What is there not to love about a floating restaurant that sways a little as you sit back, relax and sip on a drink and have a bite to eat? The Moorings Restaurant is East Africa’s oldest floating restaurant and was built in 1994 on a dynamic platform that has been floating on the scenic banks of the Mtwapa Creek on the North Coast of Mombasa, Kenya for over 20 years. It is located at Kwa Chief, next to Motor Garage, off Malindi Road. This is approximately 1 ½ hours away from the Mombasa Airport and 1 hour away from the centre of Mombasa. It is a little bit out of the way and in quite a secluded location, so I’m excited to share some information on it with you so that you can decide whether it’s worth a visit during your time in Mombasa.
Take a walk on the quaint little bridge
Finding The Moorings Restaurant can be a little bit tricky so you’re advised to check out the route well in advance and to arrange for private transportation to take you there. Whilst there are signposts indicating where to turn, it is not so easy to spot if you’re not a local and aware of the area. There is ample space in the car parking facilities that are located a short walk away from The Moorings Restaurant. In order to get to the restaurant, you need to embark on a downhill slope where there is a ramp and some steps. It is not recommended that those with physical disabilities visit this establishment due to the route that needs to be walked. Once you reach the bottom of the slope, you will see a quaint little wooden bridge that you need to cross in order to reach the restaurant. The bridge rocks a little bit but is entirely safe.
A world away from the hype of central Mombasa
As you step onto the restaurant, you will feel it move a little bit too, which makes your first moment on it quite memorable. If you have the tendency to feel seasick then please do note that this restaurant is not the best place for you as there will be subtle movement of the restaurant due to the waves and movement of other guests on board. The seating within the restaurant varies and includes comfy wooden padded armchairs, sofas and benches. There is also a central bar area which has bar stools surrounding it. The restaurant has a capacity of 100 people and is quite spacious with uncrowded seating arrangements. There is also a dhow that is docked on the side of the restaurant which you can sit in, if you want to feel a bit more of the rocking waves whilst you bathe in the sun. The busy and noisiness of Mombasa will feel like it is a world away.
How much closer could you be to the waterfront?
The environment that surrounds The Moorings Restaurant is idyllic and tranquil. There are tables of varying sizes, so whether you have a small or large party, you will be able to sit together and enjoy the natural atmosphere around. There are some especially large tables, seating around six people as well as some two seaters for couples wanting to have a memorable experience where they can overlook the water. How much closer to a waterfront setting could you get? As you can see from the photograph, the restaurant is not at all enclosed from the outside, meaning that you are as close to enjoying and embracing nature with no obstructions as possible. If you have small children, you are advised to be cautious, however, due to the lack of enclosure.
Stop over for a leisurely drink or bite
The Moorings Restaurant serves drinks and food. The drinks include cold drinks as well as hot drinks such as tea and coffee. The food menu is continental and includes seafood, pizza and pasta. I would have to recommend visiting The Moorings Restaurant, if you’re looking for a snack and have some time to kill as the bruschetta (costing 320 KSH/4 USD) and the avocado and mango salad with a hint of chilli and lemon (costing 480 KSH/6 USD) is tasty and as memorable as the scenic view. The salad was especially creamy due to the avocado and citrusy and sweet at the same time due to the delicious Kenyan mango available.
Embrace the sunshine and some snacks
Chill out and have some chips (costing 190 KSH/2USD) followed by some chocolate and vanilla ice cream (costing 350 KSH/4 USD) in this warm setting. The ice cream is served in a ginger tartlet, which enhances its presentation and adds something extra to the texture of the sweet and gooey ice cream that you have to eat super-fast due to the rays of sunshine ready to make it melt. I would only recommend having a full-course meal here (in comparison to snacks), if you have significant time available as the time in which you will receive the food for a full meal can be quite considerable. If you have good company or a great book (and are of course, not starving), then it can be a leisurely experience visiting for a full-course meal.
A boat trip around the Mtwapa Creek is recommended
Either before or after you have munched on some yummy snacks and ice cream, you should consider going on a boat ride of the Mtwapa Creek from The Moorings Restaurant. If you have travelled all the way to this lovely floating restaurant, you might as well travel a bit around the vicinity, albeit in style and in a boat! You can either request to travel on The Moorings Restaurant’s own dhow, which is docked next to this unique floating restaurant, or you can hire and pre-book a tour with one of the other boats that are docked around the restaurant. If you are a tourist, you are advised to speak to your hotel concierge to make enquiries and secure your booking.
See the opulent houses and private members' clubs
What I think you will really love about travelling around the Mtwapa Creek is that you will see the number of boats anchored and bobbing in the water as well as the opulent houses and private members’ clubs that are overlooking the water. This is the only way that you will get a sneak peek into the life of how the wealthy live in this area: by sailing on emerald green waters around their homes. Surrounding these properties are lush trees, bushes and little flowers in such an unspoiled manner that it makes you really appreciate their natural beauty and proximity to the water. With such spectacular views, it is no wonder that those that travel to Mombasa adore sailing around parts of this island and enjoying it from the water.
See the sunset framed by delicate arches of trees and rocks
Whether you are on private boat or the dhow owned by The Moorings Restaurant, the chance to experience the view of the sunset from this spot is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It is ridiculously gorgeous and so very romantic. The photograph that you can see in this review is of from The Moorings Restaurant and is overlooking the dhow, which had not yet departed to sail for the evening. I am sure that you will enjoy watching the sunset, which is framed by the delicate arches of trees and rocks, and I would urge you to consider visiting The Moorings Restaurant to experience this picturesque sight. I would also suggest that you consider hopping on the sundowner on the dhow as this is a spectacular experience where you can really connect with nature in its most beautiful form.
Enjoy the glorious colours of nature
Located in such a unique place, The Moorings Restaurant is a great place to unwind, relax and enjoy some drinks and snacks for a few hours and as this was my first experience on a floating restaurant, I can report to you that it was a fantastic one. If you do decide to visit this establishment, I would recommend that you also soak in the views aboard a boat and explore the breathtaking views of the Mtwapa Creek. You will be able to really embrace the glorious colours of the surrounding nature whilst sailing on the glittering waters under the sunshine and will also be able to see The Moorings Restaurant & Bar from another perspective.
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