When you're done soaking up the sun along the famous Kenyan beaches, it’s
time for a Mombasa safari. Indeed, the combination of a stay at the beaches
with a wildlife safari is a popular one among Kenya travelers, including
you’re not using domestic flights, however, then distance is important due
to Kenya’s usually terrible roads. If you’re leaving on a safari, you might
not want to spend your precious time in minivans zigzagging around potholes
at 20-30 miles an hour.
Of the big popular parks, especially the huge Tsavo East and West
National Parks are close to Mombasa, with the much smaller but
very popular Amboseli National Park a good second. But in the direct
vicinity of Mombasa you also have smaller nature and marine parks,
which have lots to offer but draws much less tourists. I’ll review them all
If you can flesh some cash for domestic flights, then you’re only limited by
your imagination, since there are various small and safe air companies that
fly between Nairobi, Mombasa and most national parks and reserves.
All in all, you have many options for a Mombasa safari.
Tsavo East And Tsavo West National Parks
These two huge game parks are the largest in Kenya, and within a half day
drive from Mombasa. Most visitors of the coast region choose this park for
their Mombasa safari. It's a 100 km to the main gate of Tsavo East, which
will take roughly half a day, depending on weather and road conditions.
The Tsavo parks are home to all the wildlife you would expect to see on an
African safari: elephants, lions, antelope, rhinos, water buffalo, zebras
and many more. You'll enjoy varied landscapes too, as Tsavo East is mainly
savannah scrubland – open plains perfect for wildlife viewing - while Tsavo
West is much more rocky.
Shimba Hills National Reserve
The Shimba Hills reserve is the closest Mombasa safari park – 35 kilometers
south of the city. It won't be the dusty dry safari you might expect. Shimba
Hills is a rainforest park and filled with lush vegetation.
The biggest attraction is the elephant and antelope populations, but if
you're lucky you might see lions and giraffes as well. The rare Sable
antelope is found only in Shimba Hills. Sheldricks' Falls is another sight
you should see while visiting the park, and Giriama Point offers spectacular
views of the ocean.
Amboseli National Park
Seen from Mombasa, Amboseli National Park is past the Tsavo East and Tsavo
West parks on the Kenyan-Tanzanian border, and usually visited along with
the larger parks. One of the greatest sights of this safari park is the view
of Mount Kilimanjaro - Africa's largest mountain - from nearly any place in
Amboseli is especially elephant country, but many other big animals are
present too, including the endangered black rhino, lions and antelopes.
Unlike some other plains parks, there are some swampy areas at Amboseli
which provide a home to flocks of native birds. An added bonus on your
Mombasa Marine Parks
Besides these nature and wildlife parks, Mombasa also has a number of marine
reserves that deserve a visit after your dusty jeep rides. They aren't
really "safaris" but still another way to see the native marine wildlife of
Kenya. You could check out the Watamu Marine Park, the Mombasa Marine Park
and the Diani Marine Reserve.