Visit Mombasa & Swahili Coast
The Swahili coast of Kenya comprises of an amazing blend of culture, mesmerizing history and the boundless sandy beaches decorated with natural Indian Ocean coral reefs. Mombasa and the Swahili cost are a holiday dreamland for many visitors worldwide.
Explore the Resort and Hotels at the coast of Kenya.
The coast of Kenya is famous for its stunning white sandy beaches, serene and isolated inlets, scuba diving, fishing and snorkeling. You can see brightly colored fish such as dolphins and Sea turtles on the coral reefs, the key attractions to visitors are the warm waters of the Indian ocean and the tropical climate. The Old town of Mombasa in very interesting and has fascinating heritage. It is the main center of the coast however there are smaller towns of cultural interest along the coast. The coast stretches between Tanzania and Somalia, nearly 600km.
The old City of Mombasa Port.
Mombasa is Kenya`s second largest city after Nairobi the capital. Mombasa city is located on Mombasa island. The port boasts for strategic importance as it is the major port in the whole of East Africa. The historic Mombasa island has faced many changes in its leadership and this is what the Swahili people call “Kisiwa Cha Myita” meaning “Island of War”.
Historically, Mombasa was a mixed city with African Bantu, Arabs, Persians, Portuguese and British. Each of these people lived behind their cultural remnants. This has eventually been developed into the current Swahili culture.
Mombasa is for long been famous as a remarkable trading center for Iron, copper, rhinoceros horns, brass, and glass. The initial inhabitants of the area were the African Bantu, in the 6th century, they hosted the Jordans, Persians in 9th and 10th century and finally the Arabs. These visits sparked off the development of trade routes which were later developed by the Arabs and Persians to create commercial centers that had to grow and become prosperous as evidenced by the splendid architecture of their traditional and magnificent houses and mosques that are found in Lamu, Malindi and Mombasa.
Over the past centuries, the Island city of Mombasa has had many foreign invaders all claiming authority of the city including the Portuguese, the Zimba tribe form Ethiopia, and the Omanis. The island city continued to develop and by 15th century, it had become a flourishing and sophisticated city with routes with India, Persia and China. In 1498, Vasco Da Gama a Portuguese Christian arrived to spread Christianity as well as to develop trading of Portugal by finding trade routes to India. Vasco Da Gama`s arrival was warm welcomed by the hospitable local people. He however made strong ally with the Sheikh of Malindi-Bauri who was not at good terms with Mombasa. The Sheikh was courted and made a Sultan by the Portuguese and the intention was to empower him to persuade the local communities to follow his orders which he would get from the Portuguese.
The Portuguese made Mombasa their Main trading center along the East African coast and they even built the Fort Jesus from 1593 and 1596. The Fort Jesus became a main hub for trade and a holding center for the slaves and a protection center for the Portuguese from the conflicts with the Arabs and the locals. The main trading activity by then was slave trade where the local people were exchanged with goods from the visiting European ships. There was also trading of spices, tea, cotton and coffee that were grown on the fertile soils of the neighboring plantations and that time, Mombasa became the best place for the seafarers. Some of the local people that were captured
Arabs and the local people fought hard to regain the authority of Mombasa but all in vain as the Portuguese were supported by their Indian colony, Goa and they had to hung onto it for around 100 years. The Portuguese were first defeated after the siege of Fort Jesus in March 1696. They never accepted and they had to command soldiers from India and Portugal who relieved the for t in 1697. They however failed and they were un able to break the siege. The walls of the fort were scaled by the Omani army in 1698 as a sign of triumph.
Because of fights, rivalry and intrigues between the Omanis who had then become rulers, Mombasa came into decline and fell under the leadership of Mazuris whom Omani Leader Bey Saidu Sultan Sayyid Said overthrow in 1822.
The Mazuris never gave up and they wanted to return to power. They then connived with the British and called upon them for assistance to make Mombasa a British protectorate. The Captain of the British naval vessel HMS Leven, captain Owen agreed to place Mombasa under the British protectorate, but without permission from Westminster. At the time, Oman and Britain were strong allies and they had to withdraw the protection of Mazuris against the Omanis.
Mombasa again developed under the rule of the Sultan and mainly through slave trade. The British however, they were much determined to stop slave trade and inserted a lot of pressure on the ruling sultan to stop this kind of business, and in 1845, the sultan had to sign a treaty concerning this.
In 1886, the British and Germans signed a treaty which was to enable them share leadership among east African countries and according to this treaty, the British had to take over Kenya and Uganda while the Germans took over Tanganyika -the current Tanzania. They British colonial organization Imperial East African Company (IBEACO) established its headquarters in Mombasa in 1888 and the aim with to strengthen colonialization in Kenya. This was ensured until 1963 when Kenya got independence.
For the British colonial government to improve their dominancy and administration, they saw an opportunity to build the Kenya-Uganda Railway and this started in 1895-1902. The port of Mombasa also needed expansion because of increase in the activities. The Mombasa port was then relocated to Kilindini Harbor, west of Mombasa Island. The first Jetty was then built at Kalindini in 1896 to discharge materials in the building process on the railway network.
South of Mombasa
Diani Beach – dubbed the sun-worshipper’s paradise provides a variety of accommodation and an exciting night-life culture. Most visitor amenities include; supermarkets, shops, stores selling curios and banks in Diani.
Shimba Hills National Reserve – this sanctuary is located near Diani Beach and Mombasa. It is good for visitors who wish to combine bush and beach attractions in one holiday. Shimba Hills National Reserve features stunning views of the Indian Ocean. The landscape of the reserve features rainforests and open plains, these inhabit a variety of wildlife such as leopards, elephants, Suni, Buffalos and giraffes among others and many species of birds. endangered species include Roan antelope and Sable antelope-only found here in Kenya. The Mwalunganje Elephant Sanctuary is also in close proximity.
Wasini Island– a natural marine reserve with lots of tropical fish and amazing snorkeling and scuba diving accompanied by the views of coral gardens. From July to December every year, explore the Humpback wales which visit this island. You can also enjoy deep seas fishing into the Pemba channel for the best big game fishing in Kenya.
North of Mombasa
Kilifi Creek – Is a stunning stretch of water connecting to Voi River and the Goshi Estuary. The Kilifi creek is about 3km long surrounded by rush vegetation. There are a number of activities that one can do on the water and they include windsurfing, sailing, waterskiing and wakeboarding.
The Old Mombasa Town
The Old town of Mombasa is a part of Mombasa city that reminds us of the ancient era of the Arab rule showed by the architecture. Explore the ancient building on your nature walk through the narrow streets. Fort Jesus Museum is also close to the start of the Old town, this combined tour for one day is very much rewarding!