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The Mombasa Tour - 5 Days

The Mombasa Tour
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The Kenyan coast feels like a different world from the savannahs of safari country. Low-lying and sandy, indented by mangrove-lined creeks, and shaded by coconut palms, the coast blends the bright light and colours of the tropics with the sparkling azure-blue of the Indian Ocean, where you squint through the afternoon sunlight to watch traditional lateen-rigged dhows sailing out beyond the coral reef.

  • Mombasa 3 Days Holiday Packages From Ksh 14,999/- WITH SGR TICKETS and FREE SHARED TRANSFERS TO THE HOTELS –Rate is Per Person on All Inclusive. .
  • Mombasa 5 Days Holiday Packages From Ksh 25,999/- WITH SGR TICKETS and FREE SHARED TRANSFERS TO THE HOTELS –Rate is Per Person on All Inclusive.

SPECIAL OFFERS: 1 KID FREE OF CHARGE & ROOM UPGRADE FOR JUA KENYA CLIENTS ONLY SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY IN SOME HOTELS

NOTE:

  • Single rates and nonresident supplements apply
  • Book 3 days in advance since the train ticket demand is very High
  • Rates are subject to availability that’s including the train tickets
  • Hotel rates may change due to occupancy increase.
  • FLIGHT RATES ARE SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY
  • FOR FIRST CLASS ADD KSH 4,500

While being on safari can often feel like participating in an enjoyable group challenge, with its daily rhythm of game drives, bush meals and campfire anecdotes, a beach holiday releases you much more into the gentle embrace of local life. Once you’ve checked into your hotel, you’ll basically be left to your own devices – though there are plenty of activities to fill your days if you have the energy. From diving and snorkeling to city tours, shopping trips and cultural and historical excursions, these can all be organized from your hotel.

The Fort Jesus is one of the main attractions in the city. The fort finds location in the Old Town of Mombasa along the coastline and was built in the 16th century by the Portuguese. On the northern coast of Mombasa lie the most historic ruins of the city, the Gedi Ruins. Originally Gedi was a small town built of stones and rocks and can be dated to the 15th century. The area was inhabited by the Swahili people and travellers can still see the original foundations.

The Haller Park is the largest wildlife park in Mombasa and houses a large variety of animals, birds, reptiles and insects. Travellers can enjoy walking along the trail in the park and also see educational videos.

If you want to explore underwater, we’ll help you choose the right spots at the right time of year. If you want honeymoon privacy, stylish luxury, affordable comforts or a lively resort base, we’ve got the ideal hotels. And if you do want activities – whether it’s a visit to the old city of Mombasa or an extra helping of safari with a trip inland to the alluring Shimba Hills or Tsavo East National Park – we can safely say we’ve been there and done it, and we’re ready to give you the best advice available.

Most travelers use their beach stay simply to chill after several days on safari. But you can also do a further safari from the Kenya coast, or even use the coast as a base for your whole holiday, taking safari trips inland.

Kenya’s coastal climate

If Kenya’s upcountry safari regions can sometimes feel surprisingly mild and even chilly on an early or late game drive, the coast will give you a big helping of serious equatorial climate. It’s rarely less than warm, even at night, while the middle hours of the day at certain times of year can be as hot as a furnace, and humid to boot. Fortunately there’s usually a gentle zephyr of a breeze, blowing onshore from the Indian Ocean, and sometimes a full-on, flapping wind, making for excellent wind-and kite-surfing conditions.

 

The Kenya coast’s Geography and Wildlife

The landscape of the shoreline and immediate coastal hinterland of Kenya is dominated by the fringing coral reef that parallels the coast for most of its length. Millions of years old, the living reef at the edge of the lagoon is just the youngest element of this landscape: most of the countryside inland from the beach sits on coral rock – the remains of ancient coral reef that was once submerged by the ocean – and it’s like a honeycomb, notoriously full of caves and holes, some leading straight down from ground level. Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant, the popular restaurant at Diani Beach, is built in a huge underground cave, and there are similar caves inland from Watamu and at Shimoni, where they were used to hold slaves captive. As well as the sandy beach and coconut palms, the coast features lots of meandering creeks and several areas of tidal mud flats (notably at Mida Creek near Watamu) where low forests of salt-tolerant mangrove trees cover large areas and create a distinctive ecological zone.

