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17 Popular Places to Visit in Mombasa (2024)

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Mombasa is the spot for you if you enjoy both adventure and beaches. The city is a great place to relax, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and soak up some sun. There are numerous interesting places to discover in the destination, among them Fort Jesus, Haller Park, and Nyali Beach.

Street vendors and local restaurants are known for serving an array of Swahili delicacies, so foodies are in for a treat as well. As for accommodation, Mombasa is not short of restful hotels, Airbnbs, and other accommodation facilities. In this article, we’ll delve into the city’s attractions. Continue reading for information about the most popular places to visit in Mombasa. 

1. Haller Park

Tourists feeding giraffes at Haller Park. best places to visit in mombasa
A tourist feeding giraffes at Haller Park.

Tourists looking for a relaxing day at the park should drop by Haller Park. The nature park in Bamburi has a botanical garden and plenty of green space for picnics and games. Giraffes, hippos, and crocodiles are some animals living in the park.

The best time to visit is in the afternoon, around 3 pm, during feeding time. Note: The entrance fee is paid through mobile money (M-pesa) only, so plan accordingly.

2. Fort Jesus

Fort Jesus, one of the most popular places to visit in Mombasa, near CBD
Fort Jesus, one of the most popular places to visit in Mombasa

This old fort was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and served as their headquarters until they were forced out by the British in 1891. It was declared a national monument in 1957 and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011. The fort also houses museums about African history, art, and culture during colonial times.

3. Old Town

A street in Old Town Mombasa. Places to visit in Mombasa
A street in Old Town Mombasa

Old Town neighbors the popular Fort Jesus and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some tourists spend their time here while visiting Mombasa. The district, stretching about 72 hectares (177.92 acres), contains many historical buildings, some dating back to the 18th century. It also features shops selling textiles, ceramics, jewelry, and leather goods. Mombasa’s old port and post office are also found here.

4. Mombasa Tusks (Mapembeni)

Mombasa Tusks. Places to visit in Mombasa.
Mombasa Tusks in the heart of the city

You will find pictures of Mombasa tusks in postcards, travel photographs, and travel videos. Why is it so? The tusks are among Mombasa’s most famous landmarks. Many tourists throng the destination to take pictures of the artificial tusks. They were put up in 1952 to commemorate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to the coastal city.

5. Nguuni Nature Sanctuary

A giraffe and her child at Nguuni Nature Sanctuary. Top places to visit in Mombasa
A giraffe and her child at Nguuni Nature Sanctuary.

Nguuni Nature Sanctuary is a nature reserve on the outskirts of Mombasa Island. It was established to protect the surrounding environment and its inhabitants. The nature sanctuary provides refuge for birds and animals, such as giraffes, ostriches, and antelopes, among others, that roam freely without being disturbed by humans.

Besides wildlife viewing, it’s a serene place to get in tune with nature.

6. Mama Ngina Waterfront (a.k.a Lighthouse)

A footpath at Mama Ngina Waterfront, one of the cheap places to visit in Mombasa
A footpath at Mama Ngina Waterfront, one of the cheap places to visit in Mombasa

If you’re after a relaxing retreat on the seafront, then include Mama Ngina Waterfront on your list of places to visit in Mombasa! Renovated in 2019, this waterfront is a great place to take in that fresh sea breeze and see watercrafts entering and leaving the port.

Along the waterfront are food vendors selling fried cassava, soft drinks, ice cream, and coconut juice. Moreover, you won’t have trouble finding a place to sit or park your automobile. You can also enjoy a conversation with the locals here, too.

After spending quality time in this spot, you can enjoy a free ferry ride at the Likoni channel.

7. Wild Waters

A water slide. Mombasa's popular places to visit for families
A water slide. Mombasa’s popular places to visit. Photo by Konrad Burdyn on Unsplash

A fun-filled day awaits you and your family at Wild Waters. This water park in Nyali is open from 10 am to 6 pm and features a lazy river and several rides, including a roller coaster and a wave pool.

Kids’ birthday party celebrations can be held here as well. There’s a food court, should you want to grab some sweet snacks.

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8. Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach (Pirates Beach)

Places to visit in Mombasa. Pirates Beach
Cames and tourists at Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach. Popular places to visit in Mombasa.

A visit to Mombasa is not complete without visiting the beach. One of the most sought-after beaches in Mombasa is Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach (Pirates Beach). This beach is known for its beautiful views of the Indian Ocean and offers plenty of activities like swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling.

Most locals frequent the destination on weekends and public holidays. The public beach is along the Mombasa-Malindi highway and is free of charge.

9. Nyali Beach

Sunset at the beach. Best places to visit in Mombasa.
Sunset at the beach. Photo by Jimmy Conover on Unsplash

Nyali Beach is another great place to enjoy yourself while visiting Mombasa. Compared to Pirates Beach, it’s not as crowded. However, it is a nice place to swim, immerse your feet in white sand, and enjoy breathtaking sunsets.

