu Beach. Now when you are done playing at Bamburi Beach, you want to head on here to enjoy a drink or engage in some sea food in the various establishments located on its stretch.
Accessibility to the beach is through Serena road which is adjacent to Shanzu Teachers College and can be accessed through all manner of public transport like tuk tuk’s, matatus and even uber’s which have since made their way to the coastal town.
And who said Mombasa holidays are only about relaxation and chilling? There is also a little something for the adrenaline lovers as well. Like Nyali beach is specifically suited for the surfers. First of all, it has a lot of privacy and has the right atmosphere for some adventure. Other activities to engage in at the beach are sunbathing, swimming and building sand castles.
There is also Watamu Beach, the Italian haven which is about 15KM South of Malindi. The beach is known for its local reefs, clear water, soft white sands and of course Italians led by Formula One guru Flavio Briatore. He occasionally flies down there to one of his properties, Lion in the Sun to vacay and entertain his equally rich friends. Fun activities to engage in Watamu Beach include; swimming, sun bathing and many more.
Lastly there is Diani Beach which is the most popular of them all. Located 30KM South of Mombasa, Diani is renowned for its coral-reefs, underwater sandbars, and widespread palm vegetation. The hotels here are also top notch and offer the best relaxation and comfort. The best thing about Diani is the fact that it has a little something for everyone. For the nature lovers who like taking long walks on the beach, then Diani’s tranquility and calmness will blow you away. The pristine beach also really sits well with families as it’s the best getaway to come together and connect. The young guys who pride themselves in being the life of the party are also not left behind when it comes to Diani. I can’t bring myself to count all the events that go down in Diani especially during December holidays and the many bars which are always roaring with life.
Like we highlighted in the beginning, Mombasa is very rich in history and there is a lot to learn and experience from the coastal town. It’s a mix of Arab, Portuguese, Oman and British culture all coming together and creating something spectacular.
And the best place to start it all is Fort Jesus located on Old Town. Constructed by the Portuguese during 1593-1596 and designed by an Italian architect, Cairati, Fort Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although now partly ruined, Fort Jesus is a fine display of 16th-century Portuguese military architecture. Enjoy the exhibition of the wide collection of ceramics and pottery reflecting the various cultures that traded along the coast. Within the compound are many fascinating battlements and derelict buildings including the Omani house, a building with Omani jewelry and displays on Swahili life
There is also Gedi ruins in the confines of Watamu in Kilifi district. Gedi is one of many medieval Swahili-Arab coastal settlements that stretch from Mogadishu, Somalia to the Zambezi River in Mozambique. There are 116 known Swahili sites stretching from southern Somalia to Vumba Kuu at the Kenya-Tanzania border. All of the standing buildings at Gedi, which include mosques, a palace, and numerous houses, are made from stone, are one-story, and are distributed unevenly in the town. There are also large open areas in the settlement which contained earth and thatch houses. Stone “pillar tombs” are a distinctive type of Swahili Coast architecture found at Gedi as well.
You can also savour Mombasa’s nature trails at Haller Park while you can do some cycling or jogging. For only 20 USD, you can experience their reptile park, butterfly sanctuary and bird watching.
Mombasa’s night life is also very upbeat with a good number of clubs to sample like Casablanca, Bobs bar and many others.
Mombasa holidays are also not complete without a trip to Mamba Village. With daily tours along the farm and a separate playground for kids to enjoy when they get bored with the tour, Mamba Village is the ideal spot for a weekend plan. The highlight of the tour is the feeding time when all the blood-thirsty crocodiles fight for food.
There are many hotels in Mombasa which are suited to cater for various budgets. There are also cottages, apartments and halls for backpackers who are about the adventure. Some of the hotels include:
Sarova Whitesands which is on Malindi road just a few kilometres from Mombasa town. A high end establishment, it prides itself in ensuring their guests enjoy the most relaxing and comfortable stay in tastefully furnished rooms and suites offering spectacular ocean, pool and garden views.
For dining and entertainment, guests can choose from three themed superb restaurants, two great bars, and the exclusive Cocos Beach Bar, overlooking the beautiful Indian Ocean. There are five outdoor swimming pools with water slides, spring board, diving boards and four floodlit tennis courts that also serve as a landing ground for helicopters. Rates at the hotel range from 100 USD to 200 USD per person.
Another high end hotel in Mombasa is Serena Beach resort located along Shanzu Beach some 30KM from Mombasa town. Fringed by white beaches and shaded by coconut palms, the architecture of the Serena Beach Hotel and Spa replicates the winding lanes and colourful market places of a traditional 13th century Swahili town which can be enjoyed from again 100 USD to 200 USD per person.
There are also low budget hotels in Mombasa like Ocean View Nyali hotel which is only 20 USD and Tulia Backpackers which goes as low as 10 USD per night. There are also a myriad of apartments, cottages and holiday homes to choose from.
Like we said from the beginning, Mombasa holidays rock!
|Languages spoken||English, Kiswahili|