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Hi there!

I'm Margaret, a female traveller from Nigeria, and welcome to my personal blog , TheAjalaBug.com.

Here, I document my adventures in travel and life experiences generally. Hope you get inspired!

Best of Kenya Tourism | Mombasa Travel

Best of Kenya Tourism | Mombasa Travel

Be brave enough to travel the unknown path, and learn what you are capable of.  Rachel Wolchin

On the last leg of my trip, we visited Mombasa to enjoy the pristine beaches and historic port.

Just like in Rwanda when we had to travel from Kigali to Gisenyi, I was worried when it was time to leave Nairobi for Mombasa because I had two huge suitcases which I had to drag along with me. Looking retrospectively, what's more annoying is that I never wore 50% of all the clothes I packed. Phew!. 

Anyways, after spending three days exploring Nairobi, it was time to move. We had decided to experience the new Kenya rail system, Madaraka Express train ride, so we called a cab and headed for the train station. Just then, did the adventure begin!.

1. ARRIVE AT NAIROBI TERMINUS

We had to pass through security checks before accessing the train station.  We dropped our bags and were asked to stand back for the security dogs to sniff through. What?!!!!!!! I thought it was quite absurd until I remember Kenya has been attacked in the past and moreover, international standard security is crucial to an asset of this size and significance.

As we looked on waiting for the security dogs to be done, we noticed that they took longer sniffing our bags. My travel buddy's heart skipped a beat. LOL. Eventually we were asked to pass our bags through the scanning machines and we were let into the station. 

I was impressed with the structure that stood in front of me. We paid KS 3,000 for the first class coach and found our way to the train. We looked forward to the epic train ride. I was extremely excited!. 

 Nairobi Rail Station

Nairobi Rail Station

 Nairobi Rail Station

Nairobi Rail Station

 Nairobi Rail Station

Nairobi Rail Station

While struggling with my bags, I hear 'jambo' . I kept on walking. Then I heard 'jambo' sister again. I turned and saw a middle aged Kenyan man. He introduced himself and said, Jambo means Hello in Swahili. I see you are having a hard time with your bags, perhaps I can help but you will take a picture with me, he said. Before I could say a word, he swung into action and I obliged with a picture afterwards!.

 Nairobi Rail Station

Nairobi Rail Station

We got onboard and I was blown away. It was super clean and smelt so fresh. We were served breakfast of our choice but at a small price. I worked on some office related tasks as I soaked up all the mountainous views. What was most flabbergasting was that all the stop stations along the route from Nairobi and Mombasa were of same standard with the Nairobi Terminus. Quite impressing!.

 Nairobi Rail Station

Nairobi Rail Station

 Nairobi Rail Station

Nairobi Rail Station

 Nairobi Rail Station

Nairobi Rail Station

2. ARRIVE AT MOMBASA TERMINUS

Finally, we arrived at Mombasa after almost 4 hours (9AM - 1PM) and the ride was super smooth. Ha! I almost starting wailing for my beloved country. Is this a train station in the same Africa?????? WOW! Have the leaders of Nigeria seen this?.......or is the giant still asleep?! So many questions rushed through my head. Quite an unexpected pleasant entrance into Mombasa and I looked forward to exploring the couple of thousand yearsโ€™ old town.

 Mombasa Train Station

Mombasa Train Station

 Mombasa Train Station | The Ajala Bug

Mombasa Train Station | The Ajala Bug

 Mombasa Train Station | The Ajala Bug

Mombasa Train Station | The Ajala Bug

3. LODGED AT CITY BLUE CREEKSIDE

We took a cab from the Train Station to our hotel, City Blue Creekside. It looked gorgeous. The views were amazing, the food was delicious and the room was cheap - 'cheaperu'!. I got the room for US$54, inclusive of breakfast for 2. Not a bad deal!.

We freshened up and went for dinner. It was a relaxing day for us and given that we traveled by train, there was no plan on exploring on that same day so we don't end up with broken bodies after a vacation.

Hint: That's how to avoid desiring a vacation immediately after one. Always pace yourself and rest inbetween.

 City blue creekside | The Ajala Bug

City blue creekside | The Ajala Bug

 City blue creekside | The Ajala Bug

City blue creekside | The Ajala Bug

 City blue creekside | The Ajala Bug

City blue creekside | The Ajala Bug

I don't know if I have mentioned that my taste bud for food is somewhat African. I can't deal with anything without pepper and I feel it is my right to get the cook to make a meal that I can eat, enjoyably. HAHAHAHAHA ~ jokes. The fact is that I always modify the meals on the menu when I travel and I speak to the cook in the hotels about how to prepare my food. LMAO. Now check out that meal below - Spaghetti , corn beef sauce and chicken wings. Food on fleek....

