Mombasa has a long and fascinating history, dating back to 200 AD. It is the main town on the coast and boasts the largest port in East Africa. Built on an island opposite a convenient gap in the barrier reef, it is linked to the mainland by bridges and a ferry in the south. The old harbour dates back to the 12th century, when spice traders arrived from Arabia by dhow, delivering frankincense, myrrh and marvellous Persian and Bokhara carpets.
Walking round, you will find the old town opens up an intriguing maze of narrow cobbled streets, overhanging balconies and mysterious doorways. This historic quarter then gives way to bustling fruit markets and bazaars, where the sounds of haggling over exotic spices and colourful fabric fills the air. The bustling traffic, beautiful mosques, fascinating architecture and endless beaches all create a cosmopolitan coastal atmosphere.
As Mombasa and its surrounding coastline is Kenya’s most popular destination, its tourism infrastructure is well-matched. Along the beaches are hotels to suit every style and budget. There are dance clubs that open to dawn, restaurants, casinos and some excellent water sport facilities. However, for those seeking a little more peace and quiet, we recommend a stay out of the immediate Mombasa borders, to perhaps a small island or exclusive retreat, of which there are many.
Kenya is the heart of East Africa, a vast country that possesses golden beaches, massive wilderness areas and a wealth of fascinating tribal rituals. It is often seen as the first port of call for any African safari or a stepping-stone to subsequent safaris in Tanzania and Southern Africa. Because of Kenya’s historic tourism development, the country’s infrastructure is sophisticated, its national parks well-maintained, and a vast array of accommodation is available, to suit every style, taste and budget.