The island City of Mombasa is one of the African continents most popular tourist destinations. It has some of the world’s best beaches, world-class hotels, a beautiful and diverse marine life, and beautiful and friendly people. The Port of Mombasa is Kenya’s second biggest and East Africa’s oldest city. Roman and Greek writers mentioned the village as much as 2500 years ago. Yet the modern city has been occupied by a variety of rulers from Omani Arabs to British and Portuguese colonists. This rich history and its diverse cultural influences make the Port of Mombasa a must-see for travelers. While visiting the Port of Mombasa, you should check out these places.
The Port of Mombasa’s most popular tourist attraction is Fort Jesus, built by the Portuguese in the 16th Century. Located near Old Town on the coastline, the fort has a museum containing artifacts from the days of the slave trade as well as goods from the seafaring trade days of old. In the interior, visitors will find torture rooms and prison cells where slaves were kept before being sold.
The Gedi Ruins, on the Port of Mombasa’s north coast towards Malindi, are the ruins of a small 15th Century town built completely from stones and rocks by the few thousand Swahili people who lived there under the rule of a rich Sultan. Most of the original scrupulously-preserved foundations are still visible, and the ruins are a National Museum by law. The Muslim inhabitants of the Port of Mombasa traded with people worldwide. Artifacts found there include Venetian beads, a Chinese Ming vase, an Indian iron lamp, and Spanish scissors. The homes had drained bathrooms with overhead basins for flush toilets. The Port of Mombasa streets were equipped with drainage gutters. For reasons not well understood, the town was abandoned in the 16th Century.
The Port of Mombasa also holds many Hindu temples, symbols of its diverse culture and history. Indian workers were brought here to help build the British colony, and they brought their religion with them. Most temples offer tours led by a temple guru.
The Mombasa Tusks were built to welcome the visit of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth in 1952. Shaping the letter “M” for Mombasa, they grace the road from the port to the town center. The tusks were placed there to signify the Port of Mombasa’s close relationship with the Queen and the British Empire.
Old Town recalls the days when the Port of Mombasa was heavily influenced by Arabs, particularly in architecture and language. The area contains many old buildings, extravagant art, and souvenir shops where you can find antiques and popular Kenyan curios. Best seen by foot with an experienced guide, Old Town streets are narrow and crowded with the descendants of the Arabs who once lived here. Fort Jesus is located at the border of Old Town. Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
The largest animal sanctuary in the Port of Mombasa is Haller Park with a huge variety of animals, insects, reptiles, and botanical gardens. Visitors can walk the trail to see, or even feed, the animals. The land was once barren, but it has been redeveloped and reforested to make a wonderful habitat for many species of plants and animals.
Nearby Mamba Village, just over three miles northeast of the Port of Mombasa, is East Africa’s biggest crocodile farm. Visitors begin with an educational film on crocodiles, then take a tour of the farm, and end their trip with scheduled the feeding frenzy. The village also contains the Mamba Restaurant, serving specially-prepared crocodile meat.
Travelers who want to visit the Port of Mombasa by sea can find a list of scheduled cruises at the Cruise Compete website.