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Our First Full Day In Mombasa — Old Town and Fort Jesus

Never in my life did I think I’d be at a beach during the holidays. But since Kenya straddles the equator, winter in America is summer in Kenya. Instead of near freezing temperatures, we were being scorched in 90 degree heat with enough humidity to make showering moot once you stepped out.

Severin Sea Lodge - Mombasa, KenyaSeverin Sea Lodge, the resort where we were staying, is an oasis in a city that still looks like poverty is rampant. The palm trees, the ocean breeze, the free meals with bottomless mango and passion fruit juices for breakfast and exotic entrees for dinner, you almost forget that just down the street people still live in mud homes with grass roofs.

But in the gated resort, it was heaven. There were monkeys in the trees to give it an exotic feel, the decor was authentic and well thought out, photos of wildlife in the rooms, mosquito nets over the bed to remind you that the flu here is replaced with malaria.

The beaches are of fine, white sand. The ocean water is warm and because of the geographic feature, there aren’t any waves crashing on the beach, tipping over two year olds. It was a private beach so it wasn’t crowded. The resort grounds, I keep reiterating, were flawless.


Reaching Mombasa and Checking into Severin Sea Lodge

Just as we made it to the outskirts of Mombasa, the road got really bad. Actually, the road was bad all the way to Mombasa. When we got there, it got worse. I mean, it was like riding on a rumble strip for about a mile. The traffic is impossible to explain. There were so many vehicles trying to pass each other that we got bottle-necked when there was only one lane!

The dust and fumes in the air was suffocating. The temperature increased along with the humidity, reminding us that it’s the hot season in Kenya. And that we were at the coast.

But I was so enthralled at what I saw, I [as best as I could] didn’t notice the heat and noxious gases polluting my lungs. Well, actually it was blazing hot, I was sweating [the only one at that], I couldn’t breathe, I was getting restless and impatient, I wanted to smash windows out of the matatus clogging the roads…

And then we reached Mombasa.