Mombasa, a melting pot of languages and cultures from all sides of the Indian Ocean, it quickly seduces all those who manage to make their way to Kenya’s coastline. Having more in common with Dakar or Dar es Salaam than Nairobi, the city’s blend of India, Arabia and Africa can be intoxicating. Visitors are soon able to look beyond the grime and sleaze of East Africa’s biggest and most cosmopolitan port to the considerable charms that lie beneath.

Located on Kenya’s East Coast, Kenya’s second largest city is a place steeped in history. At the same time, it is a vibrant commercial and cosmopolitan port town.

Mombasa is actually an island, connected to the mainland by bridges and ferries. It overlooks a wide harbour, where commercial shipping mingles with traditional sailing dhows.The true heart of Mombasa is found in the exotic old town, among the narrow winding streets and Arab architecture. The air here is always heavy with the scent of spices.

At the water’s edge is Fort Jesus, an imposing fort that stands watch over the harbour. The high gun turrets, battlements and underground passages of this 16th century edifice witnessed the historic struggle between the Portuguese army and the Shirazi Arabs for control of this part of the coast. This war was waged around Mombasa for hundreds of years and over countless battles, and Fort Jesus stands as a testament to this tumultuous past.

Modern Mombasa is a city of great diversity and life; a place where all are welcomed and quickly absorbed.

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