Travel from Mombasa to Nairobi

The city is located on a coral island in the Indian Ocean and is connected to the mainland by several dams, and is separated from the south by a strait. There is no bridge; the only connection is the ferries. Each of them takes half an hour to load and float for 3 minutes and then unload again for half an hour (small ones take a little less time to load and unload). The construction of the bridge is not even in the plans.


The city is more Arab than African. Mombasa was founded by Arab merchants in VIII century. Vasco da Gama also reached these places, but he was not welcome here and he took his caravels to Malindi (by the way, also an interesting place, there is a large Italian settlement). Then another Portuguese, Francisco de Almeida, burned Mombasa to the ground; after that the city was taken by everybody who could not help it - it even had to survive the raid of cannibals from the banks of the Zambezi. By the way, Kenya owned the city and the province only in 1963 and before that Mombasa was nominally considered part of the Sultanate of Zanzibar. 


The old city of Mombasa is a maze of narrow curvy streets, charming dilapidated houses in the Arabic style with carved doorways and long openwork balconies. Long robes, women's closed faces, and the obligatory kofiyeh cap on the head of every man - this is the typical appearance of the inhabitants of these neighborhoods. A mosque is much more common here than a church. Driving through the city, I was glad that I had abandoned my original plan to move to Mombasa for one night in order to be closer to the airport. Still, I got one more night and a whole day in paradise.


This time I decided to stay downtown at the Kempinski Hotel. I wanted to see a modern and decent city. Alas, it did not work out. Nairobi is an explosion in a pasta factory. A powerful, gigantic explosion. Murderously poor suburbs, creepy Kibera slums, sad shacks and littered streets, benches and simply laid out goods and groceries on the sidewalk. High-rise buildings and office centers are surrounded by ugly poles and power lines and fences. Some are surrounded by strange and old houses. The traffic is categorically incomprehensible and confusing. But there is also an area with beautiful country houses, pools and greenery. 


And on top of all the chaos of the insane scale of mega construction all over the city - the Chinese are building new roads, junctions and overpasses, which will be paid for 27 years (will return the money, and then returned to the state). If you can only imagine the scale of the Chinese construction, you can understand that they just blew up the whole city.


Poor Kempinski. The bourgeois have built a beautiful elegant hotel, really chic. They educated the staff, opened great restaurants, built a wine collection, created a conceptual spa. And then bang - the Chinese build a monstrous junction right in front of them. The entrance to the hotel is actually ruined. Very sorry for them, because even when this construction is completed, it will not help. Their only chance is that there are almost no other luxury chains here. 


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