Kenya’s main tourist attraction and a major point of historical intersection on the East African coast, Mombasa is the place to be if you’re interested in visiting or moving to Africa.
The city has a population of over 700,000, making it Kenya’s second largest city, and is located on Mombasa Island, which is separated from the mainland by two creeks: Tudor Creek and Kilindini Harbour. You could almost imagine the setting kind of like New York’s Manhattan Island, only with beautiful beaches, exotic wildlife, rich original culture and a warmer climate. Then again, the comparison is only minutely geographical.
Getting in and out is easy, if you’re the type who likes to stay on the move. The airport in Mombasa has been newly renovated and has increased the frequency of flights in and out of Mombasa from European cities. Kenya Airways offers the most options for traveling to/from Mombasa. But by far the best way to travel is by train. Trains services are mainly provided between Nairobi and Mombasa, and the advantage of traveling by railway is seeing all that spectacular African wildlife up close.
Of course, you might leave to see the wildlife, but you’ll stay because of the beaches. Diani Beach is the first place to head to. It’s a fantastic long white beach with loads of watersports and primates to see. A night at ’40 thieves’ beach bar is a great place to hang out with a few tuskers (beers). For a beach not spoiled by mass tourism, check out Tiwi Beach. Really, there’s a beach for everyone along this beautiful coast.
Other things to check out around town include Old Town, Njali Theatre (featuring Hollywood and Bollywood new releases, with bowling alley, casino, and Italian Restaurant), Fort Jesus, which holds fascinating and ominous historical artifacts from when Mombasa was a transit port for the slave trade, the Mombasa tusks, famous landmarks of the city located at the city’s entrance, and Mtwapa Creek, an Indian Ocean inlet with some small marinas and beautiful tropical vegetation.
Around town most people speak English, which is good for expats, but to really immerse yourself in the culture learn some Swahili.
Mombasa has it all. With a rich history to boot, you’ll always feel connected to Mombasa’s entanglement with the rest of the world without ever losing sight of its unique local-ness either. And isn’t that what travel and expatriating is all about?