This post was most recently updated on May 27th, 2018
Mombasa is an enchanting coastal city sewn along the inviting shores of the Indian Ocean. This sun-kissed city is a haven for thrill-seekers and people who are looking to uncover unlimited adventure. There are many places to visit in Mombasa including white sandy beaches, water sports, marine parks, cultural centers, shopping spots, exotic forests; the list goes on.
As the second largest city in Kenya, Mombasa is highly cosmopolitan with cultural and architectural influences that range from Arabic to Indian, European, Chinese and Swahili. Mombasa island is pristine; it is connected to the mainland through the Makupa Causeway, Likoni Ferry and Nyali Bridge. This bustling picturesque city is always eager to please visitors. This article looks at the top rated places to visit in Mombasa that you need to know about.
|Full-Day Tour of Mombasa|
The tour begins from any accommodation in Mombasa area and visits: Fort Jesus Historical Museum, Old town, Walk in the market and lunch in a local dishes restaurant in Mombasa, Mombasa Giant elephant Tusk monument and afternoon visit to the haller park.
Places to Visit in Mombasa
This is the most iconic historical element of Mombasa island. To this end, Fort Jesus tops the list of valued attractions. This fort was built by the Portuguese in the 16th Century with the purpose of guarding the Old Port of Mombasa. This fort was designed by an Italian architect Giovanni Battista Cairati. This jewel has come a long way, being conquered and captured by various powers by the 19th Century.
Today, this top attraction is home to conservation labs, a museum and research programs. You can expect to view various cultural collections including ceramics, pottery, jewelry and more. From an aerial view, this fort has the shape of a man. In 2011, Fort Jesus was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This 16th-century masterpiece is one of a kind.
This reserve came about after a successful reclamation process of abandoned limestone quarries. Dr. Rene Haller is the visionary who spearheaded this project to create an alluring natural reserve; an animal hub. Dr. Haller developed an ecosystem by introducing suitable trees, a fish farm and enhancing the mineral content in the soil. In this regard, all animals here have a purpose in helping the ecosystem thrive as desired.
Animal enthusiasts will be happy to find a host of animals at the park including zebras, hippos, giraffes, buffaloes, water-bucks and more. This is also a haven for bird lovers. Among others, the park is home to storks, pelicans, cranes and weaver birds.
Mombasa Marine National Park
This extraordinary marine park showcases all the offshore delights. It plays a conservation role for the coral reef, mangroves, seagrass beds among others. This exciting location offers you a wealth of water activities including snorkeling and diving. Here, you will get to see wonderful marine life including eels, seahorses and stingrays. If you prefer to keep dry, the fun is not limited because you can view all the exciting marine life from a glass-bottom boat.
This is an ideal place to enjoy the rich history of Mombasa Island. Walking through narrow streets will reveal a cultural melting pot where Asian, Arabic, and European elements stand out.
Discover the old days and imagine how the Portuguese ruled this Southeastern part of the Island.
This beautiful setting has Fort Jesus overlooking the harbor; as if it was still guarding the old port.
Mamba Village Center (The Village of Crocodiles)
This is an expansive crocodile farm that gives visitors a true taste of what these exciting creatures are all about. Brace yourself to see these formidable amphibians fight for a meal. This center is also a great place to enjoy an aquarium, a botanical garden and horseback riding.
The center is also home to a restaurant that serves delicacies courtesy of game meat. If you have never eaten crocodile meat, this is the place to do it. Other game meats are ostrich and zebra.
Bombolulu Workshops and Cultural Center
This noble center is a project of the physically disabled in Kenya. Through their association, the center showcases culture through workshops, tribal dances, and a restaurant. The center will also display various Kenyan homesteads. Visitors can buy souvenirs ranging from wood carvings to jewelry and leather creations. The restaurant will serve the true Kenyan cuisines in this proud showcase of rich culture.
This 5 sq km island is very small; it is ideal for snorkeling and diving. The beautiful coral reefs and visible ruins are worth your while. In addition, this is a dolphin route and in essence, you can actually swim with these friendly creatures.
Enjoy great seafood at Wasini Village as you explore the deep culture and history. Shimoni Caves found here will make for adventurous exploration.
Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park
This marine park is made up of four small islands. It is located in the South of Wasini where the coral reef is rich with fish. Visitors here will get to spot dolphins, dive, and snorkel as desired. Between August and October, this is the right place to watch humpback whales swim by. The marine life is abundant including green sea turtles, snappers, moray eels, angelfish and much more.
Shimba Hills National Reserve
This reserve is a contrast to the busy beach resorts. It offers a tranquil escape to enjoy biodiversity in plants and animals. From waterfalls to the savanna and a rain-forest, this rich reserve does not disappoint. Rare plants and animal species are conserved here.
In essence, this is home to the highest population of elephants in Kenya. Leopards and antelopes are present alongside and a bustling bird-life. Forest walks, swimming and picnicking will keep you entertained.
By I, Mgiganteus, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2493655
These ruins reveal the deep history of the ancient Arab town. They are located in a breathtaking rain-forest. Among the ruins include coral stone houses, a palace and the Great Mosque. Tombs and other artifacts have also been discovered telling a story of intertwined cultures.
The site hosts a museum that displays cultural artifacts like Spanish scissors, Persian earthenware and Ming Chinese Porcelain. Gede Ruins are believed to have been rebuilt in the 15th century.
Arabuko-Sokoke National Forest
This indigenous coastal forest is a cherished jewel in East Africa- it is the only remaining one. Here, you will see exotic and rare wildlife ranging from birds to butterflies and mammals. Some rare animals include the bushy-tailed mongoose and the Ader’s duiker. The forest provides for unparalleled picnic spots.
This is an invigorating fishing destination that is home to over 600 species of fish. Gede Ruins, Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve and Malindi Marine National Reserve are very close to Watamu.
To this end, a lot of activity including snorkeling, diving, windsurfing, dolphin watching and beach bathing and others are possible. Watamu stands out as an excellent turtle breeding hub.
This location is about 112 km from Mombasa and it is the perfect escape to unwind and have unlimited fun.
See also: Kenya Tourist Attractions and Activities