Locations - the coast - Mombasa
Mombasa is the second largest town in Kenya. Mombasa town is built on an Island composed of solid coral reef and was one seen as the gateway to the black continent by slave traders and European missionaries attempting to reach the inland. Mombasa's contact to other ports in East Asia goes a long way back and in 1498 Vasco da Gama docked in Mombasa and found a thriving trading centre of the Swahili culture.
At first sight Mombasa appears frightful with the suffocating heat and tattered old roads filled with potholes. But underneath this picture lies the real Mombasa, a melting pot of cultures where mosques, Hindu-temples and churches lie side by side competing for the souls of the masses. The Fort Jesus, built by the Portuguese, Indian businesses and narrow streets in Mombasa's old town remind one of a thousand and one night. The old port gives an impression of how the Arabs and Swahili set sail into the Indian Ocean with their Dhows travelling to other parts of the world. Still worth seeing is the huge imitation of elephant tuskers built across Moi Avenue.
Every nation is represented in Mombasa. Somali refugees have set up a market where all sorts of things are on sale, even the foodstuffs donated by the United Nations as help for the refugees. In the bars it is quite normal to see an Ethiopian discussing with a Swiss engineer. Mombasa's way of living is multicultural by nature. Religions, cultures, tribes and races live in harmonious peace in this active city.
Beneath the sightseeings a little shopping in Mombasa is absolutely recommended. Various things are offered in the shops what can be tempting to the heart. Reggae and African music fans can buy cassettes at the original sources. Tourist will buy wood-curvings and other souvenirs especially along the popular Moi Avenue. And the European and American ladies surely will fall in love with one of the pieces of jewelry in one of the Indian gold shops in town, which for their husbands' sake are much cheaper than at home. And if you are running short of money don't worry the major credit cards are accepted in most businesses.
Mombasa and it's people are worth visiting, Mombasa appears to be safer than Nairobi although others think otherwise. Mombasa is the best place to enjoy your relaxing holidays down the near beaches or to make a trip to the attractions of the Tsavo National Park, the Lamu Island and Malindi's Marine Park.
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