New year’s adventure in Mombasa

13 Jan 2018, Posted by Verity Norman in Places, Travel Diary
Mothers and daughters enjoying Bamburi Beach on New Year's Eve, 31 December 2017.

Happy 2018! There’s nothing that helps you feel more like you “belong” in a place than hosting guests! We had such a fun couple of weeks over the holidays with a visit from my mum who came all the way from Cape Town to see us and beautiful Kenya. We managed to cram in a lot while she was here – Mombasa, Nairobi, our home in Machakos, and Lake Naivasha.

We spent four days in Mombasa over New Year’s, and battled the extraordinary traffic on the Mombasa highway to do a road trip none of us will forget in a hurry. The trip was filled with traffic, singing, beaches, and wildlife spotting (we saw zebras, camels, ostrich, monkeys, baboons and some buck). Mum and Nips created a variation on their “Nairobi, Nairobi, Nairobi, cows, mooooooo” song, and during our return trip, in lieu of a functional car radio, we all sang at full blast:

Nips: “Mombasa, Mombasa, Mombasa”

Mum and me: “CAMELS!”

Fungai: “Eexhijnsoooo!!” (camel noise, obviously!)

You hear a lot of things about Mombasa. Many of them true. Some of them exaggerated. Some of them omitted. Here’s a snapshot of our trip:

TRAFFIC:  God-awful!!! (read: too many trucks and buses on a single-lane highway).

BEACHES: Gorgeous, but some (Pirate’s) full of litter.

WATER TEMPERATURE: Divine (I’m from Cape Town where the sea is freezing, so we looooooved the warm Indian Ocean).

SAFETY: Seemed fine, but we didn’t really go out at night and were warned against it.

FOOD: OK, although we struggled to find the affordable, tasty seafood places we’d heard about.

TRANSPORT: tuk-tuks (3-wheeler taxis) and boda-bodas (motorbike taxis) are everywhere and are pretty affordable.

HOUSING: Perfect – we stayed at self-catering Mawimbi Cottage, which was walking distance to the beach.

CLIMATE: Hot and humid. Sweaty hot!!!

NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATIONS: Awesome! Hotels set up in style and lots of fireworks at midnight.

See all our Mombasa recommendations after the pics.

African Drift Mombasa Recommendations:

Mawimbi Cottage – super cute and comfortable self-catering cottage; walking distance from Pirate’s Beach

Bamburi Beach Resort – awesome food; swimming pool; on Bamburi Beach

Meat ‘n Herb Restaurant – decent menu at fair prices; classy decor and vibe; child-friendly

10 Street Restaurant – funky fast food joint in Nyali; really yummy food; affordable

Cafesseria – awesome bakery in Nyali; stopped here for pastries and coffee on our way out. Will be back to sample more of their delicious confectionary

Cafe Mocha – busy, super little cafe inside Nyali Cineplex with affordable, tasty, healthy food


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