Our top sights, highlights and exclusive tips
On the southern coast of Kenya, Mombasa is the country’s second-largest city. Located by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, it has a population of 900,000 residents whose colourful kanga garments and multicultural cuisine reflect a celebrated diversity. Lay in the sun at the tropical and tree-lined Diani Beach after a scuba dive. Feast on a platter of seafood caught fresh that same day. At Shimba Hills National Reserve, take rest amongst meadows and dense mountain forest after an evening of cocktails in a city that entertains from dusk till dawn.
Shimba Hills National Reserve
Pembe Za Ndovu
Shimba Hills is a space of nature and serene wildlife sightings. In a reserve of 74 square miles, further popularised by Hemingway’s The Green Hills of Africa, vantage points with picnic spots are perfect moments to muse after a day in the bush. Hike to Sheldricks Falls and splash around in cascading water. Watch as herds of elephants move between trees where over 295 types of butterflies rest.
Tropical palm trees, pearl-white sandy beaches—Diani Beach is a paradise. A kitesurf in these warm waters is a thrilling ride matched only by a snorkel or dive to see sea turtles. Away from the reef breaks, head out by boat to whale watch or look for sharks. To cool off in the afternoon, sip a sundowner as you visit the beaches local art gallery before some sumptuous lobster—char-grilled and served with creamy sauce and salad.
The Pembe Za Ndovu is a city gateway that welcomes you to the excellently located Mombasa. These huge arched tusks, made from aluminium, line Moi Avenue, and are a reminder of struggle in the face of years of illegal ivory trading. The national parks of East Africa are now dedicated to protecting the continent’s elephant and rhino.
Mombasa Island is the city centre and acts as a gateway for cargo heading to neighbouring countries. At Fort Jesus, learn about European, Arabic, and Indian influences that form the identity of Mombasa today. Take a stroll in a part of the city that is surrounded by inlets and admire the modern and traditional architecture as ships head out to sea stocked with cargo bound for other lands.
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