You will find many white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters all around the world. But there’s no denying that Kenya’s beaches along the north and south coast stand out from the crowd. Here is the where, the why, and the how for Kenya’s best beaches:
Diani Beach on Kenya’s south coast is one of Kenya’s most popular beaches. Locals from Nairobi and travellers from all around the world are drawn to the small coastal town close to Mombasa – and many return time and again. It’s easy to see why:
White and wide beaches are exactly that, white and wide. A walk on the beach won’t turn into an obstacle course across beach towels and parasols.
Despite its popularity, Diani hasn’t lost its charm. In open-air beach bars and small restaurants time passes more slowly than in other places. Leave your shoes in your suitcase; whether you enjoy a Tusker at Forty Thieves Beach Bar or lunch at Piri Piries or Aniellos – life at the coast walks barefoot.
Diani’s reef turns the Indian Ocean into a bath tub. Clear and warm water invites you to swim, splash and surf. Sharks and strong currents are nowhere to be seen. Make sure you pass by The Sands at Nomads to relax with a view of the ocean while enjoying their home-made ice cream. Mango is best!
Take a look at the trees as well – the rare black and white colobus monkeys romp about in the flame trees. Join a tour with the Colobus Conservation project to find out more about the primates.
Getting there: Catch a flight from Wilson Airport in Nairobi or a taxi from Mombasa. If you want to avoid the Likoni ferry in Mombasa, notorious for long waits due to traffic, take a detour and enjoy the drive through the picturesque Shimba Hills National Reserve. Soon you will relax at one of Kenya’s best beaches.
The small fishing village of Watamu is centrally located along Kenya’s north cost, north of Mombasa and south of Malindi. Most of the roughly 2000 locals live off fishing – good for you and your craving for fresh fish and seafood. The village is less developed than the Diani Beach area and you get the chance to experience local life in a Kenyan fishing community.
The rugged coastline offers plenty of space for long walks along one of Kenya’s best beaches. However, most visitors head out to sea right away: Watamu is famous for deep-sea fishing. You can charter a boat and hire a crew on-site, cool drinks included. You may or may not return with a 114kg heavy tuna. If you do, you’ll be the star on the beach as locals and tourists come running to take a photo of your catch.
If you’re not into fishing, go on a water safari in the Watamu Marine National Park. Your boat takes you further and further until you spot the first fin of a dolphin. There are more than one hundred resident dolphins and your guide will know where to find them. Shortly after, jump into the warm waters, equipped with snorkel, goggles and flippers and see what’s happening below the surface.
Watamu, like much of the coast north of Mombasa, is popular with Italians which plays out as an advantage for all visitors: enjoy the best pizza at Amici Miei and home-made ice cream at Bahati Gelateria Italianna. You can thank us later.
Getting there: From Nairobi’s Wilson Airport it’s less than a one-hour flight across the vast Tsavo National Park until you reach Malindi, 15 kilometres north of Watamu. Catch a taxi and enjoy your time at one of Kenya’s best beaches.