When visiting Mombasa city for the first time especially when coming from Nairobi city you would think, ‘what a quiet city’. This is because the streets are well deserted and very few people walking through the pedestrian pathways. On the contrary, the shops, hotels and other business premises are always busy. The roads to attract good traffic with many vehicles and a high number of tuk-tuks always heading somewhere.
The many tuk-tuk taxis that are witnessed in Mombasa are the main form of short-distance transportation around the city. Unlike in Nairobi city where most people prefer to walk to their destination, most people in Mombasa opt for a tuk-tuk ride as it is affordable and time-saving.
Why TukTuk is the transport of choice in Mombasa.
Well, Mombasa is characterized by very humid weather with high temperatures all year round. The sun is always shinning up in the sky and by midday, it is burning hot with little shade for cover. This makes it hard for the residence to move around without suffering from dehydration or heatwave. If your day constitutes moving around the city, your best option would be to use the tuk-tuks.
Any visitor touring the city for the first time may see it as being lazy, having to use a tuk-tuk for such a short distance where you can just walk like other normal places. It only takes a hours walk and many litres of water later that you find yourself stopping a tuk-tuk to drop you to your next destination.
It seems using a tuk-tuk in Mombasa unlike in other places more of reflex action, the distance may be short but with the humid weather and hot sun, the thought of walking seems to fade away.
What constitutes a Tuk Tuk ride
A tuk-tuk is a three-legged scooter that resembles a motorbike. It is normally built with a custom-made body with enough space to accommodate passengers behind the driver. Normal tuk-tuks in Mombasa can sit up to 3-4 members at the back with the driver taking up the front seat.
The price of a ride starts from Kshs 50 or $0.5 per ride to approximately Kshs 300 or $3, if the amount goes above that, then it is better to use a normal taxi like uber at it means the distance is long. The price is per ride, hence if you are more than one person using the ride, you still pay the same price.
Places around Mombasa where to apply tuk-tuk rides
- Mombasa is an island along the Indian Ocean separated from the mainland with two main bridges and a ferry ride on one end.
- There are many places where to apply the tuk-tuk ride while other places may be better assessed through a taxi or a matatu ride. Some of the places to use the tuk-tuk ride while in Mombasa city include:
- A ride to the historical sites around the town e.g Fort Jesus, Mombasa Old Town or the various historical buildings especially when taking a tour around the city.
- When visiting the market especially Mirikiti market or Kongowea market, the tuk-tuk has space to carry your luggage.
- When travelling to the long-distance bus or train stations, especially when you have some parcels or luggage with you, this is because the tuk-tuk will drop you right at your doorstep.
- You can use a tuk-tuk when moving from one end of the town to the other at a reasonable price as compared to a normal taxi.
- Use a tuk-tuk when heading to a place you are not sure of though google maps may give you directions showing the place to be near, the Mombasa heat might prove otherwise.
- When heading to the beach or leaving the beach to the place of residence, especially when full of the beach sand on your clothes and body.
Read More: Mombasa City Tours
Disadvantages of tuk-tuk ride in Mombasa
- The tuk-tuks are not fully covered, hence during the rainy season they may not be effective and you might end up being rained on. Sometimes the Mombasa roads flood and it is not advisable to use the tuk-tuk during this time.
- If your destination involves getting on the main highway or a long-distance, it may be better to use other public transport as tuk-tuks speed is a bit slow and might not be time effective.
- When you have very heavy luggage as it slows down the tuk-tuk, the engine is not made to carry heavy loads.
- When you are a group of more than 4 passengers unless you consider using more than one tuk-tuk.
How to get a tuk-tuk ride when in Mombasa
There are so many tuk-tuks in Mombasa along the main roads and streets. The drivers are known to concentrate on areas where they know passengers prefer tuk-tuks. Hence, unlike other taxis that have online apps where you can request a ride, for a tuk-tuk you only need to stand on the road and lift your hand and a driver with no passenger will come to your rescue.
If you are staying in a hidden place away from the main road and might take time to get a tuk-tuk, you can befriend one driver, get their mobile number and call them to pick you at your place of choice without an extra charge.
How safe are the tuk-tuks?
Mombasa people are known to be among the most polite people in Kenya, they always offer polite services and it is rare to find a driver who is rude or who will overcharge you. They always respect their customers and are known to be very polite especially to tourists.
However, this tuk-tuks must follow the public transport rules and regulations which include having a license to operate as a taxi, a valid registration number and the common colour with a yellow stripe indicating whether it is a taxi or for private use. Hence, with this information, it is easy to follow up with the relevant authorities especially the traffic police in case of a bad incidence.
Have you ever had a tuk-tuk ride in Mombasa and you would like to share your experience? Kindly leave a comment below and let us share our experiences.