Mombasa Diaries: Discovering a hint of the Middle East in the South Coast of Kenya

Hey squaddies, so you may have seen my Instagram posts about my recent holiday in Kenya. I hope you enjoy this post in which I want to tell you the reasons I went there and the reasons why you need to go!

So, October was a time for me to reconnect with my roots. Many years ago my family migrated from India to Kenya. My grandparents still live there, in the seaport city of Mombasa. I used to travel a lot there as a child during summer holidays but I hadn't been back for almost 5 years. This year we were celebrating my grandfather's 80th birthday!

It was a great time of the year for us to to go, the weather was perfect and the monsoon season was about to begin.

My parents joined us from the UK while my sister and brother in law joined us after spending 7 days climbing mount Kenya (in case you're wondering, they made it to the top!).

For the first part of the trip we stayed in Mombasa Old Town, at a private members club called 'Mombasa Club'.  It was established in 1897 and was once visited by Queen Elizabeth. It is rich in character, charming and has an amazing seawater swimming pool.

The location is idyllic, overlooking the Indian Ocean next to Fort Jesus. In the mornings you can see the fishermen's boats coming in and watch the local kids play a very serious football match!

Staying here gave us a chance to explore the historic Old Town and Fort Jesus, which dates back to the 15th Century and was once ruled by Oman. We walked around my mum's hometown taking in the streets, culture and welcoming community spirit, it's a perfect combination of the Middle East and African spirit! The most notable spots were the Mombasa Tusks, from where you can take in the tuk-tuk chaos of the town centre, and the lighthouse area, where local vendors make fresh cassava chips and roasted sweet potato while serving up fresh coconut water. I also went to the spice market to get my fill of colour - African spices, fabrics and baskets make great souvenirs, it was so much easier to have my family negotiate prices in the local language of Swahili!

Once we had stayed in the Old Town, it was time to book the second part of our trip. We were looking to visit a more modern part of the city, the Nyali creek area. We wanted to stay in an apartment so that we could still spend time together - for me and my sister this meant having easier access to each other's wardrobes! That's when our squad of four - my husband, sister and brother in law, discovered the Insta-worthy Hotel Englishpoint and their impressive profile showcasing luxury suites.

Fast forward a few days later, we stayed in a fully kitted, beautiful three bedroom suite. Staying true to form, I made sure that the third bedroom was my personal walk-in-wardrobe! But apart from that, my favorite part of our suite was the beachfront sun terrace which had incredible views of Old town to wake up to everyday. After having stayed somewhere so historical, the modern and high-end aesthetics of the Englishpoint Hotel reminded me of the luxury hotels in the Middle East.

We quickly got used to the lavish life... breakfast was such a treat, we truly enjoyed the enormous buffet which had fresh fruit and warm dish stations on offer, while sitting outside and enjoying the view of our hotel surroundings! With relaxation being the most important factor of our stay, we started our day by chilling and sunbathing by the infinity pool. Let's just say throughout the afternoon and in between having treatments at the Ansui Spa, the pool bar was our hangout, serving fresh cocktails straight to our sun loungers. The very attentive bar staff made the perfect Pina colada! 

As the evening came in, the sunset over Mombasa Old Town was breathtaking.

After all our treatments and relaxation, we were ready to take selfies and enjoy some of the nightlife in Mombasa! So on one evening we decided to have some cocktails at the Karahi restaurant on the main deck of the hotel, taking in the Nyali creek seafront whilst enjoying the chilled beats. The Indian dishes we tried were delicious!

One of the most recommended things to do in Nyali was the Tamarind Dhow cruise which was right next to our hotel. it was our way of saying farewell as we did it on our last day in Mombasa. Our friendly concierge at Hotel Englishpoint managed to get a booking for us in the morning, so after more sunbathing and cocktails we were ready for our magical tour. The dhow boats, formerly used between Kenya and the Gulf states for Cargo trading have been refurbished, resembling the dhow boats that sail in Qatar along the Corniche! What an outstanding finale it was! 

We were welcomed on the cruise with a signature Kenyan cocktail called Dawa which has vodka, lime juice and honey (by now we were very familiar with it!). The word 'Dawa' means medicine in Swahili and the cocktail is said to cure all sickness or ailments!

We took in the starlit skies whilst enjoying scrumptious seafood! There were plenty of Kenyan dishes to try which were made 'Swahili style' on the deck, our mouths watered as we looked onto the cooking stoves and the dishes were served to us all.

If you want to explore a unique side of Mombasa with lots of character, a little luxury in a historic town, look no further than the Hotel Englishpoint in Nyali Creek.

Until next time Mombasa, lala salama! 

In partnership with Hotel English Point


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