”536km of pristine Indian ocean coastline means you are guaranteed to find a good spot to chill…But where? Sun-fried malaria-rattled veterans have explored the Kenyan coast for decades. Some come back with tales of a new paradise; some come back with burnt skin, scars and mouths zippered tightly shut hiding new secret discoveries; some come back with plans for a new Backpackers and dollar signs behind their yellow-glazed eyes. But…nothing ever happens fast in Mombasa. There is no 6am sessions, freeway dashes, or parking meter refills. Instead there’s a warm lazy sunrise, and thin trails of white on the reef passes a half-mile offshore, with quiet Swahili canoes launching smoothly through the peaceful sea. The only sound is a muted swell-roar dulled by the offshore breeze. Here in Mombasa, the only thing moving fast, if you are riding a matatu, is you.”
When in Mombasa…
…the thing our guests tend to end up doing the most is chillin’ at the backpackers. Using and abusing our comfortable facilities. But in case that’s not enough, go out and explore Mombasa. Unlike other places in Kenya, in Mombasa you are not constantly reminded of its “African-ness”, Mombasa has its own entity, some kind of pleasant hybrid cocktail of Africans, Europeans, Christians, Muslims, Arabs, Swahilis, Rastas and Sikhs Indians. The locals, who have learnt to live in peace side by side, are notoriously good-natured. They live with that rich simplicity westerners don’t know whether to convert or to pity. You’ll Misjudge a lot at first, but then you will realize that’s your 1st world perspective talking. Even though it is still visible the forgotten excluded casualties of the 3rd world, like beggars and children scattered about the city.
Mombasa and its surroundings have a wide variety of tourist attractions including:
- NAKUMATT: Enjoying the Ugali while saving the world doing your volunteer work?? we are within walking distance to a western-style Nakumatt Supermarket where you can find a huge variety of everything, because what a weird experience that always is when in a grocery store abroad, and not looking for food you want to eat but rather food that is similar in quality and taste to what you eat at home.
-THE OLD TOWN: This 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.
- 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 and sent to the Americas. 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. Entrence fee for adult non-residents is 800 ksh.
- MAMBA VILLAGE (crocodile farm): situated in Nyali, very close to the Backpackers, is East Africa’s largest crocodile farm. A tour of the farm starts with a movie on the life cycle and behaviour of crocodiles, followed by a comprehensive tour of the rest of the farm, and ends with the highlight of the day: a spectacular scene of blood-thirsty crocodiles fighting for food during feeding time. Excellent cuisine is available at the Mamba Restaurant, and the house speciality is superbly grilled crocodile meat. Souvenirs of your visit can be bought at the Mamba Souvenir shop located within the village. -
- HALLER PARK: (open daily 8am-5pm) 10 minute walk from the Backpackers has a side entrance across the street from the Nakumatt. The park is a transformation of a quarry wasteland into an ecological paradise. It is the largest animal sanctuary in Mombasa. Located next to the Bamburi Cement Factory, the Park 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 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. This park is based on the principal that economy andecology should be in unison. The reforestation and fish projects have proven to be financially self-sustaining. You get a guided tour of the park if you go at 1:30-2ish. Your guide will take you to each feeding session. *Prices:
Adult (none resident): 800ksh
child (none resident): 300ksh
* Feeding times: Giraffe: 11am & 3pm. Buffalo+Hippo: 4pm. Crocodile: 4pm.
RESTAURANTS: Within a few mile radius we have a large variety of Restaurants such as Sushi, Italian, Turkish, Swahili, Ethiopian, Indian, Chinese, African besides fast food joints and coffee shops .
-3D MOVIE THEATRE/ BOWLING/ GO KART/ PAINTBALL/ SHOPPING MALL: If you are a bit sick and tired of being stuck in the bush being the goddie-goddie save-Africa-type, within few minutes from the Backpackers, we have all sort of fun modern activities to keep you occupied and entertained..
BEACHES: A mere 5 minute walk from the Backpackers, white-sanded Nyali beach has a wide range of water sport activities such as wind-surfing, kite surfing, scuba diving, sea kayaking, jet ski, dirt bikes, bicycle tour, dhow boat tours, snorkeling trips, etc. For the bohemians, Mombasas night life has plenty of options to keep you occupied, from Casinos to Nightclubs…