Touring the city not only allows you to see the architecture and learn about the cultures, but you also gain a deep understanding of the historical foundation of the ethnic diversity that makes Mombasa one of the most interesting destinations in Africa
The diversity of Mombasa is remarkable, making the city unlike any other in Kenya, with a unique cultural blend of Africans, Arabs and Asians representing many religious belief systems, including Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu. Touring the city not only allows you to see the architecture and learn about the cultures, but you also gain a deep understanding of the historical foundation of the ethnic diversity that makes Mombasa one of the most interesting destinations in Africa, such as how Afro-Asians and Afro-Arabs including the Swahilis have been living on the coast of East Africa for more than 500 years.
Stops on the trip include local bazaars, Fort Jesus, visits to the handicraft carvers and the Mackinnon Market. The first stop on the excursion, Fort Jesus, was built in 1593 based on designs by an Italian architect and engineer named Joao Batista Cairato. Originally used by the Portuguese, the imposing structure rests upon a coral ridge at the entrance of the old town harbor, and its strategic location has resulted in many battles for its control.
The site has also been used as soldier barracks and a prison before being obtained by the Trustees of the Kenya National Museum in 1958, and the on-site museum was opened in 1962. After the fort, your AfricanMecca guide leads you into alleys of Old Town, the original Mombasa city that was built in the 13th century and still maintains many significant architectural features of the time, such as filigree timber balconies, beautifully carved wooden doors, Indian and colonial designs and more than 20 mosques, and in 1985, the area received protected status as a conservation project to preserve the historically significant buildings.
Thereafter, your tour guide then takes you to Mackinnon Market and the shops on Langoni Road where you find a fascinating variety of goods including produce, such as fruits and vegetables from local farms, meats, textiles and even some unexpected items, both local and international, such as safari shoes by Bata, pseudo designer label jeans and unbranded clothing from western countries.
FORT JESUS TOUR EXPERIENCE IN MOMBASA
Fort Jesus symbolizes not only the history of Mombasa, but also the architectural prowess of the Portuguese in designing and building martial structures that are based on Renaissance era values of proportions and geometrical elements. Giovanni Battista Cairati, an Italian architect and engineer, served as the Chief Architect for the Portuguese in East Africa, and his last assignment to design Fort Jesus became the highlight of his career.
Construction of the fort lasted from 1593 to 1596, and the property, including the moat, covers an area of almost six acres. The original structure was documented by Manuel Godinho de Heredia in 1610 and over time, some design elements were influenced by the many cultures that fought to gain control of the fort, such as African, European, Arab, Ottoman and Persian. The Portuguese recognized the strategic value of positioning the fort on a coral cliff to protect their trade route with India, as well as their East African interests. From this vantage point, the Portuguese were able to detect approaching ships well before the vessels entered the harbor, an advantage that ultimately led to the fort being under an almost constant state of attack for most of its history, including Omani Arabs from 1696 to 1698.
Eventually, the Portuguese lost control of their prized Fort Jesus until 1728, only to lose it again a year later. In 1837, a type of peace was instilled upon the fort when it became soldier barracks before being used as a prison by the British in 1895. On October 24, 1958, Fort Jesus was placed in the custody of the trustees of the National Museums of Kenya. Wandering the fort grounds is an insightful journey through Mombasa’s history. The museum opened in 1962 and has become a popular attraction for tourists, students and researchers. Inside the museum, you will find an intriguing collection of archaeological artifacts from the fort, as well as Manda, Ungwana, Gede and other sites, some of which have been donated by private individuals and others that have been recovered from the shipwreck of the San Antonio de Tana that has been at the bottom of the Indian Ocean since 1697. Fort Jesus can be experienced during city tour of old town Mombasa.
SNORKELING TOUR EXPERIENCE IN KISITE PARK
In addition to the smaller colorful fishes amidst the coral gardens, you may even see a migrating dolphin, sea turtle or other larger marine creatures like a humpback whale. Snorkeling in Kisite is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the underwater world and may even help increase your comfort with diving, although, on its own, snorkeling is fun, exciting and fascinating.
Your guide stays close to you to ensure your comfort and safety and frequently points out the most delightful species and behaviors. With so much to see under the water, snorkeling at Kisite Marine Park can be a very rewarding experience whether it is your first time or you are a seasoned veteran. Two hours before or after low tide is the best time to go, as this is when you have the greatest chances of seeing maximum aquatic life. Before entering the water, you are briefed on how to use your snorkel, hand signals that may be used by your guide and any safety considerations, and with a few minutes of practice, you will find yourself leisurely swimming on the surface and completely enthralled by the ecosystem of the reef.
SCUBA DIVING TOUR EXPERIENCE IN KISITE PAR
Coral reefs are some of the world’s most popular dive sites and the reefs in Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park are some of the best on the planet, whether you are taking your first dive or your thousandth. The gentle sloping wall of the reef at Kisite extends from 2 to 32 meters below the surface and almost every nook and cranny is filled with marine life living within the hard corals and constantly darting about are schools of vibrant fish, such as spadefish, blue-lined snapper, fusiliers, surgeonfish and many others.
FISHING TOUR EXPERIENCE IN MOMBASA
Sitting in the fighting chair during an a deep sea fishing excursion in Kenya is an exhilarating experience! Even if you are a seasoned angler, the thrill of reeling in a giant is almost unimaginable, and Mombasa being the prime spot for such deep sea excursions in East Africa. In fact, many fishing records have been set in the same waters where you will be trying your hand at catching one of these magnificent oceanic creatures.
The most iconic of the large giants are sailfish and marlin, both of which are found in the deep waters of Mombasa. Sailfish are the most abundant and challenging to hook, but their acrobatic displays make every frustrating moment well worth the effort. The three types of marlin are blue, striped and black, and it is the blue marlin that gives you the fight of your lifetime! Known for their power, these billfish fight with incredible speed and agility, often changing directions. The frantic pace will surely leave you exhausted.
7 DAYS SAFARI
7 DAYS - LAKE MANYARA, SERENGETI
In this tour we will cover the 4 most popular destinations in Tanzania - Lake Manyara National Park