Mombasa is among the earliest towns that grew along the coast. It is the second largest urban center in Kenya after Nairobi. It is located along the shores of the Indian Ocean. The main town is an island connected to the mainland by Makupa causeway to the west and Nyali Bridge to the north. The city is an international tourist destination owing to the scenic beauty of the Indian Ocean, the sandy beaches, warm climate, the rich cultural heritage and historical sites among many others. 

The city is metropolitan and is home to people from all over the world. However, the majority of the residents are predominantly the Swahili people. The city has a huge population of about three million people and therefore residential estates have sprung up over the years to cater for their accommodation needs. Additionally there are numerous hotels in the area which offers accommodation to both domestic and international tourists. 

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Mombasa like any other city accommodates a broad spectrum of people of different social classes ranging from the wealthy to the poor. As such, the estates have a huge difference in terms of structural development. There are high end posh estates for the wealthy and the low end neighborhoods for the low income earners.  Most of these estates are serviced with all-weather roads, clean water and social amenities such as schools. The following is a highlight of the best preferred estates within Mombasa City:


This estate is a prime residential area of Mombasa. It comprises extremely posh and ultra-modern housing units. The area is simply serene and quiet. It has an alluring ambience that reveals that the area is dominated solely by the haves. The estate prides itself in hosting the statehouse of Mombasa, agha khan academy, star of the sea academy and Serani primary and secondary schools. In other words the area is arguably one of the most secure estates in Mombasa. There is usually the case as there is also security officers present who mans the area and often patrols in the entire neighborhood.

High rise buildings have sprouted giving it a complete change over in land scape and scenery. The estate is void of matatus but there are a few tuk tuk vehicles that ply the well-kept roads. Bungalows, suites, government and parastatal offices have their presence in the area. Due to the classic lifestyle this estate offers the rent here is quite expensive. A bedsitter here goes for around Ksh.15000 per month, one bedroom ranges from Ksh.18000 to Ksh.25000, a 2- bedroom ranges from Ksh.25000 to Ksh.35000 while a four bedroom may cost as much as 110 000 per month therefore attracting people of means.


Nyali is a prime and up-market residential area. It is located on the mainland north of Mombasa Island and is linked to the island by the Nyali Bridge. Nyali has two distinct sections which are the posh old Nyali and the upcoming new Nyali. Nyali has become a self-contained residential area having cinema halls, supermarkets, schools, churches, banks and post offices. This reduces the need to go to the main island looking for various services and makes life convenient for the residents just within. Security is tight as the estate hosts the Nyali police station. The rent is relatively affordable as a bedsitter costs around Ksh.6000 shillings per month, a one bedroom costs between Ksh.12000 and Ksh.15000 while a three bedroom costs between Ksh.25000 and Ksh.40000. The houses are made in a modern way and have tiled floors.


This estate is in an area that is greatly rich in the Swahili culture. The architectural designs are medieval yet classic and depict an area deeply rooted in the Islamic religion. The area was originally flourishing with the Swahili people but it is gradually becoming a cosmopolitan neighborhood. The rent here is quite varied depending on the aesthetic value of individual houses but in general, the estate well accommodates the middle class quite comfortably due to its relatively affordable housing.


It is a cosmopolitan settlement inhabited by people from the mainland who flocked the area in search of employment. The area provides cheap housing for the low income earners who mostly work in the adjacent suburb of Nyali. A one bedroom goes for about Ksh.4000-Ksh.6000 while a two bedroom costs about 8000 shillings on a monthly basis. The area hosts one of the largest open air markets in the African great lakes region.


It is a low income and lower –middle-level class neighborhood. It is connected to Mombasa by ferry. It is on the southern part of Mombasa and comprises of cheap stone and mortar houses. It is mostly inhabited by casual workers who provide labor for industries in town. Transport by road is developed and public vehicles are available for commuters.


It is an outlying township on the mainland along Nairobi highway. It lies in the heavy industrial section of Changamwe and mainly accommodates the people working in industries or at the Kilindini harbor. The suburb is in Jomvu constituency and rent is affordable. Security is good and the residents have good access to town as transport is well developed in the area.


It is located twenty minutes’ drive north west of Mombasa along Nairobi highway it consists of lower class housing. The area has a few health clinic shops and primary schools, the houses are quite cheap costing the residents around Ksh.4000 to 6000 for a one-bedroom while a two bedroom costs around 8000 shillings per month.

Other famous low income estates include: Majengo, Mshomoroni, Barsheba and Mtongwe.

Transport in Mombasa is reliable. There are several roads connecting the estates to the city center. The gap between the rich and the poor is however so wide that it is evident from the type of housing and settlements occupies by the diverse population. Where one chooses to reside in is purely an individual’s preferences and of course the ability to meet the rent cost required to live in a particular area.

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