Happy Friday! 😀 Are you craving a relaxing, coastal getaway? In this post, you’ll find ideas of all the fun, unique things to do in Mombasa, Kenya!Put your adventure belts on, because it’s about to get wild!
What comes to mind when you think of Mombasa? Probably the beach, yes? For a long time, Mombasa has been packaged primarily as Kenya’s beach destination…
So when Jambojet invited us to visit for the #NowTravelReady campaign, I was eager to see what else this coastal city has to offer, plus the Covid measures in place…
To my pleasant surprise, I quickly learned that there’s lots of things to do in Mombasa, to fit nearly every kind of traveler and budget! 😀
How to Get There?
Remember how back in the day, a trip to Mombasa meant trans-nighting on a bus, with nearly 8 hours spent on the road? Heh! If it wasn’t bedbugs on some buses (true story), it was the traffic around Changamwe stealing from that precious, limited holiday time.
And in those days, the train, was quite unreliable… One time we spent nearly 24 hours on the old train, after it broke down en-route to Mombasa… oh the drama! 😀
Improvements have been made since then, now with about 4 hours’ traveling time on the SGR.
When Jambojet launched in 2014, the local airline made the flying experience accessible to the ordinary Kenyan, through affordable flights.
Today, Jambojet operates 6 daily flights to Mombasa, and it takes about 1 hour, making this the fastest, most-convenient & reliable mode of travel.
Navigating Flights In The Covid-19 Era
Being my first time flying from Nairobi to Mombasa, I was excited by the prospect of getting there hassle-free, minus fatigue & in such a short time!
I arrived at the Airport super early, which gave me ample time to go through the security and Covid-19 checks with great ease.
I can happily report that, over 6 months since flights became operational again, the safety protocols at JKIA are still in place. Masks are mandatory, social distancing in the seating/queuing plus automatic sanitizers are available.
The lady at the Jambojet check-in counter was so jovial and full of positive energy, that it brightened my morning too! 😀
The flight itself, went by smoothly with a bit of turbulence towards the end. Thankfully, our female pilot navigated through and landed us in Mombasa, with flawless execution.
Quick Travel Tips
- Download the Jambojet Progressive Web App to make your bookings directly from your phone.
- Check in online, at least 24 hours before your departure.
- For large group bookings, you’ll each need to check-in physically at the desk.
- Arrive at the airport at least 2-3 hours early to allow for security & Covid-19 safety checks.
- Face mask are mandatory on-board the Jambojet aircraft.
- Check out my Blog post on: 11 Things You Should Know about Air Travel in the Covid-19 Era, for more tips on what to expect while traveling during the pandemic.
Top 10 Fun Things to Do In Mombasa!
P.S. Though the places featured below are Covid-compliant, remember to wear your mask, sanitize frequently & practice mindful travel.
Cycling At Butterfly Pavilion
If you like cycling through the forest surrounded by the thrills & lulls of nature, then you are in luck!
Located in Bamburi, the Butterfly Pavilion features a couple of cycling trails, spanning up to 10km. Built like an amazonian jungle, the thick forest offers much-needed shade from the scorching coastal sun. And you’re likely to spot wild animals grazing or drinking from numerous scenic ponds.
For the confident cyclists in our group a.k.a Cynthia, Kai, Gufy & Magunga, exploring the trails was a welcome challenge!
And being a ‘struggling cyclist-to-be’, I got to practice riding around with Mwenda’s help. Let’s just call it a work-in-progress! 😀
- Biking at the Pavilion would be best enjoyed with your friends or family.
- Entrance fee is Kes.250/- and the bike riding costs Kes.350/- for 1 hour.
Dine Like a Local at Royal House Mombasa
At Royal House, you can count on a unique dining experience with coastal feels…
They’ve created separate, cozy spaces furnished with Arabic style, smooth carpets & comfy, colorful cushions on the ground. So you have the option of dining in the traditional table & chair restaurant setting or in their customized cubicles.
In this private setting, you get to experience what dining in a local Swahili household is like, without distractions from other patrons.
They serve a Yemeni and Lebanese cuisine that caters to both vegetarian & meat lovers.
On our visit, they’d generously prepared platters with a number of their delectable dishes. I especially enjoyed the spicy Chicken Madbi & tasting their special takes on rice, like the Zurbian rice & the Bukhari rice.
- There’s a hand-washing station at the entrance & their servers wear face-masks all through.
- Their meals range from Kes. 750/- to Kes. 4,500 for the family meal (platters).
- Be sure to try their mkwaju juice; it was a favourite for just about everyone!
City Bus Tour of Mombasa!
Sometimes the best way to appreciate a place is by viewing it from a different angle. And what better way than a guided tour, on the Mombasa the Sightseeing Bus?
The double-decker bus makes for an interesting way to visit iconic places in Mombasa like Old Town, Fort Jesus & Mama Ngina Waterfront.
During our tour, we spotted some beautiful murals around the city! Apparently, the Mombasa County Govt. commissioned young jobless, artistic youth to create the murals, in 2020.
The murals have helped increase awareness about Covid-19, while also offering messages of hope & supporting Mombasa youth…
- The double-decker sightseeing bus is available for customized, guided group tours.
- Call +254 753503020 or +254 736926010 for more information on the costs, and to make a reservation.
The Fort Jesus Sound & Light Show!
Have you visited Fort Jesus before? Well, rest-assured- this is not just ‘another normal tour’… 🙂
When I was a kid, outdoor films would occasionally be projected in our neighborhood street at night. However, being that young, staying out at night was a taboo at our house.
