I would call this the tribe has spoken blog post; I wasn’t planning to write about my recent trip to Mombasa, but I love putting out content you request for-
it means you would love to read it.
I am torn about the title for this one, not sure if it should be traveling to Mombasa on a budget or things to do while in Mombasa…
This trip wasn’t in my plan; it came to mind when we went on the festive break at work. I realized I had many days off, so I decided to go down to the coast.
In my opinion, the cheapest and most efficient way to travel to Mombasa is by the SGR. Well cheap is 1000/-, but for some of you that’s pocket change; you only catch flights right? Do you boo. If you plan early, you are likely to secure a seat on the train, for me, I missed it so I had to use the bus. I discovered a night bus is more efficient, the journey seems shorter! For my return though, I secured a seat on the ‘famous’ SGR.
Have the most of Mombasa!
Tip Alert: If you can, don’t stay at a hotel while in Mombasa. Let me tell you why, it’s very limiting. Bearing in mind you have paid for all the commodities, you will feel the need to spend your entire day at the hotel. Well once in a while, you need sometime off just to be in such an environment, but when your intention is to explore, AirBnB got you! It will also save your notes not even coins
Come with me to explore Mombasa city!
Old Town Mombasa, is not a destination per say, it’s like down town Nairobi. However, there’s so much Swahili culture to soak in while here.
It’s also ideal for all the coasterian-related shopping you wish to do; Diras, mabuyu, Maasai sandals, spices, kangas (Abdalla is very popular), I’m sure the list is endless.
2. Fort Jesus
You’re probably thinking, really? Yes! If you’re a lover of history, there’s so much of that at your disposal there, and the beauty is most content is displayed respectively so you don’t quite need a tour guide. Entrance fee for residents is 300/-, you need to present identification to prove your Nationality.
To be honest, this time I just went to Fort Jesus to take pictures, I love the structures out there.
3. Haller Park
I like to think of Haller Park as an all in one place to visit. You can go there for a nature trail to explore the many plant species, and get to see different animal species. The best time to visit Haller Park is in the afternoon as it stretches to the animals’ feeding times which is interesting to watch, as opposed to looking at a crocodile sleeping, that’s boring. There’s also a Reptile Park, if you want to stunt with snakes in your hands, this is it. The entrance fee at Haller Park for residents is 500/-.
4. Daycation at Bamburi Beach Hotel
This has to be the highlight of my trip to Mombasa, I loved everything about this day! So the daycation package includes, lunch on buffet basis (3-course meal), 4-o’clock tea (can we agree that’s a generic term used for anything you eat at 4?) still on buffet basis, swimming and unlimited supply of drinks, whether you want wine, cocktails, milk, juice, whatever you like…all for just 3000/-! You can walk in at mid-morning and you should leave the hotel at 7:30 pm. I found this really cool and so satisfying.
You can find the same package in other hotels; Travellers Beach Hotel, Sarova Whitesands, Milele Beach Hotel, just to mention a few. The rates vary, of course.
5. Ice- Cream at Yul’s Aquadrom
This is not your average vanilla-strawberry ice-cream! Talk about very authentic and tasty ice-cream. Yul is actually the owner of the restaurant, sometimes you’ll find him walking around to make sure you’re having a tasty time. They have 60 different flavours of ice-cream each made with love from Italy. It’s a restaurant too, but I’ve never had food there so I wouldn’t say much about that.
Yuls is right next to Bamburi Beach Hotel, so perhaps after your daycation you can hop in there for some, they close ice-cream orders at 11:00 pm, & the climate in Mombasa allows for that you know.
6. Swimming at Sai Rock Hotel
I love it here, because you can walk-in just to swim, unlike many hotels in Mombasa. The other good thing about it is the pool, it’s quite big and deep, that’s what I call real swimming. Swimming for adults is 600/-. If you wish, you can have meals there too, they’re pretty affordable.
7. Crash at your friends’ hotel apartment
The main reason I literally crashed at their apartment was because the pool was open all night. Well if you know me, you know I LOVE swimming! Like, I never get enough. So I ‘crashed’ a dream when I swam through the night till 0000hrs.
I find it fun to meet ‘Nairobians’ at the Coast, and trust me, there’s always someone you know there. You can hang out at Nyali Center, City Mall, Nyali Cinemax…there’s a variety of joints.
8. Dinner at Grill House
Ratina Square is a very random thingie located in Nyali area (opposite Nyali Cinemax) , but in there you find this gem called Grill House. It’s a a restaurant with an array of vibes; vintage, Swahili and English. That description makes sense in my head, I really hope it does as you read it. I wouldn’t promise Swahili dishes here, but the vibe makes it an ideal place to visit.
9. Lunch/ Dinner at Mama Ntilie
Here’s my thinking, I can’t be in Mombasa and have a meal at KFC, no way. I can have that in Nairobi any day. While at the Coast, you want to maximize on Swahili dishes. Mama Ntilie or Swahili restaurants in Mombasa are so many, literally at your disposal. I had my first ever chicken-biriyani at Mumtaz, on Mtwapa Road.
10. Nguuni Nature Sanctuary
Up close and candid with giraffes and ostriches situation goes on here. The trick about this place is to go during feeding times, because that’s when animals are gathered. Otherwise, you will just stare at acacia trees under the scorching sun. The park fee for residents is 350/-.
11. Beach please…are you even in Mombasa if you don’t go to the beach? Obvious fact, access to the beach is free, so get going
Whew! Felt like I traveled to Mombasa all over again. But that’s it for today’s post my loves, looking forward to the next one…it’s exciting, I promise.
Are you planning to go to Mombasa this year? If yes, let me know if you try any of the activities I’ve mentioned above. For my international audience, do you feel like you wanna explore this beautiful Kenyan city? I can hook you up.
All the same I hope y’all enjoyed the read
Love & Hugs!