The beach boasts several amenities—including changing rooms and ample parking space. There are also vendors selling snacks, swimming costumes, and coconuts on the shore.

10. Mombasa Go-Kart

Three adults racing at Mombasa Go-Kart. Best places to visit in Mombasa.
Three adults racing at Mombasa Go-Kart. Image from the facility’s Facebook page.

If you’re looking for something different than just beaches or water parks then head over to Mombasa Go-Kart! This motorsport arena offers an array of leisure activities, including kart racing, bike tours, and paintball.

On the same establishment are a family-friendly restaurant, a playground, and a garden. The large screens on-site are ideal for watching sporting action, say rugby or football matches. Mombasa Go-Kart is in Shanzu, off Mombasa-Malindi highway.

11. Marikiti/Biashara Street

Merchandise on sale outside a shop. Affordable places to visit in Mombasa
Merchandise on sale outside a shop. Photo by Claudette Bleijenberg on Unsplash

Markets are nice places to buy souvenirs, sample local food, and interact with the locals. Well, visit Marikiti and Biashara Street for that and much more. The good thing is that the two spots are on Mombasa Island and have a variety of shops selling, lesos, kikois, kitenge/Ankara fabrics, and Swahili sandals.

Aside from clothes, shoes, and kitchenware, you can try out fresh coconut juice, cassava chips, mangoes, and fried cassava.

12. Nyali Cinemax

Inside a movie theater. Best places to visit in Mombasa
Inside a movie theater. Photo by Houses Cheung on Unsplash

Nyali Cinemax is a popular movie theater in Mombasa. It has a large screen, comfy chairs, and good sound quality. Moreover, it’s located off Links Road Nyali and easily accessible via public transport.

For the latest Hollywood and Bollywood movies, Nyali Cinemax is the place to be. They also serve an array of snacks such as popcorn, potato crisps, ice cream, and sodas.

13. Kongowea Market

A fresh produce stand. Popular places to visit in Mombasa, Kenya
A fresh produce stand. Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Shop till you drop at Kongowea Market, one of the biggest markets in the entire Kenya coast region. The market is an ideal place to buy fresh produce, including fish, vegetables, and fruits. There are also many shops selling clothes and shoes.

Kongowea Market is mostly busy because there are many people from all over the city coming here every day to buy their groceries or anything else they need at home. Accessing this market shouldn’t be a problem, as it’s along the Mombasa-Malindi highway. If you’re using public transport, you’ll alight at a bus stop called Lights.

14. Nyali Centre

Inside a shopping outlet. Top places to visit in Mombasa
A clothes section in a shopping outlet. Photo by Alexander Kovacs on Unsplash

Nyali Centre is another outstanding shopping destination in Mombasa. The shopping mall welcomes those looking for quality goods and services in a high-end commercial center. It houses local and international outlets, including banks, clubs, liquor stores, pharmacies, and more.

Restaurants on the premises, including Java House, Snack Attack, and Planet Yogurt, have sumptuous delights for everyone. What’s more, the mall has ample parking space and clean restrooms.

15. Bombolulu Coast Workshop and Cultural Centre

Wood carvings for sale at Bombolulu Coast Workshop and Cultural Centre.

Learn about the Kenyan way of life at this cultural center. This establishment was set up to give purpose to people who are disadvantaged through disability. They make and sell beautiful ornaments, carvings, and jewelry, so you always find a nice souvenir to take home here.

The center is in Bombolulu and is open from Monday to Friday. Here, you can enjoy cultural dances and see traditional houses. That aside, there are knowledgeable tour guides at your service.

16. Mamba Village Centre

Mamba Village Centre. One of the top places to visit in Mombasa
Crocodiles sunbathing at Mamba Village Centre.

Mamba Village Centre is one of the best places to visit in Mombasa if you want to get up close with crocodiles. The recreation spot located off Links Road Nyali boasts a reptile conservation farm. The center has guided tours of their crocodile feeding area, where visitors can feed the reptiles with pieces of chicken or fish.

There are also opportunities for picnics at their botanical garden, so if you’re looking for something fun to do, this could be your option! The young ones have a playground to run around and swing all day long. At Croco Villa Restaurant, you can sample crocodile meat.

Mamba Village Centre Mombasa is open daily, from 9 am to 6 pm. 

17. Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve

Snorkeling is a popular activity at Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve
Snorkeling is a popular activity at Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve. Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Consider visiting Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve if you’re after some adventure in the water. The marine park was established in 1986. Here, tourists pass the time exploring the local marine life, including coral reefs and seaweeds.

You can access the marine park using glass boats. Along the way, you’ll see a variety of fish, such as dolphins, turkey fish, and lionfish. The tourist site is also a good starting point for snorkeling and diving expeditions.

Best places to visit in Mombasa

With numerous places to visit in Mombasa, tourists can expect a fun-filled holiday in the coastal city. If you treasure some relaxing time on the shore, then check out Pirates Beach. If you’d rather explore new things in a posh neighborhood, then head over to Nyali. That said, we hope our suggestions make your trip more enjoyable.

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