Travel

Lasting charm of Mombasa Old Town

You can learn to use a tuk tuk like a local. Photo | Wendy Watta | NMG
You can learn to use a tuk tuk like a local. Photo | Wendy Watta | NMG 

We got off the Likoni Ferry and after about 10 minutes of strolling along the scenic Mama Ngina Drive, got to Old Town Mombasa.

With its narrow main street, colourful walls and old buildings with distinctly 18th century-style architecture, this may well be a street in a charming little European city like Cinque Terre or even Lisbon, with the addition of antique curved Moorish doors.

From these influences, it is evident that this town was once a hub for Portuguese and Arabic traders who were drawn by the Old Port that is still operational today (it for instance still brings in spices from Zanzibar).

As we strolled along the road, occasionally stepping aside to let tuk tuks (motor rickshaws) pass, we stopped by the numerous curio, jewellery, art and antique shops lined along the streets.