South of Mombasa are a plethora of white sandy beaches that stretch to the Tanzanian border. Diani Beach is busy with many resorts and hotels, while Tiwi Beach is more tranquil and low key. Offshore are the Diani-Chale and Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park that protect impressive coral reefs. Popular activities include snorkeling, diving and glass-bottomed boat tours or just relaxing on the beach for the day.The north coast of Mombasa has been developed as far as Shanzu Beach. With the development has brought the larger hotels and resorts. Coral, myriad fish, sea turtles and dolphins bring the offshore reefs to life.
The village of Shimoni is the main gateway to Wasini Island. In the area are the Shimoni Caves, once used to hold slaves. On Wasini Island tourists can see a traditional village, Swahili ruins, and coral gardens.
Haller Park (Bamburi Nature Trail)
Haller Park, also known as Bamburi Nature Trail, is a rehabilitation project on the site of Bamburi Portland Cement Company. The project began in 1971 by Dr René Haller who transformed Haller Park by increasing the mineral content in the soil. Portions of Haller Park were rehabilitated with a successful tree-planting effort, which now includes fish breeding and the establishment of a wildlife park.Bamburi Portland Cement Company obtained the raw materials from the quarry, a fossil coral limestone reef that dates back 125,000 to 250,000 years ago. The giant kilns from Bamburi Company were visible for miles around.Each animal has a function on the nature trail's thriving ecosystem. Some of the animals found within the Haller Park sanctuary include Sally and Potty, the hippos; giraffes, Cape buffalo, zebras, and waterbucks. More than 160 bird species have been introduced to the area including weaver birds, cranes, pelicans and storks.Walking and cycling paths wind through the trees, groves of casuarina that are known for their ability to withstand harsh environments. The nature trails in Haller Park lead to a butterfly pavilion with many coastal species and the Nguuni Wildlife Sanctuary where herds of ostrich, eland and oryx are farmed.
Mamba Village is East Africa's largest crocodile farm that features a comprehensive tour as well as a video presentation on the life cycle and behavior of crocodiles. The highlight for many visitors is the scene of crocodiles fighting for food during feeding time.Mamba Village is divided into sections that include the crocodile farm, camel and horse riding, and Floral Magic, which is a botanical garden. Orchids and aquatic plants are the specialty but they also display carnivorous species, marine aquarium and snakes. The restaurant specializes in game meat such as crocodile, ostrich and zebra.
Bombolulu Workshops is a project of the Association for the Physically Disabled in Kenya with four sheltered workshops, a cultural center and a restaurant. The cultural center features 8 traditional homesteads found in various parts of Kenya. The tribes that are represented include Bukusu, Maasai, Giriama, Orma, Mijikenda and Luo. A traditional Swahili home and various activities are offered for guests to participate in. The workshops include jewelry using items such as bone products, soapstone, brass, seeds, copper, wood, semi precious stones, and recycled materials. The tailoring workshop utilizes a variety of textiles, the woodcarving workshop creates animal figures, masks, salad spoons, belt, buckles, wooden buttons, and Nativity sets while the leather workshop produces belts, sandals, handbags, brief cases, table mats, and backpacks.
Mtwapa is a small fishing village with several restaurants offering gourmet meals. The Mtwapa Creek is becoming a popular destination for yachts and game fishermen.Waterskiing can be arranged and small motorboats are available for hire.Dhow tours are offered by Kenya Marineland in Mtwapa that feature snorkeling opportunities, a visit to the Marineland aquarium and a tour along the coast. The aquarium houses marine life from the deepest parts of the Indian Ocean, which can be viewed from a glass-sided underground tunnel.Several companies based in Mtwapa offer deep-sea fishing for marlin and other large billfish.The architectural remains of a Swahili settlement, abundant wildlife and idyllic location make Mtwapa a definite stop as you head north of Mombasa.
Mansion of the Slave
Jumba la Mtwana is a national monument just north of Mtwapa. Occupied between A.D. 1100 and 1750, the ruins of Jumba la Mtwana are a Swahili slaving settlement with some fascinating structures that still remain including stone mansions and tombs of the privileged.Archaeological evidence suggests that the people of Jumba where committed to the Islamic virtue of cleanliness. Many of the houses contain the remains of water cisterns, washing platforms and stone lined latrines.There are three mosques on the site but Mosque by the Sea stands out from the rest. It is the best preserved with a cistern that was rebuilt in 1975 as a defense against the sea.
Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary
Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary was created in 1933 to preserve a corridor along an ancient elephant migration route. The Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary conserves rare and endangered African elephants, moist deciduous forest and riparian vegetation. The ecosystem in Mwaluganje has rolling hills, steep ridges, cliffs and winding water shades. The Mwaluganje forest and Mwaluganje Travelers Tented Camp, close to a watering hole, are part of sanctuary.Over 150 elephants currently live in the sanctuary amongst a variety of flora and fauna including a rare cycad forest. The cycad species can grow to be 150 years old and were most abundant during the Jurassic period (180 million years ago).
Rabai is a culturally strong community with their own language and customs. Rabai is also the site of the first Christian mission established in East Africa. A German pastor, Reverend Krapf came in 1846 and established St Paul's Church, built between 1846 and 1848.Krapf was one of Kenya's first European visitors and Rabai became his base. Krapf had great enthusiasm for both Christianity and geographical discovery, which led him to explore Kenya.A small museum, opened in 1998, documents his life's achievements. Krapf Memorial Museum features his original home and church, as well as exhibits of his early maps and books.
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