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Mombasa, Kenya's second largest city, lies four degrees south of the equator on the Indian Ocean. The town is located on an island 3 miles long that is connected to the mainland by Nyali bridge to the north, Likoni ferry to the south and Makupa Causeway to the west, the latter carrying both the road and the railway leading to Kenya's capital, Nairobi. The port in Mombasa serves both the interior of the country and also numerous neighbouring countries that are land-locked such as Uganda, Sudan and Ruanda, amongst others.
The climate in Mombasa, and along the entire coastline, is tropical, with a high humidity, warm temperatures and balmy ocean winds most all year around. The rainy season is in April and May with plenty of rainfall and somewhat cooler temperatures during those months. Beautiful pristine white beaches stretch north and south along the entire coastline. These stunning beaches are sheltered by a coral reef that runs parallel alongside the shoreline roughly one mile out at sea making the waters within completely benign and safe for bathers.
Mombasa Island is the centre of the coastal tourism industry and the entire coast has a vastly developed infrastructure of hotels and cottages catering to visitors and holiday makers. The city of Mombasa is a diverse and cosmopolitan modern city buzzing with a multitude of influences from all over the world. Mosques, churches, temples and other places of worship lie alongside of each other and a wonderful
feeling of tolerance and acceptance can be felt in this historical Swahili town. The old town is exotic with narrow winding streets amongst architecture that goes back centuries and occupied by peoples of African, Arabic and European descent. In the evenings the smell of spices and grilled foods fill the streets where bui bui clad women mingle with women and men adorning traditional kanga and kikoy cloths wrapped around their bodies.
Mombasa has been a vibrant coastal trading town going back to the 12th century where it served as a centre for the trade of ivory, gold, spices and slaves. During the 19th century Swahili caravans penetrated deep into the interior in search of ivory and slaves establishing trading routes and trading posts along the way. Some prominent historical sites can be visited in Mombasa today like the famous Fort Jesus, built by the Portuguese in 1593 to defend the town against intruders and that then became the set for numerous bloody battles raged for the control of the Kenyan Coast.
Today Mombasa is served by an airport, Moi International Airport, just a 20 minutes drive west of the city, overnight passenger trains that run between Nairobi and Mombasa and a regular day and night bus service to various locations including Malindi and Lamu.