Mombasa is the center of tourism on Kenya's east coast. The beautiful beaches and the rich sea life make the city an Eldorado for sun, sea and beach lovers, but also for divers and those snorkeling. Before Kenya's independence the city was governed by Portuguese, Arabs and British. Fort Jesus and parts of the old inner-city date from those colonial times.
The city has almost 1 million inhabitants.
Mombasa is located off the east coast of Kenya on an island separated from the mainland by two stretches of water: Tudor Creek and Kilindini Harbour. The city is connected with the mainland by two large bridges (New Nyali Bridge and Makupa Causeway) and a smaller bridge near the oil refinery.
Kenya's only large sea port is Kilindini Harbour. Mombasa is therefore an important trade center. There are also an oil refinery and a large cement factory. Near Mombasa underground telecom cables come ashore. These good connections with the rest of the world form the basis for a growing number of call centers in the city. Mombasa is also the center of tourism on the east coast, although the city itself is visited by few people. Most tourists travel on to the beaches north and south of Mombasa.
Mombasa Airport is called Moi International Airport in full. It's situated on the mainland, 13 kilometers west of the city center and is reachable by rental car via the A 109 (Makupa Causeway). The way and exit to the airport are clearly signposted.
Minibuses (so called matatus) take you to any destination. It's a cheap form of public transport, but not always as comfortable. In Kenya the saying is: 'How many people fit in a minibus?' Answer: 'Always more'. From the central bus station (Bus Depot) in the western part of the city buses leave for several other destinations in Kenya, including the capital Nairobi. Mombasa also has a train station.
Mombasa is a busy, lively city and it'll take some time to get used to the driving style in Africa. Traffic can be very chaotic and traffic signs mainly serve as decoration to drivers. But, once used to it, it's not difficult to find your way around. Whenever possible, park your car at a guarded parking lot and don't leave any valuables in your rental car (not even in the trunk).
There are some accommodations in Mombasa, but they are either basic guesthouses or hotels geared towards business travelers. Most tourists stay at the hotels and holiday resorts north and south of the city. It goes without saying that the most expensive hotels are near the beach; cheaper accommodations are a bit further away.
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