In Summary
  • Beside the tusks is Uhuru Garden, an open area which provides ample space for unwinding, holding picnics and enjoying the sight of the huge aluminium-made tusks.
  • The landmark has now acquired a new look with an addition of a model elephant at the centre of the tusks.

At the heart of Mombasa lies the iconic elephant tusks which are among landmarks that represent the city.

A tour to the second largest city in the country would be incomplete if you do not visit the tusks located on Moi Avenue, formerly known as Kilindini Road, which connects to the port of Mombasa.

Despite a new look (buildings painted blue and white) that the town has acquired, the tusks commonly referred to by their Swahili name — Mapembe ya Ndovu — have remained a unique monument.

Their uniqueness is also defined by their history they have, especially the reason behind their development.

AMPLE SPACE

Beside the tusks is Uhuru Garden, an open area which provides ample space for unwinding, holding picnics and enjoying the sight of the huge aluminium-made tusks.

The symbolic tusks were first erected in 1952 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s visit who was staying at Mombasa Club and later joined by her sister.

“During her sister’s visit, the Queen headed to the Mombasa port (then Kilindini port) to pick her up and since it was known that she would use the road, the tusks were put up,” says Mr Raphael Abdulmajid, the head of historical education at Fort Jesus.

Mr Abdulmajid said two wooden artefacts that resembled an elephant tusks were erected and formed part of decorations of the city following the Queen’s visit.

At the time, he said, ivories were used to document culture and the two wooden-like tusks were put to mark the celebration of the visit of the Queen as part of the tradition during the time that the British were in control.

ATTRACTION

“But when the Queen completed her stay in the city, the municipal council did not bother to remove them and by then, locals used to throng the place for leisure as they had become an attraction site,” says Mr Abdulmajid. He adds that many people started putting up announcements while some companies advertised their products along the road which is still among the main roads in the county.

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