Mombasa lies on the Kenyan coast next to the Indian Ocean. It is a top tourist destination for many with many exciting activities and experiences, including the following. Let’s dive into the Top 10 things to do in Mombasa.
1. Visit Fort Jesus Museum
This fort was built centuries ago in 1593 by the Portuguese. It was then also used by the Arabs during the slave trade era at the East African coast. It was carved out of an existing big rock by slaves who had been captured in that area. The fort still stands to this day strong and gigantic due to its rock formation. It is in the shape of a cross, hence the name Fort Jesus. You can tour the museum inside and also take a walk around with a tour guide. You have to pay a small fee though for all this.
2. Find The Mombasa Tusks
The Mombasa tusks are enormous artificial elephant tusks made out of aluminum. Also known as the Pembe za Ndovu in Swahili. The tusks were put together long ago to honor Princess Margaret’s visit to Mombasa. They hover up in the sky on Moi Avenue in Mombasa town. A spectacle to see and take memorable pictures of as one of the signature sights of a Mombasa visit. As you admire this masterpiece, you can also take a stroll and try some of the local street bites. There are a variety of crisps made from different local foods, some baobab seeds or as locally known mabuyu. You can also sip on a drink from coconuts to climax the Mombasa experience.
3. Take A Ferry Ride
This is very adventurous. The ferry is located at Kilindini and it carries cargo across from the island to the mainland of Mombasa. Aside from the cargo, they allow taking people who want to cross for free as well. So, there are usually large crowds of people waiting to take this free ride. When the ferry lands and the gates are opened, you have to get ready to run and scramble to get on. Travel light for this ferry race as it is uncomfortable and not so safe to get on with heavy luggage. The ferry takes its time to cover the short distance giving a tourist time to take in the scene.
4. Go to Haller Park
At Haller park, there are a number of interesting things to see and do. There are wild animals like hippopotamuses and crocodiles that you can get to see up-close in their sanctuaries. There are butterflies too in all sorts of different species in a butterfly sanctuary. Furthermore, there is an option of birdwatching as well for the bird lovers. The park is near the ocean and is filled with many trees offering a nice atmosphere for nature walks. Paved trails were demarcated for leisurely walks, jogging or even cycling through the park. You have to pay a small fee of around two hundred Kenya shillings to enter.
5. Dine On the Tamarind Floating Restaurant
The Tamarind Dhow is an interesting restaurant set up on a boat. It is always on the move along Tudor Creek that separates the Mombasa island from the rest of Kenya. The restaurant serves amazing seafood fresh from the water like oysters, lobsters, prawns, you name it. As well as different steaks and other vegetarian options. For drinks, you can choose from a number of cocktails or beverages to smooth down the food. It is an exceptional experience on the Tamarind dhow feasting and dining as you sway along the waves. Together with beautiful scenery passing before your eyes with an oceanic breeze you can enjoy your food.
6. Shop in the Maasai and Marikiti Markets
The Maasai market is held on Wednesdays and Thursdays at Nyali in the Nakumat parking lot. It is the place to go for some Kenyan art and crafts pieces. Most of the items on display are made mostly by the Maasai tribesmen whom you can meet in person and also see them at work weaving together unique masterpieces like bracelets and necklaces. The Marikiti market is not hard to locate as it is in the middle of the town. Here you can get local Kenyan raw foods and spices. There are also many local fast foods and snacks on sale on the street that you can try like fresh sugarcane juice.
7. Explore the Mombasa Marine National Park
There is a lot to do and see at the Marine National Park. There is snorkeling deep into the ocean where you get to swim alongside the fish. You can also find dolphins and giant tortoises on a lucky day. Snorkeling gear is available for hire on the beach for those who do not have any. Divers and swimmers have an opportunity to go deep into the ocean or swim lightly in the water with professional lifeguards and instructors always on watch. You will also find glass-bottomed boats that enable you to view the aquatic life below as you row on the water.
8. Tour Mamba Village
The word ‘mamba’ stands for ‘crocodile’ in Swahili. So this is a village for crocodiles or basically a farm where crocodiles are reared for tourism as well as their meat. There are many crocodiles here from very old gigantic ones to little small ones. Tourists are allowed to feed them and even pet them a bit with tour guides present to narrate and educate all about the crocodiles. After touring and learning about these rare mambas, a restaurant is nearby with crocodile meat prepared in a variety of ways to the satisfaction of your taste buds. The village can be found along Links road.
Another great fun Mombasa experience is the Go-Kart along Malindi road. The go-karts are very low cars that you pay a small fee to ride and race against other riders. Their speed and the tracks along which you drive make for a wonderful adrenaline feeling that keeps you going back for more. There are also beach buggies for a drive along the beach, a rodeo bull, as well as paintball games to be enjoyed. Young children also have an option to have their own fun in an excavator park. There is a restaurant at hand for nourishment after all the excursions and on Thursday evenings, live bands perform for spectators.
10. Enjoy the Mombasa Beach Life
Mombasa exhibits a variety of beaches on its Northern and Southern coasts. The coasts being connected by the Likoni ferry. The South coast of Mombasa tends to be favored by most with beaches like Diani beach with beautiful palm trees and many beach activities and sports for tourists. Further south from Diani, you can enjoy a quieter and more peaceful beach time on Galu beach. Galu beach also has Pinewood Village and Spa with great accommodation. On the North coast, closer to the Mombasa city, you can find Whitesands beach, Serena beach, among others. The North coast offers a more upbeat beach life.
Updated: October 5, 2018