 City blue creekside | The Ajala Bug

City blue creekside | The Ajala Bug

 City blue creekside | The Ajala Bug

City blue creekside | The Ajala Bug

 City blue creekside | The Ajala Bug

City blue creekside | The Ajala Bug

4. VISIT TO THE HISTORICAL FORT JESUS

We had a good night rest at the hotel, though I worked through the night. *side eyes to my colleagues*. The next day we set out to Mombasaโ€™s city center to experience Nyali, the North coast.

Since the ancient times, Mombasa was an important trade sea route and port. Different nationalities visited Mombasa leaving a cultural mark โ€” Chinese, Persians, Indians, Arabs, Portuguese, the list is endless. With trade came settlements and the birth of the Swahili culture.

We took the tuk-tuk, three-wheeled motorized rickshaw, around the town. The overbearing driver took us to Fort Jesus and we were welcomed with napping cats and locals scouting to take us on a tour around the monument.  

 Fort Jesus | The Ajala Bug

Fort Jesus | The Ajala Bug

After paying to access the site, an elderly man tried to get us to patronise him. He told us that the fort was built by the Portuguese at the end of the 16th century to repel enemy raids. We didn't take up the offer of using his service unfortunately, so he left.

The name Fort Jesus piqued my interest but there was no one to explain the origin to us; the side effects of not having a tour guide. HAHAHAHAHA when two Nigerians are traveling on a budget effect. lol

 Fort Jesus | The Ajala Bug

Fort Jesus | The Ajala Bug

This UNESCO World Heritage site had partially ruined structure houses a museum that showcases a vast collection of pottery and ceramics that were traded in the ancient times. 

 Fort Jesus | The Ajala Bug

Fort Jesus | The Ajala Bug

As I gather from reading different materials online, the Portuguese recognized the strategic value of positioning the fort on a coral cliff to protect their trade route with India, as well as their East African interests. From various vantage points, the Portuguese were able to detect approaching ships well before the vessels entered the harbor, an advantage that ultimately led to the fort being under an almost constant state of attack for most of its history, including Omani Arabs from 1696 - 1698. Eventually, the Portuguese lost control of Fort Jesus until 1728. In 1837, a type of peace was instilled upon the fort when it became a soldier's barrack before being used as a prison by the British. In 1958, Fort Jesus was placed in the custody of the of the National Museums of Kenya and has remained a tourist site for Kenya.

More on the history of Mombasa and the fort here

 Fort Jesus | The Ajala Bug

Fort Jesus | The Ajala Bug

 Fort Jesus | The Ajala Bug

Fort Jesus | The Ajala Bug

Fort Jesus symbolizes both the history of Mombasa as well as the architectural prowess of the Portuguese in building martial structures.

 Fort Jesus | The Ajala Bug

Fort Jesus | The Ajala Bug

The Fort was the first European-style fort built outside of Europe that was designed to withstand cannon fire. Today, it is one of the finest examples of 16th century Portuguese military fortification.

 Fort Jesus | The Ajala Bug

Fort Jesus | The Ajala Bug

 Fort Jesus | The Ajala Bug

Fort Jesus | The Ajala Bug

Wandering the fort grounds was insightful, a bit lost though as we had no tour guide but we appreciated the history of Mombasa. The fort and its surrounding may be considered worth visiting.

Lest I forget, I met some indigenes of Mombasa (Swahilis) that appeared fascinated by me for some strange reasons and took pictures unending. They were too direct and asked if I was married. If you know my well, you already know my response. Ofcourse yes. Ha! I was hoping you would marry my brother, she said. Shame, I'm already married, I responded. What is with Mombasa's and foreigners??!

 Mombasa club | The Ajala Bug

Mombasa club | The Ajala Bug

5. HALLER PARK

After our visit to Fort Jesus, My travel buddy, Ofure, returned to the hotel while I continued in search of adventure. I took the tuks to Haller Park which I discovered through Folawaka's blog

 Tuks tuks | Mombasa

Tuks tuks | Mombasa

Haller park used to be a mining site but later converted into an animal sanctuary. I visited the park in expectation of interacting with animals like Giraffes, Hippos, Antelopes etc but I was told I had arrived too early. Though the park is always opened, some animals are seen only at specific hours. I'm such a huge time manager when I travel, and so I was unable to wait.

