Diani Beach: Top 10 Reasons To Visit Kenya’s Prime Travel Destination

Palm trees next to a pool at Swahili Beach Resort

For the keen traveller, the world has become a small place, especially with prospects of remote working becoming a reality for most. If you are longing for somewhere different, exotic, and underexplored, then Diani Beach in Kenya should be at the top of your list.

Diani Beach Kenya

A wildlife safari to Kenya is the dream of many tourists. Still, a trip to Kenya is not complete without a visit to its coastal areas. No matter what your pleasure is, you will find it in Diani Beach. It has so much to offer the intrepid traveller, whether you are a solo traveller, accompanied, or travelling with kids,  Diani is a family-friendly island that includes a host of activities to keep the young ones busy. For this reason, it has been voted as the best beach in Africa, and in my opinion, deserves the number one spot on the best beach in the world list.

Palm trees canopy in a tropical resort Swahili Beach Resort

Warm Indian Ocean Breeze and a Warm Welcome

With almost seventeen kilometres of pristine white sand, cerulean water, and waving palm trees, this picture-perfect beach hugs the shores of the warm Indian Ocean. There are coral reefs to explore, and the sand bars make it perfect for swimming and many other water sports.

And if that is not enough, there are exquisite islands to explore nearby. This intimate slice of heaven is calling out to you.

strolling on a white sand beach on the indian ocean

Top Places to Visit and Things To Do at This Breath-taking Kenyan Beach:

You could choose to spend your days lazing around the pool or on a sun lounger. However, without too much effort, you can also enjoy a host of exceptional experiences at Diani Beach that are unique and mind-blowing. My list of not-to-be-missed Diani Beach experiences include:

swimming in a pool overlooking the Indian Ocean in Wasini Island

1)    A Mini Safari Begging to Be Explored:

If you did not get a chance to go on a traditional safari before coming to the coast- no problem. Make sure you visit the nearby Shimba Hills National Park. Here photographic opportunities abound in every direction. You can spot elephants, giraffes, and buffalos, as well as the unusual Roan and Sable antelopes (these are only found at Shimba) grazing in the rolling grasslands. By contrast, the neighbouring rainforest will allow you to see black and white colobus monkeys, serval cats, red duiker, and suni antelopes.

waterfalls at Shimba Hills, Diani Beach Kenya

 

Tips on visiting: Entry to the park costs $20 and $100 for residents and non-residents, respectively.  This gives you access to the animals as well as the waterfall. The tour is usually guided by park rangers and bookings have to be made in advance.

A monkey at Shimba Hills National Park

2)    Sail Away on a Snorkelling and Diving Adventure Amidst Stunning Corals:

A trip to Diani is not complete without a snorkelling and or diving trip to Wasini Island.  The island itself has a population of about 3,000 people. There are no police, no cars, and transport around the island is only by foot or boat.

sea turtles in Wasini

You would need to plan for a full day to visit Wasini. The trip starts from Shimoni town, an hour’s drive from Diani. The dhows ( sailboats) used for the trip are an adventure in their own right, especially on windy days. The trip is made even more worthwhile when the dolphin chasing begins.  On most days, unless the tides are really high, these gentle giants usually make for a good show. Each trip includes two snorkelling/ diving sessions. You do not need to know how to swim to snorkel; the experienced guides will make sure you still see the most beautiful corals while hanging onto a floatie.

Dolphins during a trip to Wasini Island

The highlight of the trip – a hearty Swahili lunch served from a floating restaurant. Afterwards, you have a choice between relaxing in a scenic pool overlooking the sea or indulging in cultural delights delving into an authentic east African experience by visiting a local village.  Our trip was planned by Charlie’s Claws.

floating restaurant on Wasini Islan Lunch during snorkeling trip to WaSini

3)    A Must-Palate Island Experience

If you are looking for a change from Diani and want to explore a sister island, you need not travel more than 30 minutes from Diani. Man and nature have conspired to create the epitome of romantic tranquillity – Chale Island. Only accessible by boat, tractor – yes, that is not a typo – or on foot, you arrive at the exquisite Sands at Chale Island Resort.

Sunset in Chale Island

A luxurious sanctuary that rivals the best hotels in the world.  Seemingly endless white-sand beaches, a laid back atmosphere, and arguably one of the world’s most calm turquoise ocean, and colours and variety of the local sea life that are beyond belief. Think of the Maldives but at a fraction of the price.

