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Mombasa, on Kenya's coast, is a melting pot of influences where Indian, Arab, African and European cultures have left their mark on its bustling city centre. Along with great diversity comes an eclectic history; find a charming old town filled with Portuguese architecture and UNESCO-protected sites at its core. Mombasa is also a place to experience Africa’s tropics, from its coconut-palm beaches and coral reef-filled seas to its mangrove forests and year-round warm climate.
You can find Mombasa hostels by the beach, or in its quieter regions away from the city’s hustle and bustle. You’ll find stays with secluded swimming pool areas, as well as communal balconies where everyone gets together for food and live music sessions. Expect to see hostels in Mombasa with on-site bars, ocean-view rooftops and restaurants with African-themed nights. Whether you’re travelling solo, with friends or as a couple, you can find shared dorms and private rooms in a Mombasa hostel.
Mombasa is made up of four districts. Mvita is the city’s central island, connected to the mainland by bridges. It’s where Mombasa's history can be explored, from the old town to its UNESCO-listed fort down by the seafront. Along Haile Selassie Road is where you’ll find the hub of life with its markets, shops and street food. The Changamwe area is home to the airport, while Kisauni is where you'll find the city’s sandy beaches. There’s also Likoni on the southern edge, which has a large sandy beach.
From shopping to snorkelling, there are plenty of things to do in Mombasa. Pick up handmade leather sandals and beautifully decorated African fabrics around the old town, or visit the Bombolulu Cultural Centre to see local artisan’s crafts like jewellery and wood carving. Head to Haller Park, a nature reserve teeming with wildlife, from hippos to tortoises. Dreaming of blissful beach days? Work your way north to Nyali Beach (a 20-minute drive from old town) for its pristine pale sands. It’s also fringed by Mombasa National Marine Park – a top snorkelling and diving spot with wrecks, coral reefs and an abundance of marine life.
Moi International Airport is 9km to the north-west of Mombasa’s centre. You'll find tuk-tuks and taxis to take you into town. Buses can connect you up with Malindi, Lamu, Nairobi and Tanzania. There’s also a high-speed train that connects Mombasa to Nairobi (4.5 hours). While in town, you can hop on a matatu (minibus) or three-wheeled tuk-tuk to get around.