 Tuks tuks | Mombasa

Tuks tuks | Mombasa

5. THE REEF HOTEL

Reef Hotel is located in Nyali beach, the North Coast. We had read that it is one of the best beach hotels in Mombasa and is renowned for its magnificent tropical gardens. It was so hyped online (& equally cheap) that we thought to spend a night at the resort. Phew!. 

Cons: There were cats at the restaurants and generally the facility needs an upgrade.

Pros: The resort entertained us with live performance and we danced the night away. Breakfast was the ish! and there were so many varieties. There is a scenic beach and I got the opportunity to see beautiful aquatic animals.

 The reef hotel Mombasa | The Ajala Bug

The reef hotel Mombasa | The Ajala Bug

 The reef hotel Mombasa | The Ajala Bug

The reef hotel Mombasa | The Ajala Bug

 The reef hotel Mombasa | The Ajala Bug

The reef hotel Mombasa | The Ajala Bug

 The reef hotel Mombasa | The Ajala Bug

The reef hotel Mombasa | The Ajala Bug

6. SHOPPING IN MOMBASA

Towards the end of our stay at Mombasa, I realised my travel buddy was a bit quiet. Ha!. Haven't you enjoyed the trip, I asked. She said; "Of Course I have but we haven't gone shopping" I love shopping when I'm on holidays. Such cold feet, I felt bad!. How come I never asked about her favorite travel activity. I assumed she was an explorer like myself....I mean, I don't buy a pin when I travel; I just explore.

So we cancelled all we had planned for the day to accommodate our shopping spree and purchase of souvenirs. We checked out of Reef hotel and head out to the malls. Ofure was like a fat kid in a candy store. You need to see how her face lit up!!!. We bought clothes and loads of teas & coffee etc.

 City Mall Mombasa | The Ajala Bug

City Mall Mombasa | The Ajala Bug

 Naivas Supermarket Mombasa | The Ajala Bug

Naivas Supermarket Mombasa | The Ajala Bug

7. HOTEL ENGLISH POINT MARINA

Our last night in Mombasa was here. At this point, we wished we could teleport ourselves and our luggages to Lagos. We have been away from home for 12 solid days. That was a lot of time spent on travelling. Instantly, I knew I might never become a full time travel blogger. I wish I could explain to you how this trip changed my mindset and reset it. LoL!.

Anyways, we spent our last night in Mombasa and Kenya at large in Hotel English Point. The hotel is a luxury beach hotel with spacious apartments and normal rooms. We were upgraded to an 'apartment' but we had to reject it and settle for the normal rooms because the air conditioners weren't working.

 Hotel English Point Mombasa

Hotel English Point Mombasa

 Hotel English Point Mombasa

Hotel English Point Mombasa

 Hotel English Point Mombasa

Hotel English Point Mombasa

 Hotel English Point Mombasa

Hotel English Point Mombasa

 Hotel English Point Mombasa

Hotel English Point Mombasa

8. FINAL MOMENTS IN NAIROBI AND RETURN FLIGHT TO NIGERIA

The next day, we flew out of Mombasa to Nairobi for the flight to Lagos. Unfortunately, Kenya Airlines rescheduled our flights, so we decided to chill and have lunch at Four Points which is a stone throw from the airport. It was such a magnificent hotel and the staff were courteous & extremely helpful. The hospitality was top-notch even knowing that we were just passing time. 

 Four Point Nairobi | The Ajala Bug

Four Point Nairobi | The Ajala Bug

 Four Point Nairobi | The Ajala Bug

Four Point Nairobi | The Ajala Bug

 Four Point Nairobi | The Ajala Bug

Four Point Nairobi | The Ajala Bug

 Four Point Nairobi | The Ajala Bug

Four Point Nairobi | The Ajala Bug

Final thoughts on Mombasa Travel

Now, It's time for you to create your own experience. 

Besides historical tours in Mombasa, there are other tourist attractions thus making it a prime tourist destination. Mombasa is home to several historical heritage sites; and monuments, museums, plus spectacular resorts to cater for safari-bound tourists.

So if you are visiting Kenya for business or pleasure, there are many activities and experiences to suit any traveler โ€“ fun and interesting activities for anyone to enjoy, from the adventure wild life safari to Mombasa cultural tours.

Thank you all for reading. You have read from me, now I would love to read from you. Please share your Kenya experience with us or perhaps your thoughts about the country if you are yet to visit. Bless!.

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