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The coastal town of Mombasa is the second largest city in Kenya, with a population of half a million. Located in the South-Eastern part of Kenya, it plays an important role in the country’s economy, not only for its imports and exports through its port-which is the largest in East Africa, but also as a destination for tourists visiting Kenya.Mombasa undoubtedly has one of the best white sandy beaches and coral reefs that Africa has to offer. Coupled with an array of hotels on the beachfront situated along the North and South coasts of the town, it characterizes Mombasa as the ideal place for a vacation. This is why Mombasa is a major tourist destination, and the tourism industry the number one earner of foreign exchange in the country.

Apart from the beautiful beaches, another unique aspect of this wonderful town is its rich history. The “Old Town” is reminiscent of the days when the Portuguese used to rule Mombasa, and you can experience the history even today in the structures that still stand, such as the Fort Jesus. The town is heavily influenced by Arabic culture, and is more observable here than in other parts of the town.

Another factor that draws tourists from Mombasa, not only internationally but also from other areas within Kenya such as the capital Nairobi, is the exciting nightlife. There are many nightclubs situated along the North and South Coasts of the town, all of which have different themes that cater to different crowds. Many hotels also have their own entertainment events, which are very appealing to those wishing to have a relatively mellow evening.

In the heart of the town is where most hospitals, businesses, banks, shops and markets are situated. Hence almost all services such as health advice, financial services, or any kind of shopping, are all provided for in the city. Being a small town, Mombasa does not have a subway system. However one can easily get around using the local bus service; or for a “truly Kenyan experience” a ride in a “Matatu”- which is quite a unique adventure. The town offers a host of quality restaurants offering a wide range of foods, ranging from British, Chinese, Indian and Italian cuisine, to a variety of local and traditional dishes.

Being a colonial country before independence, Mombasa has a kaleidoscope of different cultures and languages. The most common language spoken is Swahili, followed by English. However, being a town that thrives on tourism, finding someone who speaks German, French, Dutch or any other language is not much of a problem.

Mombasa City Tour. The tour picks some of the highlights of this colourful city including the bustling fruit and vegetable market, the Old town and port, Fort Jesus, the Elephant Tusks and Akamba Wood Carvers Center.

The Mombasa "Tusks" are symbolic representations of entrance into the heart of the town. The tusks were built to commemorate the visit of Queen Elizabeth to the town in 1952, as they lay directly on the path from the port to the town. Ivory was considered to be an exquisite commodity during the time, and in essence the tusks were meant to embrace the Queen and the British Empire into the town and within its social structure. Coincidentally the tusks also spell the letter "M" for Mombasa.

Fort Jesus is Mombasa’s most popular tourist attraction. The fort, located along the coastline near the Old Town, is a monumental piece of architecture that was built in the 16th century by the Portuguese. The fort has a museum that displays various artifacts from the era where Mombasa served as a transit point for the slave trade and commodities, and which enjoyed regular visits by seafarers and the like. Its interior comprises of torture rooms and prison cells where slaves were kept in captivity before being traded. Weapons such as canons, which were used to defend the fort from invading foreigners as well as rioting locals, can be seen both inside and outside of the fort. The fort opens its gates for viewing in the morning and closes at dusk.

"Old Town” is the part of Mombasa that is reminiscent of the days when the Arabs exerted a heavy influence on the town and its culture, and especially in the architecture and language (Kiswahili has a lot of phrases derived from various Arabic dialects). It is well known for its ancient buildings, extravagant art designs and curio shops that sell antique and popular Kenyan souvenirs. Old Town is best seen when explored by foot with an experienced guide, as the streets are too narrow to accommodate a large number of vehicles. The town’s inhabitants are mostly of Arab origin who’s forefathers once roamed the same streets of the town. Fort Jesus is located just a few steps away from where the town "starts", thus a complete tour of the fort and the “Old Town” can be done in a single day.

