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Monday, December 21, 2009

Mombasa Kenya by Nafisa Rayani

With hundreds of beautiful, captivating holiday destinations around the world to choose from, the question that comes to mind is, "What makes Mombasa, Kenya one of the world's most popular tourist destinations?"

Kenya's second largest city, Mombasa is an island on the country's Eastern coastline that borders the azure Indian Ocean and is home to idyllic palm fringed beaches with soft brilliant white sands. With relatively warm weather all year round, it is the ideal destination for the holiday maker looking for a memorable getaway.

Mombasa is a picturesque culmination of intriguing history and tradition combined with modernity. The city's rich cultures that are still remnant today are as a result of the Portuguese, Arab, African, Persian and British influences over the decades. Fort Jesus, built by the Portuguese in the late sixteenth century in order to guard the Old Port of Mombasa is today one of the area's most popular tourist attractions. Mombasa's history relics are apparent today especially in exotic Old Town Mombasa with its narrow winding streets, intricately carved Swahili doors and women clad in traditional 'bui-bui'. Many of the hotels that dot the coast of Mombasa have been constructed to resemble Swahili villages or have buildings that are infused with Arab inspiration.

However, Mombasa isn't just an island that is steeped in its own culture and history. Modern Western influences are evident in the city where nightclubs are pulsating with music that is both local and cosmopolitan, and eateries that offer cuisines ranging from Italian and Chinese to Indian and traditional Swahili gastronomy. The majority of the natives speak English and the local Swahili language, making travel to this area less daunting for tourists. The North Coast of Mombasa is a hub of activity, with numerous large commercial beach hotels and resorts offering water sports and beach activities, as well as nightclubs and casinos. There are animal sanctuaries and nature trails, plenty of shopping opportunities for locally made handicrafts and fabrics and much to sightsee in this area. The South Coast also has a few large hotels along Diani beach, but offers more secluded private beaches such as Tiwi that has quieter accommodation away from the crowds and is ideal for a couple's retreat. The South Coast is also known for its diving and snorkelling and, in particular, the dolphin dhow safari excursion to Wasini Island.

Whether visitors to Mombasa are young or old, couples or groups, families with children or business travellers, there are options for both activity-filled scenes as well as quiet, secluded beaches to suit their preferences and it isn't difficult to see why this island pulls in the number of tourists it does each year.

About the Author
Nafisa Rayani is a travel enthusiast who works and lives in Kenya. She has contributed many articles on Mombasa and actively blogs and tweets about Mombasa Hotels, Things To Do in Mombasa and offers travel tips for anyone planning a Mombasa, Kenya holiday.

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