Kenya’s coastline has some of the best tropical beaches in Africa. Below are the best Kenyan beaches for swimming, beach sports, scuba diving, snorkeling as well as boat rides with transparent glasses at the bottom that allow you to see the rich marine life.
Located approximately 30km south of Mombasa city in Kwale county. This 17Km long white sandy beach is the most popular beach that provides a tranquil haven where you can relax and enjoy the warmth of the sun. Diani beach is renowned for its coral-reefs, underwater sandbars, and widespread palm vegetation.
In 2014, Diani Beach emerged top as Africa’s Leading Beach Destination in World Travel Awards.
With many world class beach resorts, widespread palm vegetation, giant coral reefs and a vibrant marine life put Diani Beach in its own class. While here, you can simply relax on the beach and unwind, take a walk or participate in activities like kite surfing, snorkeling or sky diving.
To access Diani Beach, you pass through the Likoni ferry crossing that connects with Mombasa Island. You can also fly to the nearby Ukunda airstrip (which has direct flights from Nairobi)
Nyali is located on the mainland north of Mombasa Island. Nyali is renowned for its tourist potential and proximity to the city It is connected to Mombasa Island by the New Nyali Bridge. Nyali is known for its many high-class hotels and residential houses, shopping malls. The long white sand beaches that offer a calm and relaxing ambiance makes it a popular destination for both local and foreign tourists.
Due to its calmness, Nyali has a wide range of accommodation facilities that range from luxury hotels to affordable hotels and its coast is bordered with white sand beaches protected by a coral reef. Apart from the normal beach activities that you can do around Nyali like sunbathing, swimming and playing with sands and building sand castles, it’s also a good location for beach volley, windsurfing, scuba diving, kite surf, jet skiing, sailing. The beach is never overcrowded and offers lots of space for privacy.
You can also spend time at the Haller Park or the Mamba village. Wild waters is a perfect for families and especially very entertaining for children.
Watamu is a small town located approximately 105 km north of Mombasa and about 15 km south of Malindi on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. The beach is known for its local reefs making it a perfect spot for snorkeling and scuba diving, crystal clear water and soft white sands. The beach is perfect for swimming, gives you a fantastic holiday experience. You can engage in some beach activities such as surfing, sunbathing or take a long walk along the shores. The Watamu Marine National Park is one of the best snorkeling and diving sites on the East African coast. You could also explore around by taking a trip to the Arabuko Sokoke forest or visit the Gede Ruins.
One can get to Watamu through the Malindi Airport. Driving from Mombasa town and 15 Kilometers from Malindi you turn right to the Watamu beach.
Just about 10 km from Mombasa city centre towards the North coast is Bamburi beach. Bamburi beach has quite a number of beach hotels, apartments and villas. The famous ‘Pirates’ (Jomo Kenyatta Public beach) which is Mombasa’s and Kenya’s largest public beach is located on this stretch of Bamburi beach. The beach is a popular destination for sun lovers and sand seekers, those who love walking, swimming or relaxing by the beach.
The Mombasa Marine Park is a major attraction here for those who’re fascinated with Marine life. Being a very busy public beach, there are several stalls where you can buy artifacts, traditional wear and snacks to enjoy on the beach. You could also visit the Haller Park or Mamba Village. There are a number of shopping malls with close proximity to the beach.
You can easily get here with a private car, taxi, tuktuk or matatu from Mombasa town
Shanzu is a secluded beach located about 18Km north of Mombasa, off the Mombasa – Malindi road. The beach is surrounded by coconut palm groves and has several beach resorts and hotels, bars and restaurants. The coral reef starts right at the shoreline and the coconut palms form the backdrop to the beach where the visitors can enjoy and have fun. The beach offers pleasant views of the sea, sheer beauty of the coast and endless water spots. It is perfect for tropical beach holidays and memorable experiences.Accessibility is easy through Serena road that is adjacent to Shanzu Teachers College.
Tiwi is a quiet beach located in Kwale County approximately 18km from Mombasa City. This beach is a perfect hideaway. If you just want to relax and rejuvenate in a stress free environment with absolute silence, this is the place to be.
With very few beach resorts, Amani Tiwi beach hotel is the only big hotel but there are cottages and apartments nearby. This beach has the best snorkeling spots and is calm and undisturbed.
Lamu Island has the best beaches perfect for relaxation during your holiday. These beaches are known for their breathtaking views and peaceful ambiance. These beaches are surrounded by luxury resorts built around the ocean. These beach resorts offer visitors an exquisite place to have fun and relax.
Dhow sailing is a common sight in Lamu. Dhows are the cheapest mode of transport, used to ferry people from Lamu beach to Shela beach and Manda Island, all the way to Kiwayu Island. You can set sail to watch the sunset in the deep sea, or cruise all the way to the marine park to snorkel and swim with dolphins if your timing is right, or you can go on an excursion to view the ruins of Takwa.
Lamu is best accessed by air either directly from Nairobi (Fly 540 from Kenyatta airport, Safarilink and Air Kenya fly from Wilson Airport, Nairobi) or from Mombasa or Malindi. The airport is on an island opposite the main village requiring a short boat/ferry ride.
For those on a tighter budget a daily bus service does run from Mombasa via Malindi. The trip from Mombasa to Lamu (Mokowe on the mainland) takes 5-7 hours depending on road conditions. Two express buses are Tawakal and Najaah. From Mokowe on the mainland it is possible to take the slow and crowded ferry, a shared speed boat or hire your own speed boat. All options will take you to Lamu Town. You can usually negotiate to be taken to Shela if this is your final destination.