The thriving and culturally fascinating city of Mombasa sits in the southeast corner of Kenya, with Tanzania lying towards the south and the expansive Indian Ocean shimmering to the east. The city itself is actually located on an island, but regular ferries and main bridges allow residents and visitors to venture into the northern, western, and southern suburbs with ease.
Mombasa has been associated with several different empires, including the Portuguese, Oman, and British empires, throughout its long history, and these influences have crafted a culture that is quite unique. However, Swahili culture is the most obvious in the area and is one of the traits the city is renowned for. The music of Mombasa is one of its greatest cultural features; you can scarcely travel anywhere in the city without being enchanted by a local act or popular tune.
With beautiful beaches, cultural monuments, wildlife sanctuaries, and much more to explore, Mombasa is a staple of several cruise itineraries that include east Africa. Cruise lines such as Silversea Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Oceania Cruises offer packages that feature Mombasa as a stop.
Cruise ships dock at one of two cruise berths in Kilindini Harbour, on the south side of Mombasa Island. From there, either taxis or transport arranged by your cruise line will take you into the city.
There are only limited facilities available at the harbour or within walking distance. You will find everything you need once you take a taxi or other transport into the city.
There are plans for a cruise complex to be developed at the port, and this is expected to include features such as restaurants, lounge areas, and shops. Check with your cruise line to verify whether these facilities are or will be available at the time of your journey.
How To Get Around
Once you have been transported from the harbour to the city, many things can be discovered on foot in Mombasa. Buses are generally quite common and affordable; however, they may be uncomfortable, hot and crowded. Taxis, which are also easy to find, might be a preferable mode of transport. Negotiate a fare before any trip to ensure you get the best possible outcome.
Travel times from the harbour:
It is a 12 minute journey to Old Town
It is a 14 minute journey to the National Museums of Kenya – Fort Jesus Museum
It is a 26 minute journey to Nguuni Nature Sanctuary
It is a 29 minute journey to Nyali Beach and Nakumatt Nyali Shopping Centre
It is a 34 minute journey to Mombasa Marine National Park
It is a 35 minute journey to Haller Park
It is a 36 minute journey to Bamburi Beach.
Currency – The local currency in Mombasa is the Kenyan Shilling (KES), which is divided into 100 cents. Notes come in 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 shillings denominations. Coins in circulation are the 50 cents, and 1, 5, 10, 20, and 40 shillings coins.
Time Zone – Mombasa operates on East Africa Time (EAT), running 3 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
Weather – The average temperature in Mombasa is usually somewhere between 24 and 29 degrees Celsius. Rainfall varies greatly throughout the year, with the region experiencing a wet period around April and May and a dry period from January to March.
Fort Jesus – Built by the Portuguese in 1591 and shaped to look like a man when viewed from overhead, Fort Jesus is perhaps Mombasa’s most iconic attraction. Truly captivating and historically intriguing, you are sure to have a fascinating experience at this UNESCO World Heritage listed site.
Haller Park – Meet giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, giant tortoises, and a variety of other creatures at this lovely and fun wildlife park. This is an especially great place to spend the day if you are travelling with kids or animal lovers.
Nyali Beach and Nakumatt Nyali Shopping Centre – The sparkling ocean and plentiful palm trees create a picturesque, postcard-worthy background for a few hours of relaxing on the white sand or in the refreshing water. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the shore that leads to the friendly and comprehensive Nakumatt shopping centre.
Mombasa Marina National Park – Dive into the ocean, feed some colourful fish, or swim leisurely in the pool. There’s a huge range of exciting water-based activities to take part in at this excellent marine park. Explore the creatures and plants that live under the water surface by scuba diving or going out on a glass-bottomed boat ride.