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Attractions in Mombasa

Friends go karting in Kenya

Mombasa Go-Kart

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Located just 15 km from Mombasa’s city center, Go-Kart Mombasa is a popular family-friendly attraction and a must-visit destination for speed kings and queens. First opened in 2004 under the management of its Swiss owner, this facility has been providing a thrilling grand-Prix experience for all its visitors. Whether you’re a family looking for a fun-filled bonding time, or a group of friends looking for an exciting day out, Go-Kart Mombasa is the place to be.

Kart racing at Mombasa Go-Kart

Go kart in mombasa
Go- kart Mombasa

The 500m track at Go-Kart Mombasa is designed for speed lovers, with several rights or left sweeping curves and straights for the speeding petrol heads to test their skills. The 200cc karts can reach a maximum speed of 75km per hour, and there are three categories to choose from, with varying levels of difficulty. The karts are well-built and maintained to international standards, and safety helmets are available for each competitor. All lap times are recorded, and regular updates are announced, creating an authentic racing environment. There are two main viewing decks, one from the restaurant and a lower level one beneath the restaurant under the trees where the spectators can cheer their favorite drivers or get a photo of their loved ones in action. The Go-karting Mombasa prices vary according to the number of tracks, with all drivers getting a total of 10 laps on all levels. Minimum age and height restrictions apply, with the speed for younger or shorter kids lowered to 10km per hour.

Paintballing at Mombasa Go-Kart

Go-Kart Mombasa offers various paintballing games to keep the opponents involved and enhance competitiveness. The most popular one is ‘the capture flag’, which involves two teams trying to capture a flag provided by the facility and trying to elect it in the opponent’s base without being shot. The paintballing experience is a great way to bond with friends and family while having a thrilling experience.

Dining at Mombasa Go-kart

The Plane Lounge Café

Experience dining in a piece of history at the Plane Lounge: the newest addition to Go-Kart Mombasa’s list of facilities. Built from a DC3;ZK-BBJ airplane, that was once used in World War II. The plane lounge cafe was renovated and repurposed it into a unique restaurant. Not only can you dine in style, but you can also spend the night in one of our six guest rooms. Prices start at just 500 per person to enjoy the ambiance or host your party for 20,000.

The main restaurant

There’s also a full restaurant and a bar that offers a variety of Kenyan dishes and a few hand-picked Swiss specialties including cheese fondue and raclette.

Other activities to be enjoyed at Mombasa Go-Kart

Other activities to be enjoyed at the facility include Archery Tag, Rodeo Bull Ride, Hi-Strike, VR-Rollercoaster, 9-Pin Bowling.

Animals at Mombasa Go-Kart

Go-Kart Mombasa is also home to several animals, including a llama, 2 donkeys, fish, and goats among others, making it a perfect destination for animal lovers as well.

Other Info

Opening Hours: 10:00-01:00
Location: behind the Shanzu Petrocity Petro Station.
How to get there: Take the Mtwapa matatus from the Mombasa CBD, the fare is normally 70sh during the day. The fare might hike during the rush hours.

Website: Mombasa Go-Kart (mombasa-gokart.com)
Contacts: 0721485247

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Jumba La Mtwana

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The full name Jumba la Mtwana is a Swahili word that means “the large house of the slave”. Jumba la Mtwana ( also known as Jumba ruins) is located in Mtwapa, Kilifi County.

Within this area four mosques, a tomb and four houses have survived in recognizable condition. These houses include the House of the Cylinder, The House of the Kitchen, The House of the Many Pools, which had three phases, and the Great Mosque. The inhabitants of this town were mainly Muslims as evidence by a number of ruined mosques.


There are no written historical records of the town but ceramic evidence showed that the town had been built in the fourteenth century but abandoned early in the fifteenth century. The dating is based on the presence of a few shreds of early blue and white porcelain with lung-chuan celadon, and the absence of any later Chinese wares.

It is most likely the site’s strategic position was selected because of the presence of fresh water, exposure to the North East and South East breezes which would keep the people cool and its safe location from external attacks by sea since it had no harbour, thus larger vessels had to anchor along way offshore, or move probably in Mtwapa creek. One can only therefore guess reasons for its eventual desertion, namely trade interruption, hostile invasion or a failure in water supply. Though there is need to pursue further research on this.

Clearance and excavation of the ruins were first carried out in 1972 by James Kirkman with a view of dating the buildings, its period of occupation and consolidating buildings which were in danger of collapse. Ten years later in 1982, Jumba la Mtwana was gazetted as a National Monument. Thus Jumba is legally protected under Antiquities and Monuments Act Chapter 215 of the Laws of Kenya.

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Fort Jesus

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The Portuguese built Fort Jesus in 1593. The site chosen was a coral ridge at the entrance to the harbor. Fort Jesus was designed by an Italian Architect and Engineer, Joao, Batista Cairato. The earliest known plan of the Fort is in a manuscript Atlas by Manuel Godinho de Heredia – dated 1610 which shows the original layout of the buildings inside the Fort.

Fort Jesus was built to secure the safety of Portuguese living on the East Coast of Africa. It has had a long history of hostilities of the interested parties that used to live in Mombasa. Perhaps no Fort in Africa has experienced such turbulence as Fort Jesus. Omani Arabs attacked the Fort from 1696 to 1698. The state of the Fort can be understood from the plan of Rezende of 1636 and other plans by Don Alvaro? Marquis of Cienfuegas and Jose? Lopes de Sa – made during the brief reoccupation by the Portuguese in 1728 – 1729. In the Cienfuegas plan, the names of the bastions are changed.