If you’re looking for tropical forests, you’ll find most of Kenya’s lowland forests are concentrated just inland from the coast. As well as the kaya sacred forests, such as Kaya Kinondo along Diani Beach (now open to the public – see below), if you have the time you could explore the Ramisi River Forest in the far south, near Funzi Keys, the forests of the Shimba Hills area, the Sabaki River forest north of Malindi and the coast’s largest forest, now protected as the 420km² Arabuko-Sokoke National Park, south of Malindi. The forest, which sheltered the mysterious town of Gedi for centuries, includes feathery miombo (Brachystegia) woodland (home to a diverse range of birds), glossy and dense Cynometra forest, and mixed lowland rainforest rich in plants and insects and a variety of small mammals.

While Kenya’s coastal wildlife is mostly not the big-game variety (Shimba Hills National Park is an exception and is home to elephants, buffalos, giraffe, several species of antelopes and leopards), smaller mammals are widespread, with monkeys particularly common. You’ll see troops of baboons at the roadside and vervet and Sykes’ monkeys, making a nuisance of themselves in hotel gardens. In the forests at Diani Beach several troops of spectacular colobus monkeys are a big attraction; you’ll see the colo-bridges constructed by local conservationists, strung between trees from one side of the road to the other, allowing the monkeys to cross safely. If you’re visiting the atmospheric ruins of Gedi, near Watamu, look out for the rare golden-rumped elephant shrew, an extraordinary mash-up of a creature, with a sensitive proboscis and stilt-like legs, that you may see foraging through the undergrowth accompanied by a bird called the red-capped robin chat, which alerts it to danger and picks up insects in its trail.

History and culture of the Kenya coast

Kenya’s first contacts with the wider world were along its coastline. The monsoon winds dictated the Indian Ocean’s annual trading calendar: merchant ships arrived from the Persian Gulf and the Arabian peninsula, but had to wait for the annual change in the wind to return home. So they anchored here, in Kenya’s creeks and ports, for months at a time. Such a long stay in Kenya might turn anyone’s head and, every season, some visitors chose to settle on the coast.

Over the course of the first millennium AD, Swahili society was born – still today a vibrant and complex cultural mix of African roots and imported styles; a classic Bantu language with hundreds of Arabic loan words; and a highly nuanced class structure in which claims of overseas ancestry are as critical to high-status families as they are to the ‘Norman’ aristocracy in Britain or to American descendants of the Mayflower pilgrims.

You can see the historical vestiges of Swahili culture in the fascinating ruins of Gedi, hacked out of the jungle near Watamu, and in numerous smaller ruined mosques and other sites scattered along the coast, especially in the Lamu archipelago. Swahili culture is also apparent in the black buibui gowns worn by many women (a style that arrived from Arabia in the 1930s), in the type of fishing and trading vessels used here, in food and drink and a hundred other cultural facets from music to architecture. The Kenya coast is almost entirely Muslim, but the religion has always been tolerantly interpreted here and you are unlikely to meet any attitudes more disturbing than occasional indifference to visitors. Just as around the rest of the country, the majority of people are effusively welcoming and helpful.

As well as the Swahili culture of the coastal towns and villages, there’s another coastal culture – the culture of the nine local tribes (the Mijikenda) who didn’t intermarry with foreign visitors, but stayed a little inland, based in the forest around their sacred groves, or kaya. At Diani Beach you can visit the first fully accessible kaya, Kaya Kinondo, with a knowledgeable local guide, and explore the forest world of the first coastal inhabitants, with its fascinating fauna and flora.

