Complete Traveler’s Guide To Mombasa, Kenya
Mombasa is one of the best places in Kenya to visit, and there are many reasons for that. Any visitor to Kenya should consider visiting Mombasa during their holidays!
This top destination for people who want to experience a tropical feel while in Africa. Mombasa provides the opportunity to enjoy incredible weather, the beautiful waters of the Indian Ocean, white sandy beaches, and the tastiest Kenyan food.
Imagine waking up every morning to the warm African sun poking through the windows and inviting you to experience everything this beachside city has to offer.
Sounds amazing, right?
All of this is why Mombasa is considered to be one of the best tourists spots in all of East Africa!
Take a look at these travel tips and things to do in Mombasa before planning your trip to this sunny city.
Weather in Mombasa
The main rainy season in Mombasa is in April and May. Expect more rain to arrive throughout the year, but significantly less than in April and May. The dry season lasts from November to January. This period is hot with relatively low rainfall. It is the busiest time for tourism in Mombasa.
The dry season lasts from July to October. This makes the best time to visit Mombasa since the sky has little to no clouds. No clouds mean you will be able to enjoy the beach and outdoors as much as possible. This gives you the ability to enjoy yourself and worry less about the weather.
October to March is the best time to explore the marine life of Kenya. During this period you will have the chance to go on fishing expeditions and catch an enormous yellowfin tuna from August to October.
Don’t worry too much about the temperature in Mombasa. Things stay fairly consistent all year round with temperatures staying between 70°F and 90°F. The yearly average is around a reasonable 80°F which will be acceptable for most visitors.
November to April are the hottest times of the year. So, if you want cooler weather it’s best to avoid these seasons and visit in the cooler months.
The only problem here is the humidity which can be uncomfortable for those coming from more arid regions. Mombasa maintains a fairly consistent humidity of around 70%. However, this should be expected from an equatorial beach city.
Cost to travel to Mombasa
The cost to travel in Mombasa depends greatly on your quality of life and style of travel. It is possible to spend a great deal of money on hotels and day trips out of the city. However, if you’re traveling on a budget it is certainly possible to enjoy a cheap holiday in Mombasa.
Getting to Mombasa
Expect to spend around $60 to travel from Nairobi to Mombasa if you opt to fly. Flights run frequently between the capital and this popular beach city so you can choose a time that fits your schedule. The flight only takes an hour and is quite convenient. Return flights will cost just over $100.
If you choose to take a bus to Mombasa know that the journey will take 8 hours or more. The main reason to take a bus to Mombasa is for the cost savings. Standard buses from Nairobi to Mombasa can be found for under $10, and luxury buses can be found for $15. If you are short on cash, the bus from Nairobi to Mombasa might be a good option.
Food cost in Mombasa
A reasonable budget for food and drinks in Mombasa would be around $25 per day. With this budget, you will be able to eat well and enjoy a wide range of food each day – and even have money left over for a beer or two! As always, local food will be very inexpensive when compared to western fare. If you eat like a local you could probably get by on as little as $10 per day.
Cost of accommodation
A basic hotel in Mombasa will cost $20 per night. Don’t expect much in the way of amenities, however. If you are looking to upgrade your stay, a mid-range hotel will come in at $70 or more. This is the way to go if you prefer spending time at the pool rather than the beach.
Local transportation in Mombasa is fairly cheap. Transport on the local minibusses cost around $0.50 per trip, and tuk-tuks will typically cost less than $2 per trip. A good number to expect is $5 per day assuming you take these cheap modes of transportation.
All in, the cost to travel Mombasa is $40-$50 on the low end and $100+ for mid-range travel.
If you are on a higher budget your expenses will increase greatly if you stay in 5* hotels or plan on taking safari trips to nearby national parks.
Visit Mombasa’s Top Beaches
A trip to Mombasa wouldn’t be complete without spending time at the beach!
Mombasa has a number of awesome beaches that come features that cater to the needs of different types of travelers. There are a number of well-known beaches, as well as some secluded spots that will offer relaxation and privacy.
The following are the 4 best beaches in Mombasa, Kenya.
This the arguably the best beach in all of Kenya! Diani Beach has a number of features that make it worth visiting, and if you only have one day in Mombasa, make sure you stop at Diani Beach. Fall in love with Kenya as you relax and enjoy the sun and sand.
Diani Beach is well known for its coral reefs, underwater sandbars, and lush covering of palm trees. This beach is also a great location for visitors who enjoy swimming and surfing. Bring lunch to the beach and have a picnic while you spend time with friends and family.
If you’re in a more adventurous mood there are a wide range of water sports available to visitors. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and island hopping trips are some possible activities from Diani. After, head for a relaxing swim followed by a walk along the beach.
Tip: If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, check out Skydiving in Diani.
The first impression of Nyali Beach is that it has a calm and relaxing ambiance. The next thing you will likely notice is the nearby resorts. Nyali Beach is surrounded by impressive beach resorts that offer elegant, upscale accommodation. That should come as no surprise as Mombasa wouldn’t be a resort town without an abundance of resorts! This is also a good sign that this stretch of beach holds something special.
