Thursday, June 16, 2011
If you are visiting the coastal city of Mombasa, don't fly; more so if you are a first timer. There are lots and loads to beautiful things to behold and do on the way. The Nairobi Mombasa highway is without match when it comes to scenery. Travelers are spoilt for choice of view as the state-of-the-art road snakes through Kambaland, Tsavo national park, Mitito Andei, and Voi (check order) along side the Kenya-Uganda railway. For history lovers, the memories of the man eaters are evoked but soon fade as the imposing minazis and madafus welcome you to the beautiful hot and historical city, Mombasa.
Mombasa is divided into two sections; mainland and island interlinked by ferries and a bridge. Likoni ferry is the gateway to the South coast and Nyali bridge links to northern residential and industrial areas which opt out of town.
It is a distinct city from its upcountry counterparts, in many ways it takes a break from what we've come to get used to in such places like Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret, Kisii and e.t.c. For one the climate is typically coastal; hot and dry with an evening breeze for those close to the sea. i was unlucky to visit during the hottest spell which thing did not make things easier for me.
Another striking thing is the mode of transportation. We are all aware of tuk tuks as a mode of transportation all over Kenya but if there is a place where it is perfected, Mombasa it is, well, and possibly Malindi. Operators of these three wheeled motors know Mombasa city like the palm f their hands and move around like fish in water. This comes in handy for tourists who want to move around with convenience and time saving. A standard fee of 50 bob is charged within town. That's me right there beside the giant tusks; official Mombasa landmark, how else will they know I was in town.
MAMA NGINA DRIVE
Mama Ngina Drive is the place to be in the afternoon/evening. I mean, the serenity and cool breeze is unbelievable. couple this with the view it gives for revelers and idlers to watch out for a ship from high seas - approaching ships take ages to reach the Likoni channel. Meanwhile, there are sorts and lots of things one can do. You could meet someone from Papua New Guinea or Samoa and make friends, in other words there are people from all over the world. But if you not in the mood, well, grab a mdafu and sip away the tasteless juice. there are also roasted and deep fried arrow roots to keep your jaws busy. strangely, coconuts are not that popular, i don't know why. Mama Ngina drive is also popular with commercial sex workers, if you are smart you can always tell them from their dress code and especially peering eyes because they use body language to lure. (Piece of advice) If its your first time in Mombasa then go slow; its hard to tell between descent girls and prostitutes. The drive is also notorious with mermaids (mami wota). these according to the locals are 'majini' jinns who impersonate beautiful women to trap unsuspecting males. there are a million stories to the same but until you fall victim, well, just treat them as mere folklore.
MAJI YA DHUMVI
They say when you get to Mombasa go straight to the sea and 'baptize' yourself into the coastal weather. That the sea water has a healing effect in terms of adapting to the weather. That's why you can see me in the water.
All walk/work and no exercise makes Wycliffe a dull guy, so why not a few rounds of golf. Who is who's of Mombasa live in and around here; as a matter of fact State House is a stone throw away. Am rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty but do I say?
The Nairobi City Council should borrow a leaf from their Mombasa counterparts on keeping gardens pretty.
You cant cover Mombasa in one day. So my out and about brings me to this beautiful garden in the middle of the city, I can finally rest my weary bones and perhaps take a quick nap.
TWO FISHES HOTEL
On my way to one of the beach hotels at the South Coast - Ukunda. You probably don't know the meaning of holidaying if you have not been here. However, be warned that it takes money to be here, which is why these places are almost exclusive for wazungu from Ulaya and Marekani. But if you feel you cut in there in monetary terms, waste no time. everything is superb, security beefed up... but well, of course morality is in the dogs.
If I'm allowed to make editions to some age old similes I'd say 'as busy as a ferry'. Do those things ever stop?
JOMO KENYATTA PUBLIC BEACH
Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach is for all and sundry, an ideal place for going out with someone special. Remember to pack swimming pants and other paraphernalia. Remember also to come with an extra person to carry phones and other valuables.
Camels and water are not the best of companions. So you may be wondering what they are doing there, wonder no more. The owners are minting some good money out of them.