Where to stay on the Kenya coast

Absorbing as coastal culture can be, most visitors are here for the beaches, many of which can match tropical seashores almost anywhere in the world, with powdery fine sand, and sea that is safe and blissfully warm and can be crystal clear in the right season (see the Kenya climate page). Kenya’s coast is protected for nearly its entire length by a major barrier reef, which has created a broad, sheltered lagoon for most of its length, where the reef is anything from 50m to 1km from the shore.

Although many people refer to ‘Mombasa’ as if it were synonymous with the Kenyan coast, the country’s Indian Ocean coastline divides into a number of quite distinct regions. Mombasa island is the hub, with Watamu, Malindi and Lamu to the north, and Tiwi, Diani, Msambweni and Funzi island to the south.

The UK Foreign & Commonwelth Office travel advice unit no longer warns against visiting Lamu and Manda islands, although they still advise against all but essential travel to the coastal mainland north of the Sabaki/Galana River and within 60km of the border with Somalia. Please see here for further details.

Mombasa

The island city of Mombasa, surrounded by creeks and East Africa’s biggest port, is shabby and dilapidated, but not lacking in atmosphere. It’s fun to visit 16th-century Fort Jesus, built by the Portuguese, and shop in the alleys of the old city – though don’t expect a Middle-Eastern-style warren of souks. The suburban district north of Mombasa has most of the Mombasa hotels used by charter package tours and overall feels a bit over-developed and hustly, though Nyali has some quieter corners.

Watamu Beach

After Mombasa’s suburban sprawl has finally fizzled out, the coast road crosses the blue waters of Kilifi Creek and the next significant resort area is the much quieter resort of Watamu, a low-key peninsula stretched along a beautifully sculpted coastline of old coral islands and headlands with the deep mangrove creek of Mida Creek behind it. Watamu has a small, traditional village, and there’s an excellent beach here and good diving and snorkelling, plus some wonderful excursions for wildlife and culture enthusiasts in the shape of the Arabuko-Sokoke National Park and the ruins of Gedi.

Malindi

The animated town of Malindi, which has some of the nicest hotels on the coast, is a 30-minute drive north of Watamu, partly through the eastern part of the Arabuko-Sokoke forest. Malindi is growing quite fast, but it has retained one of the most appealing town centres in Kenya, where a good-humoured mix of tourists, locals hustling tourists and locals going about their business generally get on very well. The town is located just south of the mouth of the Sabaki River (which rises in the highlands as the Athi and flows through Tsavo East as the Galana) and is set back from the extensive sands of the town beach. Most Malindi beach hotels are located round the rocky headland of Vasco da Gama Point, a short way to the south, where the beach is prettier and the sea clearer.

Lamu

The fabled Lamu archipelago includes the main island of Lamu, and Manda, where the district’s small airport is located, facing Lamu across a wide creek. To the north of Manda, Pate is a larger island, with several small towns, and interesting Swahili ruins, but no visitor facilities. Much further north lies the remote sliver of Kiwaiyu island. Between the islands, swamps of mangrove forest and shallow seas make navigation tricky. Just off the mainland, and somewhat disconnected from the rest of Kenya (there’s still no tarmac road to this northern part of the coast), the islands are a blissfully tranquil retreat from the exertions of safari life. Although small, Lamu town, with its origins in the fourteenth century is, alongside Zanzibar, a major stronghold of Swahili culture. The town still preserves its ancient layout, characteristically tall and narrow Swahili architecture and winding alleys. Apart from the odd motorcycle, there are virtually no vehicles on the islands – people get around on foot, by donkey or by lateen-rigged dhow. Culturally, Lamu displays a distinctive blend of African and Arab influences, its traditions are strong and the daily cycles of prayer calls and tides still dominate life.

If the sense of being slightly adrift is deliciously relaxing (many visitors spend hours in a hammock with a book), there’s plenty to do if you’re feeling energetic, including all the water sports, snorkelling and diving, historical and cultural visits and even a new wildlife reserve on the mainland.

