Kenya’s abundance of wildlife and plentiful National Reserves justifiably earn it the reputation as one of the safari capitals of the world. But Kenya’s golden coastline is equally spectacular and ought not to be overlooked. The pristine beaches along the Indian Ocean are a haven of peace and tranquillity, ideal for relaxing after an action-packed safari trip or escaping Kenya’s bustling cities. Explore the underwater treasures of the coral reefs that adorn the shoreline and discover the vast array of marine life that inhabit the waters. Here is our selection of some of the most idyllic beaches that Kenya has to offer.
Located 30 kilometres south of Mombasa, it is clear to see why Diani is one of Kenya’s most popular beaches. The powdery white sands and swaying palm trees that border the beach are the definition of a tropical paradise. Diani is rich in ancient cultural sites, from mosques to age-old Swahili towns. It is also home to a plethora of sea-life, including five different species of sea turtles, humpback whales, whale-back sharks and even the elusive whale shark. You could take a boat safari or for a more authentic experience, cruise along the coastline on a dhow - a traditional lateen rig ship with one or two masts.
Nestled at the edge of lush tropical rainforest are the pristine white sands and clear azure waters of Watamu Beach. With its name meaning ‘sweet people’ in Swahili, Watamu is well-known for its laid-back, unique way of life. Its offshore coral formations are protected as a part of Watamu Beach National Park and there are even eco-friendly hotels dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism in the area. Watamu is also an important nesting ground for the majestic green, olive ridley and hawksbill turtles, with marine conservation projects in place to monitor the progress of these endangered creatures.
Mombasa is Kenya’s oldest and second largest city, with an estimated population of 1.2 million people. Nyali beach is an oasis of calm with crystal-clear waters lapping the shore, located just minutes away from the bustling metropolis that is Mombasa. Nyali’s natural lagoon, favourable wind conditions and tropical climate combine to create ideal conditions for surfing and kitesurfing - why not give them a go?
Located in the Indian Ocean close to the Northwest of Kenya is a cluster of tranquil desert islands including Lamu and Manda, Lamu beach being a 2 mile stretch of sun-kissed white sand. Home to some of the best preserved Swahili settlements and recognised by UNESCO as having the oldest Swahili settlement in East Africa, Lamu is rich in traditional culture. Comprising of small fishing villages, the languid pace of life here offers a true escape from the hustle and bustle of the mainland. Between the months of September and May is the season to go swimming with dolphins, while from July to December you might be lucky enough to spot a whale. Keep your eyes peeled for a dugong - an unusual walrus-like creature - as although sightings are possible, they are few and far between.
Spend idle hours lazing on the glorious golden sand with a good book. Alternatively the turquoise waters of the stunning Manda bay are prime for diving or snorkeling amidst thousands of colourful fish and vibrant coral reefs, allowing you to immerse yourself in the surrounding nature. Back on dry land, the island is home to an extraordinary variety of birds and mammals including porcupine, mongoose, genet cat, civet cat and the dik-dik, a type of small antelope.
Make it happen
If you would like to experience the relaxed, laid-back pace of Kenya’s beaches for yourself, our brilliant local experts can help. Simply go to the enquiry form pop in a few details and they will help tailor a bespoke trip for you. To speak to someone in the TravelLocal office, please call +44 (0) 117 325 7898.