Mombasa is, in many ways, one of the best cities there is. There is too much diversity, and one never lacks things to see or do.
It’s not uncommon to find yourself in a town for just a few hours. Maybe before you proceed to another town or country. What if that town is Mombasa? While it’s impossible to exhaust everything there is to see in this coastal town, you can make the few hours worthwhile. Fort Jesus is how.
A lot has changed in Mombasa, but not Fort Jesus. The fort was built in 1593-1596 by the Portuguese, the main architect being Giovanni Battista Cairati. The main motivation was to protect the port of Mombasa. The fort still stands out as the most well preserved and outstanding instances of the Portuguese’s military fortification. Its uniqueness is unmatched, and that, perhaps, justifies the reason it is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites. The fort’s immediate surrounding is just as interesting.
Fort Jesus is an emblem that signifies just how diverse Mombasa (and Kenya) is in general. The interchange of influences and cultures is undeniable. People of the African, Arab, Persian, European, and Turkish origins interacted in a manner that overshadowed the numerous differences that otherwise exist. For anyone who appreciates history, be sure to visit the fort. The experience is certain not only to be interesting, but also eye opening to the very rich cultures present at the Kenyan coast.
One can choose to walk around with a guide (recommended) at a nominal fee of around $2. People at the coast are very friendly, but be careful not to get hassled. Fort Jesus is one of the few places in Mombasa where one is required to pay for entry. I can confidently say, though, whatever one pays is well worth the price. The entrance fees are as follows:
Non-Resident Adult 1200.00 (approx. $12)
Non-Resident Child 600.00 (approx. $6)
East African Resident Adult 400.00 (approx. $4)
East African Resident Child 200.00 (approx. $2)
Kenya Citizen Adult 200.00 (approx. $2)
Kenya Citizen Child 100.00 (approx. $1)
Be sure to check out the area surrounding the fort- it even leads to a beach. Not many people are aware of this so it is quite secluded. It’s a nice place to kill time while having fun at the same time. I find it particularly calming, and always make time once in a while to go calm my thoughts after a possibly rough time in town.
A tuktuk (three-wheeler) from most parts of town cost only Kes 50 ($0.5). It is also very easy to get their by foot from, say, Posta. Just close by, there are many Swahili restaurants that are certain to make your taste buds dance. Fresh juices are also available at an affordable price. My all-time favorite is the cassava crisps fried just outside the fort – be sure to try those then come thank me later!
Mombasa cannot be summarized in a single post but hey, sometimes time is not on our side. So, instead of getting stuck at the airport cuz of that long layover, you know what to do 🙂 Have fun!
Would you love more info about the fort or Mombasa in general? Don’t be shy, leave a comment I’ll gladly respond.
Cheers to celebrating our heritage!