Tiwi Beach

With no tarmac beach road and only one resort-style hotel, most of Tiwi Beach, 20km south of Mombasa, remains reminiscent of Kenya’s coast 40 years ago. It’s popular with people who specifically don’t want lots of facilities and activities and there are relatively few places to stay – most of them simple beach bungalows. One of the benefits is far fewer ‘beach boys’ (the generally innocuous, if often irritating hustlers who try to make a living from tourists), and there are some excellent snorkelling and diving spots.

Diani Beach, Galu Beach and Kinondo Beach

Diani Beach is perhaps the best beach in Kenya – wide, silvery, palm shaded and reef fringed, with some sandbars in the lagoon that are exposed at low tide for excursions from the hotels in dugouts or glass-bottomed boats. There’s a good balance of places to stay, places to eat, sea- and land-based activities, and various spots to drink and party a little. A busy, 12km tarmac beach road runs along the coast behind the beachfront properties, eventually reverting to gravel just north of Pinewood Beach Resort, where Diani Beach actually becomes Galu Beach, and finally turning into a narrow track through the bush when it reaches Kinondo Beach. Competition for beachfront space among dozens of properties (though they are not by any means crowded in international terms) means there’s a real mix of resort-style hotels, mid-sized hotels and guesthouses, and we’ve selected a variety of the best and best-value options. Whatever style of beach stay you’re looking for, we’re likely to have something that’s ideal for you.

Back on the main coastal highway, and heading south, the further you go towards the Tanzanian border, the more rurally relaxed the coast becomes. Msambweni and Funzi, well off the main road, are real backwaters where beach boys and discos are unknown.

Msambweni

Although quite isolated and remote, the fishing village of Msambweni has a fascinating history: it’s the site of an old leprosy hospital that’s still renowned for its medical care in this rural area (though leprosy has been eradicated), while some of the caves in the low cliffs behind the beach were once used to hold slaves. The whole area is thick with coconut palms and very traditional, while the largely deserted beach itself, a short, steep climb down the cliffs via steps or paths, is punctuated by crags of old coral rock poking through the pristine sands.

Funzi Island

Getting to the mangrove-fringed island of Funzi from the mainland – by speedboat through the creeks – is an adventure, and staying in the bewitching environment of sand and tropical vegetation at Funzi Island Lodge is a real escapist dream. You can fish, sail, take a canoe out for a private paddle through the mangroves or go on a boat trip up the Ramisi River, looking for crocodiles and water birds.

Safaris from the Kenya coast

If your holiday is based on the coast, or you’ve finished your safari but like the idea of another day or two of wildlife adventure not too far from your coast hotel, there are several safari options that we can organise.

Shimba Hills National Park

The hilly savannahs and rainforest of Shimba Hills National Park, just 30km inland from Diani Beach, protect Kenya’s only population of sable antelope. As well as this magnificent antelope (one of Africa’s largest, with its impressive, sweeping horns), you’ll commonly see elephants, buffaloes, fish eagles and monkeys, either on game drives or from the decks and walkways of one of the area’s rainforest lodges. Walks to Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary and Sheldrick Falls are both highly recommended. A night or two at Shimba Lodge or Kutazama can make a fitting finale to a safari and beach holiday.

Tsavo East National Park

Kenya’s largest national park, Tsavo East National Park, is also the closest protected savannah environment to the coast, with large populations of plains wildlife, including impressive herds of dusty, red-coloured elephants, lions and cheetahs, buffalo, hippos, and plenty of grazers from impala to zebra. Expert Africa offers very good-value safaris by road to our two recommended camps in the park, Galdessa and Satao Camp. You can go for as little as one night, though we wouldn’t recommend less than two and ideally three or four.

Day 1
Arrival and Settling In

Arrival via the new Standard Gauge Railway Train or airplane, getting to your hotel and get settled in.

You may spend the whole day relaxing in the hotel, poolside and beach.

Alternatively in the evening, you may relish a charted dinner cruise in an Arab dhow, at some fee, where you can have some stunning views and enjoy sampling some sea delicacies.

Day 2
Local Culture & Beach Day

After breakfast you have the morning enjoying the pool water aerobics and at midday you can

take a glass bottom boatride to visit the Mombasa marine park. In the evening you may go out dancing after dinner.

