In the Kenyan coastline lies Mtwapa, a small town at the heart of Kilifi County.
There is no better way to wind down and holiday other than spending a weekend out on the coast, getting lost in the saline smell of the sea, and downing sundowners by the beach watching the sunset.
Whether you are looking to retreat on your own, a romantic getaway with your partner or simply a family/ friends trip, you will surely have the most fun.
Mtwapa is easily accessible via different means; if you are looking to get there in a short span, try air transport and connect through the airstrip in Vipingo, you could also use the Standard gauge railway and get off at either the terminus in Mombasa or Malindi.
Road transport is an option as well, either through public or private means. Using road transport will give you the opportunity to sightsee stunning places and features along the way, albeit it might be a little tiring.
Mtwapa is largely a cosmopolitan area, inhabited by locals and even foreign expatriates, but the largest tribe is the Giriama, a subtribe of the Mijikenda.
Their culture is something to behold, so be sure to interact with them and learn a few things about their way of life. Below is a list of places to visit and fun activities to engage in, while in Mtwapa.
1. Mtwapa Creek
This should definitely be your first stop if you are looking to spend quality time by the beach.
The creek simply gives you stunning views of the blue waters, the best place to take photos and stock up on those memories.
You could sit by the creek staring at the ocean all day and still not get enough. If you want that adrenaline surging through your veins, try skiing, although you have to pay a small fee for this.
If you are a beginner, you can have one of the guides take you through the sport to prevent mishaps.
Fishing games are other activities carried out by the creek, where guests hire fishing rods and try their luck at catching fish.
At dusk, you do not want to miss the dhow cruises through the waters.
On board is usually a troupe of entertainers singing traditional songs. The sunset view from the creek is just unrivalled.
The typical phrase of ‘sky meets the sea’ is described here, as the orange horizon meets the blue hue of the water, creating a whole mesmerizing view.
Be sure to capture this with your camera, and have your favourite drink with you as well.
2. Mtwapa Town
After settling in, you should definitely take a tour of Mtwapa town and see how it runs.
It’s called the ‘Town that never rests’ since it is always bustling with activities, people selling their ware trying to make ends meet, others trying to attract tourists, it is simply thrilling watching people get on with their business.
On the streets, you’ll find traders selling traditional artefacts belonging to the Giriama such as baskets, clothing and jewellery, be kind enough to buy those beautiful wares even for your loved one.
Mtwapa is laden with bars and pubs where revellers go to sit, listen to traditional music, watch live bands perform and indulge in traditionally made drinks such as palm wine, so if you feel like winding down, try frequenting one of these places.
Learn a thing or two about history by asking the locals about the town, what activities took place in the olden days and which values are upheld in the town; you will be intrigued by how strong culture is, and what it does in uniting its people.
3. Jumba La Mtwana Ruins
If you are a lover of history, then this is your go-to place. Loosely translated to mean ‘House of Slaves,’ Jumba la Mtwana Ruins is a collection of old houses, churches and mosques that also doubled up as houses for slaves.
The village dates back to around 600 years ago. Guides who are well versed in history and are multilingual will take you through an epic tour of the village, giving details about each structure and who stayed there at what period.
A small entrance fee is charged, but you can as well tip the guards for their exemplary work.
Around the ruins is a nice restaurant where you can sit and dine amid good conversations as you enjoy the cool breeze.
4. Nguuni Sanctuary
If you want to experience the ultimate interaction with nature and wildlife, be sure to visit this sanctuary, located about five kilometres from the Bamburi cement factory near the Nguu Tatu hills.
The sanctuary is home to different animals; the big five, gazelles, antelopes, giraffes, ostriches, and zebras, the list is endless.
You can either watch the animals from a distance, but the real thrill lies in having a safari where the wardens take you on a tour through the vast sanctuary as you watch the animals up close, be sure to bring your camera with you.
The charge for the game drive is about Ksh 1200 for an hour and a half.
Within the sanctuary are some nice spots to engage in bird watching, since different bird species flock to the place during migration seasons.
Climax your day’s tour by taking a long rejuvenating walk around the sanctuary, looking at different plant species, breathing in the fresh crisp air and getting lost in the beauty of nature.
A picnic area is available, for only Ksh 250, where you can sit with your group of friends or family and bond over good food. The entrance fee to the sanctuary is Ksh 500.
5. Haller Park
Located about 10 kilometres from Mombasa town lies this retreat haven for tourists.
The park hosts hundreds of animal species, both common and rare breeds. A reptile park is also available with all kinds of snakes and crocodiles to behold.
The giraffe centre found within the sanctuary allows guests to feed the animals, although at a specific time, 3.00 P.M, for a fee of USD 14 and under scrutiny.
The thrill of seeing them reaching out for food is something you do not want to miss.
You will be awed by how huge the hippopotamuses are in proximity, and feeding them is also allowed at exactly 4.00 P.M.
Afterwards, you can visit the fish farm and gain insight into different breeds of fish and what they feed on, you could also try fishing expeditions.
A superb nature trail is found within, giving you the ideal opportunity to take a walk, unwind and get awed by the lush green scenery.
The splendour at the park is exactly what you need to spice up your pictures, be sure to bring a good camera with you.
6. Mamba Village
Mamba is Swahili for crocodile, and this park is home to close to 20,000 crocodiles of different breeds, sizes and ages.
Crocodile feeding is definitely something you want to try, seeing them up close is both scary and thrilling at the same time.
The guides are well-trained to handle the reptiles and are quite familiar with them, so feel free to ask any questions.
The place also has an amusement park for children, complete with swings, trampolines and anything that would interest a child.
Horse riding is something you should definitely try to get your adrenaline surging.
If you feel like relaxing and not physically engaging, their botanical garden has you covered with well-mowed grass and trimmed hedges, it is the best place to sit, let loose and let the whole aura and tranquillity carry you away.
A picnic would surely thrive in this kind of environment with a serenity that is to die for, clean fresh air and the only noise filling your ears is the occasional chirping of birds.
7. Peacock Resort
This splendid facility is your go-to place if you are looking for a luxurious place to stay while enjoying your holiday in Mtwapa.
It’s about a ten-minute drive from the Jamba la Mtwana Ruins. The staff is very hospitable and ready to cater for your needs.
Accommodation facilities are either in double rooms with garden views, going for about USD 60 a night, and family rooms with a balcony, going for about USD 100 a night.
Both rooms have epic views of the surroundings, and there’s no better way to wake up other than having stunning sites to see.
Parking is free and private, and they have an outdoor pool, exactly what you need with the humid temperature in Mtwapa.
The chefs will not disappoint, so feel free to indulge in any delicacy that you want, either local or foreign cuisines.
A bar, fully stocked with every kind of drink, is available should you wish to indulge and drink the night away.