The beach is among the favorite locations to visit for most coastal region visitors, and for good reasons. It is an ideal relaxing area with the right ambience to enjoy some fun games like beach volleyball, castle building and burying each other in the white sand. One can also have a swim in the ocean, enjoy a camel ride on the shore, munch on some picnic, sun bask, drink madafu (coconut water) normally sold at the beach and much more.
There is also something about owning that corny photo on the sandy beach that is so appealing to many.
Location: The public section of the beach can be easily accessed through several points, for instance: in town right next to Fort Jesus, some areas of Mama Ngina Drive; in Nyali near most of the beach-front hotels there is a public beach access point; on several access points off Malindi road e.g through Pirates Public Beach, Mtwapa among others.
Cost: Free for public beach access points.
2. Hotel Swimming Pools
Sometimes you want to cool off from the hot and humid weather of Mombasa without necessarily dealing with the beach sand getting anywhere and everywhere on you, or the salty ocean water. At such times, swimming pools come in handy.
Luckily most hotels with swimming pools in Mombasa allow non-residents to swim at their pools for a fee.
Location: Nyali, Shanzu, Bamburi, Mtwapa, among others.
Cost: Cost varies from one hotel to another, but mostly range from Kshs 300 to Kshs 1,500.
3. Nyali Cinemax
Fancy watching movies at the cinema? You can still do that while in Mombasa at the cinema in Nyali Cinemax either in 2D or 3D. For schedule information on what is currently showing and timing, visit cinemax website.
Note that food and drinks from outside are not permitted. Instead a variety of snacks can be purchased at the cinema premises before entering the auditorium.
Location: Along Nyali Road, near Nyali Plaza.
Cost: Between Kshs 350 to Kshs 650 per person for a movie. Kshs 100 for 3D glasses which you get to keep.
4. Mamba Village Centre
Mamba is the Swahili name for crocodile. As the name suggests, crocodiles do reside here at the crocodile farm and are open for public viewing, at a price.
The restaurant onsite is one of the joints in Mombasa where you can get a taste of crocodile meat.
Another attraction for Mamba Village is the amusement park near the entrance which is parked with a variety of rides. The rides include, carousel horse ride, swing carousel, pirate ship, playground track train, octopus ride, among others.
Location: Along Links Road in Nyali, a short distance from Kongowea Ndogo roundabout/stage.
*Crocodile Farm– Citizen (Child) Kshs 200 (Adult) Kshs 350, Non-Citizen (Child)Kshs 400 (Adult) Kshs 800.
*Restaurant- Kshs 1,000 per portion.
*Rides Park – Kshs 150 to Kshs 350 per child depending on the type of ride.
5. Wild Waters
Home to the largest water park in the country, Wild Waters boasts a variety of rides open to persons of all ages. Come experience adrenaline coupled with some water fun on the multine and harakiri, spiral water slide, and the flume bowl. For a more relaxed kind of fun, there is the slow river, where you simply sit on a tube and let the river flow push you around.
Children are also not left behind. There are slides fashioned for the kids that slide into the kids pool, a water play-station for children, as well as a raindance area where you dance under artificial rain to the beats of music being played in the premises.
Wild Waters also offers packages for birthday parties, weddings, team building and school day outings.
Location: Along Links Road, Nyali. (Next to Mamba Village Centre)
Swimming– Kshs 300 per person
Swimming and sliding– Residents (Kshs 1,500), Non-Residents (Kshs 1,800)
6. Mama Ngina Drive
For years Mama Ngina drive has been of great service as a an ideal relaxation spot. It is even more appealing with its recent face lift in 2019.
It has the perfect atmosphere for just loosening up (solo or with company) while taking in the beautiful scenic features and watching the soothing ocean waves. The ships heading to or from the dock also provide an entertaining sight.
You can opt to carry your own refreshments or source from the vendors selling on site.
Mama Ngina Drive can be accessed by road through private means(several parking spaces available on site) or through public means eg, tuktuks (auto rickshaw), Matatus (minibuses) plying the Likoni Ferry route.
Location: Along Azania Drive/Mama Ngina Drive.
7. Ferry Ride
How about a ferry ride on the Kilindini harbour to and from Mombasa island and Likoni Mainland to have a small doze of the commute locals have to undergo on a daily basis. It is definitely a unique experience like no other.
Location: Kilindini Harbour.
Cost: Free for feetstubishi. Vehicles/tuktuks/motorcycles pay a ferry toll.
