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Kenya, East African Protectorate, Earth

Notable structure(s):


Mombasa was a city in Kenya, East African Protectorate, on the planet Earth. The heart of the city was the prosperous New Mombasa on Mombasa Island. The nearby mainland was the site of Old Mombasa, a comparatively run-down district.[1]

Mombasa Island is separated from the mainland by two bodies of water: Tudor Creek to the north and Kilindini Harbour to the south. Northwest of the island and between the creeks, a large peninsula connects to the island via Makupa Causeway. The effects of the dramatic climbing of sea levels due to global warming are evident throughout the now vitrified area. Large areas of former land are now underwater; most of the city was saved only by large seawalls around the shores.


An overhead view of Mombasa

The exact founding date of the city is unknown, but it has a long history. It was already a prosperous trading town in the 12th century, as one of its earliest historical mentions is from 1151 CE. Mombasa had always been an important port of the Indian Ocean trade routes and was contested many times by several powers including Portugal, the United Kingdom, and various Arab forces. This violent history led to its Swahili nickname "Kisiwa Cha Mvita": "Island of War". The city became part of the independent nation of Kenya in the 20th century. During this era, Mombasa became a tourist destination, boasting numerous resorts and clean white beaches. It was also important as a port city, connecting East Africa to the Indian Ocean.[2]

The mainland districts were stifled, ironically, by their thirst for growth. During the 21st and 22nd centuries, sea levels worldwide began rising due to global warming. Port cities around the planet were faced with a choice: construct flood-control measures or be submerged. In Mombasa, it was decided that, rather than shore up the old docks on Mombasa Island, it would be easier to build brand new ports on the mainland southwest of the city. Massive seawalls were built to hold back the rising waters and new dock structures extended out into Kilindini Harbour.[1]

Interstellar era[edit]

The Mombasa Tether, the most striking feature of the city's skyline

For a time these docks brought prosperity to the mainland. Shantytowns were demolished to make way for new office buildings, highways were constructed, and commerce thrived. But by the end of the 23rd century, global warming began to reverse as new technologies emerged and millions of people departed Earth for colonies in the rest of the Solar system. Sea levels began receding as temperatures dropped worldwide. In time, the port facilities on the mainland were left far from water.[1]

Mombasa underwent dramatic change with the advent of interstellar travel. In response to increasing demand for cheap orbital access, Mombasa was chosen to be Earth's first space elevator city due to its location and economic stability. The government began construction on one of the wonders of the age: a space elevator in 2302. This structure served to lift heavy cargo into geosynchronous orbit without expensive booster rockets filled with fuel. The elevator, known as the Mombasa Tether, transformed the city; Mombasa became one of the most important cities on Earth. Consequently, the island-city transformed into the high-tech metropolis of New Mombasa, while the mainland area languished, closed off behind its useless seawall.[1]

Over the next eleven years the city experienced explosive growth, but nothing compared to what followed. The city grew out as well as up, its urban sprawl unequaled throughout the continent. There was an immediate influx of trade, people, and jobs; as a result, the landscape of the city was completely re-imagined. Within a century, the old apartment buildings and hotels on Mombasa Island had been torn down and replaced with the latest architecture, such as vast industrial complexes and gleaming office towers. It was during this period of tremendous growth that the city became known as "New Mombasa".

Mombasa would change dramatically within the centuries that followed. By 2430, New Mombasa had absorbed the entire island and many of the surrounding towns, which became overrun by residents of Mombasa. The switch of name was never official, and though many of the neighborhoods within direct line of sight to the Mombasa Tether still distributed newspapers and chatter directories under their previous names, all municipalities within a 74 kilometer radius of the island became referred to as Old Mombasa.[1]

Covenant invasion[edit]

Mombasa area after the Covenant invasion of the city
Main article: Battle of Mombasa

On October 20, 2552, a small group of Covenant capital ships arrived at Earth. Uninformed of the human presence on Earth, the Prophet of Regret was outnumbered and outgunned against the UNSC Home Fleet. During the ensuing orbital battle, Regret's flagship (Solemn Penance) broke through Earth's defenses and descended to the atmosphere, soon holding station above New Mombasa.[3][4] The Covenant started deploying ground forces to the city in search of a Forerunner relic: they sought the portal to the Ark which was buried under the city.[5]

However, due to a strong UNSC counterattack and the Covenant's inferior numbers, Regret ordered all his forces to return to his flagship. After this, Solemn Penance jumped into slipspace just above the city, releasing a shockwave and pulling multiple city blocks from the mainland with it. This event became known as the "Mombasa Slipspace event". In the hours after Regret's retreat, a much larger Covenant fleet arrived at Earth. After sending in ground forces and crushing the remaining UNSC resistance in the city, they glassed the area in order to uncover the portal structure.[6] During the final days of the Battle of Earth, only smoldering ruins of Mombasa remained.[7]

Old Mombasa[edit]

A street in Old Mombasa during the Covenant invasion
Main article: Old Mombasa

The mainland area of Mombasa was known as Old Mombasa. By 2552, it remained much the same as it had been in the preceding centuries. Its architecture was a hodgepodge of old and new: 16th-century Muslim arcades, aging 21st-century office buildings, looming 26th-century power couplings, old concrete homes secured with computerized locks. Clotheslines strung next to power lines, and mechanical gates set into ancient brick walls. The culture also seems displaced; while New Mombasa was populated with industrial workers and ambitious cosmopolitans, Old Mombasa was considered to be more of an old rundown slum that deteriorates by the day. The denizens of the old city were largely isolated from the residents of New Mombasa; even their dialect was completely different from the standard language.[3][5]

New Mombasa[edit]

The skyline of New Mombasa in 2552
Main article: New Mombasa

The futuristic metropolis of New Mombasa resided on Mombasa Island, connected to the mainland by multiple bridges. By the 26th century the city was a dynamic, cosmopolitan metropolis, boasting such amenities as a Superintendent-class Urban Infrastructure AI, a mile-long suspension bridge, a very efficient MagLev train system, a highly automated highway network, a large police department, and large-scale recreational areas.

While the majority of New Mombasa was divided to numbered sectors, some districts such as Mbaraki, Kizingo, and Kikowani retained their original names. The original names were often seen in the names of streets or train stations. Some of the districts' names changed, albeit slightly; areas originally referred to as Tangana and Liwatoni are now referred to as Tanaga and Liwitoni, respectively. The locations of some districts changed as well. This was the case with most of the districts on the southern side of the island, where the sea has claimed large areas of land.[3][6]



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  • The large peninsula northwest of the Mombasa island is absent from the city's map geometry from the Halo 3: ODST level "Prepare To Drop", while the general outline of the Mombasa shoreline remains fairly similar to its modern counterpart.
  • Mombasa's geographical location in Halo 3: ODST assumed that either the earth has tilted southwards or it was an oversight by Bungie. In the level NMPD HQ; the time is noted to be 1936 hours, but as the sun has yet to set, Mombasa was most likely placed far away from the equator line, and was on its summer season.


List of appearances[edit]