So far we have covered the beaches, places to stay and eat, and all things water sport related. This (final) post will be looking at the tourist and must-see atractions available in Mombasa. The key things looked at with be Hallery Park, Mamba Village, Fort Jesus, Old Town and Jumbo Ruins.
Haller Park is a nature and animal sanctuary situated on the mainland in the Bamburi area. There are all manor of animals and reptiles there, including the giant tortoise (pictured above is Owen and Mzee). There is a decent snake park featuring a host of various snakes. Many years ago, they would allow people to hold a massive 4 meter long python. I got to hold it when I was 5 years old. All I remember was that it was incredibly heavy. Wonderful scenery and nature trails. All manor of animals and wild-life. A great place to spend a day enjoying nature.
Mamba village is a crocodile sanctuary in Nyali just opposite the golf course. Mamba is the Swahili word for ‘crocodile’ and you will get plenty of those here. Best time to go is around 5 in the evening when its feeding time. The enclosures are well maintained and the scenery tranquil and peaceful. A nice spot to have some coffee and read a book.
Fort Jesus is an old Portuguese fort which was used to protect the old port here. They have converted what I believe used to be a barracks into a little museum with old photos and a lot of history. You are free to walk around at your own leisure around the grounds. Have a photo taken on a cannon (which still works and is used today) or in the jail cells below fort. Since it is situated in Old Town, its quite normal to do both on the same day.
Old Town Mombasa on the Island is a fasinating part of the city. Its predominantly Muslim with many mosques dotted around. Very narrow stone streets lined by apartments with extravagantly ordained doors (alone, definitely worth the visit). There are also some very impressive temples with elaborate and colourful designs painted or tiles on its surfaces. Street markets selling fruit and vegetables fill the air with an earthy smell. Peddlers selling Masai paintings, jewelry and kikoys, kitenges and leather flip-flops was the streets “pestering” tourists. (Here’s a tip: want to tell a peddler to leave you alone, tell them “Hakuna leo asante” which literally means “Not today thanks“. Its probably a good idea to get a “guide” to show you around (don’t worry, they will find you) as its very easy to get turned around.
Jumbo Ruins are about a 30 – 45 minute drive north from Mombasa. You may recall Monsoon restaurant I mentioned in Part 1 which is situated next to the ruins. There is not much information regarding the ruins. The ‘ticket office’ does not have guides or brochures. Its obviously (since they are ruins) the remains of what used to be a large and flourishing city. Remains of a mosque imply they were Muslim and the quality of the structures are strong and sturdy. Thick stone walls which for the most part still stand today. The open part of the ruins were excavated many years ago however there are still large sections of the ruins overrun by nature.
And that is the end of this series on Mombasa. From now on, all posts will be of a more personal nature (experiences, not deep dark secrets :P)
P.S. If there are any travelers intending to come to Mombasa, drop me an email and if I am in the country, I’ll show you around :)