Mombasa, often called the Gateway to Kenya, is the country's most historic city and the largest port on Africa's Coral Coast. Located on Mombasa Island, the city can be traced back to the 11th century. Settlements began to thrive here due to the excellent deep-water harbour and its protected position. In an effort to consolidate their hold on the European trade with India and Southeast Asia, the Portuguese built a formidable fortress here in the late 16th century. Several changes were made after the Omanis took Fort Jesus at the end of the 17th century. Today the impressive structure still dominates the entrance to the old harbour. The fort was declared a national monument and houses an interesting museum that provides visitors with a glimpse into Mombasa's colourful past. The most exotic part of Mombasa is the Old Town. Here, narrow alleys lined by mosques and cramped old houses slope down to the bustling dhow harbour. The busy downtown area represents the commercial, 21st-century Mombasa. Most visitors simply pass through the city at the beginning or the end of their African safari, unaware of Mombasa's intriguing past and attractions. Despite its faded charm and not being your typical tourist town, this coastal hub portrays a unique sense of identity. For cruise vessels Mombasa provides the gateway to Kenya's capital, Nairobi, and popular East African safaris.
The ship is scheduled to dock at Kilindini Port. The centre of town is about a 15-minute drive away. Taxis are generally available pierside. It is best to establish the fare with the driver before leaving the port.
Vendors usually display a variety of wood carvings and other craft items on the pier. The beautiful Arab chests in a variety of sizes make nice souvenirs. The main shopping area is along Moi Avenue.
Please Note: When purchasing wood carvings, be sure that the wood has been treated for termites. The local currency is the shilling.
Local cuisine includes spicy stews and game such as eland, gazelle and impala. In addition, there is excellent seafood. One of the best-known restaurants is the Tamarind, which is regarded as the best in East Africa. The Hard Rock Café downtown is a popular meeting place.
Old Dhow Harbour
This busy place is crowded with traditional boats (dhows) loading and unloading goods from faraway places and nearby islands.
Nyali Resort Area
North of Mombasa on the mainland starts a coastal stretch with white sand beaches, bordered by a string of hotels that offer resort facilities.
This project was established to rehabilitate a giant quarry.
This is the site of a crocodile farm where more than 10,000 crocodiles live in their natural habitat. A series of pools are occupied by crocodiles at various stages of growth.
Guests in transit to the following cruise may contact the Tour Office on board for private car and individual sightseeing arrangements.