Wooden cabanas with plumped up cushions dot white sands, the weather beaten cloths of a traditional Arabic dhow set sail across the waters and that salty Indian Ocean breeze is sheer delight under a burning sun. Holidays to Mombasa are tropical beaches and coconut water, fresh catch of the day delivered straight onto your plate and hammocks strung from palm trees. Expect laid-back beachfront hotels where it’s all about swimwear, flip-flops and ripples left behind from those eager to try kite surfing and stand up paddle boarding. In Swahili, Mombasa is known as Pwani, which means ‘people of the coast’ and with warm waters, easy-going vibes and sparkling beaches it’s easy to see why this is a favourite barefoot destination.
There are tuk tuks on every corner of Mombasa Old Town waiting to take you to cardamom and saffron scented spice markets and stalls selling African kikoys and khangas. While the town’s the façade may be worn and crumbling, its fretted balconies, ornate doors and African, Arabian and Indian imprints only add to the character. Back on the beach, where it all begins and ends, are glass-bottomed boat tours, sunset catamaran cruises and dining under the stars in open-roofed atmospheric caves. The crown jewel on Mombasa holidays remains that incredible Kenyan coastline, and in exotic hideaway hotels on stretches of white sand life slows down to a wonderfully unhurried pace.
Two hours north of Mombasa is Watamu, something of a local's hideaway. You can fly into Malindi and then make the half-hour hop south to your Indian Ocean paradise. This delightful village is much quieter than it's coastal counterpart to the south but still has the same white-sand beaches, warm waters and exceptional underwater world. You can snorkel in the Malindi Marine Reserve Park, shop for local crafts in the village and explore the mysterious Gede Ruins, an intriguing abandoned Swahili town of palaces, mosques and houses hidden in a primeval forest filled that's with butterflies and monkeys.
If you fancy lying back in luxury, call one of our Kenya Travel Experts and we can craft your dream Mombasa holiday