Swimming Pool at Sands at Chale

The island is also home to an ancient forest or Kaya. Revered by the local people and a favoured habitat of many primates in equal measures.

4)    Inspiration for “Culture Vultures”

For travellers interested in the local culture and history, a visit to Funzi Island is a chance to meet locals famous for their traditional fishing and sailing skills. Here you will experience where ancient African traditions blend with influences from Persia, including reminders of the deplorable slave trade that operated in these parts.

5)    Blissfully Relaxed Lifestyle

Experience beachside glamour, downing a Dawa (Kenya’s signature cocktail) enjoying great food and fun music. While chilling at the beach, look out for the camel trotting locals and catch a ride.  Have you even been to Diani beach if you have not taken a camel ride?

Camel rides at Nomad Beach Kenya

6)    Everything You Need – And More!

As you stroll along the white sands of this top Kenyan beach, you may feel as if you have entered an alternate universe. However, you are not far removed from every convenience or modern necessity that your heart may desire.

There are shopping centres with quaint coffee shops and stalls selling local artefacts to buy as souvenirs. Local people display their wares on the beach, including beaded jewellery, sarongs, etc. Their sales make a valuable contribution to the local economy.

Boutique at Diani Shopping Center

(c)Khadija Farrah, New York Times

7)    Eclectic Restaurants Offering You A Culinary Odyssey

After all that activity you will be famished. But fear not, because Diani beach hosts a collection of restaurants and bars offering the finest Swahili and International cuisine with views that take your breath away. From sundowners to beach parties that last all night long, you will have the choice of as much lively entertainment or tranquillity and rest as you prefer at this top-rated Kenyan beach.

Relaxing at Sands at Nomad restaurant

Seafood lovers and those craving an eclectic mix of local delicacies will not be disappointed with the menus at:

  • Sands at Nomad: A favourite for locals and tourists alike, the food is decadent, boasts of the best views in Diani Beach and a wine list that is to die for.
  • Ali Barbour’s Cave restaurant: An unashamedly romantic venue, with the kind of ambience you would only find in a restaurant carved out of a rock. The seafood and wine at this restaurant will make it a night to remember.
    Ali Babours Cave Restaurant, Diani Beach Kenya

    (c) Rosalia Filippetti, Ali Barbours Cave Restaurant

  • Sails Beach Bar & Restaurant: One of the most stunning beach bars in Kenya! The outstanding architecture is both exquisite and distinctive. The enormous sails and arching beams create an atmospheric ambience in perfect keeping with the idyllic setting.
  • Zanzibar Restaurant at Swahili Beach: An exquisite setting, evocative architecture, and a modern, fusion menu. Completely recommend the Tepanyakki, it’s an absolute must have.
  • Apero: Latest addition to the Diani restaurant scene. A hype ambience perfect for relaxation and if you want to catch up with work too.
  • Havana: Cool bar serving cocktails and light meals.

8)    Unique Accommodation Options Along The Beach

Swimming pool at Swahili Beach Resort

Luxurious options at a steal: There is no shortage of places to stay. Diani boasts of some of the best accommodation options, from the luxurious Swahili Beach Resort with its 9 cascading pools to the unique Almanara resort with its 7-star exclusive villas, or the divine, eco-friendly Leopard Beach resort and Spa. And do not forget to take a look at the Sands at Chale for a reclusive experience. If travelling with children, the Baobab Beach Resort, with its all-inclusive offer, will allow you to unwind while its famous team of animators ensure your kids remain entertained.

Swahili Beach Resort

Budget stays:  For budget-conscious travellers, there are many low-cost hotels in Diani. Try the excellent camping facilities, backpackers, cottages, pet-friendly locations, or mid-range to cheap hotels available in Diani Beach.

Wasini island

Airbnb has opened up a world of opportunities accommodation-wise in Diani Beach. It is not uncommon to get a whole villa with a pool for about $70 a night.

9)    A Multitude Of Ways To Explore This Paradise!

