By Kuria Kimani
Mombasa is the second-largest city in Kenya, after Nairobi and a popular tourist destination. The list of places to visit when in Mombasa, and the activities to do is endless. One can visit historic sites,go deep sea fishing, bask on the beautiful beaches or even snorkel around coral reefs.
You don’t have to be loaded to enjoy what the second largest city in Kenya has to offer. Wok list budget friendly places you can visit this holiday season in Mombasa on a budget starting with:
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Fort Jesus World Heritage
Fort Jesus is a must visit if you are in Mombasa. It was constructed between 1593 and 1596 by the Portuguese and is currently under the management of the National Museums Association of Kenya. It is a historic site, sitting on 2.36ha, with 16th-century Renaissance military architecture that stands guard at the gates of the harbour as you go towards the Old Port of Mombasa. Fort Jesus was declared and registered a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011 and hosts a museum that has a vast array of relics and historic artefacts like pottery and ceramics that were traded years ago.
The view of Mombasa Harbour from the Fort is breathtaking. The fortress’ design, viewed from above, takes the shape of a human, with the head skewed towards the Indian Ocean. You might want to visit the Swahili Cultural Centre and the recent butterfly exhibition while at the Fortress. Fort Jesus is open from 8 a.m until 6 pm charging 1,200 KES for non-resident adults, 600 KES for non-resident children, 400 KES for East African adults, 200 KES for East African Children, 200 KES for Kenyan adults, and 100 KES for Kenyan children.
Your next spot should be Mamba village, East Africa’s largest crocodile farm holding all sizes of crocodiles from tiny hatchlings to fully grown adults. One famous croc is the over 100-year-old man-eating gator known as “Big Daddy.” The place has a variety of fun activities such as horseback riding, visit to a botanical garden and a large aquarium, alongside the adrenaline-rush feeding sessions of the gators. It is the beauty and the thrill that makes Mamba village a top bucket list item for many travelholics just to experience the marine and terrestrial ecosystems first hand. I repeat, the botanical garden will wow you with breathtaking orchids and a diversity of aquatic plants.
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The spot is located in Nyali, as you approach Nyali Golf Course. Look out for a giant crocodile sculpture and right there is the entrance to Mamba Village. A typical visit to Mamba village will kick off with a detailed video presentation on crocodiles, before a visit to the crocodile pens. Have you ever seen albino crocodiles before? End your tour in style by grabbing cocktails at the Crocodile Bar or exploring game meat- ostrich, zebra, and crocodile at the Village Restaurant!
For citizens/residents the charges are KES 280 and KES 140 for adults and children respectively. Adult non-residents pay KES 650 while children are charged KES 350.
Mamba is a Swahili word that means Crocodile
Jumba la Mtwana
Looking for some historic fascination? Jumba la Mtwana is your place to go. The ruins are 600 years old and located in Kilifi. Jumba la Mtwana is a Swahili phrase translated to ‘the large house of the slave’. The historical site is protected under Antiquities and Monuments Act Chapter 215 of the Laws of Kenya. The National Museum Association of Kenya is the site’s official custodian tasked with ensuring that it is kept in good shape for you to go experience history firsthand.
Travel enthusiasts and Kilifi residents accuse the NMK of neglecting the site which is in further ruins. With the rising water levels due to global warming, some sections of the site have been washed into the sea. The historical site also has other facilities on it including an Italian restaurant, and its open grounds are available for camping activities, social gatherings, and even parties. NMK says that these are purposeful and legal means they are employing to increase visitations. The facility is open every day between 9:00AM and 6:00PM. The site fee charged is Ksh 500 per person.
Bombolulu workshop and Cultural Centre
Along the North coast of Mombasa, Near Rise & Shine School, Bombolulu you will find Bombolulu Workshops, a Project of the Association for the Physically Disabled in Kenya (APDK) which was founded in 1969. The Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya took over later in 1987. The project is a renowned tourist attraction area consisting of a Cultural Centre with 8 traditional homesteads and an amazing traditional Eatery.
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At the workshops, you will have the chance to enjoy unlimited traditional dances throughout the day. The Centre has employed 150 differently-abled artisans who produce a range of jewellery, leather crafts, textiles, and wood carvings which are on exhibition in the workshop’s showroom. Others are exported to approximately 20 different countries. Bombolulu Workshops and Cultural Centre has empowered disabled artisans both economically and socially. The output in the artwork is of high quality and you can be sure to get value for your money.
The Centre’s gates open from 08:00 am to 06:00 pm with an entrance fee of KES 360 for Adults and KES 180 for children.
The Rabai Museum is a place of deep purpose and one that must be among your top considerations for the season! This is where Christianity and modern learning began in the 19th Century. The Rabai Museum was erected by Johannes Rebman and Johann Ludwig Krapf at Mazeras Kaloleni. It faces the Kaya Kambe shrines where missionaries and explorers were laid to rest.
The museum acted as a slave-rescue center and would, later on, be ground for the first classroom in the country built in present-day Isaac Nyondo School. Rabai Museum is open for visitation from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM on all days of the week except Sundays. Are you seeking to learn about the early missionary work and slavery in Kenya? Plan for a mid-morning exploration of the Rabai Museum.
Nguuni Nature Sanctuary
If you are fascinated by wildlife, birds and perhaps a sucker for great sunsets, the Nguuni Nature Sanctuary is your best card. Located along the Nguu Tatu Hills, the sanctuary is a haven for a wide variety of birds, giraffes, antelopes, oryx, and ostriches. Evenings at Nguuni are always a fascinating and awesome experience.
The sunset sets the sky in an intense orange hue lined with blues, whites, and a distant lilac. The giraffes walk majestically and the birds sing your troubles away. Photographers are known to produce classic wallpaper images from the sanctuary. To enjoy a day at the sanctuary, residents pay Ksh 350 while foreigners pay Ksh 800 in ticket fees.
Wild Waters Kenya
Mombasa’s most popular water park is another great holiday spot for you and your family if you are in Mombasa. If you or your children love some water fun, this is the place to go for the maximum aqua-thrill! Equipped with the best water facilities to swim and slide, Wild Waters Kenya has a wide range of activities to jump into.
You can also host a party at the grounds and enjoy concerts such as the upcoming New Year’s Eve Party on 31st December. The crossover party will feature acrobats, entertainment for the kids, a live band performance, and so much more. Non-sliders and non-swimmers pay Ksh 300 per person for entry, Resident swimmers and sliders each Ksh 1500 – Ksh 1700, and non-resident swimmers and sliders each pay Ksh 1800.
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