8. The Tusks
We have Queen Elizabeth’s 1952 visit to thank for this landmark, as someone somewhere had the brilliant idea to put up these humongous tusks to commemorate that visit.
The tusks make for a good photo session location which takes a few minutes. It is thus advisable to schedule your visit here when doing the city tour, or when visiting other nearby locations.
Location: On Moi Avenue adjacent to Uhuru Gardens.
9. Uhuru Gardens- Mombasa
When you are probably tired from touring the city and need to catch your breath, have some refreshments, or shade yourself against the scorching sun, you can do so at Uhuru Gardens.
The greenery at this location is impressive especially during the rainy season when it blossoms beautifully.
Location: Along Moi Avenue adjacent to The Tusks.
10. Fort Jesus
Come and bear witness to this historical site on the southern edge of Mombasa, originally put in place by the Portuguese in the 16th century for the protection of the Portuguese living in the East Coast of Africa. Get to see this magnificent fort that has withstood the test of time, including but not limited to the harsh climate, and a number of hostilities recorded in history books like the Omani Arabs attack of 1696 to 1698 and others that saw it exchange ownership from time to time.
Today, this historic landmark is a Museum displaying some spectacular finds from archaeological excavations on site (i.e Fort Jesus), Gede, Manda, Ungwana among others. During your visit, you will also notice that there are some stunning objects on display that have been donated by notable individuals.
Location: Nkrumah Road, next to the Indian Ocean.
Cost: Entrance fee is as follows:
Adults – Kshs 200
Below 16 years – Kshs 100
Adults. – Kshs 400
Below 16 years. – Kshs 200
Adults. – Kshs 1,200
Below 16 years – Kshs 600
11. Old Town
Another history related location to include in your city tour is Old Town. It stretches all the way near Fort Jesus and holds most of the legacy of Mombasa dating back to the 18th century.
It is such a marvel to walk around Old Town and catch a glimpse of the beautifully carved doors and a collection of historical buildings with a mix of African, Asian and European influences. Many of these buildings are first of their kind in the country. For instance, the first black owned hotel opened in 1901 (still in operation), the first mosque (pictured above), the first police office, and the likes.
You get more out of a tour of Old Tow if you have a knowledgeable person taking you around as they know what is important to check out and the correct history of the area.
Location: South-East side of Mombasa island.
Cost: If you use a tour guide, the cost will be as negotiated. Otherwise, its free to walk around in Old Town
12. Haller Park
For those who fancy observing wild animals, this is your lane.
The sections in the park include the Game Sanctuary, Reptile Park, Fish Farm, Palm Garden, Crocodile pens and a giraffe viewing platform where you can feed giraffes from the palm of your hands. Personally at first I was really scared of the giraffe’s long tongue and their thick saliva, but the process is perfectly safe. Fact 101, the giraffe saliva has some antiseptic characteristics.
Haller Park is also home to several bird species such as the Weaver birds, Kingfisher, Storks, Herons, Egrets, Owls, Eagles, Kites, Cranes, Ibis, Sandpipers. This makes this park a haven for bird watchers.
Cost: Entrance fee is as follows:
East African Residents
Adults – Kshs 500
Child – Kshs 200
Non- East African Residents
Adults – Kshs 1,400
Child – Kshs 600
13. Floating Restaurants
Have the enchanting experience of wining and dining by the moonlight while sailing in The Tamarind Dhow (pictured above) on the Indian Ocean, to the backdrop of some nice music by the resident DJ.
The Tamarind Dhow is open between 6.30pm and 10.30pm. At a cost of Kshs 5,800 per person, you can enjoy your dhow cruise dinner here having made a prior reservation. The journey begins at Tamarind Mombasa which is where you shall board the dhow.
The other floating restaurant in Mombasa of The Moorings. It is located in Mtwapa and operates from 10.00am to 11.00pm. Distinguishing feature is that Shisha smoking is allowed on board of The Moorings.
14. Mombasa Marine Park and Reserve
Imagine swimming alongside aquatic sea life with the opportunity to view the incredible corals of various colors, shapes and sizes. Now stop imagining and head down to the Mombasa Marine Park and Reserve located in the blue waters between the Mtwapa and Tudor Creeks, for snorkeling to have a first hand feel of this amazing experience.
For the experts wind surfing, water skiing, and diving are also among the water sports offered by various agents/companies here.
Location: There are a number of entrance points to the Marine Park notably Serena Gate on beach of Serena Hotel, Severin Gate on beach of Severin Hotel, Travellers Gate on beach of Travellers Hotel, Nyali Gate at Mombasa Marine Park Headquarters and Voyager Gate at Voyager water sport Area.
