Mombasa’s Governor Hassan Joho gives us insight into the best-kept secrets of Kenya’s idyllic coastline.
What special experiences can visitors enjoy in Mombasa?
The food experience in Mombasa is unique and memorable. The local cuisine is a blend of African, Arab, Portuguese and Indian influences. These sumptuous, sweet and spicy meals can be enjoyed at local street barbecues, seafood restaurants, Italian restaurants and pizzerias. For those who would prefer to indulge in seafood as they traverse the moonlit waters, a treat awaits them on the Tamarind Dhow dinner cruise.
I encourage those who would like to try and recapture the tastes of Mombasa cuisine when they return home, to go to ‘Markiti’, our oldest market, and haggle with the vendors for some homemade spices.
Thrill seekers will enjoy the various water sports offered by the beach hotels and nature lovers can enjoy hiking or cycling at the Butterfly Pavilion or Haller Park. Another great experience is a safari at the Nguuni Sanctuary. Culture lovers will enjoy visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site, Fort Jesus. Mombasa’s Old Town in itself is a wonderful cultural experience with its intricate, historical architecture: explore its narrow streets and take in the sights, smells and sounds of Mombasa as it has been for centuries.
At night the smell of incense permeates the streets. Women folk busy themselves applying henna while the wise men sit outside their homes in the evenings and share a cup of traditionally brewed coffee (kahwa) and a sticky meaty sweet (halwa).
For the young and restless, a night out at the island’s many nightclubs promises to be a treat.
What sets Kenya apart from other African countries as a holiday destination?
Kenya is a land of mesmerising beauty, hospitable people, unforgettable experiences, endless holiday options and great food. It offers a unique and exciting choice of holidays at a selection of great beach resorts and safari lodges.
Any advice for tourists?
Come with an open mind, a sense of humour, a quest for knowledge, sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses, and a thirst for new experiences. And don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the country’s amazing sights and sounds!
Are there any unexplored tourist spots that we should consider exploring?
Kenya’s coastline offers a number of beautiful islands including Lamu, Chale and Funzi. Home to some exclusive resorts providing 5 to 7 star hospitality. The snorkelling, deep sea diving and fishing excursions are world class and the coral reefs are quite magnificent.
Is there anything else that you would like to say about Mombasa and Kenya?
It is my great hope that people from all over the world, from all walks of life, get to experience this rare jewel.