Mombasa is next to the Indian Ocean and is the second-largest city in Kenya. It has a major maritime port and an International Airport gateway to 500 kilometers of lovely white sandy beaches. Thousands of overseas tourists visit the Kenya Coast every year. Mombasa is a Sister City of Seattle and Long Beach USA. The city has a population of one million and is located on Mombasa Island which is connected to the mainland to the north by the Nyali Bridge to the south by the Likoni Ferry and to the west by the Makupa Causeway. A major intercontinental undersea telecom cable connects Mombasa to East Africa and the rest of the world supporting a fast-growing I. T. and call centre business. Mombasa and coast residents are historically Muslim Mijikenda and Swahili peoples. Over the centuries there have been many immigrant craftsmen and traders who settled from Iran the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent. The cultural mix is very friendly and polite. Traditional dress for the Swahili women is a brightly coloured printed cotton sheet called a kanga but many Muslim women wear a black covering known as a bui bui along with a head covering called a hijaab and sometimes a veil called a nikab. Men traditionally wear a type of sarong which is coloured in bright bands called a kikoi. Mombasa was an important centre for trade in spices gold and ivory with trade links as far as India and China. Vasco da Gama was the first known European to visit Mombasa receiving a chilly reception in 1498. Two years later the town was sacked by the Portuguese but recovered. The Portuguese attacked the city again in 1528 and built Fort Jesus in 1593 in an attempt to colonize from which time it was governed by a Captain-major. In 1638 it formally became a Portuguese colony subordinated to Goa as a stronghold on the route to Portuguese India. In 1698 the town came under the suzerainty of the Sultanate of Oman but it became subordinate to Zanzibar prompting regular local rebellions. Mombasa has a warm humid and tropical climate. Rainfall depends on Monsoon seasons. The long-rain months are from April to May with the short-rains in November to December. It is never cold. Mombasa Island itself is not the main attraction although a visit to the Old Town and Fort Jesus is a must. Its the beaches. The Nyali Kenyatta Bamburi and Shanzu beaches are located north of the city. The Shelly Tiwi and Diani beaches are located south of Mombasa. Many 2 and 3 star hotels exist on these beaches with an occasional 4 star hotel and a few Robinson Island style exclusive and expensive beach retreats. Mombasa's northern shoreline is renowned for its 24-hour entertainment for familyand sports enthusiasts and adults. Water parks cinemas bowling and swimming for the kids as well as water sports mountain biking and go-karting. Restaurants offer a wide range of specialties from Kenya China Japan India Italy Germany and others plus adult entertainment with bars pubs clubs and discothques.