Vacation well spent in Mombasa: Vast, sandy beaches, visit to an UNESCO site and exploring local wildlife

I visited Mombasa during Christmas 2016, during the fieldwork I was carrying out in the Taita Hills for my Masters Project.

I stayed at Tides Inn Resort, a little north of Mombasa off the Malindi Road. To get to Mombasa I went with an air-conditioned bus from Voi. After arriving in Mombasa, one of the many tuk-tuk drivers drove me to my resort, which I had booked beforehand.

I spent the remainder of the first day in my room, trying to acclimatize to the humidity and heat of Mombasa, having just spent weeks in the altitudes of Taita Hills close to the Tanzanian border.

The Tides Inn Resort

The beach outside Tides Inn Resort

Tides Inn Resort is a budget-friendly hotel by the beach. It lies in the front row of the beach but there is no pool, but it does offer some sunbed where you can chillout inside the resort.

I thought I wouldn’t need a pool, but one day the tide was extremely low, and by then I had to walk about 100 meters to get in the water. As a solo female traveler, I did feel slightly harassed by some guys. The beach and the water is clean, but in this area there was a lot of shops with souvenirs, and not a place where people were relaxing in the sand. Next time I’d prefer a hotel with a pool inside the hotel premises.

Local fishermen’s boat during a low tide

My stay at Tides Inn Resort was very pleasant, and the competent staff was very helpful. For my next stay I would get a room with AC instead of a fan!

Mombasa is extremely relaxed and everything takes time, which means if you are not on vacation mode you might lose your patience, especially when it comes to having your meals cooked. Expect half an hour to 45 minutes waiting time for your food.

Activities around Mombasa

Fort Jesus – a UNESCO World Heritage Site

On Christmas Day I decided to visit Fort Jesus, situated by the waterfront in Mombasa. The fort was built at the end of the 16th century and has influences from all around the world. It is historically and visually a really interesting site to visit. It is possible to walk around the premises with no guide, although they are very persistent to tell you otherwise.

Half-way through I decided to join a tour with a local family in order to walk to the Old town, which I thought was not safe for me to go on my own (it probably was!).

A building at Fort Jesus

The site and museum are run by the National Museums of Kenya and offers fine insights into the history of the fort. When I visited there even was an art exhibition on site.

The Old Town

In the old town, you can walk around on your own, the buildings are beautiful with wooden details and carvings. The town also holds various souvenir shops if you are in the search of wooden figures.

A mosque in the Old town of Mombasa

Haller Park Bamburi Nature trail

I hiked the local nature trail in the Haller Park on my own. This is of course at your own risk, since you might come across snakes and other wild creatures. The rule is, as long as you don’t touch or harass an animal, they will leave you alone and probably flee! Snakes do not attack unprovoked.

I did a 2-3 hour hike and encountered beautiful birds such as Pied Kingfishers, Malachite Kingfishers among many others and two different antelope species. The trail is well-marked all the way with alternative routes to take.

Pied Kingfishers seen at the river along the trail

By the entrance, there is a small butterfly pavilion where butterflies are bred. Ask by the ticket office if it is possible to enter.

© All photos are my own and may not be used without permission.

One thought on “Vacation well spent in Mombasa: Vast, sandy beaches, visit to an UNESCO site and exploring local wildlife

  1. Pingback: Safari in Tsavo East | Traveling Female Ornithologist

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