My brother Kanja and I really wanted to go though. One evening, we got carried away and ‘forgot’ to go home… The film was epic, but you can imagine the kind of ‘trouble’ that awaited us, when we finally went home!
The Fort Jesus Sound & Light show fondly reminded me of those cherished, but stolen moments… Except that this time, it was way more incredible! 😀
Every Friday to Sunday evening, there’s a Sound and Light Show at Fort Jesus… You’ll be transported back in time, about 400 years, on a sensational journey that resurrects the Legacy and History of Fort Jesus & Mombasa!
The fort’s walls light up in different colors & images accompanied by a spellbinding sound, that is nothing short of captivating!
To top it off, there’s a beautiful firework display at the end… I’d never been that close to fireworks going off before… As the sky exploded into thousands of colorful sparks, my heart soared to the clouds with a child-like wonder! What an experience!! 😀
They’d also set up a lovely dinner for us, with an assortment of Swahili delicacies like bhajia, vitumbua, mshikaki, madafu, kahawa tungu and more. The Coastal hospitality remains unmatched!
- For bookings, call +254 726532299
- This makes for a perfect date night with your significant other.
Sunrise Yoga on the Beach
Nothing beats the view of the sun rising over the ocean… It’s like being invited to breakfast with God, as His artistic hand paints over the sky & ocean with deep-colored hues of orange or fiery greys. 🙂
Plan to wake up a little earlier than usual to catch the sunrise and to practice yoga on the beach. It doesn’t need to rushed or intense… Take your sweet time doing what feels most natural & good to you.
The air in Mombasa is cool at that hour and you’ll have the beach mostly to yourself.
It is one of the most beautiful Yoga experiences I’ve ever had! After the first experience, Kai and I made a point of waking up early each day. It was well worth it!
- Find out if your hotel offers a yoga mat, or carry your own from home.
Serena Architectural & Cultural Tour
When you visit any of the Serena Hotels you’ll notice that the design & architecture always adapts to the culture & heritage of the area.
And the Serena Beach Resort in Mombasa is no different… You’ll feel like a Sultan stepping into the ancient city of Gedi in its heydays, or walking through the streets of Lamu.
Serena organizes guided Architectural and Cultural tours for their resident guests. The tour highlights how the various elements of the hotel fit into the bigger story of the people, the culture & conservation efforts.
- The tour takes about 45minutes to an hour.
- To book the tour in advance, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grab Lunch at New Island Dishes
New Island Dishes is tucked at the edge of Fort Jesus and is the perfect place for seafood lovers. In keeping with the Fort’s age-old theme, the hotel’s decor choices give off a rustic feel, making you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Their seafood menu is heavily influenced by the local Swahili culture, with items like ‘Octopus Biriani’ and ‘Prawns cooked in masala sauce’.
They also serve Indian and African dishes, so you’re certain to find something you like!
On our visit, they’d prepared a selection of their dishes and mock-tails to try!
Their pepper chips and biriani chicken were the biggest hit for me!
- Their meals range from Kes. 150/- to Kes. 4,500 (platters).
Wild Waters Mombasa
If ‘having fun’ or ‘overcoming fear’ is one of your 2021 goals, you’ll want to add Wild Waters to your list of things to do in Mombasa!!
With their creatively designed water-slides, Wild Waters is the motherlode of adventures! They are suitable for both adults and kids, as most of the pools are shallow with the exception of one.
>>To be safe, pay close attention to the instructors’ tips.
We got to try out about 4 different slides… I was scared out of my mind and possibly screamed my lungs sore! But it really was the ultimate fun!! 😀 Plus the squad- Monique, Bonita and Kai offered great moral support.
- This activity is best enjoyed with a group of friends or family.
- It costs about Kes.1,500/- and you get access to all the water-slides.
Wind Down With Dinner At Sarova Whitesands
If you are looking for a quiet possibly romantic dinner plan, then this one’s for you.
One evening Sarova Whitesands hosted us for dinner on the beach… The ambiance felt magical with the lights, the open sky above us and the sounds of the ocean close by.
They had set up a lovely buffet for us, and in usual Sarova fashion, the food was divine! For once, I managed to resist potatoes (waru). 😀
I chose to have ugali accompanied by fish cooked in coconut sauce & a side of spinach. Excellent choice- Yum!
- Call +254 709111000 to make a reservation & for more details on the costs.
Go Sailing On A Dhow
Bring your Mombasa adventures to a close with a relaxing day out, sailing on the Indian Ocean.
Mombasa dhow organizes sunrise, full-day or sunset cruises. The dhow is comfortable, spacious and takes well to the sea, swaying to the gentle whispers & commanding directions of the wind.
I love loved this experience! We spent a good part of our day sailing around Mombasa Island… Someone brought out a speaker so good music & funny stories flowed, as laughter followed…
Our Mombasa dhow hosts even gave us a ‘few local tunes,’ with Bonita on the drums. It was good vibes all round! 😀
- The dhow cruise costs Kes. 10,000/- for a group of 6 people. Lunch is provided at an extra cost of Kes. 2,500.
- Plan to do this with your family or friends for a fun time.
Bonus: More Things To Do In Mombasa
- Go to Char-Choma Restaurant for a nice lunch/dinner overlooking the beach & their grilled meats! They have a fantastic live band ‘Mombasa Roots’ that plays every Friday from 6:30 pm to 9pm.
- Visit the Mama Ngina Waterfront Park for a taste of Mombasa’s street food & try horse riding.
Thank you reading! 😀 Which of these activities are you keen to try? And what else would you add to our list of things to do in Mombasa?
I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment down below with your inputs and/or feedback!
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