Mombasa Holiday – Paradise Redefined
Mombasa holidays are one of Africa’s best kept secrets. Broad white sand stretches more than 50 miles along Kenya’s Indian Ocean coastline. Thick rainforest provides an evocative backdrop, secluding luxury resorts while offering home to vervet and colobus monkeys. Calm cerulean waters lap against the sand and superb safari parks are less than an hour inland.
Of all Africa and all its coastal destinations, Mombasa holidays are our favourite. We think it is paradise redefined, because your money will go a lot further here than elsewhere in the Indian Ocean.
Mombasa has all the ingredients for a perfect beach escape. It is hard to preconceive the shimmering colour of the sand or Indian Ocean waters. Every visitor is amazed by how much beach there is to explore. Uncrowded is an understatement as sometimes you will be making the only footprints on the sand.
Lush green forest provides a serene backdrop and increases the sense of solitude. Other than the monkeys, Mombasa holidays are an opportunity to completely escape the world. They are perfect for couples, families, or anyone interested in a slice of paradise.
But why is Mombasa so quiet? Such a beautiful location does deserve to see more visitors. However, Mombasa suffered from two small terrorist attacks, the last of these being in 2012. These attacks devastated tourism. It’s worth noting that Paris and London have had more attacks, more recently, yet they are still popular destinations. Fortunately for you, tourists have not returned to Mombasa. Hotel occupancy is low, meaning you can get incredible Mombasa holiday prices and deals. Less visitors leads to better service. And you can have the best of Mombasa virtually to yourself.
The tourist infrastructure is fully established, with high-end hotels, good transport, and all you can want from a beach break. Many major hotel chains built resorts before the tourism downturn. We prefer smaller boutique resorts, where you can enjoy African charm and personalised service. All our handpicked resorts are positioned on the beach and you can expect privacy. Mombasa has incredibly long beaches and the resorts are low-rise buildings that are well spaced from each other. And with a thick green forest as a backdrop, your sunbathing and serenity won’t be interrupted.
Another holiday option is to base yourself in Mombasa and visit nearby safari destinations on day or overnight trips. You can safari in some of Africa’s best parks and reserves, with lions and elephants and everything else, then return to the resort.
Mombasa is our recommended choice if your idea of a great holiday is lots of beach time, and personal moments with Africa’s famous animals. With Mombasa it can be safari plus beach, or a beach plus safari holiday, dependent on how you want to use your valuable holiday time. Mombasa holidays also offers history and culture. The old town is a living historical sight and in many ways a smaller version of Zanzibar’s Stone Town.
Let’s quickly return to a very important Mombasa holiday highlight – price. Beach holidays are cheaper here than anywhere else in the Indian Ocean. Your money will stretch further and we help visitors up-scale their accommodation. A four-star resort budget elsewhere means five-star reality in Mombasa. People on a stricter budget can enjoy luxury and still have money leftover for the African safari.
Mombasa Holiday Highlights
- Wander the empty and seemingly endless white sand of Diani Beach.
- Sail around the Indian Ocean on a traditional wooden dhow.
- Spend the morning on safari with elephants, then the afternoon sunbathing around a pool.
- Discover the history of Mombasa old town, including the ruins of Fort Jesus.
- Take a trip up the coast to find deserted white beaches such as Kilifi.
- Safari in Tsavo East and Tsavo West national parks, before lounging around Diani Beach.
- Snorkel and swim in tropical Indian Ocean waters, alongside sea turtles and dolphins.
- Enjoy laid-back days on the beach before flying to East Africa’s ultimate safari destinations.
- Diani Beach is home to the islands most exotic hotels and views of the sunset going down on the oceanic horizon are known to be a nostalgic experience. It also has great Kite Surfing spots and hidden creeks to discover.
- Fort Jesus. This should be on every travellers bucket list as it truly is a sight and experience to remember. These historic ruins will leave the onlooker in awe. The ocean facing Portuguese cannons were said to be effective in defending the coastline.
- Mombasa is well-known in photos for its giant aluminum elephant tusks that span across busy Moi Avenue in the centre of Mombasa. They were built to commemorate the visit of Princess Margaret in 1956, when Kenya was part of the British Empire.
- The famous Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, was the first European to set eyes on Mombasa in 1848.
Where to Stay in and Around Mombasa
The Mombasa region can be divided into three main destinations, each with its own distinctive appeal. All these destinations are within a 60 – 90 minute transfer from Mombasa’s airport.
Diani Beach and the South Coast
Diani Beach is the most popular Mombasa holiday destination. The beach is over 30 miles long and there is an excellent choice of accommodation. Diani was established as Kenya’s main tourist destination but it remains very quiet. With such a long beach you can enjoy lots of privacy. And with so many different resorts we can always find you a Mombasa holiday deal. For a true beach escape, Diani is our recommendation.
Mombasa Old Town and City
Mombasa Old Town is an evocative maze of narrow alleyways dating to the 12th century. It is a good place to visit on a day trip. The more modern side of Mombasa city is also located on the coast. If you seek to combine the beach with lots of entertainment and contemporary city luxuries, we know some good resorts in the north of the city.
North of Mombasa
Beautiful beaches line the Kenyan coast north of Mombasa. There are some resort options in Kilifi along with a couple of private beach resorts less than an hour from Mombasa. Although we usually recommend Diani and the southern coast, you can also consider a two destination Mombasa holiday. We can also advise you on other Kenyan beach destinations as well, such as Malindi and Lamu.
Plan a personalised Mombasa Holiday
We love Mombasa holidays. Sometimes even we are tempted to keep this Kenyan beach destination as secret. It is one of those destinations you will want to return to, one of those special places you never want to change.
Contact us with your holiday preferences and we will let you in on Mombasa’s secrets. We will guide you through different hotel and resort options, as well as all the East Africa safari and beach combinations.
When To Visit Mombasa
Mombasa is a year round destination. We recommend planning your visit around the best times of year for your chosen safari destinations. If you’re not sure then we can guide you through different months and what is best for you.
June to August has the mildest climate, with comfortable temperatures and clear skies. Although these months are peak season Mombasa is never crowded.
September to November are a little warmer. You won’t mind the odd day of cloudy skies as the afternoon sun can be intense.
December and January are the hottest months but a cooling Indian Ocean breeze means they are rarely uncomfortable.
February and March are hot and humid, with balmy evenings along the sand.
April and May are typically avoided as this is rainy season in Kenya. However, the coastal climate is moderate in comparison to Kenya’s safari destinations. The skies probably won’t be blue and you may experience a brief thundery downpour. Cheap off season prices more than compensate for this.
Planning a Safari and Beach Combination Holiday
Talk to us about your preferences and we will help plan a perfect itinerary. For an extended safari we often suggest Tsavo West or Tsavo East, or you can discover famous destinations like the Masai Mara before flying to Mombasa.
Shorter safari programs can visit reserves like Taita Hills Game Sanctuary or Shimba Hills National Reserve. These can either be visited as day trips or overnight excursions.
Sometimes it feels like a Mombasa holiday is always a safari. When monkeys are your only neighbours, there is an exotic atmosphere that can redefine your image of paradise.
But nothing compares with destinations like the Masai Mara, Amboseli or Laikipia Plateau. These are located elsewhere in Kenya but you can fly direct from these destinations to Mombasa, so it is easy to mix East Africa’s best safari with the Indian Ocean’s ultimate beach escape.