Sun, sea and sand along the Kenya Coast

by Sandy Salle on September 26, 2017

Kenya is already celebrated as one of the best places see African animals in the wild. But it’s also an awesome destination for sun, sea and sand.

With 333 miles of coastline on the Indian Ocean, there’s plenty of shore to choose from, a mix of beaches and bays, exotic islands and offshore coral reefs. And plenty of amazing places to lay your heads at night (to the sound of the surf).

What are Kenya’s best beach getaways?


Diani Beach is near the top of everyone’s list. First and foremost because the beach is drop dead gorgeous — a long white-sand strand framed by coconut palms and a turquoise lagoon that provided safe swimming inside the reef.

From posh private villas and resort hotels to backpacker hostels, Diani also boasts a good mix of accommodation. There’s plenty of dining choices and fairly a pretty good nightlife scene.

Diani offers outdoor adventure too: scuba and snorkeling, kite surfing and tandem skydiving, sailing and deep-sea fishing. And if you get bored with the beach, Diani lies within easy reach (30 minutes) of both Shimba Hills National Reserve and Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary.


At the northern end of the Kenya coast, Lamu Island offers a whole different vibe. The island’s ancient Swahili culture is an exotic mix of African, Arabian and Asian influences found in the local food and fashion, architecture and artworks.

But there’s a mighty fine stretch of sand too — Shela Beach on the island’s windward side — one of the few places long the Kenya coast with good surfing breaks but also perfect for a long stroll along the shore or a beach bonfire at night.

There’s nothing even close to a large beach resort on Lamu. From the historic British colonial inns along the Lamu Town waterfront to chic boutique hotels near the beach, accommodation tends to be intimate and very friendly.


But just south of Malindi, the Watamu beach area is set along a chain of bays and coves with great little beach hotels, oceanfront restaurants and a wide variety of ways to pass a day at the shore.

Inland from the coast, the ruins of Gedi — a UNESCO World Heritage Site nominee — provide a splash of history. While the lush Arabuko Sokoke Forest offers a wildlife experience within a short drive of Watamu.


Although primarily known as the country’s biggest seaport, Mombasa is the best place along the Kenya coast to combine underwater and urban.

With its exotic skyline, dhow sailing craft and an ancient Portuguese bastion called Fort Jesus, Mombasa’s old town retains much of its bygone charm. On the other side of the creek, Nyali Beach offers modern resort hotels, waterfront eateries and scuba diving or snorkeling in the offshore Mombasa Marine National Park.

Sound like something you might want to try? Hills of Africa can arrange all the elements of a Kenya adventure that combines the best of the coast with a safari in East Africa‘s great game parks.




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