9 Best Things To Do In Mombasa, Kenya

things to do in mombasa

Mombasa is the second-largest city of Kenya (after the capital, Nairobi) and is influenced by Middle Eastern and Asian traditions due to its strong commercial links with those continents. Mombasa is full of surprises, so plan a few days to visit everything the city has to offer! Just choose among the best family hotels or vacation rentals for your accommodations first. Then check out our selection of the best things to visit in Mombasa, the second-largest city in Kenya.

1. Fort Jesus

Fort jesus mombasa
Source: Photo by user Alex Wafula used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Built between 1593 and 1596 by the Portuguese, Fort Jesus stands guard at the entrance of the harbor towards the Old Port of Mombasa. It is one of the finest examples of 16th-century Renaissance military fortifications. It was also one of the only forts to be maintained by the Portuguese along the Swahili coast, although it was captured and recaptured nine times, falling between the influence of by the Portuguese, then the Omani Arabs, and finally by the British, who would later colonize Kenya.

As of 2011, the fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the fort is one of Mombasa’s most popular tourist destinations. The museum inside the fort houses numerous relics. You can catch a glorious view of Mombasa Harbor from this museum as well.

Fort Jesus

Address: Nkrumah Rd, Mombasa 80100, Kenya

Website: Fort Jesus

2. Old Town

Mombasa old town
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user FredD used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The historic Old Town of Mombasa is located just off Fort Jesus and sprawls over 180 acres (40.5 hectares). The tiny streets are lined with old buildings featuring ornately carved wood and architecture that is a blend of the influences of Arabic, Asian, European, and African cultures. Located in the Old Town is the Old Port of Mombasa where merchant dhows (traditional sailing boats) from Arabia, Persia, India, and Somalia once graced its docks, making it not only a melting pot of cultures but also an integral part of the trade along the ancient maritime Silk Route. While wandering through the streets of the Old Town, stop by one of the many antique stores or sample some Swahili cuisine at the Jahazi Coffee House.

Jahazi Coffee House in Mombasa's Old Town

Address: Ndia Kuu Rd, Mombasa, Kenya

Website: Learn more here

3. Mombasa Tusks

Tusks in City of Mombasa
Source: Photo by user Sandro Senn used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

As you drive or walk down Moi Avenue in Mombasa, you won’t miss the giant elephant tusks that arch over the dual carriageway of the avenue. The tusks were commissioned in 1956 in commemoration of Princess Margaret’s visit to Mombasa. Although these were originally made from canvas stretched over a wooden frame, these were later replaced with aluminium. Read more about the Mombasa Tusks here.

Mombasa Tusks

Address: Pembe Mbili, Moi Ave, Mombasa, Kenya

4. Haller Park

Source: Pixabay

Along the Mombasa-Malindi Highway, Haller Park (formerly known as Bamburi Nature Trail) consists of a Game Sanctuary, Reptile Park, Fish Farm, Crocodile Pens, and a giraffe viewing platform all set about in a vibrant and diverse ecosystem. The park is a product of the Bamburi Cement Company’s efforts since 1971 to convert the barren landscape of disused limestone quarries. The park hosts a variety of flora and fauna; it would be hard to miss some of the giant tortoises that roam freely around the park. Located a few minutes’ drive from Haller Park is the Bamburi Forest Trails where one can lose themselves amidst the beautiful and lush forest surroundings. Featuring trails for walking, jogging, or cycling with alternating landscapes, you will find antelopes, eland, and oryx within the forest. The Bamburi Forest trails also features a butterfly farm along with a host of flora. This is truly a nature lover’s dream!

Haller Park

Address: Trail, Mombasa, Kenya

Website: Haller Park

5. Mamba Village

Crocodile farm in Momabasa 2
Source: Photo by user Виолетова used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Update August 2017: Unfortunately, Mamba village is no longer open.

