The Kenyan Coast is a beach lovers paradise: pristine white sand beaches, warm azure waters of the Indian Ocean, and spectacular coral reefs teeming with life and colour. Whether you want to relax after an exhausting safari in the Masai Mara or discover new world by going diving in the deep waters of the Indian Ocean, the Kenya Coast has something for everyone.
The beaches of Kenya are broadly divided into North Coast beaches (North of Mombasa) and South Coast beaches (South of Mombasa). The most popular beach town in the South Coast is Diani Beach, known for its azure waters, endless sands and gorgeous coral reefs. This is a popular kite surfing location. In the North Coast, we have Malindi, Watamu and the beautiful Island town of Lamu. Diving to see coral reefs, big game fishing, and whitewater rafting are other popular marine activities along the coast of Kenya.
Beaches along the Kenya Coast
Diani Beach is located 30 kilometres south of Mombasa, in the nearby Kwale County. The beach is about 10 kilometres long, from the Kongo river to the north and Galu beach to the south (the southern point of reference is an old Baobab tree). It is adjacent to the town of Ukunda.
A small airstrip is located between the beach area and the Mombasa-Lunga Lunga road. The water remains shallow near shore, with some underwater sandbars near the surface which allow wading with a clear view of the sandy bottom. Inland from the beach, there is extensive vegetation, including numerous palm trees which cover the coastal areas, unlike the dry acacia trees of the mountainous Kenyan Highlands.
The area is known for its coral reefs, black-and-white colobus monkeys, and for the closely located Shimba Hills National Reserve, a wildlife reserve which looks out over the Indian Ocean. Diani Beach has high-class restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, and several shopping centres.
Diani Beach is also a popular kitesurfing location.
Malindi & Watamu
The small town of Malindi is at the centre of a strip of idyllic tropical beaches offering visitors a range of world class resorts and quiet relaxing hideaways. Further south, the sleepy village of Watamu is fronted by wide white beaches. This tranquil haven is home to several well established resorts, and many private guesthouses scattered through the forest along the deserted shore.
At Watamu a Marine National Park has been established, an ideal day trip for divers and snorkellers alike.
Northwest of Malindi is the spectacular Marafa Depression, locally known as Nyari and popularly known as Hell’s Kitchen. An extensive series of sandstone gorges and sheer gullies, this unique and otherworldly landscape has become part of local folklore.
The thick jungles of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest reserve hide a world of wonders. In the cool of the forest winding paths will take you in search of rare endemic birds and mammals, and visiting herds of Elephant.
The forest holds another secret, the lost town of Gedi, a deserted trading Swahili town hidden deep in the forests, whose winding passages and crumbling walls tell of a long and mysterious past.
Walk through the Forest, explore the mangroves by boat, dive on the reef or try your hand at big game fishing.
Lamu is a place like no other, a peaceful tropical island where life is lived at it’s own relaxed rhythm, but a place whose history is as mysterious and fascinating as the winding streets of it’s medieval stone town.
The island itself is a beautiful place of rolling dunes and endless beaches, where tiny villages nestle among coconut and mango plantations and lateen sailed dhows ply the waters. But Lamu’s real attraction is its Old town.
The town of Lamu began life as a 14th century Swahili settlement, but the island has seen many visitors and influences, including Portuguese explorers, Turkish traders and the Omani Arabs. All left their mark, but Lamu developed its own particular culture, which has ultimately endured.
Lamu’s narrow streets remain unchanged, and in the markets and squares around the fort life moves at the same pace as it always has. There are no vehicles on this island, and the donkey and the dhow remain the dominant form of transport.
Dhow safaris can take you beyond Lamu into the surrounding archipelago, where isolated villages, ancient ruins and a few luxurious and exclusive resorts lie hidden among the islands of Manda, Siyu, Pate and Kiwayu.
This idyllic island speaks to the heart and soul, and a trip to Lamu is a romantic experience that can become a lifelong affair.