Mombasa…Old Town, New Town

Our last full day at Diani Beach and we all separately decided to visit Mombasa. Some chose half a day, some chose the full day option. Even though I was excited a full day would have been more than I could bear. The little kid in me was like “Are we there yet?, how much longer are we going to be here”? I shared a vehicle with Dessie & Kellea. 18 miles seemed like forever to get to the ferry. Even though the ferry ride is only 7 minutes, the wait to get on can be an hour. Vehicles drive on and pay, pedestrians (looked like hundreds walked on and they do not pay). Lord today, it was hot sitting in the vehicle. Once on the other side in Likoni I was ready for the experience or so I thought. Lots of traffic, hustle & bustle, Mombasa is Kenya’s 2nd largest city after the capital of Nairobi. We make our way to Mama Ngina Drive, named after the former First Lady; widow of the country’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta. This drive is about a mile long with the first part packed with stalls on the left and right all selling the same things. So we get to old town, ok. Show me new town, ok well it looks just like old town. I want to see the beautiful new hotels, etc. We go to Fort Jesus, built in 1593 by the Portuguese to protect the port of Mombasa. No thank you, I do not need to get out. We hit a few more corners, passing school children at play and Kenyans conducting their business. Before heading to the giant tusks which were built in 1952 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s visit, we made our way to the craft market and actually ran into the major shoppers in the group. Not my thing but my driver led me to a souvenir shop that had wifi and Boney Johnson, an 80 something Swedish gent who has been living in Mombasa for 7 years. He could tell you all about Muhammad Ali, Grace Manor & Elvis, any of the Olympics, states in the United States and his experience on the longest train route in the world; Trans-Siberian Express from Moscow to Vladivostok. It takes 6 days and passes through several time zones. That my friend was the highlight of my day. Perhaps my expectations of Mombasa were too high. I don’t know but been there, done that, don’t have to do it again.
I loved Nairobi, the Masai Mara and will do it again and possibly add a return to Zanzibar in mid July 2024, hoping to see the beginning of the annual migration.

One thought on “Mombasa…Old Town, New Town

  1. So happy to hear you are planning to go back! I have already sent you my email expressing my interest. As always, I have enjoyed reading the posts.

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