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Mtwapa, the town that never sleeps

 An aerial view of Mtwapa [File, Standard]

Travelling on an adventure can be either rewarding or frustrating, especially if your destination has plenty of things to do. This happened to me several times until I learnt how important a travel plan and itinerary are to an avid traveller.

One of the things that I missed out on my tens of trips to Mombasa is a visit to Mamba Village Centre, the largest amusement park and crocodile farm in Africa, and an exploration trip to Mtwapa, a buzzing hub that never sleeps and has striking contrasts. 

During a recent trip, I planned for these as my “must-see, and must-do activities”.

To ensure I got it right this time, I checked into an Airbnb within the confines of the Nyali region where the centre is. The accommodation was also ideal for my other “must do” activity – exploring Mtwapa.

Mamba Village is on the global map as one of the biggest crocodile farms where you will find the world’s most fearsome predators on display. Sadly, during my visit, I did not encounter the live mambas, but I found plenty of statutes of the predator, with many stationed at the entrance of the Centre.

Mamba Village like many tourist businesses was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to its closure. At the time of my visit, the business was in the initial stages of coming back to life. 

The guide pointed out that at the live farm, I would have had the opportunity to see baby crocodiles that are particularly cute as well as the massive adult crocodiles that can reach six metres and above in length. 

We left Nyali for Mtwapa, late in the afternoon, with my guide Joshua Omari, explaining that it was the best time to experience the historical town at its best.  

As we took the 25km drive, Omari narrated to me some fascinating stories about the buzzing and never-sleeping town. 

Before taking what Omari calls “a Mtwapa round of honour”, he takes me to one of “Mtwapa’s finest” for a late lunch. I settle for ‘samaki wa kupaka’. 

Later, we did the round of honour which is a tour of the town, that introduced me to the infrastructure, businesses, and lifestyle of people living here – a mix of foreigners, both local and international.

After the introductory tour, it is time to visit the most popular joint in this little town – the Mtwapa Creek.

One of the highlights of Mtwapa, is the Mtwapa Creek, an attraction to visitors because of its world-class scuba diving, an attraction to local and international travellers due to the creek’s fascinating diving experiences - the attraction being the creek’s super depth of 23m with a visibility of 12m. 

This, Omari says, is the only place popular with the sports fishermen and sailors as it provides a safe anchorage and mooring area.

Among the sports are water skiing, jet skiing, and motor boating. I now understand why this little town has a high density of accommodation joints to suit every pocket, among them Jumba Ruins, Monsoons, Moorings, and Makuti Hidden Bahari Gates. 

Activities and explorations to take include a visit to Jumba la Mtwana, the 19th Century prison Shimo la Tewa, dining by the creek shore (an extraordinary experience), bird watching, and cruising, among many watersports.

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