The curious wanderer: Jamila El-Jabry

Jamila El-Jabry at Mount Rushmore National Park in the US.

It’s another Tuesday and time to meet another curious wanderer. The Curious Wanderer today is Jamila El-Jabry. Having lived in different countries, no city makes her heart skip a beat like Mombasa. She says the rich vibrant culture, the architectural Old Town and of course the savory Swahili food make her fall in love with Mombasa each day. Jamila runs www.LifeinMombasa which is an online magazine for those exploring Mombasa food, culture and architecture. Her vision is to try and restore the image of Mombasa through photography. Jamila enjoys travelling, reading and photography. She is a photographer and blogger to watch.

Jamila El-Jabry at Mount Rushmore National Park in the US.
Jamila El-Jabry at Mount Rushmore National Park in the US.

1.What is your favourite destination? Why?

Tiwi camp site – Something about that place makes me happy. Tiwi is located before ukunda at south coast. The beach is serene and clear, I normally go camping at the beach which is unique concept. Most people prefer going to hotels and resorts and experiencing the luxury but at Tiwi is the opposite, you enjoy the nature at its best without luxurious amenities.

2.What places are on your travel bucket list? Why?

I definitely want to visit Lamu and Zanzibar since they have unique Swahili culture, just like Mombasa. I would love to tembea Kenya and see all the beauty of our country. Also, my bucket list consist of visiting the Seven Wonders of the World, I have been to Grand Canyon in America so I have six to go.

3.What factors do you consider when choosing a destination for your holidays or mini breaks?

Beach and culture, I need to see the ocean to relax, the calmness of the sea waves just calms my nerves. I love learning new cultures and also trying to capture the uniqueness of the culture through photography.

4.What are you travel essentials?

First and foremost my camera, I have Nikon D3100 which I use to capture bits and pieces of my travel. Sunscreen if my vacation is by the beach, a book to read. I try to stay away from my phone when travelling so I can enjoy every moment. I feel If you have your phone you constantly check messages and social media and hence you miss on the other good moments.

5.How do you save for your holidays?

I start saving as early as I can, I just plan ahead which month I shall be taking a holiday and start saving. Mostly give myself 6months before the planned holiday.

6.Horror story from your travels. What went wrong?

The one I have is too embarrassing, I don’t have much bad stories.

7.Where are you planning to go for your next mini trip or holiday?

Might be going to Lamu for the cultural festival, the planning is still underway. I have always wanted to go to LAMU during the festival, the pictures that emerge from the festival is always tempting. So I promised this year I have to visit.

8.If you had to choose a country from your travels where you could settle down apart from your home country which country would that be and why?

I think I would go to India, the rich culture is amazing. So many places to visit as well, it would take me a while to visit all the places. also, cause I love bollywood movies. It would be cool for me to see the celebrities.

9.Do you prefer to travel alone or in a group? Why?

With a group, it more fun because you can play games or listen to each other stories. There is so much to do with a group. Being alone doesn’t give the room to grow as a traveller, each person on a trip should teach you something about life.

10.How many countries have you been to?

I have lived in Saudia Arabia and America, and I have been to Dubai for a mini vacation.

I went to high school in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia.  I have also been to various cities in Saudia Arabia.

After high school, I went to America for further studies. Having lived in a Midwestern state, I got the privilege to travel to East and west coast.

11.What is the most interesting city to visit in your country?

I would say Mombasa, I love the diversity here. So many cultures intertwined and adapted each other’s culture, it is beautiful. You will find a swahili neighbour making Indian cuisine, and mkikuyu eating swahili dishes.

12.What is the most interesting souvenir that you have ever bought on one of your holidays?

When I was in America, we went across Midwest and bought a bunch of key chains from every stop we made. I bought ones that had the state name, great souvenirs. But I think I have lost some when I came back to Kenya.

13.Would you rather visit another country or travel within your own country?

I wouldn’t mind traveling to other countries, it is a learning experience seeing how other countries function. seeing a different country gives you a perspective of other people’s lives, it makes you reflect on yourself and your life.

14.What are popular tourist destinations in your country? Have you been to any of them?

Mombasa, Lamu, Nairobi, Kisumu and Naivasha, I haven’t been to Kisumu nor Naivasha.

15.Which would you recommend if you could only recommend one? Why?

Lamu, because of the rich culture that the city holds. Its preserved beautifuly to this date. The alleys, the people and the lifestyle is very interesting. Plus the holiday homes are just beautiful.

16.What advice would you give a newbie traveller travelling outside the country for the first time?

Learn a few words from their language, and learn common do’s and don’ts of the culture that’s very important because you might end up offending someone without you knowing.

Remember to check out Life in Mombasa for some great content and pictures about Mombasa. Also interact with Jamila on twitter at and you can also follow the team at to find out what’s happening in Mombasa.

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Managing editor and blogger at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]