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Mombasa Travel Essentials


3.4 /5 (34 ratings) Rate This Destination


Ideal duration: 2 days

Best Time: July to September Read More

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"The city of fun, games and adventure. "

Mombasa Tourism

Mombasa, situated on Kenya's southeastern coast, is a bustling coastal city known for its history, beautiful beaches, and vibrant culture. As Kenya's second-largest city and a key port, it plays a crucial role in international trade. Its location by the Indian Ocean has led to a diverse mix of cultures, including Swahili, Arab, Indian, and European influences.

The city's landmarks, such as the Mombasa Tusks commemorating Princess Margaret's visit, the bustling Spice Market, and the imposing Fort Jesus, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, reflect its fascinating past and cosmopolitan character. Mombasa offers a quintessential Kenyan coastal adventure with warm hospitality, stunning coastline, and rich cultural experiences.

Must Know Before You Travel to Mombasa

  • Local Transportation: In Mombasa, people mostly use tuk-tuks to get around. Taxis are also popular, but they can be pricier, typically costing between Ksh 1500-3000. If you're looking for a cheaper option, try Uber or Taxify.
  • Health Precautions: Travelers to Mombasa should take health precautions, including preventive malaria medicine, anti-insect sprays, and Yellow Fever vaccination with a certificate, especially when coming from risk regions.
  • Prime Time for Water Adventures: October to March is ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving in Mombasa's Diani area.
  • Consistent Humidity: Mombasa maintains a steady humidity level of about 70%.
  • Popular Combination: Many coastal visitors opt to blend their beach stay with a safari. Nearby parks include Tsavo East, Tsavo West National Parks, and Shimba Hills National Reserve.

Top Hotels In Mombasa

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Travel Tips for Mombasa

  • Negotiation: Negotiation is a common practice in Mombasa's markets and when dealing with street vendors.
  • Currency: Carry smaller denominations of Kenyan Shilling (KES) for easier transactions. Some places also accept Euros and USDs.
  • ATM & Currency Exchange: Currency exchange stations and ATMs are available at the Moi International Airport.
  • Water: It is advised to avoid tap water and drink only sealed bottled water to stay safe.

History of Mombasa

The exact date when the city was found is debatable. But, several history books say that Mombasa was found as early as 900 A.D. It is also believed that it was a prosperous town. It was a well-to-do trade centre, dealing in spices, ivory and more. Mombasa was the capital of the Protectorate of Kenya, after 1887. Later, Kenya's capital was shifted to Nairobi, which has not changed since.

Nightlife in Mombasa

Mombasa has quite a good nightlife and a fun vibe to it. Il Covo is a famous spot which has a restaurant and a disco, frequented by the Indian locals of Mombasa. Florida Club is Mombasa's most famous club. You can also head to Tapas Cielo or Tamarind Dhow for a live band and dinner aboard a cruise.

Shopping in Mombasa

Mombasa is a great place for shopping for knick-knacks like artefacts, souvenirs, clothes, household items and food items. Found in most local shops and street stalls are Mombasa Sandals. These are made from leather and old tyres and make an excellent souvenir. African fabrics like esos (khangas) and kikois are also easily found here. 

Diani Beach Shopping Centre is a great place to shop for all things exclusively African. For delicate beaded jewellery, visit the Kazuri store. For an authentically Kenyan shopping experience, head to central Mombasa, stroll along streets such as Mwembe Tayari and pick up anything that catches your eye there.

Best Time to Visit Mombasa

How to Reach Mombasa

How to Reach Overview

Mombasa is easily accessible from nearby cities via air, road, or rail. Moi International Airport connects to cities in Africa and the Middle East, while well-maintained roads and Kenya Railways offer convenient options. Long-distance buses are also available from major cities.

How to reach Mombasa by flight

Travellers can reach Mombasa via Moi International Airport (MBA), located 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) west of the city centre. The airport serves both domestic and international flights, connecting to various cities in Africa and the Middle East. Nairobi to Mombasa flights take about an hour and cost approximately $130 for a round-trip per person. Domestic flights are available through airlines like Kenya Airways, while international flights can be booked on Skyscanner. From the airport, travellers can take a taxi or bus to the city centre, which is approximately 13 kilometres away.

How to reach Mombasa by road

Mombasa is well-connected to other cities and towns in Kenya through a network of well-maintained roads. Major highways like the A109 connect Nairobi to Mombasa, making it an approximately 485-kilometer (301-mile) journey that takes around 8 hours by car. Additionally, there are road connections to other popular destinations along the Kenyan coast and inland regions.

How to reach Mombasa by train

Kenya Railways provides train services between Nairobi and Mombasa, with three trains daily. The journey takes about 4 to 5 hours and costs between $7 and $25 for a one-way trip. Trains also run from smaller cities like Voi and Mtito Andei. The Mombasa railway station is approximately 15km from the city centre.

How to reach Mombasa by bus

Long-distance buses serve routes from Nairobi, Kisumu, and other major cities to Mombasa. Modern Coast, Tahmeed Coach, Dreamline Coach, Coast Bus, and Mash Poa are some of the popular bus service providers. Bus tickets cost around $8 - $20.

How to reach Mombasa by waterways

Local transport in Mombasa

You can use two modes of transport to get around Mombasa - matatus or mini-buses and tuk-tuks or auto rickshaws. Matatus will cost you about KSh30 for a short trip. The range for a tuk-tuk would lie between KSh50 to KSh200.

Mombasa Photos

Mombasa, Kenya
Diani Beach
mombasa city

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FAQs on Mombasa

What is the best time to visit Mombasa?

This time period witnesses lots of bright sunshine and spotless skies. Needless to say, your time here will be much more enjoyable and you will be able to make the most of the safaris, if you visit during these months.
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What is the local food in Mombasa?

Mombasa has a wide variety of delicious food. Street food is your best bet if you want to indulge in the best of sea-food and coastal cuisine. Viazi Karai or fried potatoes is a specialty here, apart from prawns, octopus and other fish dishes.
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What is the best way to reach Mombasa?

You can get to Mombasa by plane, train, bus, a cab or car.
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What are the top hotels in Mombasa?

There are 519 in Mombasa which can be booked through Holidify. The most popular hotels in Mombasa are Fastcare Lamarina villa c9, Time Out Art Camp, Sun Set Paradise Baringo 12, Emirates Reef Apartment, SIFA PRIVATE APARTMENT, Joe's Beach Close Studio. You can see all the hotels in Mombasa here

What are the places near Mombasa?

The top places near to Mombasa are Nairobi which is 440 km from Mombasa, London which is located 7235 km from Mombasa, Dubai which is located 3663 km from Mombasa, Amsterdam which is located 7075 km from Mombasa, New york city which is located 12286 km from Mombasa

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