Kenya travel guide


Mombasa Travel Guide


Mombasa is a trade town, the city is full of markets that can have been operating in the same way that they do today for hundreds of year, and markets are attractions in themselves.

If you visit Mombasa, a must to buy is a kikoi or a khanga. The kikoy, dressed by men, is a brightly colored woven similar to the sarong of South East Asia. The kanga, worn by women, is larger, more elaborated and traditionally emblazoned with a Swahili proverb offering a pearl of conventional wisdom.

A kanga or kikoy is perfect for the beach and can either be worn as clothing or as head wrapping. Traditional African and Arabic clothing can be purchased in Biashara ('trade' in Swahili Language) Street in the middle of Mombasa Island, it is the main center for kikoi, kitenges and kangas. Most of the shops are owned by old indian/arab families, enjoy a visit to the shops of this busy street but take care of your belongings.

Shopping in Mombasa is absolutely recommended, Mombasa Old Town, near the Fort Jesus is an ideal place to buy handmade crafts, souvenirs and some good rare items. Markets and bazaars of this part of the city are worth exploring by its atmosphere. Prices can vary, make sure that you do not pay the price straight, some good transactions can be acquired with a bit of negotiation.

Mombasa is home to skilled tailors, who produce clothing from local fabrics quickly and cheaply, numerous can can be found on Nehru Road. If you want African shirts, you must visit Mombasa Tailoring Mart.

Mombasa is also home to many unique boutique shops selling wonderful gifts, modern art objects, souvenirs, paintings, and clothing at great prices. Ladies surely will fall in love with one of the pieces of jewelry in one of the Indian gold shops. If you are short of money, most businesses accept the major credit cards.

Wooden carvings are the speciality in Mombasa, including Furniture, and Swahili boxes. Mombasa has an ample number of woodcarvers from all over Kenya, producing many traditional designs, these intricately carved wooden objects are particularly popular, and these vary in size from small jewelry boxes to huge chests. Makonde, wood carvings of a style that originated in Tanzania are also available. Similarly styled candle holders are also sold.

There is a factory in Old Town, employing disable people only. On the beachfront there are many tourist shops selling sisal baskets and other souvenirs. All luxury lodges have extensive stocked gift shops, but in the old town, souvenirs are nicer and cheaper.

The Bombolulu Handicrafts is a well established industry which use local craftsmen for handicrafts and sell them locally. Bombolulu has a showroom where you can buy jewelry, clothes, carvings, and other crafts.

Akamba Handicraft Industry Cooperative Society, located on the road to the airport, produces very fine animal woodcarving. You can also take a walk into the workshops to see how they make the Wood carvings and to buy the item you like.

Labeka, located on Moi Avenue, has interesting African curiosities, jewelry and antiques. You may get a better quality item than on the streets. Open Monday to Saturday from 8.30 to 5.30pm.
Telephone: 041/312-232

Items for purchase in Mombasa' market include hand crafted wooden furniture, sculpture, toys, and tools. Reggae and African music fans can buy cds at the original sources. You will find lots of shops and streets sellers, you can taste the halwa (a delicious kind of sweet), and other products include mhogo, coconuts, kiondos and many more items. You will be surprised for the things you can buy for the price.

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