Welcome to Swahili food heaven on the Kenyan coast and the hustle and bustle of the main city Mombasa.


Visiting Mombasa

 

Mombasa is an historic city with ancient trade links between India and Arabia. Mix all this foreign influence with traditional African flavours and you get the Swahili culture and its amazing food.

Taking a walk around the old town in Mombasa and its steamy hot coastal streets, the historical ambience flows through.

Passing the historic Fort Jesus, which was built by the Portuguese on the way to find some Swahili food, you come across a great local eatery called Barka. This has a great choice of food for very cheap, and is very popular with the people in the area.

Choosing a delicious biryani to eat the taste was simply out of this world.

Biryani.

Biryani.

Happily full I walked to the market to get lost and hunt with my friend to find some sarongs to buy. There is a great choice of traditional patterns and various styles, and after a long search a good shop was found, and after the usual bartering, a deal was done.

Fellow traveler bargaining for sarongs.

Friend bargaining for sarongs in Mombasa market.

A little tired from the busy streets and market in Mombasa we went to relax in the old town at a traditional coffeehouse.

There you can get Swahili coffee which is nicely spiced with cardamon and a fresh passion fruit juice to cool down from the heat outside.

Sitting for a few hours and watching the street scenes play out while chatting away, is a great way to have a lazy afternoon.

Coffee and juice at traditional coffeehouse in old town.

Coffee and juice at traditional coffeehouse in old town.

Kalifi.

 

Leaving Mombasa after a few days spent there we headed up the coast a few hours to the sleepy village of Kalifi.

Staying at the very mellow Distant Relatives Ecolodge and Backpackers Guesthouse by the inland creek, complete with swimming pool, barbecue, and bamboo outdoor showers and dorms, it was the perfect spot to relax with the fresh sea breeze cooling things down.

Distant Relatives guesthouse in Kalifi.

Distant Relatives guesthouse in Kalifi.

Taking a traditional dhow boat out to sea the second day there, with Mowgli the adorable dog keeping watch at front, we went snorkelling on the reef and then had barbecued lobster on a white sand beach, followed by a smooth sail down the creek.

Mowgli leads the way aboard the dhow boat.

Mowgli leads the way aboard the dhow boat.

 

Dhow boat sailing out to sea.

Dhow boat sailing out to sea.

 

Feeling supremely rested after a few days we headed back to Mombasa. With one final biryani at Barka and some Swahili coffee in the old city, we left the Kenyan coast and back to inland Kenya.

Travelling to Kenya? Have a look at my 2 week itinerary for backpacking in Kenya.

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Jonny Duncan is a travel blogger and freelance photographer. He specialises in adventure and budget travel with over 20 years of experience. He started blogging in 2013 to give advice for other travellers. He has lived in Japan, Amsterdam, Kiev, and more.

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