And what makes Nyali Beach special? First, the beach has exceptionally clean sand and water. This could be due to resort cleanup crews or local efforts. Regardless, Nyali is well maintained and is one of the most beautiful beaches in Mombasa. The second reason to love Nyali Beach is due to the fact that it is never crowded! Despite its popularity, Nyali remains relatively uncrowded even on its busiest days. This is mainly due to the size of Nyali Beach which is quite large and can easily handle a large number of visitors at once.
This is a good place for all the typical beach activities like sunbathing, swimming, and building sandcastles, as well as a good location for surfing. If you’re looking for privacy and to avoid the crowds, consider planning your trip around Nyali Beach.
This beach is surrounded by lush green vegetation and coconut palms – exactly what you want when you’re looking for a quiet, secluded beach! The water at Vipingo is calm and crystal clear which makes it a great choice for anyone looking to spend some time in the water. Vipingo is around 30km north of Mombasa which means it stays quiet and uncrowded. The isolation makes the beach a place suitable place for romantic getaways and peaceful moments away from the city. Vipingo is a traditional fishing village that has been gaining fame as a great addition to visitors itineraries. There is a lot of history in the area that can be discovered near the beach as well as some great examples of the special Boab Tree.
More people are starting to give Vipingo the respect it deserves, however. There have been some recent residential developments in the nearby area. The developments give residents of Mombasa the chance to live near one of the most beautiful beaches in Kenya. Don’t worry about losing your privacy though. Vipingo Beach is still separated from the development by the thick forest covering!
Tiwi is considered by many to be one of the best sandy beaches in Kenya! It is 20km south of Mombasa so, like Vipingo, will require a means of transportation to get here. The beach is fairly quiet and deserted and has been a popular stop for budget travelers. There is a hotel restaurant on the beach that offers food and drinks if you get hungry. There aren’t many facilities at the moment, but that should change with more development in the future. Tiwi Beach is also considered to be a good spot for snorkeling. There is a lot of aquatic wildlife living in and around the reefs here.
The Best Things To See And Do In Mombasa
A place for history lovers, Fort Jesus was built in the late 1500s as a base for the Portuguese military in the area. It was built by the Portuguese during the colonial period and is one of the best surviving examples of architecture from this period. It is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historical importance. Fort Jesus is a good stop for tourists as it houses exhibitions consisting of a wide collection of ceramics and pottery. The pottery reflects the various cultures and tribes that once traded with the Portuguese along the coast. Visitors also have the opportunity to see what life was like during the Omani rule. The Omani merchants who conquered the fort were sure to add their own personal touches. Many of their design elements have been preserved and display elements of their culture. Entry to the fort costs $10.
Visit Haller Park
Visiting Haller Park offers an opportunity to spot numerous birds and an assortment of other wildlife. It’s a great place to go with friends or family who want to experience wildlife without needing to join an expensive safari tour. Some resident animals include giraffes, cape buffaloes, zebras, waterbucks, and hippos. The park is home to a well-known animal couple that has become an internet sensation after being posted online. You might have seen the viral video of Mzee, the 130-year-old tortoise, who adopted an orphaned hippo. This is also a great place for bird watching. In total there are more than 160 species of birds that call this park home.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
This one of the thing that every ocean lover should try out. Actually, I’d recommend snorkeling to EVERYONE visiting Mombasa.
Because Mombasa has spectacular water and marine life that should not be missed out on. Adventure more maritime from the ordinary kayaking and swimming. Practically every beach in Mombasa offers great chances for scuba diving and snorkeling. The water is clear and reefs are abundant. Pretty much a dream come true. Check out the mangroves on the water’s edge, beds of seagrass, and the coral reef that protects the coast. Stingrays, seahorses, and eels are some of the more exotic animals that call this habitat home. This is something that you won’t want to miss out on!
Make your way to Mamba Village Center
The Mamba Villiage Center offers an opportunity to see impressive crocodiles including one which has been named Big Daddy. This absolutely massive croc weighs in at 2,000 pounds and is rumored to have eaten five humans before being captured and placed in confinement at the center. The center hopes to share knowledge of these fascinating reptiles that live in Kenya and provide a home for ones who cannot live in the wild.
Mamba Center also has a number of other features like horseback rides, a beautiful botanical garden, and an aquarium. It’s recommended to visit during feeding time as you can watch the crocodiles in action. They can be a bit lazy during the day.
Visit Shimba Hills National Reserve
This is a home for many endangered plant species, birds, and animals. You will be taken aback by the absolutely stunning surroundings, which hold captivating waterfalls, lily-covered ponds, and a bio-diverse forest cover. This is actually the place to go if you want to find the highest concentrations of elephants in Kenya!
Other animals that can be found in the reserve include leopards, sable antelopes, and an abundance of birdlife.
Finally, cool off in a refreshing swimming hole to cap off this exciting day trip from Mombasa.