Consistently known for being one of the top beaches in Africa, Diani Beach is home to picturesque white sand beaches and clear turquoise water. However, you’d never know it was such a top tourist destination, because the town still has that untapped paradise, “locals only” vibe. Diani Beach is located about 1 hour south of the much bigger and more commercialized Mombasa. This gives it that remote, sleepy beach town feel, making you feel like you have your very own private beach. If you are looking for a romantic and intimate beach experience in Africa, you can’t do much better than Diani Beach.
How to get there:
You can either fly into Mombasa and grab a shuttle or ferry service down to Diani Beach or take a small hopper plane directly there. They have planes landing in from Nairobi daily (which is what we opted for) but if you are going to be coming from somewhere else in Kenya, Mombasa might offer more flight options. Once you arrive you can grab a taxi out front – there are many waiting to provide services, or most accommodations can help in arranging one for you.
Where to Stay:
The thing to do down in Diani Beach is to rent a house. Most run around $100/night and are lavishly equipped with hammocks, pools, loungers and everything you need for a relaxing stay. For us, this allowed the most freedom and really be able to unwind and relax in a very private and secluded way. Most houses still provide cleaning services daily, so linens and beds are refreshed and you don’t have to worry about tiding up while on vacation. Here are a few houses to check out:
Coconut Grove : This is the one we rented - 1 minute walk to the beach
Villa Madinina : Located on the same street as ours
Monkey House: Located right on the beach
However if you are looking for a more traditional stay, here’s a few places we would recommend after being down in the area:
The Zubeida: Offers a lot of personalized touches and availability for meals at the beach/poolside
Ocean Village Club: Located on the beach with spa services and fine dining. Caters to couples and romantic getaways
Neptune Village: This is your all inclusive, I never have to leave the property, ultimate luxury experience. Located right along the beach with multiple pools so you can take your pick of where to cool off for a nice dip.
Where to eat:
If you go the route of renting a house, one of the big perks of doing so, is it gives you the option of hiring a private chef. I know what your thinking, private chef - am I a celebrity? You can be in Diani Beach. They run about $10-$15/day and will cook you literally anything your heart desires. We made requests such as guacamole & fajitas, roasted whole chicken, ratatouille, and even shakshuka. Our girl Monique was able to do everything flawlessly, including the dishes! All you will need to do is agree upon a menu, when you want to eat, and then provide the funds to buy ingredients. Then sit back and enjoy the good life.
If you don’t opt for the chef or stay at a classic hotel there are also a few places in town you can catch for a great bite to eat. Here’s a few we recommend:
Ali Barbour’s Cave restaurant: Looking for a romantic candle lit dinner in a cave? Ali Barbour offers you this unique and intimate experience with fine dining food
Sails Beach Bar & Restaurant: Looking for fresh seafood and a sunset view? This is one of the best kitchens in the area with a romantic ambiance to match.
Nomad’s Restaurant: A Beautiful terrace on the beach with fast service and fresh food. Not a bad place for a chic lunch.
What to do:
The ideal thing to do in Diani Beach is to just unwind. But if your having a day where you feel like getting out and doing some activities here’s a few specialties of Diani Beach:
Camel ride on the beach – okay this is quite the experience. Outside of the hotel “Forty Thieves” you can find camels to ride during the day (typically starting anytime after 10 am). You can ride for 20 minutes usually costing $5-$10. Its an adventure and something fun if you’ve never ridden a camel on the beach before
Water Safari - Basically anywhere you go in Kenya there is the opportunity to go on a safari and Diani Beach is no exception. The main wildlife to see here are whales and dolphins. Many companies are willing to take you on a water safari to see all the ocean has to offer including snorkeling, scuba diving, or boat cruise.
Sunrise - Sunrise in Diani Beach is ideal because the beach is facing the east coast so you’ll get the best colors. It also tends to be very windy in the afternoons and evenings so we found sunrise to be the most peaceful and best time for pictures
Spa service/ Massage – If your renting a house ask your host for a recommendation (there are many that will come to your house and provide massages) or you can check out the large resorts in the area. Pricing for out home services was reasonable $25-$50/ massage depending on length & type.
Sky diving - If your looking to get a rush and jump out of a plane in a beautiful destination, Diani Beach offers a great place for a gorgeous sky diving experience.
Relax on the beach – Did we say this place was relaxing yet? Sorry to repeat ourselves, but really that is the best part about Diani Beach. So don’t overload your days, and take advantage of living the slow life.
What we go Right:
· Opt for the rental house and chef – It’s a unique experience that you can’t get everywhere, so take advantage. It’s your chance to live the glamorous life – take it.
· Keep your doors closed during the day – Diani Beach is a sleepy town and you don’t need to worry about getting robbed by people, but there any many wild monkeys in the area and are they are mischievous! They will come into your house and grab things if you leave the doors open – one managed to grab 3 of our energy bars we had packed and proceeded to take one bite and then leave them in other places of the house
· Allow extra time to grab taxis into the main town during rush hour – Tuk Tuk’s and taxi’s are very hard to come by around 6 or 7 pm. They also tend to increase the prices. We recommend if you are going to dinner, find somewhere you can walk to or try and get into the area earlier so you don’t run into this issue.
What to Pack:
That’s all for now- If you have any questions give us a shout!