04.16.2017 31 °C
We woke up and headed to the cafe close by to use wifi while we had breakfast as our hostel's wifi was down the whole time we were there. I had a fresh pineapple juice, it was delicious.
Next we got a Tuk Tuk to Haller Park, where they have an animal sanctuary. Our driver, Kevin, was really laid back and he took us right to the front gate of the park where we were greeted by a hundred year old tortoise!
The first thing to do in the park is feed the giraffes! They are massive and they have a face like a dinosaur.
Next we walked through the rest of the park and we sort of followed a guide group through who talked about the ecosystem and the animals. The whole park used to be a limestone quarry, and when it dried up someone came through and replanted the forest so the space wasn't wasted.
We saw crocodiles and just the eyes of a hippo. It wasn't feeding time so most of the large animals didn't come out to greet us. We also saw a bunch of snakes and turtles in confined areas, and a TON of monkeys, especially a lot of mamas and their babies.
After the park we texted our new friend Kevin who took us downtown to the old city of Mombasa where we hired a local guide named Anwar to walk us through the area. It was very interesting and there was a lot of history to learn about, including the relationship between the Indians and the Arabs, and he was always pointing out the artwork of the doors or buildings and whether it was Arab or Indian. The Muslims and Christians all get along in Mombasa, he said.
Fort Jesus the main attraction was stunning, it's the old fort build by the Portuguese to guard he port of Mombasa.
We wandered through the narrow lanes of houses and markets and I was really glad we hired a guide; we never would have seen the things we saw without him.
African barbed wire...
Next he took us RIGHT INSIDE the fish market. The smell was intense and there were dead fish piled on the floor, I cannot believe I kept walking. He walked us to the back to see the view of the port through their windows. It was beautiful but I wanted out!
We then walked through the streets some more and admired the different buildings and mosques.
And then Anwar took us to the spice market. One of the first spice stalls was so fragrant and the owner was so helpful telling us about the spices. He opened a few and let us taste which meant we had to buy some they were so delicious. We decided on a lemon pepper and an African curry spice. Another vendor came up to us with fresh macadamia nuts in the shell that he let us try, they were so soft and not yet dried out.
Outside the spice market the vendors were drying their mangos and other things right on the street on cardboard or on plastic bags. It was pretty insane but a young boy let us try one and it was so good we had to buy a small bag.
Overall the tour was fantastic and Anwar really showed us the good stuff. We texted our trusty Kevin and while we waited for him to come pick us up we found a tiny restaurant serving these sugared breads, I asked about the ingredients and he listed them off, super simple and vegan. I had one and a half and gave half to a street kid on the way out.
We're headed back to our hostel where we've already checked out but we have time to kill by the pool in the sun. Not a bad day here in Mombasa.