browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Mombasa – Part 1

Posted by on August 20, 2011


Its an unfortunate truth that one forgets the beauty and attaction of their home town/city/country. How many New Yorkers take the time to visit the statue of Liberty? Do French citizens visit the Louvre more than once? For the majority or people, the answer to these questions is no.

I fell into the trap or daily routine. Setting my mind to travels has re-opened my eyes to the beauty and opportunities available in Mombasa. And there is not shortage of things to do. I have therefore had to split this into a series of 3 parts.

In this first part, I will be looking at the Beaches, Places to Eat and Places to Stay.

The Beach

Watamu, Kenya

Probably one of the biggest attractions in Mombasa is the beach. All up and down the coast, Mombasa sports some of the best beaches in the world. Yes, the don’t have the ‘blue flag’ rating but that’s not because they aren’t excellent. Blue flag hasn’t deemed Kenya, or most of Africa for that matter, as worthy of exploring. The sands are white, powderous and clean most of the year round. During the raining season (because we don’t operate on normal season here), the tides change and seaweed is dumped on the beach. But thats fine. Its not tourist season so visitors generally dont get to see it.

The water is warm being from the Indian Ocean. In the early hours of the morning, the sea is as still as a lake. There are virtually no waves as the shoreline is protected by a reef (more on that in a later post). The sun ebbs a golden glow which you can just feel your skin absorbing, but beware, no matter how good it feels, hang around for more than an hour without protection (and by that, I mean sun-cream;)) and you will guarantee yourself an uncomfortable few days.


There are multiple public access entries to the beach, however; why not make use of the hotels? There are literally tonnes of hotels lining the beach front. They all allow free access to the beach but don’t expect special treatment (use of their sun beds or towels). Most of them have a beach bar where you can replenish your lost liquids and the prices aren’t bad at all. Some of the hotels do have daily rates for public use of the pool and other facilities should you be so inclined. Some of the best hotels that I recommend you visit when here are: White Sands, Nyali Beach Hotel, Voyager, Serena.

Diani and Watamu

Forty Thieves in Diani

Once you’ve had enough of the beaches in Mombasa, grab yourself a matatu (local minibuses) and head on down to Diani (commonly known as ‘South Coast’). Some really fantastic beaches there and great hangout spots. Forty Thieves bar and Ali Baba’s restaurants being the main spots. Or head up north to Watamu and enjoy some of the best water in Kenya. The water is turquoise blue, there are fascinating rock formations jutting out the water and there are some great restaurants and hotels along the beach.

The Food

Dining In Style

Every once in a while it is nice to spoil yourself with good food at a nice place. Mombasa has its fair share of upmarket eating spots but be prepared to pay for it.


Just a small note on this restaurant. The location is wonderful. If you pre-book, you can save yourself a spot on a dow and enjoy your meal in the middle of the creek. Otherwise you sit on the veranda on the banks of the creek. Searching for ‘places to eat in Mombasa’ will most likely produce this as a top result but the food is highly overpriced and not all its made out to be. I’d recommend that should you wish to spend some money on a great place, travel a little further to Monsoon (below).


Monsoon Restuarant

About a 45 minute drive from Mombasa, pass Mtwapa is the ‘Jumbo Ruins’. It is rather hidden away so will help to ask someone when making your way there. These ruins are the remains of a coastal civilization from many years ago. To get to Monsoon, you have to walk through them. This can incur a 200 /- entrance fee but thats a small price to pay for what is ahead of you. Take some time to walk through the ruins on your way home.

Monsoon is run by a charismatic Italian and its specialty is seafood. Everything is prepared fresh so expect to make a day of this trip. The food is incredible, the location (right on the beach) is beautiful and the ambiance is tranquil and relaxed. A great spot for a romantic day out.

Some Others

You really have a great choice of places to eat. If I was to talk about all of them, this would be a book and not a blog post.

Eating Out On A Budget

Should you be on a budget, do not think you will be loosing out. Some of the best food in Mombasa is cooked right on the street. The local food is great and healthy. Its cheap, and you never had to walk far to find a little place with a makeshift kitchen.

Street Food (Mubins, Dalawa, Tarbush etc)

Mubins Cafe

Since we are on the topic of street food, might as well start with them. Some of my favourite places to eat in Mombasa town are Mubin’s which we call ‘the tiolet brush’. I don’t know how that name came about but be assured, there are no toilet brushes anywhere near the food. They have a braai (or barbeque for the non-South African) on the side of the road, with mutton (possibly goat) kebabs and tikka chicken.

