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The second-largest city in Kenya, Mombasa is also an important economic hub and host to the country’s largest seaport, Killindini Harbour. The port provides the city’s main source of income, which is supported by a thriving tourist industry. A cultural melting-pot, Mombasa is a fusion of African, Arabic, and Indian influences, which only add to its unique appeal.
Book a flight to Mombasa with Qatar Airways and you’ll discover a city where daily life is played out against an historical backdrop. Colourful and with its grandeur only slightly muted by time, you can enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life, escape to a sunny beach, or explore a tropical rainforest. The people are warm and welcoming,and will make your visit to Mombasa a memorable one.
When you travel to Mombasa, you’ll find some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and they are a major attraction for visitors. Diani Beach is widely regarded as the best beach in the area, with powder-soft white sands and sapphire-coloured seas. As you lie in the shade of the palms, you might very well see a dhow or two, making their way to the nearby spice island of Zanzibar.
If you’ve set aside some time for sightseeing on your trip to Mombasa, be sure to visit Fort Jesus. Built in 1589 by King Philip of Portugal, it has been granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status, preserving a superb example of 16th Century Portuguese architecture. Despite the toll taken on it by time and the elements, Fort Jesus still cuts a formidable figure, with five mainstays and impenetrable battlements.
For something truly serene for the whole family, the Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve is a must-see atrraction. Resplendent with crystal-clear waters, visitors come here to sunbathe, snorkel and dive, and explore the shimmering wildlife that lives under the sea. Expect to encounter sea-turtles, starfish, crabs, and stunning corals.
Despite the organised chaos of the city centre, the Mombasan people like to take things at their own pace and many of the leisure activities are based around relaxation. The city’s café-culture is a way of life, and you can easily spend an hour or two sipping rich Kenyan coffee in a street-side café and watch the world go by.
Should you want to get a good look at Mombasa’s incredible wildlife, head to the Tsavo National Park. Don’t expect to see it all in one day, as the park covers over 22,000 square kilometres. Hire a guide and you’ll be rewarded with the sight of hippos, elephant, rhino, and lions, all in their natural habitat. Walking is a popular pastime in the park and there’s also the opportunity to rent a tent and sleep under the stars.
If you’re visiting Mombasa with children, it’s a good idea to have some entertainment planned for younger visitors. One that is bound to grab their attention is Mamba Village, Kenya’s largest crocodile farm, where visitors of all ages can learn everything about these amazing creatures, from before they’re hatched to their adulthood.
The food in Mombasa reflects the fusion of cultures that have made their home here. Being so close to the sea, seafood is something of a staple and among the best you’ll taste. However, there are plenty of options available for those who don’t like fish. Try irio, a stew made from green potatoes, maize and beans, seasoned with pungent spices. Biryani is popular, and there are some deliciously-spicy curries to sample. Kenyan doughnuts are served almost everywhere and are complemented with a cup of sweet chai tea.
While there are plenty of restaurants in the city, the street-food stalls offer serious competition in terms of quality and price.
While there are shopping malls in the city, such as the City Mall Nyali, you’ll get the full Kenyan experience by heading on down to the old town. If you’re looking for uniquely African mementos to bring back from your trip to Mombasa, seek out one of the markets. Biashara Street is packed with stalls, stores, and shops selling ‘pan’, a natural digestion aid made from palm nuts and sweet spices.