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A DOZEN WAYS TO LIVE LIKE A LOCAL

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The  coastal region of Kenya epitomizes wealth and luxury at its best. However, there are so many things that tourists can do which do not fit into these two categories. If you are looking to travel on a budget or simply go backpacking – or beach hopping as they call it – there are so many amazing activities you can fit into your itinerary without the fear of emptying your wallets.

a man playing football at the beach
live like a local in mombasa
  • Take a trip to a sandbank: Enjoy the crystal clear waters while swimming or floating in the sea or just be lazy and simply get your tans on.
  • Play football with the locals: Football is a sport enjoyed by almost all Kenyans and it is a common sight to see youngsters and adults enjoying a friendly game of football on the beach.
  • Drink a coconut on the beach: Enjoy the simpler things in life as you drink a fresh coconut picked right from the palm while you watch.
  • Eat like a local :Try ‘Mbaazi za Nazi’  a favourite delicacy among the Swahili, which is a must have for breakfast in many coastal households. The popular dish can be enjoyed with Mbaazi (peas) made in mbuzi a handy tool used for extracting coconut fresh from the mature coconuts.
  • Learn to cook something new: It is fascinating to see how Kenyans prepare food using age-old techniques tools and unique ingredients. There are many Swahili specialties you can try your hand at. Freshly available fruits and vegetables are usually available.
  • Go cashless with mobile money: Mobile-money platforms allow users to withdraw, deposit, transfer cash, and pay bills with a cell phone via secure text message. M-Pesa, Airtel Money, and Equitel Money are some of the major ones. You’ll need a Kenyan SIM card and some ID, and you can sign up at authorized agents all over the town, at supermarkets, banks, cell phone stores, etc.
 A Swahi Dhow in mombasa
  • Learn a few Swahili phrases: Swahili is an official language of Kenya . While it may seem very difficult to learn, you can always stick to the most commonly used phrases and surprise the locals.
  • Take a matatu : These fourteen passenger vans function as the local transit system but the experience feels more like party buses. They’re the most affordable way to get around and while they are also prevalent in other cities like Nairobi and Dar es Salaam (known as the dala dala in Tanzania), Mombasa has its own special breed. Enjoy the ride and if lucky the conducta  9 (tout) may ask for your hand in marriage.
  • Work out at the beach: Wake up to the call of roosters if not the happy chatters of the locals heading to the beach for a fitness session. Between 5:30 A.M and  7 A.M. and again at dusk, locals take to the beach to work out before jumping in the sea to cool off.
  • Enjoy popular beach bites and sips: The coast, has some of the most tantalizing snacks and drinks, sample some of these while soaking up the sun.
Cassava crisps:

-Kachiri za muhogo/Cassava crisps: prepared using raw cassava tubers, the inner rind and outer skin are removed and the rest is cut into very thin slices using a vegetable peeler or metal cheese slicer. The chips are then fried or deep fried in coconut oil, salted and often spiced with red chili powder.

-Mnazi/Palm wine: Palm wine is an alcoholic beverage created from the sap of various species of palm tree such as the palmyra , date palms , and coconut palms. It’s also very famous in Mombasa and drank by people of all ages, both men and women.

-Viazi vya karai: They are simply boiled potatoes covered in batter, it’s a snack and can be taken as a starter. It’s sold in almost every corner of of the city

Tamarind juice: made from the tamarind pods tamarind juice is said to have numerous health benefits.

  • Take a glass bottom boat ride: A stay in Mombasa is incomplete without a ride on the glass bottom boats. Get a good view of the marine world without getting your feet wet.
  • Try your hand at local handiwork: Traditional handicraft in kenya includes masaai bead-work, soapstone carving basket weaving etc.. Which you can attempt with complete guidance and support.
  • Eat freshly caught fish (fishing/barbecue): Cook a meal from freshly caught fish in the middle of the ocean or barbecue them on shore .
  • Say habari, not jambo: English is one of the national languages, but the glue that binds us all together is our real national—and regional—language, Kiswahili. Say hello—habari? Respond with mzuri, or mzuri sana—good, very good. Si mbaya—not bad. Or be hip and speak sheng, Nairobi’s street talk: niaje? How is it (going?).Response: Poa – Cool. People say jambo—a form of hello—only to tourists
sunset
  • Master the national staple. Ugali/Sima, a hard porridge made from maize flour, is the national dish. People eat ugali mostly at home; it’s not something you’d order in a restaurant, unless as an accompaniment to nyama choma. But it can’t hurt to learn how to eat it: take a pinch of ugali with your hand, roll it into a ball, squeeze, then dip into your stew or veggies scoop and eat.
  • Drink chai… Tea is a leading foreign-exchange earner for Kenya, and we are one of the largest producers in the world, thanks to the tea culture brought over by the British and the Indians. Drink it black , or with milk.
  • …but do not give chai. Chai, informally, is a bribe.
  • Eat Nyama Choma: It’s the type of meat you can remember for a lifetime, the type of meat that builds memories and creates lasting impressions. Naturally grazed, grass fed, freshly butchered, and supremely roasted. ( ask the locals where’s their favourite Choma joint). Nyama Choma is often paired with a cold Tusker ( most popular beer in kenya) ,side dishes such as ugali /sima and a tomato onion salad .
  • Drink a cold Tusker.  Kenya’s most-loved beer brand, is best served baridi—cold. Burudika. (Enjoy.)

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