Tikka chicken is a staple in Mombasa and some of the other fantastic food places such as Dalawa’s, Tarbush and Rockwell all serve a great chicken tikka. For the more local experiece, look to your left, now to your right, and you will have seen a place to get some ugali, mahindi or other local food.

Singhs (and Punjabe Daba)

I may be biased but I dont know of a resturant that can beat Singhs when it comes to curry. Singhs has been around for many many years. The owners (its a family business which belongs to, you guessed it, the Singhs) and staff are friendly and efficient. The service quick. The food, cheap. But most importantly, the food is incredible. I like my food hot, so my curry often turns up green from chillies :)

If you are staying in the Nyali area and getting into town is troublesome, there is a restaurant called Punjabe Daba which is an offshoot of Singhs. It is run by cousins and is almost as good as the mother restaurant.

Places to Stay


Of course, there are tonnes of hotels to stay at, all offering various levels of service and class. I have mentioned some of them earlier but why not take a look at TripAdisor and see what they say. Holidaying, however, can leave quite the dent in your pocket so the key is to find some cheaper accommodation.


Mombasa Backpackers

Mombasa doesnt have the largest selection of backpackers available but there is one. Mombasa Backpackers can be found through various travel websites such as lonely planet and TripAdvisor. As I live in Mombasa, I have not had the opportunity to stay at the backpackers but from what I have read and heard, its generally left people happy and wishing to stay longer.

Couch Surfing

Couch surfing is a fantastic way to get around for next to nothing and meet nice and interesting people. If you havent already signed up for the free service, head on over to their website. There are thousands of available couches all throughout the world, including at present, 3 in Mombasa. Head on over to their website to find out more.


— End of Part 1 —

15 Responses to Mombasa – Part 1

  1. Claire

    Incidentally, Africa does have blue flag beaches. I can think of two in South Africa, but I’m sure there are more…

  2. Braden

    I know there are.

    “Blue flag hasn’t deemed Kenya, or most of Africa for that matter, as worthy of exploring” – I didn’t say all of Africa.

    (And I’m sure you will be glad to know that South Africa has 23 Blue Flag beach ratings)

  3. google adwords account

    At this moment I am ready to do my breakfast, once having my breakfast coming over
    again to read other news.

  4. pilules pour maigrir

    Vous avez fait la démonstration de votre point!

    Stop by my homepage; pilules pour maigrir

  5. best basement contractors in Ontario

    I wanted to thank you for this wonderful read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it.

    I have you book-marked to check out new things you post…

    my web site: best basement contractors in Ontario

  6. overscore

    Great beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend
    your web site, how can i subscribe for a blog website?
    The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept

    Take a look at my homepage: overscore

  7. Once Repaired

    At this moment I am going to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast coming yet again to
    read other news.


    When you do hire, make sure you understand the percentage that you will have to pay
    should you win so that there are no surprises later.
    Do not put that in the hands of someone who is not trustworthy.

    If I was the client, I would surely protest against it.


    I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your site. It’s a very easy on the
    eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire
    out a developer to create your theme? Superb work!

  10. hookah Pens disposable

    The study noticeable a huge difference in the total quantity of nicotine levels present vis-a
    vis detailed on an smokeless cigarette packet.

    The electronic cigarette is making the new generation of
    smoking popular all over the world. As our consumer
    society continues to churn out endless upgrades and improvements of electronic equipment we are constantly told that we need to

  11. svensk spilleautomater

    Hi my friend! I wish to say that this article is awesome, great written and come with
    almost all vital infos. I would like to peer more
    posts like this .

  12. botox eyebrowlift

    I’m gone to tell my little brother, that he should also go to see this
    web site on regular basis to get updated from most recent gossip.

  13. corporate gifts for clients

    Morgan of Aurora, New York, was appointed Wells Fargo’s
    first president. There are a number of people who do the majority of their Christmas shopping online.
    It also calls attention to the entire staff that the employee has been rewarded.

  14. ego t electronic cigarette

    These chemicals pass through the heart, the lungs and
    the bloodstream and finally damage cells in the brain.
    We can hope FDA would consider the bright
    side of e-cigarettes and e-hookah while proposing its regulations for sale and marketing of electronic devices of smoking.
    His recent research interests includes the harmonization of socio-demographic variables for national and cross-national marketing analysis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *