So, is Mombasa Safe for visitors? Read on to find out.
Mombasa (or County 001) is the oldest and second-largest city in Kenya and boasts stunning beaches, a rich cultural heritage, a tropical climate, and lively nightlife. With its vast attractions, it is no surprise that Mombasa attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Despite its allure, many travelers are concerned about the safety of visiting Mombasa. I cannot tell you the number of times I have encountered the question, is Mombasa safe for visitors, whether it’s on Reddit, Quora, Facebook, TripAdvisor, etc. Surprisingly, most answers I have read don’t reflect what’s happening on the ground. Some were generic, and others inaccurate.
So, in this article, I will discuss the safety of Mombasa and provide information that will help you make an informed decision about whether or not to travel to this beautiful city.
Here’s a related article: Fun things to do in Mombasa
Is Mombasa Safe to Visit?
Mombasa is generally safe to visit as long as you take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety. As with any popular tourist destination, petty crimes like pickpocketing and purse-snatching can occur if you do not pay attention to your surroundings or take care of your belongings. And the odds of these attacks go up in crowded areas like Mombasa’s Old Town, the Likoni Ferry, Likoni, Kisauni, and Mshomoroni.
Mombasa is generally safe to visit as long as you take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety.
As far as crimes go, Mombasa has experienced some incidents of terrorism and violent crime in recent years. According to Crime Research, many incidents are recorded for theft, robbery with violence, possession of drugs, defilement, and assault. Here’s a representation of crimes in the city.
The following graph represents the levels of worry that people have about being the victim of the mentioned crimes in Mombasa County.
Most of these crimes and violence cases arise due to poverty, lenient sentencing, drugs, unemployment, peer pressure, and few police. It’s also important to note that these crimes are random, and not specifically targeted to the tourists.
However, the Kenyan government has implemented several security measures to enhance security and minimize the risk to locals and tourists.
Here’s a related article: Staying in Mombasa on a budget.
Is Tap Water in Mombasa
Tap water is generally unsafe in Mombasa. You don’t want to drink the water (or use unpurified ice cubes on drinks) as it may contain bacteria like E.coli. Mombasa gets its water from Mzima Springs, a natural spring in Tsavo West National Park. This water is treated and safe to drink. But the problem is the pipeline system – besides being compromised, these pipes can also have cracks that allow things to get into the water. Also, most buildings in Mombasa use borehole water, often untreated.
How to Stay Safe in Mombasa
Traveling to a new city can be exciting and overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with local customs and safety practices. When it comes to visiting Mombasa, there are a few things that you can do to enhance your safety and make the most of your trip.
- Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings at all times. This means being mindful of pickpockets and purse-snatchers, especially in crowded markets and busy streets. It’s also a good idea to avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuable items with you and store your passport and other important documents securely.
- Avoid traveling alone at night, especially in areas that are not well-lit or populated. This includes beaches, clubs, markets, etc. If you need to travel after dark, avoid walking or public transportation. Instead, use a registered taxi or transport provided by reputable tour companies. If you’re considering exploring the city’s vibrant nightlife, exercise caution and avoid overindulging in alcohol, as this can make you more vulnerable to crime and accidents.
- Stay informed about any potential risks associated with travel to Mombasa. This means keeping up-to-date with travel advisories and safety guidelines provided by the US Department of State and other government agencies and seeking advice from local tour operators and hotels about safe areas to visit.
- Avoid bad neighborhoods like Likoni, Kisauni, etc., Instead, opt for the popular tourist areas of Nyali, Tudor, and the city center. If you’re looking for a more authentic experience and wish to interact with locals, try to walk around during the day and avoid isolated areas, especially Airbnb, because they’re more likely to be targets of theft and burglary. Also, avoid drug hotspots, beaches at night, and dark areas as these are prone to violent and property crime.
- Respect the local customs and traditions of Mombasa and be mindful of any cultural differences that may affect your safety or comfort. This includes dressing appropriately in public, avoiding public displays of affection, and being aware of any restrictions on photography or other activities in certain areas.
- In the unlikely event that it happens, do not resist a robbery attempt.
- Don’t walk around with your original travel documents. Instead, carry copies so you won’t have any problems if you lose them.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions that often appear along with is Mombasa safe for visitors.
Is it safe to travel to Mombasa right now?
Yes. It is safe to travel to Mombasa now. The weather is perfect, and locals are excited to see tourists after a long break due to COVID-19. Mombasa is a tourist hub and thrives on tourists – you’ll feel welcome, safe, and happy here.
Is it safe to walk in Mombasa at night?
It is not a good idea to walk in Mombasa at night – especially on the beach or in isolated areas. Like anywhere in the world, bad actors prey on victims in such areas. If you have to walk at night, be in the company of others and stick to open spaces, like malls, clubs, hotels, etc.
Are taxis safe in Mombasa?
Yes. Taxis and Ubers are the safest way to move at night. Avoid renting a car, especially at night, because you may deal with police who want bribes.
Also read: Reasons to visit Mombasa
So, Is Mombasa Safe in 2023?
Mombasa is a relatively safe destination to visit, and travelers who take reasonable precautions to stay safe are unlikely to encounter any major safety issues. By being aware of your surroundings, taking care of your belongings, and following local safety guidelines, you can enjoy all that Mombasa offers without compromising your safety.