Day 3
Historical Sites, Culture and Beach

Start your day off with a trip to Ft Jesus, the city’s largest museum and attraction. Built in 1593 by the Portuguese, this storied fort now has daily tours that offer a glimpse into prison cells and torture rooms for slaves before they were traded. The adjoining museum gives a nice overview of the fort’s role throughout the city’s history. The Old Town is just adjacent to the Fort. Walk through Mombasa’s varied architecture, which tells the stories of its history with its strong European, Arab and African influences.

Hit one of the local beaches and enjoy a day of fun in the sun. Both Bamburi Beach and Nyali Beach are within a short distance from Mombasa, and are the best beaches in the area. Relax on the beach and soak up some sun or spend your day enjoying some of the watersports available such as snorkeling, scuba diving and water skiing. Lunch and diner are provided one of the resorts at the beach and be sure to stick around for sunset on the beach.

Day 4
Shopping and Beach

Spend some time at the shops along Moi Avenue and Nyerere Street where you can find many traditional handicrafts like woven baskets, carvings and clothing. Return to one of your favorite beaches in the afternoon for a final swim, snorkel or just a relaxing afternoon.

If you have children this is a must visit for them to have ultimate fun during their holiday. For couples you may spend the day in the hotel or go for shopping and movies at Nyali Cinemax.

Alternatively you may book some water-sports like deep sea fishing, diving lessons, skydiving or jet skiing.

Day 5
Return Home

After breakfast in the hotel, one last time, then check out and head to the airport or train station for your journey back home.

The Trip Cost Includes

  • Return Economy Tickets on SGR #MadarakaExpress Train
  • Return Flights on Flying Packages
  • Airport Transfers on Flying Packages
  • Train Station Transfers to and fro the hotel
  • All inclusive includes – All meals during your stay (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) all international buffet style and drinks alcoholic or non-alcoholic
  • 4 / 2 Nights’ Accommodation in a standard rooms
  • HB (Half Board ) includes: Breakfast ,Lunch OR dinner
  • FB ( Full Board ) includes: Breakfast , Lunch and dinner
  • Snacks like pizzas burgars, icecreams
  • non-motorized water sports
  • Supervised kids’ activities in the kids clubs, day and night entertainment not forgetting the ultimate relaxation.

The Trip Cost Excludes

  • International Air fare
  • Visa Charges
  • Your travel and medical insurance
  • Personal expenses such as shopping, bar bills etc.
  • Emergency expenses such as expenses on a chartered helicopter
  • Non-soft Drinks like wines, beer, spirits etc. except
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Frequently Asked Questions

What's the weather like and when should I go?

Mombasa, Kenya is located in a tropical zone close to the equator, causing its weather to vary very little over the course of the year. The average temperature in Mombasa all year long is around 86 degrees F, with the average number of daylight hours also staying the same at around 8 hours per day. Mombasa's average amount of precipitation does vary throughout the year however, with April and May topping out as the city's rainiest months.

Do I need a Yellow Fever Vaccination?

You do not NEED the Yellow Fever vaccination and certificate if you enter Kenya from the UK, Europe or North America. It is recommended by health authorities but is not compulsory. It is your choice whether to have it or not. You will not be asked for the certificate if you go directly to Kenya from the UK, Europe or North America and you will never be asked for the certificate on your return trip to these locations. You will need the certificate if you travel from Kenya to other countries in the Yellow Fever belt such as other sub-Saharan African countries. Certain countries with tropical climates, for example Australia, India, and Thailand for example, will demand the certificate on entry if you have visited a country in the Yellow Fever belt, such as Kenya, within the previous six days. The purpose of the certificate is not for your benefit but to prove that you are not carrying the disease and so cannot introduce it to the country you are entering. As the disease is not endemic and indeed cannot survive in the UK, Europe or North America you will not be asked to produce a certificate when travelling to Kenya or returning home.

What things can I do while in Mombasa as a visitor?

