Stretching out to the far North and South, connected by major bridges and ferries outlined by exotic beach resorts peeping from overlying palm trees, the 2nd largest city in Kenya seated in an island is a magnet for both local and foreign tourists looking for some marine adventure or just some fresh breeze, silence and food.
The silky Jewel blue sky edges into a narrow sardine silver-line cutting across the horizon emerging from the sea then gradually drifts the white waves gently towards the shore, rippling over the white crystal sparkling sand raising that salty fresh aquatic aroma and cooling off my feet sending the tickle up to spark my senses back to reality. It’s the perfect moment to get lost for a while and the feeling is always so refreshing to the soul. Coast has always topped the list of holiday getaway destinations and I’d say every country with a coast line has a blessing. No feeling beats the Ocean bliss even with your eyes closed.
So, the Standard gauge railway was launched in Kenya, Yea right, I mean u can get to Mombasa in 4 straight hours from the Capital and if you have no idea what am talking about then, I mean it’s saving more than half the time you’d spend on a bus. Is it in order if I talk about my favorite town today, I mean Mombasa. This post coincidentally just comes in time to bring vivid memories of my first blog posts just when I finished celebrating my half year into blogging, Yes: Sands of Diani was also one of the most read posts I’ve ever written. Did I just say Mombasa because I really meant the coast when I did; actually let’s just run with the beach.
While The To Do list in Mombasa is crazy, I’d say just leave your CAB , get a short tuk-tuk ride like to fort Jesus, Board a Ferry and head over to south coast, Gulp down an icy Cocktail at Fourty thieves beach bar, Go cruising at Tamarind and of course take a swim in the ocean. Just let yourself loose and let this Swahili town show off.
Having already deviated from the topic in so many ways, let’s go straight to what am all about today. A quick peek at the coastal town. You don’t have to sleep it in, in your hotel the whole time and just head over to the beach. There’s so much to see and I tried narrowed it to my top 10 favorites for you:
Sun and Sandy Beaches.
Whether it’s North Coast Watamu, Kilifi, Malindi or South Coast; my favorite Diani or the far away town of Lamu, this is the only if not the major reason everyone heads over to Coast. Swing around on that hammock hanging down from a palm tree trying so hard to follow the ocean blues , gaze up to the palm leaves being blown away below the blue sky, run and dive into that salty water and collect some souvenirs *I am a collector of shells*, or just walk by the beach scrubbing yourself with the sand. What else could be so perfect?
Yes yes, there’s no way I’d put this under Point one. Dive from the sky in some massive parachute into the water in Diani, Speed race with the waves, and try your patience Kite surfing over the waves maybe you might feel a little *Peter-ish* walking over water. If it’s not enough go Marine fishing, catch some fish then come share it over some barbecue and wine with friends. How far can you go to make a heart skip a beat? How about a swim with the dolphins down at Chale Island.
One of the earliest and monumental buildings ever built in Kenya. Am talking about a Portuguese military structure built around 1593-1596 portraying the Italian culture, battle ruins, Swahili culture and offering one of the best views to the ocean is now a UNESCO World Heritage site; museum showcasing the ancient slave story that existed here and one of the best Swahili stories.
Mombasa Old Town
I’d say before you head over to Lamu why not teleport yourself a little back to ancient times at Old town after your fort Jesus visit. Explore the ancient Arabic, Asian and European culture clearly defined by the architectural designs of the old abandoned yet still gracefully standing structures that were once the prime of Mombasa town. Get to see the old port and a perfect view of the ocean from the tall buildings, just take it all in and of course get a good local to tell you more about the town, its history and culture. Or just grab some ice cream stroll in the alleys and take in some spicy fragrances.
Bombolulu Art and Cultural Centre.
They say all is not lost if you lose everything you have but your will and soul. This place has one of the greatest handmade art pieces I’ve come across in Kenya. Just a few kilometers from Bamburi, or Nyali it’s a home to some physically handicapped people who are creating some of the best pieces of beadwork, sculptures and embroidery. Make sure to pass on a weekday to get to see the workshops and how they do it. Dance with them, have lunch, buy a gift and be a blessing. I bought something for someone here and it made him so happy. It also showcases the traditional homesteads and Swahili culture and you can play with the monkeys.
I Featured this place HERE on a previous post before. All I’d say now is go feed a giraffe at Haller Park and it might be your friend and tickle you up. If you are into games much feed a massive crocodile otherwise just tease the fish and appreciate the great project formerly ‘Bamburi Nature Trail’, that was once an abandoned quarry wasteland.
Shop around at Marikiti or Kongowea Market.
“Dera” as they call it in Swahili for those loose African maxi dresses is the best gift you can get any lady, them not knowing how cheap it cost you 🙂 🙂 . Walk around the stalls and boutiques and pick some fine African print textiles in Marikiti. And if you are up to the hustle then head over to unravel Kongowea, see what goes down in a heated open market. Ha-ha don’t say Kongowea was my idea though.
Up for some sea food, let’s say real scary sea food feeding. While crocodile meat tastes like chicken, beef n pork all at once why don’t you go chill out at one of the Largest Crocodile farms; Mamba village see how these hungry Crocs grasp food.
Explore Mama Ngina and Moi Avenue Tusks.
Nothing beats an oceanic sunrise view just when the waves are swaying and squashing the rocks and reefs topped up with a cool fresh breeze breathe. Mama Ngina drive would be the ideal place for a cool breezy afternoon watching ships dock or an early morning orange sky open up to a blue sky. On your way out pass over at Moi Avenue, of course Mombasa is not Mombasa without passing by the entry to Mombasa i.e. the Tusks. Take a random cheeky photograph for fun.
This had to be number ten, because apart from Pilau and Biryani I have zero food experience but from what I hear you can get all Kinds of fresh Sea food on almost all the restaurants hanging over beaches. You can’t leave Mombasa without a taste of a Swahili dish. Head over to Swahili dishes, Rozina, Singh, or even go explore the Moorings floating restaurant In Mtwapa Creek.
So I recently went back to coast to and fro via the SGR which has its downsides too by the way but that’s not why am writing today. I revisited most of the places I went to when I was a child, I’ve even gone digging for my almost twenty year old photo at Fort Jesus and I’d swear I saw it sometime last year but I can’t seem to find it now. Maybe the gods know you’ll laugh at me. Initially I wanted to postpone this post for later but the pressure to share my coastal pictures has had me change my mind.
Till next time 🙂 🙂 🙂
Our guest blogger is A Kenyan girl with a camera, hunting for travel, wildlife and awesome getaway destinations, seeking sunrises and sunsets with a passion for anything travel,wildlife,drylands and art. I count money by day but write and travel anytime. Lover of Life.