27.04.2009 - 30.04.2009
Mombasa has always held a kind of pull for me, based, I think, almost solely on the fact that it has long been one of the largest and most important ports in East Africa, and as a non-flyer, such places are always of interest. I think I have always believed that i would, almost inevitably, eventually end up taking a freighter to or from Mombasa. The fact that we came on a coach (and left on a train) hasn't really ended that expectation either, although admittedly some of the Somali pirates are doing a good job to make it harder for me to do so in the reasonably near future.
Mombasa was scorching hot, and exotic sounding. The old town was pretty and refreshingly un-touristy, although that of course mean't that the hawkers and homeless people had nobody else to prey on but us. I would happily return and spend a bit longer exploring in depth, and hope to do so soon. But for now, time was rapidly coming to an end, even with a 2week extension on Maaret's flight.
And so we took whistle stop trip to the beach. Unknown to me – i'm really not a beach person – Mombasa's local environs are apparently home to some of the worlds best beaches, and Maaret had long wished to visit one. Picking a place at random (Tiwi, one of the less developed Southern resorts. We later discovered that Tiwi is not recommended at all by the local industry due to “security concerns”. Hmmm) and because it was somewhere that allegedly had cheap accommodation, we took a tuk-tuk to the Likoni ferry, crossed with the baying hordes and then a matatu south.
To me, Tiwi was not desperately exciting: out of season mean't few people around and so the hawkers had very few targets and whilst it was undeniably pretty, the beach was covered in seaweed and other assorted flotsam and jetsam (I like writing flotsam and jetsam, and this blog entry pretty much serves no purpose except allowing me to write it) so not the pure white sands promised. The same seaweed mean't that even at high tide, swimming was not particularly good, even for those who can actually swim. Add in the fact that it wasn't anywhere near as cheap as we had been led to expect, and you can pretty much conclude that it wasn't one of my life's (or even trip's) highlights.
And with that, and by now feeling even sh1ttier, it was back to Mombasa to find a train.
As with the previous entry, thanks for Maaret for photos as I took even fewer around Mombasa than I had in Zanzibar, so an even higher percentage of these are actually hers. It's useful to travel with a talented photographer who gives you all their photos, isn't it?!