The beaches here are the stars of the show. Palm tree-lined Diani is the most popular with its white sands, colourful reefs, sandbars and watersports. On the north coast, Nyali beach is another standout option, quieter than Diani and great for surfing. The warm, clear waters are excellent for snorkelling and diving and during February and March you might be lucky enough to spot migratory whale sharks. If you’re looking for deserted hideaways try Takaungu and Mtwapa.
Tear yourself away from the beach and visit the 16th-Century Fort Jesus and Old Town where you’ll find Swahili houses, mosques and colourful markets. Travel further to the north coast and see the Gede Ruins, take a traditional dhow boat over to Wasini Island and a sunset cruise along the coast.
For wildlife viewing on safari, the closest national park to Mombasa is Tsavo East at approximately three hours’ drive away, although all national parks and reserves can be easily reached via a short flight or two and road transfer.
Where is Mombasa
On Kenya’s tropical east coast, bordering the Indian Ocean, Mombasa is a bustling city with a rich culture dating back to the 12th Century. The city itself is located on an island connected to the mainland by a bridge, causeway and ferry.
Getting around Mombasa
Car hire, matatus (mini buses) and tuks tuks are the most convenient and common ways to get around Mombasa. Taxis aren’t easy to come by and are relatively expensive.
Food and drink
Swahili cuisine features lots of fresh fish, fragrant rice and seafood curries as well as Arabic and Indian influences. Specialities include barbecued meat, a spicy tomato relish known as kachumbari, mandazi savoury dough balls and cooked banana. Dishes are flavoured with coconut, tamarind and lots of spices but there are also plenty of international options too. Nyma choma (roast meat, usually goat or beef) is a favourite in Kenya, with ugali (porridge) on the side and if you fancy trying a new drink, the coast is renowned for its palm wine.
GMT +3 hours
10 hours via Nairobi
Visas are required for UK passport holders. A new e-visa service has been introduced for UK passport holders. UK holidaymakers now need to apply for visas in advance of arrival into Kenya via the e-visa portal at www.ecitizen.go.ke.
Several vaccinations are advisable; particularly yellow fever and cholera, and you should take precautions against malaria. Contact your GP or a specialist vaccination centre.
If a service charge isn't included in your restaurant bill, tip 10%.
Christianity and Islam.