Each of 2 pax US$75

The Bamburi Nature Trail (formerly Haller Park) is the largest animal sanctuary in Mombasa. Located in Bamburi next to the Cement Factory, the Nature Trail boasts an enormous variety of animals, reptiles, insects and botanical gardens. Walking along the trail is the ideal way to look at the various animals, and on many occasions holding or feeding a reptile such as a snake is allowed under close supervision of a guide. Educational videos are also shown, with emphasis on the history and continuous improvement of the trail. It was previously a barren piece of land that had been stripped of its resources through limestone mining, and was redeveloped through reforestation and conservation efforts, and is now a habitat for a large number of flora and fauna species.

Each of 2 pax US$50

Mombasa Mamba Village. This is Africa’s largest crocodile farm; a haven of reptiles boasting of a beautiful botanical garden. The best time to visit is during feeding time at 17:00 hrs.

Each of 2 pax US$50   

Ngomongo Cultural Village. Drive to Ngomongo Village, a miniature reflection of a tribal community groupings. Sample their lifestyles and culture in their different tribal huts and catch a real life glimpse of what may have been before civilization set in. A number of traditional huts serving different tribal groupings have been created in this theme village. Watch or participate in the traditional food preperation besides sampling the various local brews and marvelling or participating in the local dances.

Each of 2 pax US$50

Tamarind Dhow dinner cruise. You will be picked up from your hotel in the late afternoon and driven to Tamarind Restaurant from where you will take an evening cruise aboard a traditional dhow and enjoy the perfect combination of good food, romantic atmosphere on this leisurely cruise in Mombasa Old Habour. Highlights include a sumptuous seafood meal, dancing under the stars and a gentle cruise through the peaceful creeks of Mombasa.

Each of 2 pax US$120

The Bombolulu workshops are located along the north coast of Mombasa. Founded in 1969, Bombolulu Workshops is a Project of the Association for the Physically Disabled in Kenya (APDK). It is a major Tourist attraction, which consists of a Cultural Centre with 8 traditional homesteads. The Centre also runs a traditional Restaurant and entertains guests with traditional dances throughout the day. The Centre is run by the "Association for the physically disabled" and employs 150-disabled craftsmen/women who produce jewellery, hand printed textiles, woodcarvings and leather crafts. The products are sold in a large showroom and exported to 20 countries. Bombolulu Workshops have grown to be one of the biggest rehabilitation centres in Kenya and has built a reputation as one of Kenyans most reliable exporters.

Each of 2 pax US$50

Fullday Dolphin Dhow trip. You will be picked up early in the morning and drive south. The scenic route takes you through the colourful villages of the Digo people with lush coconut and cashewnut plantations. On arrival at Shimoni jetty, board a motorized glass-bottomed Lamu dhow (boat) which will sail you through an enchanting seascape of Islands to the richest marine park in Kenya (Kisite). Being escorted by Dolphin experts makes this more than a dow trip. Their knowledge makes a meeting with the friendly Dolphins a reality. It is in their natural coral garden where you will snokel and marvel at the prolific marine life. A traditional sumptuous meal will be served on board to ensure maximum time for Dolphin spotting. The island provides good vantage points overlooking the Dolphin's play grounds and leisurely sailing provides tranquil silence to listen out for Dolphin whistles blowing off the sea. Late you will be transferred back to your hotel.

Each of 2 pax US$160

Gedi Ruins. On the North coast of Mombasa towards the town of Malindi lays one the most pre-historic ruins found in Mombasa, called the Gedi Ruins. Gedi was a small town built entirely from rocks and stones, which was inhabited by a few thousand Swahili people and ruled by a very rich Sultan. These ruins date back from the 15th century, and through careful preservation most of the original foundations can still be seen today. A well-informed and educated guide gives a tour of the ruins. The ruins are designated, as a National Museum by law, and their preservation are a direct reflection of the commitment of the Government to uphold the country's cultural and historical background.

Each of 2 pax US$75 

Fullday Wasini Island Dhow trip. You will be picked up early in the morning and drive south to Wasini Island. Board a traditional sailing dhow visiting the spectacular Marine Park of Kisite - home to a myriad of tropical fish and lovely coral formations. During the morning hours there will be an opportunity for snokelling on the shallow reef; dolphines might be seen. Enjoy a delicious fresh seafood lunch on Wasini Island. In the afternoon visit a Swahili village before returning to the mainland and back to your hotel.

Each of 2 pax US$160

The Mombasa "Tusks"
University of Nairobi