Some brief suggestions of things to do in the North Coast Mombasa area Tour of Mombasa - the old town, harbour, Fort Jesus, Moi Avenue and shops, market, Temple and Mosques. Visit Haller Park, they have a variety of animals, reptiles, insects and botanical gardens - go in the afternoon and hand feed the giraffes. It was an old cement quarry which has been reclaimed and turned into a tropical forest. Have a tree-shaded walk or hire a mountain bike and ride the Bamburi Nature Trail. Dance the Night away at any of the many all-night bars and discos Glass-bottomed boat trip to the reef / snorkelling Visit Bombolulu workshops and cultural centre or Akamba wood co-op Visit Ngomongo Villages, a theme – park type representation of the way of life of ten different rural tribes of Kenya in a disused and reclaimed quarry. Visit Jumba la Mtwana ruins and have lunch at the excellent Monsoons bistro in its stunning location on the beach Dhow cruises (Tamarind, La Marina or Moorings) Splash about at Wild Waters, with water slides and water play station, food courts, Coffee Shop, Video Arcade, Amusement Park, etc… Play a round of golf, Nyali Golf Club hire clubs and shoes (or let you play in trainers if they don't have any shoes that fit) Go to to Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach (known locally as Pirates) next to Bamburi Beach . Go on a Sunday and join the hundreds of locals enjoying their day at the beach many dressed in their Sunday best. Its lively, noisy and joyful. Try the water slides at Pirates bar / restaurant Have a go at Go Karting Take a scuba dive or diving course Discover Africa, e.g. the coast by mountain bike Visit a school (see FAQ on the Mombasa Forum page for more info) Eat under the stars on Mtwapa Creek at either La Marina or The Moorings restaurants (both provide free pick up and drop off service) Go for a drink - see the FAQ on the Mombasa Forum page for info on bars, etc, there is also a Google map showing where they and many other things are in the FAQs. Visit the market in Kongowea, a real African experience. It's the biggest and most colorful market in whole Mombasa area and the food hub for the area. It operates from 3 am to 1 pm every day and if you are here early you see bananas coming as additional load in buses from as far as Kisumu and you see them sold to traders coming from Likoni and Malindi. On Sunday you can visit one of the many churches in Kongowea. The Boabob trust which is the non profit trust that runs Haller park also run the Nguuni Nature Sanctuary which is also well worth a visit if you want a good walk and are interested in birds, nature and conservation. The sanctuary is located 4 Km from the Bamburi cement works main entrance and comprises of 3 distinct habitats. Open Savannah, Woodland and wetlands which all attract different spices of bird. The sanctuary also contains a number of Giraffes, eland and water buck which are used to graze the grass and trees in order to manage the habitats. The site also has a picnic and barbecue area that can be hired for parties and sundowners. Entrance fee is only 500 shillings per person and is well worth the money. If you do decided to visit take along your own refreshments as none are available at the site

What does the abbreviation SGR stand for?

The Mombasa–Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway is a standard-gauge railway (SGR) in Kenya that connects the large Indian Ocean city of Mombasa with Nairobi, the country's capital and largest city. This SGR runs parallel to the defunct, narrow-gauge Uganda Railway that was completed in 1901 under British colonial rule. The East African Railway Master Plan provides for the Mombasa–Nairobi SGR to link with other SGRs being built in the East African Community. At a cost of US$3.6 billion, the SGR is Kenya's most expensive infrastructure project since independence. The prime contractor was the China Road and Bridge Corporation, which hired 25,000 Kenyans to work on the railway. Phase 2A of this project was launched officially in October 2016. The first fare-paying passengers boarded the "Madaraka Express" on Madaraka Day (1 June 2017), which was the 54th anniversary of Kenya's attainment of internal self rule after decades as a British colony. Commercial freight services began on 1 January 2018.

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Trip Facts

  • Kenyan Coast
  • Mombasa
  • Meals are served either within the hotels or packed depending on the area visited - All at the convenience of our guests.
  • Excellent hotel accomodation is guaranteed