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The Kenyan coast is lined with pristine white sand beaches fringing the warm inviting waters of the Indian Ocean. Here the wilderness meets the sea, and the ocean itself holds a world of spectacular coral reefs teeming with life and colour.
The coast is a place with a long and exotic history, its calm blue waters the traditional passage of the Arabian Spice Trade.
Mombasa undoubtedly has one of the best white sandy beaches and coral reefs that Africa has to offer. Coupled with an array of hotels on the beachfront situated along the North and South coasts of the town, it characterizes Mombasa as the ideal place for a vacation. This is why Mombasa is a major tourist destination, and the tourism industry the number one earner of foreign exchange in the country.
Apart from the beautiful beaches, another unique aspect of this wonderful town is its rich history. The “Old Town” is reminiscent of the days when the Portuguese used to rule Mombasa, and you can experience the history even today in the structures that still stand, such as the Fort Jesus. The town is heavily influenced by Arabic culture, and is more observable here than in other parts of the town.
“Old Town” is the part of Mombasa that is reminiscent of the days when the Arabs exerted a heavy influence on the town and its culture, and especially in the architecture and language (Kiswahili has a lot of phrases derived from various Arabic dialects). It is well known for its ancient buildings, extravagant art designs and curio shops that sell antique and popular Kenyan souvenirs. Old Town is best seen when explored by foot with an experienced guide, as the streets are too narrow to accommodate a large number of vehicles. The town’s inhabitants are mostly of Arab origin who’s forefathers once roamed the same streets of the town. Fort Jesus is located just a few steps away from where the town "starts", thus a complete tour of the fort and the “Old Town” can be done in a single day.
Fort Jesus is Mombasa’s most popular tourist attraction. The fort, located along the coastline near the Old Town, is a monumental piece of architecture that was built in the 16th century by the Portuguese. The fort has a museum that displays various artifacts from the era where Mombasa served as a transit point for the slave trade and commodities, and which enjoyed regular visits by seafarers and the like. Its interior comprises of torture rooms and prison cells where slaves were kept in captivity before being traded. Weapons such as canons, which were used to defend the fort from invading foreigners as well as rioting locals, can be seen both inside and outside of the fort. The fort opens its gates for viewing in the morning and closes at dusk.
The Mombasa "Tusks" are symbolic representations of entrance into the heart of the town. The tusks were built to commemorate the visit of Queen Elizabeth to the town in 1952, as they lay directly on the path from the port to the town. Ivory was considered to be an exquisite commodity during the time, and in essence the tusks were meant to embrace the Queen and the British Empire into the town and within its social structure. Coincidentally the tusks also spell the letter "M" for Mombasa.
Bamburi Nature Trail
The Bamburi Nature Trail Bombolulu Workshops
The Bobmbolulu workshops are located along the north coast of Mombasa. Founded in 1969, Bombolulu Workshops is a Project of the Association for the Physically Disabled in Kenya (APDK). It is a major Tourist attraction which consists of a Cultural Centre with 8 traditional homesteads. The Centre also runs a traditional Restaurant and entertains guests with traditional dances throughout the day. The Centre is run by the "Association for the physically disabled" and employs 150-disabled craftsmen/women who produce jewellery, handprinted textiles, wood carvings and leather crafts. The products are sold in a large showroom and exported to 20 countries. Bombolulu Workshops have grown to be one of the biggest rehabilitation centres in Kenya and has built a reputation as one of Kenyans most reliable exporters.
Bamburu Nature Trail is the largest animal sanctuary in Mombasa. Located in Bamburi next to the Cement Factory, the Nature Trail boasts an enormous variety of animals, reptiles, insects and botanical gardens. Walking along the trail is the ideal way to look at the various animals, and on many occasions holding or feeding a reptile such as a snake is allowed under close supervision of a guide. Educational videos are also shown, with emphasis on the the history and continuous improvement of the trail. It was previously a barren piece of land that had been stripped of its resources through limestone mining, and was redeveloped through reforestation and conservation efforts, and is now a habitat for a large number of flora and fauna species.
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