25-07-2008 by redazione
The capital of East Africa in the past times, one of the most important harbours of the whole continent is, actually, an island-city, connected with north east through a bridge, with south west through Likoni ferries and with its hinterland through about ten channels and inlets where the road winds along Nairobi.
Mombasa is the typical multi-ethnic maritime town, strongly influenced by arab and oman cultures (the lanes of the ancient swahili town look like a casbah), by a quite recent indian past (this remarkable settlement had been created by the british who, at the end of 1800, had brought the indians to Kenya to work, in particular, to the railway) as well as by the traces of the portuguese presence, represented by Fort Jesus, fortress and outpost of the maritime troops and then of the swahili Resistance for four centuries.
Like any maritime town, Mombasa extends in length between the two inlets, Mombasa Harbour and Kilindini Harbour. The two main roads (Digo Road and Moi Avenue) represent the business and shopping heart of the city. By the middle of Moi Avenue, the big white tusks, one of the symbols of the kenyan independence, dominate the road.
It is from here that the narrow roads of the shopping propose clothes, spices, souvenirs and any kind of things. Biashara street (which exactly means «street of the commerce») is the most famous but any lanes offer something to discover, even those behind the old market which branch across ancient oman houses, mosques, law courts and museums, until the promenade. From Digo Road, cutting Mombasa almost in parallel to the sea, going to the left, you reach the tusks in Moi Avenue and from here the industrial area; going instead to the right (Nkrumah Road), you get to Fort Jesus and the area belonging, first, to the portuguese, and then to arabs and english who took possession of the most beautiful buildings and used them for their trades and their colony. Going straight, the road becomes Nyerere Road and leads to Likoni ferry, from which you can reach Diani and go to Tanzania as well.
North of Mombasa, going along the coast, there are hotels and Nyali residential area, one of the most popular holiday places there. Among big hotels and shopping centers, golf-club, restaurants and multi-hall cinemas, you can walk quite a long stretch of beach with typical bars next to marvellous private villas and hotels mainly frequented by german tourists. The new market develops along the crowded road to Malindi; it is a meeting place for the africans with dozens and dozens of stalls with second-hand clothes, home articles and, within an enclosed space, the fruit and vegetable market. In Nyali there is also one of the two Nakumatt supermarkets (the other one is in Likoni, in front of the ferry berth) within a big shopping center. Other two important areas for shopping and free-time are right before, along the road to Nyali.
The white sand strip goes on for kilometers, lapped by the ocean and protected by the Mombasa Marine Park. Here, the sea resorts of Bamburi, Shanzu Beach, Bombolulu, Kikambala and Vipingo. In the middle, Mtwapa creek, with its bars and restaurants on the rafts, the several boats and the fishermen' village.
In Bamburi there is also a naturalist oasis, “Baobab adventure”, a sort of zoo-park with botanical garden, birdwatching, crossed by cycle tracks. Along the road connecting Vipingo with Kilifi, in one of the most suggestive part of the way, among hills and baobab trees as far as the eye can see, chromatisms, shades and unique outlines, among the blue of the sky, the green of the nature and the red of the soil, you will also see the long rows of sisal.
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