If you are still hungry for an adventure and other things to do in Diani Beach, you can explore the options below:

  • Bike tours for the more fitness-minded tourist. They are the perfect way to enjoy the sights at your own pace.Bike tours around Diani Beach
  • Extreme water sport activities are available in abundance. There are Jet Ski safari adventures, Fly Board, and Jet Pack Thrilling water sports experiences. Or you could try Kite Surfing, Kayaking, and Windsurfing. You could take a trip in a luxury motorboat, a glass-bottomed boat, or a gentle sail on a traditional dhow.
  • Rev up the adrenalin with a whale shark expedition or frolic with the many pods of dolphins.
  • Explore the island sightseeing on a TukTuk or a rented motorbike
  • Take a skydiving trip to get an aerial view of the Diani Beach and ensure that you don’t miss a thing.
  • Get your diving certificate, a skill that can open up a lifetime of exciting vacations.
  • Go fishing with experienced captains; restaurants will be happy to cook your catch.

10) A Kenyan Beach Holiday Par Excellence

The pool at Swahili Beach Resort, Diana Beach Kenya

For anyone with a love for and an interest in Africa, a vacation at this dreamy beach destination promises more than anyone could put down in words. It just has to be experienced. This safe and heavenly destination is incomparable. You need to hear “Karibu” – or welcome! to Kenya’s top beach resort!

Transport options to Diani Beach

Diani is only an hour’s flight from Kenya’s capital Nairobi with numerous flight options to the small Ukunda Airport throughout the day. Note that there are no night flights into Diani. Another option is the 30-kilometre drive from Kenya’s second-largest city Mombasa, where there is an international airport. You can aptly use the Uber taxi service from the airport to Diani.

Train options from Nairobi include the SGR from Nairobi, which offers epic views of the African landscape, including a chance to see wild animals.

Frequently asked questions about Diani Beach, Kenya

view of Chale island from a sail boat

  • Most beaches are free and open to the public. Generally, hotels have private beaches. You can walk from one end of the island to the other, famous for sunrise and sunset walks.
  • Topless sunbathing is not allowed.
  • Do not bring valuables to the beach.
  • You can pay by cash, credit card, or better still, register for Kenya’s mobile banking payment system MPESA.

Have I convinced to visit Diani Beach? if so let me know on the comments below. Interested in traveling to Kenya check out this post about the Lamu Yoga Festival another desirable beach destination on the Kenyan Coast

midlifesafaris.com Diani Beach Kenya

70 Comments

  1. February 20, 2021 / 8:58 pm

    Diani beach looks like paradise! What an incredible place! To be honest, I was sold on the white sands and blue ocean, but Shimba Hills National Park looks like an amazing experience too! Also, Ali Barbour’s Cave restaurant looks like a beautiful and romantic place to eat! You’ve got me planning a trip now! Thanks for the great guide!

    • February 21, 2021 / 7:27 pm

      Glad you liked it Hannah it really has so much to offer

  2. February 20, 2021 / 9:27 pm

    Diani Beach looks like absolute paradise! I would love to go on a snorkeling trip to Wasini Island, that sounds like so much fun 🙂 you definitely have me wanting to plan a trip to Kenya now!

  3. February 20, 2021 / 9:56 pm

    A Kenyan safari is absolutely a bucket list destination for me. I’ll include Diani Beach too!

    • February 21, 2021 / 7:26 pm

      Amazing stuff Jamie, you won’t regret it

  4. Taylor Deer
    February 20, 2021 / 11:59 pm

    Wow! Diani Beach looks absolutely breathtaking! Thank you for sharing this article because you definitely put a new destination on my bucket list for when I visit Kenya at some point. Also, all of your photos are beautiful! 🙂

    • February 21, 2021 / 7:25 pm

      Thank you Taylor, I hope you get to visit one day

  5. February 21, 2021 / 6:23 am

    Diani Beach really looks amazing and I never knew that Kenya has so many wonderful beaches. Camel ride on beach and sipping up local drink Dawa would be my choice too. Loved your suggestions and tips.

    • February 21, 2021 / 7:24 pm

      Completely agree with you Yukti on the Dawas on the beach

  6. February 21, 2021 / 12:54 pm

    How beautiful does this location look?! The beach looks amazing and so does that waterfall. Definitely adding to my bucket list.

  7. Keena
    February 21, 2021 / 12:56 pm

    I can’t wait to visit Kenya . It’s the one place with my first initial and almost matches my name . I would love to visit the animals in the safari .