As you drive towards the Nyali Golf Course, it’s hard not to notice the giant crocodile sculpture that stands imposingly at the entrance of Mamba Village (“mamba” meaning crocodile in Swahili). Mamba Village is East Africa’s largest crocodile farm with crocodiles in every size – from hatchlings to fully grown adults such as the 100+ year old man-eating “Big Daddy.” A visit to the center begins with a comprehensive video presentation on this reptile species, which is then followed by a visit through the maze of crocodile pens. Keep an eye out for the pen that features the albino crocodiles before heading off to see giants fight for fresh meat during feeding time. Located within the estate, you can either take a camel ride, visit the equestrian center, or stroll through the botanical gardens. Finish the tour with a cocktail at the Crocodile Bar or for those adventurous carnivores – try out the range of game meats such as ostrich, zebra, and crocodile from the a la carte menu at the Village Restaurant. In the evenings and especially on Fridays, the Mamba Disco is a favorite nightspot to party away.

Mamba Village

Address: Links Rd, Mombasa, Kenya

6. Bombolulu Workshop & Cultural Centre

Source: Pxfuel

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

The Bombolulu Workshop and Cultural Centre is a short drive away from Mombasa. The center was established in 1969 by the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK) providing benefits such as education, housing, medical aid, and employment for the physically disabled and blind. As artisans, they create handcrafted jewelry as well as other products for both the local market and export. The center is well worth a visit to not only admire, but also to purchase some of the handicrafts produced at the workshops.

Bombolulu Workshop & Cultural Centre

Address: Near Rise & Shine School, Workshop Road, Bombolulu, Mombasa, Kenya

Website: Bombolulu Workshop & Cultural Centre

7. Nguuni Nature Sanctuary

Giraffe feeding
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hdahlmo~commonswiki used under CC BY 2.5

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Located on the Nguu Tatu Hills about 2.5 mi (4 km) away from the Bamburi Cement Factory, the Nguuni Nature Sanctuary is home to a number of species such as giraffe, eland, waterbuck, oryx, and several bird species. It is the perfect place to experience a game ride, sunset, picnic, barbecue, enjoy sundowners, and even as a wedding venue!

Nguuni Nature Sanctuary

Address: Off Kiembeni Road, Kiembeni, Mombasa, Kenya

8. Mombasa Marine National Park & Reserve

Wooden boat off-shore in Mombasa's Marine Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user McKay Savage used under CC BY 2.0

The Mombasa Marine National Park & Reserve lies along the sandy beaches and in the warm waters between the Tudor and Mtwapa Creeks. The park provides for several activities ranging from watersports such as windsurfing and waterskiing to snorkeling and diving. For those less adventurous or simply looking to relax, sunbathe on the white sandy beach. Snorkeling and diving enthusiasts will find an array of marine life in the coral reefs.

Mombasa Marine National Park & Reserve

Address: Near Pirates Public Beach, off Malindi Road, Nyali, Mombasa, Kenya

Website: Mombasa Marine National Park & Reserve

9. Bamburi Beach

Bamburi Mombasa
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Safaritravelplus used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The long stretch of white sandy beach with crystal blue-green waters along the Kenyan coast is just a short drive away from Mombasa and features a host of activities along with some top beach hotels and restaurants. When staying at one of the hotels, such as the Sarova Whitesands Hotel or Kenya Bay Beach Hotel, there are several activities that can be found along the beach or through the hotel such as glass bottom boat rides that take you across the coral reef, enabling you to admire the aquatic life without having to get wet! You could also choose to ride the sea in a traditional sailing boat or with a jet ski, or try your hand at some wind surfing. Camel rides and souvenirs can be found all along the beach.

Sarova White Sands Hotel

Website: Learn more here

Kenya Bay Beach Hotel

Website: Learn more here

Beautiful Mombasa

While you visit Mombasa, Kenya, make sure to count a few extra days to go to one of the infamous safaris in either the Masai Mara or Tsavo for a true Kenyan experience! Be sure to check out the best hotels and vacation rentals as well.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Elodie is an avid passport stamp collector and adventure seeker. She defines herself as storyteller, marketeer, diver and traveller - not necessarily in that order. She is currently based in Bali,...Read more

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