Mama Ngina Waterfront Park
Mama Ngina Waterfront Park is a 26-acre public park that overlooks the picturesque Kilindini Channel in Mombasa County. The park offers visitors a scenic and cultural experience that requires no prior planning or arrangement. It was created with the public in mind, and its regeneration cost a total of Sh460 million.
The park’s waterfront now features a palm tree-lined walkway that stretches from the Likoni Ferry Crossing in the south to the Mombasa Golf Club in the north. This walkway provides a serene setting for visitors to take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the refreshing sea breeze and stunning ocean views. The entry and exit points of the park are now marked by huge monumental gates, adding to the park’s overall beauty and grandeur.
The park’s recreational facilities include a natural amphitheatre, a cultural center, a 2.1-kilometer-long promenade, and a space for food vendors. Visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the Indian Ocean and take serene walks or runs along the palm-lined pedestrian pathways, which are perfect for exercising.
Ideal Destination for Group, Family, or Individual Outings
Mama Ngina Waterfront Park is an ideal destination for group, family, or individual outings. Visitors can also hold events in the park, such as picnics, concerts, and festivals. The park has hosted several events, including the Mombasa International Cultural Festival and the Mombasa Food Festival, which attract both local and international visitors.
Historical and Cultural Significance
The National Museums of Kenya gazetted the park in 2005 to preserve its archaeological and heritage sites. The park holds a rich history of Mombasa town dating back to the 15th Century. Underneath the park, visitors can find ancient archaeological remnants that tell the story of the development of the port city of Mombasa. The park also features underground tunnels and caves, which were used by Arabs during the slave trade period. These spaces were used as holding grounds before the slaves were sold off abroad. After the Portuguese invasion, the tunnels and caves were used as underground bunkers used by the Portuguese to launch attacks on the Arabs and natives.
The Pigeon Towers
There are two pigeon towers situated at opposite ends of Mama Ngina Waterfront Park in Mombasa. One is located near the Mombasa Golf Club at the northern end, while the other is across the cultural center, near the natural amphitheater. These pigeon towers hold great historical and cultural significance for Mombasa, representing the traditional Swahili architecture and the heritage of the city’s original settlers.
In the past, these towers served a practical purpose for the locals. They were used to collect pigeon droppings, which were valuable as a natural fertilizer for crops. However, in modern times, these towers have become a prominent attraction for tourists visiting the Kilindini Waterfront.
Tourists can appreciate the intricately designed structures of the pigeon towers and learn about their cultural and historical importance from local tour guides. The towers offer a picturesque backdrop for photographs, especially during sunset when the golden light casts a beautiful glow on the towers and their surroundings.
Mama Ngina Waterfront Park in Mombasa is renowned for its diverse and delicious culinary offerings. One of the most famous delicacies you can find there is kachiri, which consists of deep-fried cassava crisps sprinkled with hot masala chili powder and a hint of lemon juice.
In addition to kachiri, visitors can indulge in a variety of other fried delights such as different types of fried potatoes, pastries, sweet and savoury snacks, as well as chicken and fish dishes. Another popular snack to try is Mkate wa mayai, a pan-fried treat filled with minced meat, onion rings, and eggs. The selection of food available at the waterfront is extensive, catering to different tastes and preferences.
To quench your thirst, you can enjoy fresh coconut water, locally known as madafu, which is available throughout the year. It’s a refreshing and healthy beverage option that complements the flavors of the local cuisine.
For those seeking a more formal dining experience, the Galaxy Chinese Restaurant located on the northern edge of the waterfront offers a range of delectable Chinese dishes. It provides an opportunity to savour the flavours of Chinese cuisine while enjoying the picturesque surroundings of the waterfront.
Events and Festivals
Mama Ngina Waterfront Park is a popular venue for events and festivals. The park has hosted several events, including the Mombasa International Cultural Festival and the Mombasa Food Festival, which attract both local and international visitors. These events showcase the region’s diverse culture, food, and traditions and are a great way to experience the park’s vibrant atmosphere.
How to Get There
Mama Ngina Waterfront Park is conveniently located right outside the ferry stop, making it easily accessible for visitors. If you prefer to use public transportation, there are a few options available to you.
One option is to take a matatu, which is a shared minibus commonly used for transportation in Kenya. You can catch a matatu from the Huduma Centre, and the fare for the ride to the park is typically around 20 shillings.
Another option is to take a tuk-tuk, which is a three-wheeled motorized rickshaw. Tuk-tuks are a popular mode of transport in Mombasa. The fare for a tuk-tuk ride to the park ranges from 20 to 50 shillings.
Walking from Huduma Center to Mama Ngina Waterfront Park is a convenient option for those who enjoy exploring on foot. Covering a distance of approximately 2.5 kilometers, the walk takes around 15-20 minutes, depending on personal fitness and walking speed. This leisurely stroll allows visitors to soak in the surrounding atmosphere and take in the sights along the way.
Do’s and Don’ts
To fully enjoy your time at the park, there are certain things you should and should not do. Here are some Dos and Don’ts to keep in mind when visiting Mama Ngina Waterfront Park:
- Take a walk along the park’s well-paved pedestrian pathways and enjoy the beautiful views of the sea.
- Visit the cultural center and learn about the rich history of Mombasa.
- Take part in events that are held in the park, such as concerts, festivals, and cultural performances.
- Try the local food sold by vendors at the park, such as coconut and cassava.
- Respect the park’s rules and regulations, such as not going beyond the guardrails along the seafront and not littering.
- Climb or sit on the guardrails along the seafront, as they are not meant for such purposes and can be dangerous.
- Enter areas that are marked as restricted or under construction, as they may pose safety risks.
- Disturb the wildlife that may be present at the park, such as birds and sea creatures.
- Engage in any illegal activities while at the park, such as drug use or vandalism.
What to Bring
To ensure a comfortable and enjoyable visit, visitors are advised to bring the following:
- Sunscreen: The park has a sun-drenched promenade and open spaces that can be quite hot during the day. Visitors should bring sunscreen to protect their skin from harmful UV rays.
- Hat/Cap: A hat or cap can also provide shade and protection from the sun. A wide-brimmed hat or cap can be especially useful for those who plan to spend a lot of time outside.
- Comfortable shoes: The park has a 2.1km long promenade that is perfect for walking and jogging. Visitors should wear comfortable shoes to avoid blisters or discomfort.
- Water: It is essential to stay hydrated while at the park, especially during hot weather. Visitors should bring enough water to last them for the duration of their visit.
- Snacks: While the park has food vendors that sell local delicacies, visitors may also want to bring their snacks, especially if they have specific dietary requirements.
- Camera: The park has many beautiful views and historical sites that visitors may want to capture with a camera or phone.