Between 1837 and 1895, the Fort was used as barracks for the soldiers. When the British protectorate was proclaimed on the 1st of July 1895, the Fort was converted into a prison. The huts were removed and cells were built. On the 24th October 1958, Fort Jesus was declared a National Park in the custody of the Trustees of the Kenya National Parks. Excavation was carried out and the Fort became a Museum in 1962. The Fort is now an important historical landmark in the East African region.

The Fort Jesus museum was built with a grant from the Gulbenkian Foundation. The exhibits consist of finds from archaeological excavations at Fort Jesus, Gede, Manda, Ungwana and other sites. Other objects on display were donated by individuals notably Mrs. J.C. White, Mr. C.E. Whitton and Mrs. W.S. Marchant. The Fort has lived through the years of hostilities and a hush climate and is structurally well maintained.

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snorkelling in kenya

Established in 1986, the Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve were created separately for different reasons. The marine park was developed in order to prevent the stripping of coral and extraction of fish, and to support local hoteliers from losing income from potential visitor decrease due to the negative impacts on the coral reef ecosystem . However, the marine reserve was developed in order to protect the coral reef, marine life that has been impacted from over-fishing, and trophy collecting . Although the marine park and the reserve were established in 1986, it was not until 1994 that the area became under full protected due to night patrol that reduced the amount of poaching in 1992.
The Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve is managed by Kenya Wildlife Service and the Fisheries Department.

Mombasa Marine National Park
Mombasa Marine National Park

Getting There

The park lies between the Mtwapa and Tudor Creeks and its blue waters are ideal for wind surfing, water skiing, snorkelling and diving. They also provide a home to a colourful variety of marine species including crabs, starfish, stone fish, cucumbers sea urchins, corals, turtles, sea grasses and interesting migratory birds including crab plovers.
The park can be reached by road from Mombasa city centre, and then connected by boat from the various points along the beach which include: Serena Gate on beach of Serena Hotel, Severin Gate on beach of Severin Hotel, Travellers Gate on beach of Travellers Hotel, Nyali Gate at Mombasa Marine Park Headquarters and Voyager Gate at Voyager water sport Area

Quick Facts About The Mombasa Marine National Park

Mombasa Marine National Park
Mombasa marine national park

Size: Mombasa Marine National Park is 10 km2 while the National Reserve is 200 km2

Climate: Hot and humid.
Surface water temperature: 25˚C to 31˚C

Floral and Fauna

The fringing reef that is found in the national park and reserve, extends the entire length of the low areas, where three types of coral have been found: Acropora, Turbinaria, and Porites
In this area, there are seven different types of seagrass: Thalassia hemprichii, Thalassodendron ciliatum, Halophila stipulacea, H. ovalis, Halodule uninervis, Cymodocea rotundata, and Syringodium isoetifolium.
Marine life: Crabs, corals, sea urchins, jellyfish, sea stars, Sea Turtles (Leatherback, Green, Hawksbill, Loggerhead, and Ridley),Dolphins (Spinner, Humpback, and Bottle-nosed),sea cucumbers, Bluefin Kingfish, Blue and Green Parrotfish, Striped Zebra fish, Butterfly fish, and the Leopard Moray) among others.
Birds: There are many seabirds in large nesting colonies and internationally significant numbers of crab plover and roseate tern.

Activities that can be enjoyed in Mombasa Marine National Park & Reserve

Diving, sunbathing, snorkelling, windsurfing, water skiing.

Mombasa Marine National Park
  • What to take with you
  • Footwear, e.g. sandals or flip flops (to protect your feet from the reef)
  • T-shirts (to protect your body from sunburn)
  • Snorkel, mask, fins, all of which are available for hire
  • Camera, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent
  • Friends
  • Plenty of drinking water

Best time to visit.

The best time to visit the marine national park depends on the activities, budget and the interest of each tourist. From June to December is perfect for observing Humpback whales as they migrate. For anglers’ enthusiasts, the period from August to October is excellent. For scuba divers and snorkelers, from October to March is the best time to enjoy marine life.
For those traveling on budget or seeking a quiet time the low seasons will be more preferable.

Visit Mombasa Marine National Park Responsibly

  • Check local weather and sea conditions before entering the reserve.
    Some marine life is dangerous; do not touch anything under water.
  • Do not damage or remove the coral, it’s a living organism which takes many years to form, and is host to many rare and endangered species.
  • Do not remove shells, star fish or any other sea Flora or Fauna. Not only is it illegal, but it seriously disrupts the eco system. The areas outside the park and reserves are threatened by excessive shell collection. Empty shell provides home for hermit crabs and some fish.
  • Do not buy shells and other marine animals products as souvenirs as this encourage further plundering of reefs
  • Never dispose of litter on the beach or in the sea. It is illegal and environmentally unfriendly. Marine turtles can confuse clear plastics waste with jelly fish and they die if they eat it.
  • Hand feeding fish is discouraged. It disrupts normal feeding pattern.
  • Hook and line fishing is allowed in marine reserves but prohibited.
  • Support traditional coastal livelihoods and industries, and do not give money to children on the beach, as this can encourage them to stay away from school.
  • Respect the cultural heritage of Kenya, never take pictures of the local people in their habitat without asking for their permission, respect the cultural traditions of Kenya and always dress decently.
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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
  • 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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