Diani Beach is a major beach resort on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya, it is located 30 kilometers south of Mombasa. It can be reached directly by plane, but from Kigali it was easy to have a flight to Mombasa , and then using the ferry and road to arrive at this small paradise .
This town was just a fishing place 40 years ago, but in the 70s when tourists wishing to come to Africa found Kenya the ideal place, as there was so much strife and problems in other African countries and it was the beginning of a touristic boom. Hotels were built along the coast road, which was at that time a dusty road. Since then Diani has continued to expend without losing its charm and simple atmosphere. You will not feel that you are in a very touristic area if you avoid the big hotels.
Where to stay
We choose a Airbnb for our stay . With two little girls and a big need of calm it was the best option. It is also the cheapest. You avoid all the expenses you can have for food and drinks in an hôtel-restaurant, making your shopping at the market (located on the parking of the supermarket) and Chandarana supermarket. You can find small cottage with 2 rooms for 49 dollars by night or if you travel with a big group or family, rent a beautiful house with swimming pool and 6 rooms for about 200 dollars by night. You will find lot of others options on the website. I try to always choose a superhost owner and I read the comments of previous guests to know exactly what to expect. Never had a disappointment.
If you prefer hotel, you will have a huge choice! From big resorts to hostel, you can find some options on Booking. The sands at Nomad is beautiful and their restaurant is one of the best in Diani. For budget options, Diani Backpackers is what you need !
What to do
Of course going to the beach… 17km long, white sand, palm trees, turquoise water and not crowded , you can enjoy one of the most beautiful beach of the world.
Boat excursion with Pilli Pipa Dhow
Pilli Pipa have two traditional Arab dhows and they organize a full day trip to the Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park, you will enjoy snorkeling with dolphins. A lunch in Wasini island and then again snorkeling. You leave in the morning around 7:30 and you will be back at 5pm. The price is 105 euro for adult and 50 euro for kids. The price includes transport to and from hotels, all equipment including fins, Kenya Wildlife Services Marine park fees, use of up to date snorkelling equipment, trained marine guides to assist, mineral water/tea/coffee and snacks on the dhow, a wonderful seafood lunch served with wine, beer, soft drinks.
Pilli Pipa also organize diving activities to discover the reef.
Skydiving with SkydiveDiani
Tandem skydiving allows you to experience the parachuting with a spectacular scenery ! They also have a skydive school if you want to lear to jump alone ! For more info contact them directly !
Diani is a perfect spot for kite surfers! You can go to Lymington’s bar and hotel, and find more info with H2O extreme who runs a kitesurf school !
Shimba Hills National Reserve
Shimba Hills was created as a national forest in 1903 and is now one of the largest areas of coastal rainforest in East Africa covering 24,000 hectares. There are 153 km of roads within this national park. Waterfalls, elephants sanctuary, birds… you will see some natural beauties here!
Where to eat
Lymington’s beach bar : is located right on the beach and shares the space with H2O extreme kitesurfing school. From breakfast to dinner, they offer some very good options! Wraps, salads, burgers or prawns . I tried the avocado&prawns salad and it was a pure DELISH! They also have an extended bar menu and it seems to be the place to be to have a beer or a cocktail!
Nomad Restaurant : my favorite! The space is gorgeous, the service is excellent and so is the food too! Try the seafood salad or the seafood platter, they are amazing. They also offer excellent pizzas and you can choose the size of it (the biggest is 1m… yes I know … but after few Dawa and a good group of friends maybe it is seems an option). You can also enjoy only the place for a drinks or an ice cream , the view is waouh!
Shashin-Ka Japanese Restaurant : sushis, rolls, sashimi, tempura, etc . Here you will travel direct from Kenya to Japan! Decoration is lovely , food is FANTASTIC ! You will not regret to wait a table (but you can book to avoid waiting).
Kokkos Café Bistro : Little gem for the sweet tooth amateur ! Various cakes and pastries, but also a small breakfast and bistro menu. Perfect spot to have a break from the beach and the heat. The Apple crumble pie was delicious.
When and how to go there
The typical tropical weather can be affected by monsoon winds. The Kaskazi wind is a northern monsoon normally lasting from late November to late February / early March but is moderately dry. In March to May the wind blows in the east to south-easterly direction which is called the Kusi with strong maritime air from the Indian Ocean bringing heavy downpours of rain. But we were there the first two weeks of April and we were not affected by the rain, we had two days with very light rain during few hours. Humidity was very high. So it is normally better to avoid April and May, the more rainy months in this area. The warmest month is February and the coolest being September. Temperatures are between 21° and 35° all year long.
From Kigali, Rwandair offers a direct flight to Mombasa. It is a night flight which means you will arrive at 2am in Mombasa and then you will still have 1h30 of road to Diani. The return is at 5 am, arriving in Kigali at 6am. The price will be around 250 dollars.
If you travel from Europe, you have more options. You will probably have a stop in Nairobi but via Expedia, I saw some tickets at 488 euro. You can also combine Diani with a bigger travel including some safaris in this beautiful country and ending by some beach time!