The Beautiful City of Mombasa

By Culture, Kenya, Lifestyle, Travel

Just the whisper of the name evokes mystery and magical imagery. While less known than other regions within Kenya, Mombasa is the second largest province, nicknamed the “white and blue city” resting on the southeastern side near the Indian Ocean.

Mombasa’s history dates to 900AD as a prosperous and bustling trading area. In the late pre-colonial period, it was a metropolis of the plantation society which became dependent on slave labor to support a demanding ivory commerce. Throughout modern society however, the country has built a robust tourism industry. And whether one’s passion is pursuing the history and culture or exploring the beauty of the glistening beaches of Mombasa, this city beckons all into her embrace.

The city’s lineage includes many remarkable monuments which serve as testimony to its celebrated past. In 1952, the British administration of the Kenyan colony built mammoth tusks, known as Mapemba ya Ndovu or Pembe za Ndovu (Swahili for elephant tusks), commemorating the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the city. Fort Jesus, built between 1593 and 1596 and designed by Italian architect, Giovanni Battista Cairati by order of King Felipe II of Castille. The footprint of the fort forms a rough outline of a person lying on their back, with the head facing the sea. Its location ensured any ship approaching could be seen. Sadly, the history of the fort is laden with the burden stories of slaves perishing from torture, hunger, and diseases as they waited to be transported. During the East African Slave Trade era, slaves would be traded to Arabia and the Persian Gulf through the port of Mombasa, many becoming laborers, guards, soldiers, or concubines. However, serving as a remembrance, are tours through the Shimoni Slave Caves along the beachfront in the port city of Shimoni, where one can visually see where slaves were kept prior to boarding the ships.

Defensive wall of Fort Jesus in Mombasa, Kenya

Yet, Mombasa has evolved into a city of exquisite beauty and resplendent in culture. Walking through the narrow stone paved streets of Old Town Mombasa provides a delightful experience – the vibrancy of creative artisans and delicious restaurants. The street markets, known for their fresh fish, exotic spices, and traditional clothing stalls burst with color and handmade crafts.

Along the coast, silky, white beaches entice guests to skim their toes just under the top layer of sand as one lingers near the crystal blue waves, ebbing back and forth. One can only imagine such stunning surroundings. Numerous activities are also available along the beaches. Whether languishing in the sun, shopping at bustling, local beachfront stands, exciting camel rides along the water, or watching brilliant sunsets. After a fun and busy day, relax at a luxurious beachfront resort, or step out into the nightlife, visit lively bars, and experience the delightful atmosphere that awaits.

Significant treasure lies just off the coast of this fair city journeyed to by rustic, traditional dhow boats slipping to Wasini Island. While sailing the Indian Ocean, experience playful dolphins skimming right next to the skiff while the crew performs authentic music, singing and drumming from water bottles and soda cans. The clear waters refresh as one snorkels amongst a rich, colorful and varied sea life and coral reefs in Kisite Marine National Park. Explore the local fishing village and indulge in a fresh, delicious seafood meal.

Mombasa. The city is vibrant with the magic and mystery immersed in the historical culture while providing a beautiful backdrop to the balmy waters of the Indian Ocean.

Run. Don’t walk, to this piece of paradise with SKYIN. You’ll see it through the eyes of a local and find yourself immersed into a journey centuries old. Travels that Touch the Soul!

Last modified: January 5, 2022

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