Cost: Various agents offer boats for hire for entry into the park including on speed boats or glass bottomed boats. The cost is thus highly dependent on the rates of the agent or company used.
15. Mombasa Go-Kart
For adrenaline junkies, head down to Mombasa Go-Kart for some rounds of karting in the afternoon. This is open to all age groups, and guess what? No driving skills required as it is super easy to ride a Go-Kart.
Other fun activities you get to enjoy in Mombasa Go-Kart include, zip lining, archery, paint-balling, rodeo bull ride, hi-strike, 9-pin bowling, among others. So clearly there is more than enough to keep you entertained under one roof.
Cost: The price for the various activities ranges from Kshs 200 to Kshs 2,700. For current rates for the specific activities visit Mombasa Go-Kart website.
16. City Mall
Just like a typical mall, there is so much you can do here ranging from shopping to dining to banking, among others. There is an expansive collection of shops dedicated to clothing for ladies, men and children, beauty related items like hair and perfume; fashion items like shoes and handbags, jewellery, watches, gaming store and so much more.
You also get to wine and dine at the amazing restaurants, confectioneries and fast foods in the premises including but not limited to Cafesserie, Cafe Arabika, Creamy Inn, Pizza Inn, and Domino’s.
If you just want to relax and have ‘a cold one’ or rather your choice of alcoholic drinks , there are Lounges on site cater for your desires. Or you can opt to pass by the Wines & Spirits shop to grab a bottle or two for later.
If you fancy a massage but not interested in the intrusiveness that comes with it, you can try out the massage seats within the mall.
Location: Along Mombasa- Malindi Road.
Cost: Varies depending on the store of your choice.
17. Nyali Centre
Similar to City Mall, Nyali Centre houses a variety of shops/joints including of top brands dedicated to shopping, entertainment, dining, and banking.
For the ‘night owls’ in the house, there are three night clubs on the premises, namely Tapas, Anuba and Hypnotica, which according to word on the street, are quite entertaining.
Foodies are also catered for by Java, Snack Attack, and also Tapas.
There is also a well stocked Naivas supermarket on site that not only has the usual supermarket stock and farm produce, but also has a whole floor dedicated to clothing.
Location: Along Links Road.
Cost: Varies depending on the store of your choice.
Every now and then, Mombasa hosts various entertainment events and concerts organized by different groups, with the Christmas and new year’s period being the busiest.
Check online for information on which events shall be on during your visit, and if it is to your liking and budget, you can plan to attend.
Location: Depends with each event. However most hosting locations are Google maps enabled.
Cost: Varies with event.
Mombasa has various establishments/clubs/lounges set up over the years for the Nightlife entertainment scene.
These are spread out in various locations. For instance there are town based clubs like Bela Vista, clubs by the beach like Florida, clubs/lounges in the malls like Tapas, Anuba, and Hypnotica.
You can as well decide to sample Mtwapa, which has been described as ‘ a town that never sleeps’. Known for its several night clubs, its ideal for a night out.
20. Tuktuk Transport
Get to experience one of the fast growing public transport sector by moving around Mombasa in tuktuks.
Unlike the Matatus, tuktuks are not as strictly restricted to specific routes, thus making it more convenient to move around in, especially if you are headed to locations that are off the Matatu routes.
Location: Anywhere in Mombasa
Cost: Charges are per distance as agreed with the driver(not per head as is the case in South Coast). For town service, it will cost you between Kshs 50 and Kshs 100.
We cannot forget the ‘stomach department’ as it is essential to human existence. There are those who choose to stick to ‘what they know’ when it comes to food. However, if you are up to exploring the different foods in the coast, you have a wide range to choose from.
For instance there are the famous coasterian dishes in the region including pilau, biriani, viazi karai, bhajia, naan, shawarma, mahamri, various sea foods and the likes. These are easily available in most restaurants in the area such as Blueroom restaurant, Swahili Dishes, and Qaffee Point within town area, and the likes of Hotel English Point, and Moonshine (within Nyali Reef Hotel) in the Nyali area.
If interested in other styles/culture dishes, there is Shenai in town for Indian food, Galaxy at Mama Ngina Drive for Chinese dishes, Roberto’s in Nyali for Italian dishes, and Misono’s in Nyali for Japanese dishes.
Location: Restaurants are spread throughout Mombasa.
Cost: Varies with restaurant.
Do you know of any other interesting place to visit or things to do in Mombasa that has been left out from the list above? Let us know in the comment section.
Otherwise, Safe travels trippers!