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).