    • February 21, 2021 / 7:22 pm

      Oh yea that is so true you ;literally have a country named after you 🙂

  8. February 21, 2021 / 4:58 pm

    I had no idea this was there, and I’ve been to Kenya! I can’t wait to go back. Would love to visit this gorgeous part of the country!

    • February 21, 2021 / 7:21 pm

      I bet you would write a brilliant post about typical Kenyan food. But yea Diani is a must-visit

  9. February 21, 2021 / 5:45 pm

    What a beautiful place! I would love to go here!

  10. February 21, 2021 / 5:49 pm

    This brings back some wonderful memories as me and my family visited Kenya in 2009! I agree with you and the sand is amazing and it is such a picture perfect spot! I loved doing water sports but you mention so many wonderful things that we didn’t do. I guess we will have to return!

    • February 21, 2021 / 7:20 pm

      You definitely should consider coming again Rachel

  11. February 21, 2021 / 5:55 pm

    I saw Diani beach on television some time ago and thought it looked fab. Thank you for presenting the evidence to convince me to visit. It really looks like my idea of paradise.

    • February 21, 2021 / 7:19 pm

      I can confirm that it’s as stunning as it might have looked on TV

  12. February 21, 2021 / 8:26 pm

    Oh my goodness… I literally LIVED IN KENYA and never visited this place!! I can’t believe I missed this gem. I need to go back pronto so I can go here.

    • February 21, 2021 / 9:09 pm

      It’s been pretty under the radar until recently.do visit if you ever come back to Kenya

  13. February 21, 2021 / 9:36 pm

    These photos are all the convincing I need to come to Kenya! Can’t wait to visit one day. Our trip back to Africa is postponed for this year, but hopefully we can return in a couple of years!

    • February 22, 2021 / 6:44 am

      I hope you get to Sarah and that Diani will be top of mind 🙂

  14. February 21, 2021 / 9:37 pm

    Diani Beach looks and sounds magical! Lovely post, always wanted to visit Kenya

    • February 22, 2021 / 6:36 am

      I hope you get to visit it one day Tina

  15. February 21, 2021 / 9:44 pm

    Wow! Diani Beach looks incredible! The water is so, so clear! And camels on the beach are just amazing! It looks like a truly wonderful place 🙂

    • February 22, 2021 / 6:36 am

      It is pretty cool, the camels are an extra touch

  16. February 21, 2021 / 10:46 pm

    These photos absolutely make me want to go to Kenya! Honestly from these photos it looks like a tropical paradise like the Maldives or something!

    • February 22, 2021 / 6:35 am

      Glad you like it Lily and yes Kenya is absolutely a tropical paradise and affordable one at that

  17. February 21, 2021 / 11:27 pm

    Diani Beach is truly a paradise. It’s nice to see another side of Kenya. I would love to visit there one day and dine at Ali Barbour’s Cave restaurant. Never seen such a place, looks so cool!

    • February 22, 2021 / 6:34 am

      I hope you get to one day Mayi and Ali Barbour’s is such a delight

  18. February 22, 2021 / 1:22 am

    Wow this looks like a great place to visit! I never heard of it so thanks for sharing!

  19. February 22, 2021 / 3:10 am

    Wow, I have always heard amazing things about Kenya, but I never realized how beautiful the country’s beaches were!! This post was fantastic, and made me want to visit. Thanks for sharing!

    • February 22, 2021 / 6:31 am

      Is is quite stunning – I’m biased though 🙂

  20. February 22, 2021 / 10:13 am

    I think a blissfully relaxed lifestyle is what everyone needs after being in lockdown and I can’t wait to be able to travel again once restrictions are lifted. Kenya has been on my bucket list for quite some time and honestly your photo has shown me a completely different side to Kenya. Diani beach looks absolutely stunning, and your photos are incredible! Swahili Beach Resort looks so dreamy.

    • February 22, 2021 / 11:17 am

      Completely agree Ana. Hopefully we’ll be able to travel safely again in the future. Diani Beach is really worth it if you get the chance to visit

  21. February 22, 2021 / 12:05 pm

    Diani Beach looks like paradise! I was once in Kenya but I would like to return to visit less touristy places where local people live. Ali Barbour’s Cave restaurant looks like a romantic place to eat! Thanks for sharing

    • February 22, 2021 / 12:39 pm

      Completely vouche for Diani Beach. Ali Barbour’s is an added bonus

  22. February 22, 2021 / 12:17 pm

    What a lovely beach! Kenya has been on my bucket list, but I never heard of this beach. Will definitely keep it mind for when I go.

