Cruise ship excursions in Mombasa
Traditional dancers waiting for visitors to disembark from a cruise ship at the Port of Mombasa is the typical welcome one receives once you are in the coastal town of Kenya.
Mombasa is a port city in Kenya (Africa's Indian Ocean coast). The city has population around 1,2 million. The port is located on a bay and features a deep-water natural harbor (Kilindini Harbour). This makes it a key seaport on the shipping trade routes between Arabia, Africa, India and the Orient. Dar es Salaam, Mombasa and Zanzibar are three ports that complement one another.
Mombasa enjoys a huge market share of the business due to its proximity to wildlife sanctuaries, excellent sandy beaches and hotels. Dar es Salaam is second and then is Zanzibar.
Some of the Prestigious cruise lines calling in the ports of Mombasa and Zanzibar include; Orient Lines, Crystal Cruises, Princess Cruises, Semester at Sea, Windstar Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Regent Cruise Lines, Lindblad Expeditions, Silver sea Cruise Line, Holland America Line Sea bourn Cruise Line and most recent Semester at Sea
So what do you do when you have just a day in Mombasa on your cruise ship holiday?
Mombasa city tour
You could go on a tour of Mombasa city this usually includes a visit to Fort Jesus, the Mombasa old town, go up the winding streets into the market. Afterwards you driver will take you to see the famous ‘Tusks’ by this you will be hungry, tired and hot! Take lunch at the tamarind restaurant overlooking the ocean and Mombasa island. If they have enough people you can go on a lunch time cruise on the tamarind dhow.
Alternatively take the evening dhow cruise with Tamarind dhow and enjoy the sights and sounds of Mombasa at night.
Another dhow cruise and evening trip worth booking as a group of 20 people or more is the Mombasa by night with dinner at the Fort Jesus. the exciting itinerary begins at 5.30pm with atmospheric Dhow Sundowner Cruise which offers an outstanding view of the Old Port from the water.
After docking at the old port the guide will lead you on walk through the historic Old Town to the 400 year old fortress of Fort Jesus. Built by the Portuguese as a stronghold at the entrance to the harbor, the ancient fort is a stunning example of 16th century military architecture that has survived centuries of attack and conquest. Here you will be welcomed by Portuguese and Arab fire-bearers before witnessing a dazzling sound and light show that is followed by a sumptuous dinner served alfresco within the ramparts of the Fort for a truly unforgettable dining experience. After this memorable experience of lifetime you will be taken back to your cruise ship.
Visit Funzi or Wasini Islands
Only if your ship docks early enough for departure at 8.00am can you venture out south of Mombasa to Funzi islands for mangrove tour up the ramisi river, this is a full trip with lunch on the island.
A visit to Kisite Marine park if further south but worth it. This trip is snorkelers paradis , the marine park is home to dolphins, turtles and varied marine life species. Lunch is served on wasini island before driving back to Mombasa port to your ship.
Tsavo East park
This is a good opportunity to waste, if your cruise ship docks at noon and you leave the evening of the next day. Why not go on an overnight safari in Tsavo East park? This is park is only 2.5 hrs drive from Mombasa. Arrange a pick-up from the quay after lunch on the 1st day once you've settled into your cabin, to go straight to the park. You'd have time for an early-evening game drive, dinner at your lodge or camp, a morning game drive before breakfast, then lunch and a daytime relax, followed by the drive back to the ship.
Tsavo East has some great lodges within reasonable distance from Mombasa port this includes Ashnil Aruba Lodge and Ngutuni Lodge as mid range, low budget include Voi safari lodge and Voi wildlife lodge. On the higher level Satao Camp. All within game viewing areas especially when one night safari from Cruise ships that dock at the Mombasa port.
Shimba and Mwaluganje,
If you are looking for a proper safari then these two small game reserves can be disappointing. Mwaluganje elephant sanctuary is almost closed down. A trip to mwaluganje is not worth it anymore. There are hardly any elephants in mwaluganje anymore and trip there would be simply to view the nature and trees around.
While Shimba has a few animals, no cats. You might see antelopes, 2 resident giraffes, a few sable antelopes and buffaloes. Elephants are rarity nowadays in Shimba hills, they may be seen on very rare occasions.
However, they are both great getaways there a lodge overlooking the Mwaluganje elephant sanctuary from the top of the ridge, this is the Shimba hills green hills lodge.