13 Things to do in Sunny Mombasa
It’s been a while since I last visited Mombasa, for context, it was before Mombasa was a county. My earliest vacation memories were in Mombasa and it’s a city that has a special place in my heart. It’s a place I love going back to. It has a charm to it and I was excited to go and see the old gems as well as the new blue and white buildings and all the refurbished spots in town.
Mombasa city is located in southeast Kenya by the coast and is the capital of Mombasa county.
There are various ways to get to Mombasa. There are daily flights from Nairobi. Other options are the Standard Gauge Railway (the SGR) and travelling by road via buses and shuttles. If you fancy road trips, you can drive down to the city.
We opted to use the SGR, the morning train in particular. No one can ever prepare you for the chaos that is at the Syokimau station in the morning. It always feels like you’re rushing, the good thing is that the trains are always punctual. The best thing you can do is get there an hour before departure time to avoid the hassle. I wrote a detailed review of the SGR a while back, here is all the information you need to know about it.
There are various ways to get around the town. You can use public means ie matatus, tuk-tuks, boda bodas, order a cab or hire a car.
Things to do in Mombasa
The plan for the trip was just to relax, but you know me; I’m the type of person who’s always excited to explore the destinations I visit. My good friend Aska so graciously offered to show me around town.
Go to the beach
Mombasa is a coastal town and that is the main reason why people visit. There are several public beaches but you can get access to private beaches if you are staying at a beachfront hotel or if you pay a daily rate at one.
Try your hand at kayaking, deep-sea fishing, water skiing, Rowing, kitesurfing, scuba diving, snorkelling etc. A number of beachfront hotels have watersports facilities and diving centres.
One of the more affordable options is Tudor Water Sports Hotel, which charges Kshs 350 per hour for kayaking. Find more information here.
Sunset Dhow Cruise
One of the best things about coastal towns is the spectacular sunsets that grace them and what better way to experience the magic than on a dhow cruise? Enjoy sundowners as you wade through the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Mombasa Dhow came highly recommended for this.
Explore Old Town
Travel through time as you walk down the narrow streets of this historical attraction. It was originally occupied by Arab, Portuguese, Asian and British communities. You can get there using a cab or a tuk-tuk. Old Town is across Fort Jesus.
The murals opposite Fort Jesus at the Mazrui Family Grave yard wall and Sir Mbarak Hinawy Road (Mombasa Club Wall) are the perfect backdrops for photos and selfies.
I would recommend visiting in the mornings to avoid the unbearable mid-morning heat. It is also advisable to get a guide as you can easily get lost and generally for safety purposes.
Tour Fort Jesus
A must visit, learn more about Mombasa’s history as you tour this UNESCO Heritage site.
Watch the pages of history come alive as you enjoy the enchanting Fort Jesus Mombasa Light & Sound Show. This world-class production brings to life the 400-year history through 3D projection mapping, lasers and holograms.
Catch the show every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Show only (7 pm and 8:30 pm): Residents Kshs 1,000 and Kshs 4,000 for non-residents.
Show plus traditional Swahili dinner (7:00 pm): Residents Kshs 2,500 and Kshs 6,500 for non-residents.
Book tickets here.
Visit Butterfly House
Located in the Fort Jesus Museum, the exhibit is home to over 300 species of tropical butterflies. Open Daily from 8:30 am to 5: 30 pm, visit the house to learn about butterflies, enjoy a picnic or a photoshoot.
Citizen child- 100
E.A Resident child- 100
E.A Resident Adult-300
Non- residents child – 250
Non- residents Adult- 500
Grounds for hire for events- starting from 4k
For more information contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or: email@example.com
Catch views at the Mama Ngina Waterfront
Mama Ngina Waterfront was recently renovated and there are some beautiful spots added to it that have really elevated the place. The best part is that entry is free! Pass by Mama Ngina waterfront in the evening/ late afternoon to enjoy the fantastic view of the ocean and to indulge in fresh madafu and muhogo.
Take a picture at the Tusks/ Pembe za Ndovu
Are you even in Mombasa if you don’t take a photo at the iconic tusks?
Shop at the Marikiti Market and spice market
Stop by the market to buy Swahili snacks like mabuyu, kashata and freshly ground spices.
No trip to Mombasa is complete without buying Maasai sandals, deras and vitenge.
Spend time in nature at Bamburi Haller Park
It is a nature park located along Mombasa-Malindi Road in Majengo. Go on a nature walk or cycle through the lush rehabilitated park. Spot hippos, giraffes, crocodiles, antelopes, vervet monkeys, various fish, reptile and bird species as well as giant tortoises.
Residents: Kshs 500 and Kshs 200 for adults and children respectively
Non- Residents: Kshs 1,400 and Kshs 600 for adults and children respectively
Mamba Village Centre
Located in Nyali, visit the largest crocodile farm in Africa to learn more about crocodiles and interact with them. Book your trip here.
Get wet and wild at Wild Waters
One word for this place- FUN! Play and enjoy the waterslides and pools at this waterpark. Find more information and book here.
Residents – Kshs 1,500
Non-residents – Kshs 1,800
Non-sliders/non-swimmers- Kshs 300
Engage with animals at Nguuni Nature Sanctuary
Located in Bamburi, this place is a must-visit. What was once an uninhabitable quarry was restored and is now part of a diverse ecosystem that is home to various bird and animal species. Walk and interact with animals as you learn more about nature and sustainability.
The sanctuary is open for nature walks, camping, game drives, bird watching, picnics, sundowners, private bookings as well as educational trips.
Rates and Entry fees:
|General Entry Fees||Residents||Non- Residents|
|Adult- Kshs 350|
Child- Kshs 100
|Adult- Kshs 800|
Child- Kshs 300
Game Drive Rates:
Kshs 250 per trip
Kshs 1,200 for a scenic tour
Entry fee + Kshs 150.00 per person per night
Find more information about the sanctuary here.
Mbaraki Ancient pillar
Cross the Likoni channel
Places to Stay in Mombasa
There are plenty of accommodation options in Mombasa depending on budget, style and preferences. I stayed at Voyager Beach Resort and would highly recommend it. Read more about my experience here.
Places to Eat while in Mombasa
Make sure you try out delicious street food while in Mombasa. Enjoy shawarma, viazi vya karai, biryani, samaki wa kupaka, mahamri na mbaazi,mshikaki etc and down these with a refreshing glass of ukwaju.
Highly recommended restaurants include: Forodhani Restaurant, Mubin’s Cafe, Jahazi Coffee shop, Char Choma, Tarboush, Pilau Joint, Damascus Shawarma, Lighthouse, Camels Joint, Biblaa etc
If you’re spoilt for time, visit Mtwapa Creek for killer sunsets or cross over to Diani and enjoy Africa’s best beaches.
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Which place is a must-visit for you when visiting Mombasa? Which activity are you most excited to try when you visit Mombasa? Let me know in the comments below.
Stay safe and travel safe and until next time, bye!