Visiting any destination during a local festival offers great insight into the culture and community; it gives you the incredible luck to see a place and its people at their best. Each year, Kenya throws an amazing party to celebrate one of its remarkable cities, Mombasa. The city comes alive with color, music, food, and culture: while Mombasa’s pristine beaches are certainly worth a visit anytime, going during the Carnival ensures an experience like no other.
Mombasa, on Kenya’s eastern coast, is a premiere destination for luxury beach-goers with its resorts, white beaches, palm trees, and the remarkably friendly Mombasa people. Kenya’s second largest city is a melting pot of Arabic and African cultures; the wealth of cultural life is truly cause for celebration. And Kenyans readily comply with the Mombasa Carnival, meant to honor its peoples and heritage. Held in November, the festival brings the seaside city to life. There is an air of excitement and anticipation that is palpable to visitors and which never fails to elicit wonder and awe.
The Carnival features music and dances to honor Kenyan traditions, as well as pay tribute to the country’s many ethnic, religious, and cultural groups. While differences exist, the Carnival reinforces unity – and fun. The best-loved attractions are the two parades: with outrageous, colorful, and stunning floats representing Kenya’s many cultures, music, stunning costumes, and crowds of cheering people, there is no doubt that the Mombasa Carnival is a treat to be savored. The vibrant, colorful parades converge on Moi Avenue, and the party continues.
During the Carnival, a sailing regatta is held, and vendors are set up throughout the city. You will find great Kenyan souvenirs and mementos, and do not pass up the chance to try some of Mombasa’s favorite dishes. This is the time to immerse yourself in a culture; make the most of it.
An already beautiful city, Mombasa transforms itself into an even brighter destination: color explodes from all the streets, smells and sounds of merriment follow you, and the feeling of community welcomes you. There are wonderful festivals all over the world; why choose Mombasa? This is not about shopping or fashion or food – though you can certainly find those here in abundance. It is, instead, focused on the unity and diversity of an incredible city and nation. What is more worthy of celebration? Before you go, a Swahili word you will want to learn is “Asante.” Thank you – you will be saying it over and over to the wonderful people of Kenya.