Flights & getting there
From Moi International Airport, around 9km northwest of central Mombasa, there are up to a dozen flights to Nairobi (from US$55) daily with Fly540 and Kenya Airways. There is also a daily flight to Lamu (US$90) with Mombasa Air Safari (www.skywardexpress.co.ke) and one to Zanzibar (US$140) with Fly540. From a separate terminal, Mombasa Air Safari (www.mombasaairsafari.com) connects Mombasa with airstrips in the Masai Mara.
Bus & Matatu
Most bus offices are on either Jomo Kenyatta Ave or Abdel Nasser Rd. Services to Malindi and Lamu leave from Abdel Nasser Rd, while buses to Nairobi and destinations in Tanzania leave from the junction of Jomo Kenyatta Ave and Mwembe Tayari Rd.
For buses and matatus (minibuses) to the beaches and towns south of Mombasa, you first need to get off the island on the Likoni ferry. Frequent matatus run from Nyerere Ave to the transport stand by the ferry terminal. After walking off the ferry, pick up transport on the other side.
Note that, as with most bus and matatu fares in Kenya, prices vary depending on demand (and fuel prices).
The Kenyan government has announced plans to construct a cable car route across the Likoni Channel, partly to reduce congestion on ferries and partly to provide a new tourist attraction. If all goes according to plan, the cable car will become operational in 2019.
There are dozens of daily departures in both directions (mostly in the early morning and late evening). Daytime services take at least eight hours, and overnight trips take 10 to 12 hours, and are not terribly recommended.
The trip isn’t particularly comfortable, although it’s not bad for an African bus ride, but note that the Nairobi–Mombasa road is accident prone. Speedometers with an 80km/h limit fitted on buses and matatus (minibuses) have eased the problem somewhat, but some drivers continue to flout rules. Theft is also an issue on this route: as much as it disappoints us to say so, don't accept food and drink from fellow travellers; we've heard too many stories of wazungu (white people – both tourists and Kenyans) being drugged and mugged on this route. Most trips, however, are crime and accident free.
Fares vary from KSh700 to KSh2200, with Modern Coast the swishest (and most expensive) of the lot. Mash is also a good bet. Most companies have at least four departures daily. Several companies go to Kisumu and Lake Victoria, but all go via Nairobi first.
Matatus to Voi and Wundanyi, towards Nairobi, depart from the junction of Mwembe Tayari Rd and Jomo Kenyatta Ave.
North to Malindi and Lamu
There are numerous daily buses and matatus (minibuses) heading up the coast to Malindi, leaving from in front of the Noor Mosque on Abdel Nasser Rd. Buses take up to three hours (around KSh700) and matatus take about two hours (KSh500 rising to KSh700 during holidays and very busy periods).
Tahmeed, Tawakal, Simba and TSS Express have buses to Lamu (KSh800 to KSh1200), most leaving at around 7am (report 30 minutes early) from their offices on Abdel Nasser Rd and Jomo Kenyatta Ave. Tawakal is considered to be the most comfortable and reliable. Buses take around seven hours to reach the Lamu ferry at Mokoke and travel via Malindi. At research time, buses had to join an armed convoy between Garsen and Witu, as that stretch of road north of Malindi is known for intermittent banditry.
Matatus to Nyali depart from Jomo Kenyatta Ave.
South to Diani Beach and Lunga Lunga
Regular buses and matatus (minibuses) leave from the far side of the Likoni ferry terminal and travel along the southern coast.
Mash, Modern Coast, Tahmeed and TSS Express have daily departures to Dar es Salaam (KSh1400 to KSh2200, 10 to 12 hours) via Tanga from their offices on Jomo Kenyatta Ave, near the junction with Mwembe Tayari Rd. Dubious-looking buses to Arusha and Moshi leave from in front of the Mwembe Tayari Health Centre in the morning or evening.
From the Mombasa Terminus, the new high-speed Madaraka Express connects Mombasa and Nairobi (economy/1st class KSh700/3000, 4½ hours). Departures from Mombasa are at 9am daily; at research time, tickets could only be purchased at the train station with cash.