Good evening ladies and gentlemen, my name is Easter and will be your hostess during this trip, we leave Nairobi at 1000 hours and arrive at Mombasa by early morning just in time for sunrise with one stop at Mtito Andei. Did I just spoil your flight thoughts? (heheee). Those were the last words I heard for about 3 hours. Sitting next to a heavy sleeper sent me to sleep as well and forgot my night travel fears. This was modern coast oxygen, and I must say I enjoyed the facility. Functioning usb charge ports, working air con, kind staff members and a careful driver. The journey is smooth and we arrive just in time for sunrise as promised. We walk up to one of the simple hotels in town for breakfast. The menu is quite enticing with all the insha words that gave me that A grade back in primary school. My partner orders mahamri (some sweet well-done mandazis) and black coffee while I get viazi karai and some house coffee. I request some sauce and this guy presents some brown looking liquid. My partner looks at my face loughs then goes on to explain what the liquid is “mkwanju”. I want to ask the waiter why he got me ‘’chang’a’’ but my mouth ends up saying asante mwanangu to a man twice my age. (Kiswahili is not my mouth lately) I taste it and unfortunately I don’t like it. I remember some sauce sachet in my bag from the previous dinner (thank you big square sauce). The waiter looks annoyed and must be thinking this one is from the leafy green suburbs of Nairobi. No am not from them but truth be told I neighbor Muthaiga. Actually, am from lower Muthaiga also known as Mathare. Breakfast is good and in an hours’ time, we leave for Bamburi in a tuk-tuk. It’s around 8 am and normally the hotel check-in time is 10 am but having requested to check-in earlier during booking am bouncing on my bed 8:15 am. Its Indiana hotel located along Bamburi beach. Being the low season they are charging 2500 per person sharing a night on bed. That’s affordable with the beach view and 3 swimming pools not to mention beach sharing with Sarova clients (heheee). The morning goes on well with a swim and a short beach visit before we prepare for the Moorings Mtwapa which is our main attraction for Day 1. All our meals are from other restaurants and that way we save a fortune. Our stay is fun and no single day goes to waste. Our plan was to visit moorings, Fort Jesus and Haller park but I fall sick from day one to the last day with a 3 am emergency rush to the hospital on day 2 thus we skip the Haller park for a safer day. This makes me doubt my plans for a solo trip. Despite the no eating stay we still manage to visit a few places and do a few activities. Here are some of them hope to visit soon and do the rest. Back to the city by the afternoon SGR (I forgot my ID card in Nairobi thus we had to get an abstract from Bamburi police station as it’s a crucial document when boarding the train)
First things first it’s a few kilometers from town and charges were 300 from town on the uber tuk-tuk. The road leading there is quite busy, noisy and full of over speeders. For a moment you confuse it with a highway in Nairobi. The beach is quite a stretch with all sorts of hotels; budget to high-end hotels on its bank. Take a walk, watch sunrise and sunsets, write your name on the sand, try and jump over waves and lastly enjoy throwing sand into the water as you make wishes. Also make sure to promote the locals by purchasing their vikoi dresses, fridge magnets and even curving on the beach.
Do you want to propose? This is the place to do it bro! Especially during sunset on a cruize. (Hope my future husband reads this) It’s one of the oldest floating seafood restaurants with a great waterfront view. Entrance is free but feel free to promote them by buying a drink or a meal. I must say despite having a terrible stomach on that evening that was the most romantic dinner I have had no proposal though (wink wink).
Truth be told I thought it’s as simple as our archives. No, you can spend 2 hours in this place learning all the history of the Portuguese. Entrance fee is as bellow, and at the entrance, you find guides who charge 500+ to take you through every corner explaining things. If your kid is in love with history or yourself this is the place for you. We had fun taking photos and reading the wall writings. Check more about this on Fort Jesus
Taste Swahili food
If you are a NO seafood person like myself try out some of the Swahili dishes. Like using ‘’mkwanju” instead of the sauce you are used to. On this particular trip, I was all about mabuyu and achari. This you will still get in Nairobi especially in Eastleigh but trust me there is something unique with this one from Mombasa. Also, viazi karai on the streets is a must try and if you have the time get extra in Swahili hotels. Did I forget the coconut cassavas? try that too.
“In the Swahili culture, a woman should always adorn her hands with henna as part of her beauty. For the kids, a simple small design pattern is all that is needed, for a single lady the art goes just up to her wrist while for the married women there are no restrictions” Fatma the lady doing mine tells me. She operates from the old town of Mombasa though on request she comes to fort Jesus to have it done there. The charges range from Ksh 300 per art and for my four arts she charged me Ksh 1000.
Oxygen modern coast: Ksh 1800 pp
Indiana beach hotel: Ksh 2500pp (1 night on bed alone, low season May)
SGR: Ksh 1000
Mombasa-Bamburi: Ksh 80 pp
Hope you enjoy and share your experience in Mombasa as well.