Family Travel Ideas in Mombasa

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A family trip to Mombasa can be a great way to teach your children about the rich history of the second largest city of Kenya. A great introduction to Swahili culture, history and the KiSwahili language, a trip to Mombasa with the family can be a rewarding experience for all.

Family Travel Sites

Depending on the age of your children, most of the traditional tourist sites in Mombasa will be appealing. Walking through the Old Town to see the melding of European, Arab and African influences in the architecture can be fascinating even for children. Get a map and get to walking the city’s former borders to take in some of its history. Hire a guide for a nominal fee to really get the most out of your experience.

Fort Jesus makes a great stop for family tourists, as its striking structure and relics offer a great experience for children. Marking nearly 300 years of turmoil this fort, built in 1593, is a great afternoon spot to experience a little bit of the various cultures that have ruled in this area.

Take a day trip to Lamu on Manda Island to see the country’s oldest living Swahili settlement. This charming village lined with narrow streets and intricately carved wooden doors and shutters is just a short trip across the channel and a popular attraction for families. Ride the city’s main transport – donkeys – and take an authentic Arab dhow to set the stage for this historic area of interest. Spend the day here, visiting other cities on the island like Shela and Matondoni, enjoying miles of deserted beaches, and exploring ruins. Manda Island can be reached by flights from Malinda, Mombasa and Diani Beach.

The many beaches of the Mombasa area offer a great opportunity for exploring marine life with your family, as well as just relaxing and swimming. Children may prefer the lively atmosphere of Diani Beach as opposed to one of the more deserted beaches like Tiwi Beach, however depending on your family’s taste, you can explore any number of the areas fine beaches and various activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, water skiing and kite sailing. In Nyali there is a crocodile farm that is of particular interest to the younger set and can easily be combined with a day at Nyali Beach.

Planning Your Trip

To get your kids interested in a trip to Mombasa, let them help with the planning. Buy a couple of travel books to let them peruse and pick out interesting things to explore. For younger children, there are many children’s books available on Kenya and Africa that can prepare them for the trip. For older children, read about Ernest Hemingway’s travels and how they came to light as an influence in many of his books and stories.

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