Mombasa County is the smallest county in Kenya but has the largest port in East Africa found in Mombasa City. The county has a unique blend of cultures from the Mijikenda (‘the 9 tribes’), Swahili, and Arabs who are the natives. Mombasa is a hub for tourism with an abundance of holiday destinations. Here’s a list of the top 10 places to visit in Mombasa County.
1) Haller Park
Haller Park is a nature park located in Bamburi, off the Mombasa-Malindi road. The park was founded in 1971 by Dr. Rene Haller who transformed abandoned limestone quarries into a nature reserve. The park features a game sanctuary, a reptile park, a fish farm, and a palm garden. Some of the wildlife in the park include; giraffes, antelopes, crocodiles, vervet monkeys, hippos, and various species of birds. It’s an ideal destination for nature walks, game viewing, bird watching, and camping. You’ll also be able to feed the giraffes if you’re up to it.
2) Fort Jesus
Fort Jesus is a world heritage site that was built by the Portuguese in the late 1500s to protect the Portuguese living there and also secure their trade route to India. Since then, it has come under a number of different occupations and was at a time used as a prison by the British protectorate. It now houses a museum that displayed a collection of artifacts used by the different communities that traded along the Kenyan coast. There are also a number of buildings ruins within the fort including the Omani House which displays Omani jewelry and early Swahili cultural artifact.
3) Mombasa Marine Park and Reserve
The park is found between Mtwapa creek and Tudor creek. It’s the most popular marine park in Kenya and is home to a variety of marine life including stingrays, coral, seahorses, turtles, crabs, and sea urchins. While at the park, you can indulge in; diving, snorkeling, sunbathing, and waterskiing. It’s also the most popular destination for windsurfing on the Kenyan coast. In case you don’t want to get into the water, you can hire glass-bottomed boats that’ll allow you to see the marine life while on the boat.
4) Mombasa Old Town
Mombasa Old Town is a literal work of art. The town is located on the southeastern side of Mombasa and walking down its streets transports you back to the town’s old trading days. All the buildings have Portuguese and Islamic architecture, a reflection of Mombasa’s trade history. While strolling through the town, take time to explore the numerous shops that sell ground spices, antiques, and souvenirs, and get yourself a gift.
5) Mamba Village Centre
Mamba Village Centre is located in Nyali and is the largest crocodile farm in East Africa with over 10,000 crocodiles. You’ll get to see some really huge crocs and even watch them fight for food. Other fun activities offered include; camel and horse riding. There’s also a restaurant that serves delicious crocodile, ostrich, and zebra meat for you to try out.
6) Nguuni Nature Sanctuary
Nguuni Nature Sanctuary, located approximately 4 km from the Bamburi Cement Factory, serves as a refuge for wildlife such as giraffes, elands, waterbucks, and ostriches. It’s also a bird watchers’ paradise with over 200 species of birds. At the sanctuary, you can indulge in game viewing, picnics, camping, and nature walks.
7) Kengaleni Monument
Kengeleni Monument, found near Kongowea Market on Nyali road, was built in 1886 as an outdoor warning alarm that would be set off on the sighting of Arab slave ships. This was during the peak of the slave trade in East Africa. If you see it now, it’s hard to believe that at some point in time, it was the tallest structure for miles.
8) Nyali Beach
Nyali Beach is found approximately 6 km from Mombasa CBD in the leafy suburbs of Nyali. It’s quite popular with the locals, but not usually as populated as Pirates Beach. Making it an ideal destination for sunbathing and taking quiet walks on the beach. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, you can try out scuba diving and windsurfing.
9) African Memorial Park
The Mombasa African Memorial Park is in the town’s center, in Kikowani District. The monument is a commemoration of the Native and Arab soldiers that fought in World War 1. It serves as a reminder of the bravery and sacrifice of the soldiers that fought for their land(the protectorate). It’s also a lighthouse center that dates back to 900 AD.
10) Kilindini Harbour
‘Kilindini’ is a Swahili word that means deep. The Kilindini Harbour is the main port for the Port of Mombasa. It’s the biggest port in East Africa and the only international seaport in Kenya. The harbour formed as a result of a natural geographic phenomenon called a ria. This is when the sea levels rise and engulf a river that was flowing from the mainland and form a coastal inlet. People come to the port watch the ships docking and also see the sunset.
I am a charismatic 23-year-old student at the University of Nairobi. I enjoy traveling be it planned or impromptu. I also enjoy partying. I'll be there with a drink in my cup all through the night, chasing the sun. Life's too short not to choose the fast lane. Carpe diem!