Mombasa, a melting pot of languages and cultures from all sides of the Indian Ocean, waits like an exotic dessert for travellers who make it to Kenya’s coastline. Having more in common with Dakar or Dar es Salaam than Nairobi, Mombasa’s blend of India, Arabia and Africa can be intoxicating, and many visitors find themselves seduced by East Africa’s biggest and most cosmopolitan port despite its grime and sleaze, which somehow only adds to the place’s considerable charm.
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Mombasa is a place steeped in history, yet at the same time fascinating commercial and cosmopolitan port town.
Mombasa is an island connected to the mainland by bridges and ferries. The town overlooks a wide harbor, where commercial shipping mingles with traditional sailing dhows.
The true heart of Mombasa is found in the exotic old town, among the narrow winding streets and Arab architecture. The air here is always heavy with the scent of spices.
At the water’s edge is Fort Jesus, an imposing fort that stands watch over the harbor.
The high gun turrets, battlements and underground passages of this 16th Century Fort were the centre of a historic struggle for control of the Kenya coast between the Portuguese army and the Shirazi Arabs. This war was waged around Mombasa over hundreds of years and countless battles, and the Fort stands as a testament to this tumultuous past.
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