domenica 30 dicembre 2012


At the end of my short Kenian vacation I spent a week end in Mombasa because I prefered to fly to Nairobi instead of repeating a long bumpy and unconfortable bus trip. At the beginning I thought I just had bad luck not to find a flight direc tly from Malindi, but I soon realized it was a great opportunity for a short visit of Mombasa. Once more I asked Aisha to be my travel buddy and despite it was also her first time in Mombasa, she was an excellent guide. We found a decent and cheap accommodation in the 5th floor of the Safari Coast hotel, a simple hotel next to a big market area, not very safe at night time but ok during the day. Mombasa, like Lamu, is situated in a island and has a charming old town and a Portuguese old fortress, Jesus Fort. We spent all the morning visiting Jesus Fort and old Mombasa with a local guide (I had to bargain hard in order to drop his price to 100 KSH, but in general his service deserved not much more). The fortress was built in 1951 with a cross plant by the Italian Giovanni Battista Cairati for the Portugueses, then conquered by Omani arabs and finally by British empire. it combine some interesting features of the different conquerors like an old water cistern,  Portuguese and British cannons and  imposing old old 18m tall walls with a superb view of the Mombasa bay.
I do loved the old town with its narrow roads, small shops, terraces and old mosques that reminded us how deep is the Arabic influences in this part of Africa. Even the food we experienced in the Island Dishes restaurant was a superb mixture of herbs and ingredients of African and Arabic cultures. This is a totally safe and inexpensive part of Mombasa which is a place I would love to return (along with Lamu, near the Kenian border with Somalia and Kampala, this last in Uganda). 
As for the beaches, I had no time to experience them nor am I a beach addicted, anyway I have been told that the most beautiful and "wild"ones are sited on the south side of Mombasa like Galu or Diani beach whereas the most lively ones(bars, clubs and restaurants) are on the north coast: Bamburi and Shantzu beaches.
Mombasa nightlife is great, especially in the weekends. We spent a super saturday night to Florida club (entrance fee is KSH 300 for men and KSH 200 for women). Florida is at 15min by taxi from our hotel and is well sited just along the seaside. There are several bars with different music styles to satisfy clients coming from India or Chine or Europe and also a nice show where beautiful dancers show how charming and athletic African women can be. Drinks are not expensive at all and there is a very fine and friendly atmosphere. Other 2 good clubs are Casablanca and Bella Vista with live music.

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