Mombasa is the largest town on the Kenya coast, established as a vital harbour which has supplied the interior for centuries and served as an staging post for the slave-trade in days gone by. Much of this legacy is no longer evident, though the city is a noisy, humid melting pot of the various peoples that have passed through here at one time or another.
Primarily Muslim, a legacy from Arab and Indian traders, the town's mosques echo the call to prayer at intervals during the day and in between, the hustle and bustle of the city fills the silence. The town itself is a low sprawl of buildings that look like they've seen better days and the streets are scattered with street traders selling everything from rubber flip-flops to slices of pineapple, brightly coloured cloth, plastic combs and live chickens.
Mombasa is actually an island connected to the mainland on two sides by bridges, and on the southern side by a roll-on-roll off ferry which is an experience to say the least. The beach hotels are mainly to the north of the city on the mainland, such as Nyali and Bamburi and there is a string of big resort hotels along the white sandy beaches. Kenya's beaches are still some of the nicest in the world and there is plenty on offer for people that aren't particularly fussed about sharing. However, there are perhaps other destinations that, whilst requiring a bit more effort to get to, offer ten times more by way of a memorable experience.