Throughout my life, I have had the privilege of going on a good number of family vacations. One that stands out is the vacation my family, and I went on to the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa. Yes, we went to Africa, and I must say it was an amazing experience.
Contrary to popular opinion, there is a lot more to do in African cities than just wildlife safaris. Here is the rundown of the many things you can do in Mombasa.
1. Bask in the Sun at Pirates Beach
Located along the Indian Ocean in the Bamburi area of Mombasa, this beach is amazing. It is found after the Bamburi Cement Company, but before Mtwapa. Public transport can easily get you there.
This public beach is quite popular. It is usually packed on the weekends and public holidays. Apart from the obvious swimming, there are many other activities that take place here. There are several business people renting out floaters of every size.
Swimming suits are also sold here in case you left yours at home. It is interesting to note that changing rooms are also for rent here. It seems like you can get almost anything for a little cash.
Camel rides and boat rides are quite popular. Photographers will literally beg you to have your moments immortalized in an old-fashioned photo. Foodies will not be disappointed with this place, since restaurants are in plenty.
Food stalls are also in plenty, selling coastal delicacies such as viazi karai (coated fried potatoes) and muhogo (fried cassava). You can also get your usual soda and fries here. There is something for everybody.
Kids are found in abundance in this place, and your kids will definitely fit in here. Did I mention that there are beach parties held here? Let’s just say that Pirates Beach does not go to sleep at night. You and your spouse can choose to party the night away at the many parties held in the hotels overlooking the beach.
There are many hotels you can spend the night in and wake up to the breathtaking site of the sunrise on the beach. This is definitely a place worth visiting. However, if you feel that this place is too crowded for your taste, there are also several private beaches in Mombasa.
Diani Beach and Nyali Beach are good options.
2. Enjoy Mother Nature at Haller Park
Animal lovers will love this place. It is also located in the Bamburi area just after the Bamburi Cement Company. It used to be a wasteland, but now hosts a variety of wildlife. You get to feed giraffes here, an experience you won’t soon forget.
Birds, fish, snakes, tortoises, and hippopotamuses are also numerous here. Observe them in their natural habitat and learn more about them. This is bound to be an educative yet thrilling adventure.
3. Explore the Crocodiles of Mamba Village
This place, located on Links Road, gets its name from the Swahili word mamba which means crocodile. Simply put, this is a village for crocodiles. If you have never seen crocodiles, this is your chance. They look a lot like their cousins the alligators.
Once at the crocodile farm, you will learn about the life cycle and behavior of crocodiles before getting to see them eat. Apart from seeing the crocodiles, you will also get the rare opportunity of eating crocodile meat at the Mamba Restaurant.
Grilled crocodile meat is their specialty. Souvenirs are available for purchase at the Mamba Souvenir Shop. I recommend getting some kind of memento of the trip. Camel riding and horse riding also takes place within the crocodile farm.
4. Travel Back in History at Fort Jesus
This fort was built between 1593 and 1596 by the Portuguese, and is the most popular tourist attraction in Mombasa. It is located on Nkrumah Road just within the island of Mombasa. It was designed by Italian architect Giovanni Battista Cairati, and its architecture is of the Renaissance period.
This fort was declared a national park in 1958, and was in 2011 declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. This fort now houses a museum that is filled with the rich history and culture of this Kenyan coastal town.
The fort is divided into several rooms such as the Mazrui Hall, the Omani house, the Omani audience hall, and the Passage of Arches. There is also a room where Portuguese sailors scratched graffiti into the walls.
You can get an official or unofficial guide to take you through the place, or you can go at it alone. However, there a lot of group tours available if you’re interested. This place will highly appeal to history buffs, and will leave your whole family both educated and awed.
5. Splish Splash at Wild Waters
Wild Waters is located opposite Links Parking in Nyali. Your kids will literally want to live here. It is every kid’s dream. This is one of the best water parks in Mombasa. They have a giant four slide combo, which allows four people to slide together simultaneously. It’s quite suitable for families.
They also have a kid’s pool and several spirals. Did I mention the giant Frisbee ride? Well, they have that too. There are also bumper rides for people who just love speed. This place will keep the adrenaline levels of your entire family at an all-time high.
You can’t afford to leave Mombasa without visiting this place at least once. It will definitely be worth your time.
6. Savor Great Dishes at Blue Room Restaurant and Ice Cream
Since everybody in my family loves ice cream, we had to stop here. This place is located on Digo Road, and serves ice cream and a variety of snacks. They serve both Indian and Swahili snacks.
Some of the dishes served here include kebabs, samosas, butter chicken, fries, and chicken tikka. Their ice cream is quite good too. The place is clean and has good Wi-Fi. The service is also good. All in all, it really is a nice fast food joint.
While the heat in Mombasa is not one of its strong suits, it makes up for that with brilliant ways to cool off. The mouthwatering Swahili cuisine is also to die for. You can never run out of things to do in this beautiful place.
It’s no wonder that it’s known as a big tourist attraction in Kenya. Every holiday, both local and international tourists flood this town, which is full of unpretentious people. If you have never been here, it’s about time you save a date.