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Mombasa is the tourism hub of Kenya with beautiful sandy beaches, a laid-back culture and hospitable people. I have been to Mombasa several times, and I can tell you that this city is indeed a piece of heavenly paradise.
The hotels in this beautiful city receive international acclaim for their impeccable hospitality, ambiance and customer care. I have stayed in several of these hotels, and the experience each time was simply mind blowing. Guests are treated with the utmost respect, and all of your reasonable demands are easily met.
Other than the unforgettable VIP treatment in the beach resorts, as well as the beautiful sandy Mombasa beaches, one thing that I truly love about this coastal city is the people. The Kenyan national language is Swahili, which has its origins in the coast. I love the way the coastal people speak Swahili, and thrive in their traditional language.
I also love the rich culture of these coastal people that they still uphold even today. They have their own unique way of dressing, music and traditions. It seems the colonialists were unable to rid these people of their heritage completely. There is also a laid-back atmosphere about Mombasa, as everyone seems to move deliberately in slow motion. This has to be the most alluring aspect of the local culture, that, and the delicious food that you will find in the local restaurants.
Both domestic, like myself, and foreign tourists flock to this destination at different times of the year to enjoy the scenic beauty of the coastal city. The following are some tips on traveling to Mombasa, and some essential information that every visitor to Mombasa should know.
There are over 60 different languages spoken in the country, but the most common languages used in Mombasa are Swahili and English. Most locals speak Swahili, which is the most popular language in the city. However, most hoteliers and their staff speak both English and Swahili. It is prudent for both domestic and foreign tourists to be familiar with both languages in order to communicate effectively with the people they will encounter in Mombasa. Knowing these languages will enable you to move around the city more comfortably.
Cell Phone Service
The main mode of communication throughout Kenya is the cell phone. Nearly every Kenyan, including those in Mombasa, use cell phones to communicate with friends and family. Thus, it is important to have a cell phone with a local SIM card when traveling to Mombasa. You can use the SIM card to call both local and foreign contacts. A local SIM card is cheaper than a foreign one because the latter picks up roaming charges.
Mombasa is a hot city and humidity is high. Thus, you should dress appropriately when traveling around the city. It is usually humid, and you should wear loose clothing. The city is subject to seasonal rainfall. You should carry a raincoat and some warm clothes just in case there is a surprise downpour.
In addition, you may want to take into account the local dress customs of this beautiful destination so that you can blend in with the rest of the community. The men usually wear slacks, shirts and loose tunics and pants. Women, including the visitors, are expected to dress modestly, and should refrain from wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts as these items of clothing are forbidden in the Swahili culture.
I love the rich culture of these coastal people that they still uphold even today. They have their own unique way of dressing, music and traditions. It seems the colonialists were unable to rid these people of their heritage completely.GW
The roads and sidewalks in Mombasa are also not always in the best shape. It is thus advisable to refrain from bringing your best shoes when travelling to the city. Flip-flops are the most common type of shoes worn in Mombasa, and you can easily purchase them from the street vendors.
Remember to always put on sunscreen before venturing out into the city or going to lounge by the poolside.
If you want to keep your expenses low, then you need to learn the art of bargaining. You will likely purchase most of your souvenirs and products from street vendors. You need to know how to bargain with these individuals so that you do not end up paying more than you should.
You can also bargain with the taxi drivers and safari tour guides. However, it is not customary to bargain in the local hotels and restaurants.
The majority of the tap water in Mombasa is salt water and it is unwise to consume it as it might affect your overall health. Thus, it is imperative that you purchase bottled water, which is safer to drink. Bottled water is available everywhere around the city at highly affordable prices. Your hotel will also provide you with bottled water on a daily basis throughout your stay there.
There are several types of transport in Mombasa including taxis, motor bikes, matatus and tuk-tuks. However, these types of transport are not metered so the driver is the one who dictates the price. If you are not comfortable with this arrangement, you can have your hotel send a car to pick you and drop you at your desired destinations.
If you do choose to go with the local taxis, then be sure to get the average rate for a taxi from the door attendant. This will prevent you from falling prey to drivers who may want to hike their prices simply because they see that you are a visitor.
Mombasa is a beautiful city that everyone should take the opportunity to see at least once in his or her lives. The above tips should help you enjoy this beautiful city in all of its glory, and ensure that you do not get into any unnecessary trouble during your stay in the city.
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