Mombasa Island

Mombasa Island

  • Mombasa Island is a 5 by 3 km (3.1 by 1.9 mi) coral outcrop located on Kenya’s coast on the Indian Ocean, which is connected to the mainland by a causeway. Part of the city of Mombasa is located on the island, including the Old Town.

Diani Beach

Diani Beach is a major beach resort on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya (in eastern Africa). It is located 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of Mombasa, in the nearby Kwale County.

It has been voted Africa’s leading beach destination for the third time running since 2015.


The beach is about 17 kilometres (11 mi) long, from the Kongo River to the north and Galu beach to the south (the southern point of reference is an old Baobab tree). It is adjacent to the town of Ukunda, the population of which nears 100,000 inhabitants. A small airstrip is located between the beach area and the Mombasa-Lunga Lunga road. The water remains shallow near shore, with some underwater sandbars near the surface which allow wading with a clear view of the sandy bottom. Inland from the beach, there is extensive vegetation (see photo at right), including numerous palm trees which cover the coastal areas, unlike the dry acacia trees of the mountainous Kenyan Highlands. The Mwachema River flows into the sea at Diani Beach.

The general area is known for its coral reefs, black-and-white colobus monkeys, and for the closely located Shimba Hills National Reserve, a wildlife reserve which looks out over the Indian Ocean. Diani Beach has restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, and several shopping centres. Diani Beach is also a popular kitesurfing, sky diving, jet skiing, and snorkelling location.

Haller Park.

  • Haller Park is a nature park in Bamburi, Mombasa, on the Kenyan coast. It is the transformation of a quarry wasteland into an ecological area. Haller Park holds a variety of plant and animal species which serve as a recreation spot for tourists and locals. Up to March 2007 it held the attraction of Owen& Mzee – the friendship of a hippopotamus and a tortoise.

Shimba Hills National Reserve.

The Shimba Hills National Reserve is a small National Reserve in the coast province of Kenya, 33 km from Mombasa and 15 km from the coast. The reserve is an area of coastal rain forest, woodland and grassland. It is an important area for plant biodiversity– over 50% of the 159 rare plants in Kenya are found in the Shimba Hills, including some endangered species of cycad and orchids. It is also a nationally important site for birds and butterflies.

There are estimated to be approximately 700 elephants in the reserve. This population is unsustainably high – it causes significant damage to vegetation, threatening the endangered plant life. Conflict between humans and elephants has also reached critical levels. North of the Reserve, the Mwaluganje elephant sanctuary has been established to provide a route for elephants to leave the park. The remainder of the park boundary is fenced to prevent the elephants from invading farmland. Shimba Hills contains Kenya’s only population of Sable Antelope. There are about 100 in the park.

Fort Jesus

This 16th-century fort and Unesco World Heritage treasure is Mombasa’s most visited site. The metre-thick walls, frescoed interiors, traces of European graffiti, Arabic inscriptions and Swahili embellishment aren’t just evocative, they’re a palimpsest of Mombasa’s history and the coast writ in stone. You can climb on the battlements and explore its tree-shaded grounds.

The fort was built by the Portuguese in 1593 to serve as both symbol and headquarters of their permanent presence in this corner of the Indian Ocean. It’s ironic, then, that the construction of the fort marked the beginning of the end of local Portuguese hegemony. Between Portuguese sailors, Omani soldiers and Swahili rebellions, the fort changed hands at least nine times between 1631 and the early 1870s, when it finally fell under British control and was used as a jail; it opened as a museum in 1960.

The fort was the final project completed by Giovanni Battista Cairati, whose buildings can be found throughout Portugal’s eastern colonies, from Old Goa to Old Mombasa. The building is an opus of period military design – assuming the structure was well manned, it would have been impossible to approach its walls without falling under the cone of interlocking fields of fire.

Within the fort compound, the Mazrui Hall, where flowery spirals fade across a wall topped with wooden lintels left by the Omani Arabs, is worthy of note. In another room, Portuguese sailors scratched graffiti that illustrates the multicultural naval identity of the Indian Ocean, leaving walls covered with four-pointed European frigates, three-pointed Arabic dhows and the coir-sewn ‘camels of the ocean’: the elegant Swahili mtepe (traditional sailing vessel). The Omani house, in the San Felipe bastion in the northwestern corner of the fort, was built in the late 18th century and has a small fishing dhow outside it. Inside there’s a small exhibition of Omani jewellery, weaponry and other artefacts. The eastern wall includes an Omani audience hall and the Passage of the Arches, which leads under the pinkish-brown coral to a double-azure vista of sea floating under sky.

There’s a museum in the centre of the fort that displays finds from 42 Portuguese warships that were sunk during the Omani Siege in 1697, from barnacled earthenware jars to Persian amulets and Chinese porcelain. Like the rest of the complex, they are poorly labelled and woefully displayed. Despite this, the fort is unmissable.

If you arrive early in the day, you may avoid group tours, but the same can’t be said of the guides, official and unofficial, who will offer you tours the minute you approach the fort. Some of them can be quite useful and some can be duds. Unfortunately you’ll have to use your judgement to suss out which is which. Official guides charge KSh1200 for a tour of Fort Jesus or the Old Town; unofficial guides charge whatever they can. If you don’t want a tour, shake off your guide with a firm but polite ‘no’, or they’ll launch into their spiel and expect a tip at the end. Alternatively, you can buy the Fort Jesus guide booklet from the ticket desk and go it alone.

Mombasa Marine National park& Reserve

Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve is a marine park and national reserve in Mombasa, Kenya. The park is 10 km² (2,500 acres) while the reserve is 200 km² (49,400 acres)

It is located on the coast near tourist areas and is a popular beach because of the snorkeling and diving. It is the most heavily visited of Kenya’s marine parks. It has coral reefs in its waters.

It was established as a Marine Park in 1986, and encloses part of the lagoon, back reef and reef crest habitats of the Bamburi-Nyali fringing reef.

The Marine park is characterized by warm tropical conditions varying at the surface between 25°C and 31°C during the year, stable salinity regimes and moderate nutrient levels.