Things to Do in Mombasa: Mombasa is a city situated on the southeastern coast of Kenya, and it is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Known for its stunning beaches, rich culture, and historical significance, Mombasa offers a wealth of exciting activities for visitors to enjoy. From exploring ancient ruins and taking in the vibrant local art scene to indulging in delicious cuisine and relaxing on pristine beaches, there is something for everyone in Mombasa. Whether you’re traveling solo, with family, or as part of a group, the city promises to provide an unforgettable experience.
Things to Do in Mombasa
In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the top things to do in Mombasa, ensuring that you make the most of your visit to this vibrant and beautiful city.
Visit Fort Jesus
For history buffs and architecture enthusiasts traveling to Kenya, a visit to the magnificent Fort Jesus is a must. Exploring this fortress allows you to delve into the rich history of Mombasa city while admiring the brilliant Renaissance-style architecture of the structure.
Furthermore, you can attempt to identify the various design elements that draw influence from European, African, Persian, Ottoman, and Arab cultures. Additionally, you can visit the museum within the fort to view an impressive collection of ancient archaeological artifacts.
Visit Shimba Hills National Reserve
For nature enthusiasts traveling to Kenya, a visit to the renowned Shimba Hills National Reserve is a must. This large coastal forest is ideal for exploring the abundant flora and fauna of the area. During your visit, you may have the opportunity to spot African elephants, red-necked Spurfowl, bushy-tailed mongoose, Zanzibar Red Bishop, Croaking Cisticola, Sable antelope, and fruit bats.
In addition to the diverse wildlife, touring the Shimba Hills National Reserve offers the chance to behold the stunning Mwaluganje Forest and the picturesque Sheldrick Falls. Nature lovers will find this reserve to be a truly breathtaking destination.
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Go Scuba Diving at Mombasa Marine Park
For those captivated by watersports, the renowned Mombasa Marine National Park is a must-visit, providing an opportunity to engage in scuba diving. With a portion of the black reef and reef crests of the Bamburi Nyali reef enclosed within the park, you can encounter a variety of vibrant reef fish during your dive.
Among the marine creatures you may encounter during your dive in the Mombasa Marine Park are starfish, crabs, turtles, corals, sea urchins, sea grasses, and stonefish, to name a few
Camel rides at Pirates Beach
For those seeking to bask in the picturesque beaches of Kenya, a camel ride along the pristine shores of Pirates Beach in the city of Mombasa is a must. During this delightful experience, you can immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and savor the stunning views of the azure sea waters.
As you ride atop the camel, you can also sip on sweet coconut water and fully embrace the beach life. Additionally, an evening camel ride affords the opportunity to revel in the mesmerizing sunset view while enjoying the ride.
Go cruising in a Tamarind Dhow
Visit the Mombasa Tamarind Jetty and embark on a journey aboard a traditional dhow. As you cruise and take in the tranquil views of the water, you can observe the authentic features of a traditional dhow that are still retained today. During your ride, indulge in refreshing cocktails, savor some delectable seafood, watch cultural performances, or simply feel the cool breeze on your face.
If you opt for an evening dhow ride, relish the stunning sunset views while sipping on delicious sundowners. A ride on a traditional dhow is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Mombasa.
Visit Haller Park
Animal enthusiasts should not miss visiting Haller Park in Mombasa, previously known as Bamburi Nature Trail. This nature reserve was a derelict limestone quarry until Dr. René Haller started the project in 1971. By adding minerals to the soil, planting trees, and establishing a fish farm, he created a thriving ecosystem with wildlife such as giraffes, Cape buffalo, zebras, waterbucks, and hippos. Visitors can feed the giraffes and watch out for the times before planning a visit. Additionally, the park has more than 160 bird species and other attractions like a reptile park, butterfly pavilion, and crocodile pens. The walking and cycling paths that weave through the groves of casuarina make for a pleasant nature walk. A famous interspecies couple, Mzee the 130-year-old tortoise, and Owen, the orphaned hippo, once called Haller Park home. In the vicinity, about a 15-minute drive away, is the Nguuni Wildlife Sanctuary, where visitors can have close encounters with giraffes and see ostriches, eland, oryx, and many bird species.
Old Town Walking Tour
Embarking on a trip along the coast of Mombasa, the best way to start is by exploring the historic Mombasa Old Town. This will give you a peek into how diverse cultures have coexisted in harmony on the island for generations.
Narrow alleys dotted with old buildings reflect the rich heritage of the locals, Arabs, Asians, and Europeans who have left their imprint on the area. The old houses, adorned with intricately carved doors and balconies, serve as testaments to the rich history and architecture of the region.
As you wander through the streets, you’ll come across noteworthy sites such as the Old Post Office, Africa Hotel, and many more interesting landmarks. Be sure to take a walk along the main street to experience the bustling vibe of Mombasa Old Town.
Have a Street Food Experience
The cuisine of the Swahili people is a delightful fusion of various cultures present along the Kenyan coastline. It incorporates elements from local, Arabic, European, and Indian culinary traditions. Your trip to Mombasa would not be complete without savoring some of the delicious Swahili cuisine.
A traditional Swahili meal typically features rice and an assortment of spices, such as cloves and coriander. The rice is prepared with different ingredients, such as fish, chicken, and beef, to create a flavorful dish.
Tour to Mamba Village Centre
Located in Nyali, the Mamba Village Centre is the largest crocodile farm in East Africa. Here, visitors can explore the life cycle and behavior of these intriguing amphibians. One of the highlights of the visit is watching the crocodiles compete for food during feeding time. Children especially enjoy the opportunity to hold a baby crocodile.
In addition to crocodiles, the Mamba Village Centre also offers horseback riding and a botanical garden with an aquarium. Orchids and aquatic plants are the main attractions in the garden, with a variety of carnivorous species also on display.
For those with a taste for game meat, the center’s restaurant is a must-visit. The restaurant specializes in dishes made with crocodile, ostrich, and zebra meat.