Hidden Gems: Mombasa – With its stunning tropical beaches, rich multicultural history, and buzzing atmosphere, Mombasa is the latest addition our Hidden Gems destination list.
Bordering the Indian Ocean, Mombasa is a melting pot of culture and diversity absolutely bursting with life. A cosmopolitan hub combining exotic culture and vibrant modernity, the heart of this city can be found in the old town with its narrow bustling streets and fascinating architecture. Its maritime tradition can be found at Kenya’s only large seaport, the Kilindini Harbor, while chilled vibes reverberate from its numerous, white-sanded beaches. Mombasa’s strategic location has resulted in a rich, multi-cultural heritage. Arabic influence is still present since the town was the center of the Arab trade in ivory and slaves from the 8th to the 16th century. Mombasa was also Portugal’s main trading center of spices, cotton and coffee for a time, as well as the first capital of British East Africa. Today, Mombasa is a popular tourist destination showcasing modern design and creativity, easy-going beach life, and stunning nature.
‘Mombasa Raha‘ ís a famous Kenyan phrase meaning joy and happiness, expressing the exciting, fun, and chilled lifestyle of Mombasa.
Mombasa is a coastal city on the Indian Ocean in the southern part of Kenya, 485 km from the capital, Nairobi.
Mombasa has a population of 1.4 million people famed for their easy-going attitude and fun-loving nature.
Mombasa has a tropical wet and dry climate, making it hot and humid. August is the coldest month of the year with temperatures between 22°C (71°F) and 27°C (81°F). March is the hottest month with average temperatures of 27.5°C (82°F) and the coldest is June at 23.5°C (74°F). April and May are wet months, while rainfall is minimal between January and February.
Mombasa is hugely popular destination for both Kenyan and international tourists. It is generally safe to visit if you take the necessary precautions. As with any popular tourist destination, petty crimes like pickpocketing and purse-snatching can occur if you do not pay attention to your surroundings.
Best time to visit Mombasa
Although Mombasa can be visited all year round, ideal climate conditions and less visitors make June to August the best months to go.
What makes Mombasa unique
From chilled beach-life to historical and cultural sites, teaming nightlife and urbanity to wildlife safaris, Mombasa has it all!
What to do in Mombasa
- Fort Jesus
- Old Town
- Shimba Hills National Reserve
- Tsavo East National Park
- Jumba la Mtwana
- Nguuni Nature Sanctuary
- Mombasa Marine National Park
- Diani Beach
Flying private to Mombasa
Chartering a jet to visit Mombasa will ensure you enjoy premium safety, privacy, and luxury. It will also allow you the flexibility of customizing your trip to incorporate other tourist experiences in the region.
Moi International Airport (HKMO/MBA)
The second largest airport in Kenya, HKMO is Kenya’s main tourist gateway and hosts tens of charter flights from Europe and around Africa every day.
- Landing permit is required, PPR is not required
- Lead time for permit approval is 72 hours
- GSE for all aircraft is available including the AN224, B747-800, A350 and all smaller aircraft
- Parking is available at HKMO
- There is no FBO, however there is a VIP Lounge run by NAS Servair
- HKMO also has a separate General Aviation terminal mainly for small domestic flights
- Operators should note that there is often congestion at the check-in and boarding areas especially between 0100 and 0800LT as this is when most tourist charter flights depart
Ukunda Airport (HKUK/UKA)
Ukunda is a small airport next to the famous Diani Beach. It is a domestic airport and is not a port of entry or exit. It mainly serves as a gateway to Kenya’s south coast with several international beach hotels strewn along the Tiwi, Diani and Msambweni coastline. The airport can only accommodate small aircraft up to the size of a Dash-8.
- A landing permit will be required for an international operator, but they must land at HKMO or another airport of entry first
- Due to the limitation of the size of aircraft that can land, most international operators land and park at HKMO
- PPR is not required at Ukunda
- The lead time for permit approval is 72 hours
- GSE equipment only for handling small aircraft up to a Dash-8
- Parking is very limited at Ukunda so please check with the authorities first
- There is no FBO or VIP lounge
- Limitation in space is the biggest problem at Ukunda, private flights cannot park for long
Mackinnon Road and Bamburi are small domestic airstrips that only serve the small communities around them. Mackinnon Road Airport is used by tourists to access Tsavo East National Park.
Mombasa Airport has direct passenger flights to and from 22 destinations in 12 countries.
A major hub for international flights, Nairobi is an 8-hour drive, 5–6-hour train journey, or a 45-minute internal flight from Mombasa.
- All but 43 nationalities require an electronic visa to enter Kenya for travel, business or transit purposes
- The process takes about 10 minutes and costs 50 USD
- Click here to apply for a Kenyan e-visa
- The 43 exempted nationalities are listed here
There are no PCR results or vaccination documents required to enter Kenya.
- As is any popular tourist destination, be aware of pickpockets in crowded areas
- Avoid wearing expensive or flashy jewelry that attracts attention
- Travel or stay with a group when possible
- Employ the services of a local guide and driver
- Don’t drink the tap water or even brush your teeth with it
- Sightseers should expect to do a lot of walking around Mombasa, so it’s best to opt for comfortable trainers over sandals or flip flops
- Being at sea level, Mombasa can be warm and humid even during the rainy season so make sure to pack light clothes
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