Mombasa is the second largest city in Kenya.


Mombasa Kenya

Mombasa is the second largest city in Kenya, lying on the Indian Ocean. It has a major port and an international airport. The city is the centre of the coastal tourism industry. The original Arabic name is Manbasa; in Swahili it is called Kisiwa Cha Mvita (or Mvita for short), which means "Island of War", due to the many changes in its ownership. The town is also the headquarters of Mombasa District which, like most other districts in Kenya, is named after its chief town.


Mombasa itself is an island separated by two creeks from the mainland; Tudor creek and Kilindini Harbor. It is connected by ferries and bridges to the mainland.

Mombasa has a large commercial harbor. Mombasa is named after the Arabic word "nabas" meaning to speak in public and reflects Mombasa's original role as a trading and meeting centre. It is connected by ferries and bridges to the mainland. Mombasa has a large commercial harbor.

Nyali Bridge connects it to the north, likoni ferry to the south and makupa causeway to the west, Ugandan railway runs alongside it. Mombassa port serves both Kenya and other landlocked countries linking them with the ocean.

Mombasa town is mainly occupied by the Muslim Mijikenda/Swahili people. Over the centuries there have been many immigrants and traders who settled in Mombasa, particularly from Persia, Middle East, Somalia and Indian sub-continent who came mainly as traders and skilled craftsmen and even after four or five generations, their descendants continue to contribute highly to the economy of present day Mombasa and Kenya as a whole. Recent immigrants are peoples from the interior of Kenya brought to the area by employment opportunities in the tourist industry.


There are several places to visit in Mombasa, including Fort Jesus, built by the Portuguese, and the Old Town, which is by now in bad need of repair but still shows plenty of examples of the old Islamic architecture.

Biashara Street in Mombasa which in Swahili means “Trade Street” is also an old part of the city where the Indian and Arab merchants set up shops and one can now find kangas and vikoys being sold in these small authentic shops. The famous "Light House" is a must to enjoy the native cassava crisps and coconut water during sunset.

Other places of interest in Mombassa include Haller Park, marine park dhow harbor and Kenya marine land

Mombasa is a major trade centre and home to Kenya's only large seaport, the Kilindini Harbor. "Kilindini" is an old Swahili term that means "deep". The port is so called because the channel is naturally very deep. Kilindini Harbor is an example of a natural geographic phenomenon called a RIA, formed millions of years ago when the sea level rose and engulfed a river that was flowing from the mainland.

Mombasa is the centre of coastal tourism in Kenya. Mombasa Island itself is not a main attraction, although many people visit Old Town and Fort Jesus. North of Mombasa is Islands Nyali, Kenyatta, Bamburi and Shanzu beaches. South of the town there are Shelly, Tiwi and Diani beaches. Several luxury hotels exist on these beaches, while most of cheaper beach hotels are located farther away from the town. Other local industries include an oil refinery and the Bamburi Cement factory.

Mombasa is reached easily by train, bus or air from Nairobi. Mombasa International Airports has a number of direct international flights. Bus and matatu transport to the North and South coast beaches is easy to arrange.

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