The traffic was light on because it was a Sunday but we still needed to be at Nairobi airport at least two hours prior because of the added security. There was an area quite a way from the airport where we had to get out of the car and go through screening ourselves and a notice on the wall said ‘no guns will be returned’. The vehicles had to go through another screening before picking us up again and then driving further to the terminals. The only other place we had done this was at the military airport in Kashmir. We were very happy again with the added security.

We had a good hour’s flight to Mombasa and we were lucky to see Mt Kilimanjaro again in the distance. For a short flight they a drink (non alcoholic) and two packets of delicious nuts (only roasted macadamia and cashew nuts). The macadamias must grow here as they had big bowls of them on the buffet at Mara Serena hotel as well.
I had reconfirmed our pick up the night before but even then the manager of the ‘Cowrie Shell apartments’ where we were staying had forgotten us so after a very helpful lady on the information desk rang him, we were lucky to get another driver – Caroline or Shiro (her African name) who took us to north side of Mombasa to our apartment. It
was warmer and more humid at the airport but once we arrived at the ‘Cowrie Shell’ beachside apartments there was a lovely breeze and it was nice to see the palm trees and the ocean.
We took a taxi to a shopping complex and bought some fruit and weetbix for breakfast and had a good coffee at the Java house in the complex. All cars were checked coming in and out of the place. The apartment was huge with kitchen facilities and a lounge dining area and the complex had a pool. We had a good fresh fish meal that
night at the outdoor restaurant at the complex and the next morning went for a nice long walk along the beach. It was fairly early and the sellers were just setting up there booths on the beach selling clothing, paintings and wood carvings.

Shiro took us into the city to see Fort Jesus which dates from the 16th century and we had wonderful views over Mombasa and the Indian Ocean. It is a Unesco world heritage site and there were men working at the site however the fort needs a lot of repair. Shiro then drove us through the very narrow streets of the old town which is predominantly muslim. She told us that the central police station in the old town was attacked a couple of months ago by three muslim women trying to petrol bomb the building. The police killed the three women. Locals told us to keep the windows of the car closed. So different from 1991 when I walked freely around the old town. A sad situation.
On the way back to our apartment we stopped at Bombolulu, a large centre giving work to disabled people. They make aa variety of goods from wooden items including furniture, clothes, cloth bags and jewellery and their showroom is made out of rocks and is beautiful. They have a kindergarten and we saw the children playing outside. We made a few small purchases and headed back to the ‘Cowrie Shell’apartments. I went and lay in the sun for a while at the beach and was surprised to see two camels walking along the beach with their minder.

We decided to treat ourselves to dinner at the Mombasa Serena hotel a couple of kilometres away. I emailed the food and beverage manager to ask if we could make a reservation and he suggested the Jahazi restaurant on the beach which is in the shape of a dhow. Very atmospheric. We ate wonderful seafood and it was a fine dining
experience with amuse bouches and palate cleansing sorbet between courses. Downstairs a cat was lounging about but not being a nuisance. Herman the manager came and met us after dinner and explained that they have three cats who are territorial and shoo away any other unwanted wild cats which can be a problem. They feed the three
cats and the one seemed very content. The grounds are beautiful with lots of frangipani trees and palms and the beach is pristine.
Herman showed us through the luxurious Spa which was built a few years ago but looked very new. A big white tower in the garden had been built and was used as a children’s play area. He also explained that tourism was down about fifty percent however they catered for conferences which kept them busy and as we were leaving the head of the government security force arrived with an entourage in many black 4wds.

The spa impressed us so much that we returned the next day and had steam baths and massages in a very tranquil setting which were excellent. Another fresh fish meal back at the apartment restaurant for $10 each was as good as the previous one there. The day was a bit overcast so we relaxed and got ready for our early morning flight back to Nairobi and on to Dar es Salaam.
Shiro picked us up promptly at 5.45am (after 6am it would have been a problem with traffic) for the 8.15am flight to Nairobi. There were many crazy ‘matatu’ or shuttle vehicles on the road but it only took us 40mins to get to the airport. There are major road works in Mombasa as well as the new railway from Nairobi to Mombasa which is to be completed next year. The departure lounge at Moi airport in Mombasa is not completely enclosed so there are a few crows waiting to steal any uneaten food.

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