Mombasa lies on a coral island linked to the mainland by causeways. This is Kenya's second-largest city and its chief port.
A long and complex history surrounds this bustling center. By the end of the 15th century, it was a well-established part of the trade routes and was much coveted by the Portuguese, who aimed to control the East's sources of wealth.
Foreigners have frequented Mombasa and its harbor for hundreds of years. Glimpsed from the winding streets of Old Town, it is a city cloaked in Middle Eastern mystery. Portuguese influence lingers on, while the intermingling of African, Arab and Indian cultures provides an exotic and colorful atmosphere.
White beaches border ink-blue Indian Ocean waters along the adjacent coast. However, most visitors find the allure of Kenya's vast interior game reserves irresistible.