    • February 22, 2021 / 12:38 pm

      I hope you get to travel there at some point

  23. February 22, 2021 / 3:24 pm

    Ok, as if Kenya wasn’t already at the top of my list, I hadn’t even considered it as a beach destination!! And it looks absolutely unreal. Thanks for sharing

    • February 22, 2021 / 8:34 pm

      It totally is both a safari and beach destination. I hope you make it to strike both off your bucket list

  24. February 22, 2021 / 5:03 pm

    You are bringing back such happy memories! I LOVED staying at Diani beach. I think this is one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever explored.

    Just we had to be sooo careful with sunscreen. My husband ended up looking like a lobster, just from 15mins between snorkeling and riding the boat back to the beach (he didn’t reapply sunscreen fast enough!)

    • February 22, 2021 / 8:33 pm

      Glad to hear an objective confirmation of Diani’s epic status. My husband also fried the first time we went snorkeling – can’t have enough sunscreen

  25. February 22, 2021 / 8:24 pm

    Diani Beach looks amazing. I never made it to the beaches when I visited Kenya!

    • February 22, 2021 / 8:32 pm

      Hi Kristina hopefully you’ll get to check out the beaches next time you visit

  26. February 22, 2021 / 10:41 pm

    Wow! I really enjoyed this article and the photos. I am definitely a culture vulture. I really enjoyed learning about all these locations. I may have to just visit them all!

  27. February 22, 2021 / 10:56 pm

    Wow, I love the animal encounters and how close you can see some of those animals in the ocean. That cave restaurant looks amazing, I’d definitely like to eat there. What a stunning place to visit Diani Beach is

    • February 23, 2021 / 10:28 am

      Yea the views there do not disappoint

  28. Tiffany
    February 23, 2021 / 12:16 am

    This sounds like my dream vacation! Ocean, scuba diving, safari, local foods and culture. Sign me up!!!

  29. February 23, 2021 / 12:24 am

    Beaches, jungle, snorkeling, safaris–Diani has everything!! Visiting this amazing Kenya destination would be a dream.

    • February 23, 2021 / 10:27 am

      It is a dream worthy destination 🙂

  30. February 23, 2021 / 4:42 am

    Although I have not heard of it, it is certainly a place I would like to visit. Breathtakingly beautiful!

  31. char
    February 23, 2021 / 11:48 am

    This looks like a dream!! I would give anything to swap cold London to visit here! Great post and stunning photgraphs!!

    • February 25, 2021 / 6:24 pm

      I’m sure there are some hype winter London attractions. hopefully when things normalize we can all travel safely again

  32. February 23, 2021 / 4:39 pm

    This looks incredible!! I’d especially like to try the snorkeling.

    • February 25, 2021 / 6:22 pm

      The snorkeling is amazing you should try it if you get a chance

  33. February 23, 2021 / 6:18 pm

    wow! such a beautiful place, the perfect place for a holiday! a lot of useful information in the post! thank you very much for sharing it!! greetings from Croatia

  34. Nina
    February 24, 2021 / 3:09 pm

    Diani beach looks stunning! I love the snorkeling opportunities and will definitely be adding this to my list. I definitely need to learn more about Kenya cause I didn’t even realize it had beaches like this

    • February 25, 2021 / 6:21 pm

      Kenya does have some of the most epic beaches in the world – I’m of course biased

  35. February 24, 2021 / 9:31 pm

    Thank for writing about this! I’m so happy people are traveling to these hidden gems in Africa. As someone who’s first-generation Nigerian, I’m proud of Africa.

    • February 25, 2021 / 6:19 pm

      I’m glad to hear that Jade. Africa has so much to offer travel wise

  36. February 25, 2021 / 8:35 am

    I can’t believe these things are actually real! WOW! My last planned trip was to Kenya last summer but couldn’t go. However, didn’t add any of these places that I definitely will now! I love that cave restaurant and all the animals, I am already so excited!!

    • February 25, 2021 / 6:16 pm

      I hope you can still make it to Kenya Nidia and you should definitely check out the cave restaurant

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