This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Mombasa. To help you make friends with Mombasa before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Historically a hub in the Indian Ocean trading networks, Mombasa is vibrant and diverse. Swahili, Kenyan coastal, and South Asian cultures mix and mingle in Kenya's second largest city and its most important port; this is most evident in the rich, spice-filled cuisine. Have traditional Swahili snacks with chai masala tea, and for dinner, mishkaki (literally, meat on a stick, East African style shish-kebabs) grilled right in front of you. After you explore the World Heritage Site of Fort Jesus, a beautiful sixteenth-century fortress that passed through Portuguese, Arab, then British hands, walk through and shop at the charming Old Town. For in-town beaches, clubs, water sports, and skydiving (you land on the beach!) check out the expatriate neighborhood of Nyali. Hostels in Mombasa are relaxing enclaves from the chaos of the city's center and are on the Nyali or Bamburi beaches.
Mombasa is also the ideal base for exploring the beautiful, tranquil Kenyan coast, which includes beach towns like Watamu, Kilifi, and Mtwapa. Hostels in Mombasa and the area offer great service and affordable rooms to backpackers, beach-goers, and adventure-seekers alike. Go at low tide and explore island shoals, snorkel through bright coral reefs, see sea turtles at the Watamu Turtle Watch, visit fairy-tale-like ruins of the Gedi and Jumba Swahili trading towns, get a kite-surfing lesson, dine on ridiculously fresh seafood, or just relax on the beach. You generally shouldn't have difficulty booking a place, though note that the high season (also the hottest time of the year) is July to October.
Mombasa is a popular safari launch point as well. To go on safari, just ask your hostel in Mombasa about day, camping, or lodge trips. Tsavo East is known for its variety of wildlife, including lions, while Tsavo West boasts magnificent landscapes, including views of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Amboseli is especially known for close elephant sightings.
Written by local enthusiast for Mombasa hostelsLisa