Although Kenya is well-known for its national parks and wildlife, it also has some of the best beaches on the African continent. Kenya, which is roughly the same latitude as the Seychelles and Maldives, Bali, and northern Brazil, enjoys the same geographical conditions as some of the world’s best sun, sea, and sand destinations. The Indian Ocean is a soothingly warm body of water that is colored in various shades of green and blue. Coral reefs, many of which are protected within Kenya’s marine national parks, protect much of the coast and provide a habitat for a variety of sea life. There are many beautiful beaches in Kenya along the 536-kilometer coastline. The long stretch from Kiunga to Vanga is dotted with alluring beaches, making it difficult to decide which to visit. Below is a list of Kenya’s beaches;
Diani Beach often referred to as one of the best Kenya beaches and one of the best beaches in the world dazzles visitors with its impossibly white powdery sand and crystalline waters. The beach also has one of the most laid-back vibes of any of Kenya’s mainland beaches.
Diani is a wide, white, and long beach surrounded by coconut palms. Coral reefs shield the beach from high surf, making it ideal for swimming, flotation, and snorkeling. Snacks and beverages are available at beach side bars and cafes. After dark, the area offers some of Kenya’s best coastal nightlife.
Diani also makes it simple to combine surfing and safari at the nearby Shimba Hills National Reserve and Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary, both of which are a little more than an hour away. It’s also a hotspot for adventure sports like kitesurfing, skydiving, and deep-sea fishing.
Overnight accommodations range from backpacker hostels and simple B&Bs to beachfront boutique hotels like Afro Chic and upscale private villas like Alfajiri.
Chale Beach on Chale Island, located just two kilometers across the bay from Gazi, is ideal for those seeking solitude and beach lovers. Much of the island is covered in a dense mangrove forest, which provides a lush tropical hideaway for all kinds of native wildlife. And just offshore, visitors can enjoy some of the best diving and snorkeling in the area along the incredible coral reef.
This secluded white-sand beach with vibrant turquoise water is an idyllic picture-postcard paradise on the Kenyan Coast, perfect for honeymooners and those looking for the ultimate luxury beach getaway.
The Sands at Chale Island hotel wraps around the island’s main beach on the windward side. The resort can arrange snorkeling or scuba diving in Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park, kayaking in nearby mangroves, catamaran sailing, deep-sea fishing, and excursions up the coast to Diani Beach.
This beach is tucked along a sandy stretch, located along the coast road between Diani and the Tanzanian border. It is only known to the most dedicated Kenya beachgoers. The waters are calm, and the sand is backed by old coconut groves, which provide shade for those who find the equatorial sun too strong.
The Gazi Women’s Mangrove Boardwalk, a landmark coastal ecology and ecotourism project, is accessible at the north end of the beach, where mangroves thrive. Village women manage the site and lead guided tours of the mangroves. The Cove Treehouses, located on the other side of the mangroves from Gazi village, is the closest hotel.
This beautiful stretch of coast between Mombasa and Malindi is unlike the rest of Kenya’s beaches. Until recently, the shoreline was known more for its sisal (agave) plantations than for fun in the sun.
However, several new mega-resorts have transformed the beach area into something more reminiscent of the Caribbean. The most notable of these is Vipingo Ridge, a sprawling hilltop compound with incredible Indian Ocean views and Kenya’s top-rated golf course. The daily Safarilink air service connecting Kikambala with Nairobi and Diani Beach is also new.
Despite the frantic development, there are still refreshingly empty sands and more modest digs to be found along Kikambala’s southern stretch, as well as further north, around Kilifi Creek.
While most of Manda Island’s best beaches are on the golden strand facing Lamu Island, there is one notable exception: Manda Bay’s powdery white sands beach. Manda Bay is one of the best Kenya beaches for beachgoers and water sports enthusiasts, thanks to its calm, azure water, lush, tropical surroundings, and plenty of sunshine.
Spend your days relaxing on the beach or at the nearby resort, or venture further afield to discover this incredible corner of Kenya’s coast. Ancient ruins, the UNESCO-designated town of Lamu, and more incredible beaches on neighboring Manda Toto Island are just a few of the memorable adventures in store for visitors.
Manda Bay, as the name suggests, is an exclusive luxury resort on Manda Island’s rugged and wild northeast end. Visitors to this idyllic paradise on the Kenyan Coast will find comfortable cottages with traditional design features, stunning bay vistas, and miles of soft white sands.
Watamu is a series of beaches set around navy coves on the sandy peninsula that separates Mida Creek from the Indian Ocean and is one of Kenya’s most popular coastal getaways.
The beach area, located just 10 miles south of Malindi, offers chic retreats like Lonno Lodge, some of the best restaurants along the Kenya coast, and plenty of opportunities for water sports like scuba and snorkeling, kite- and windsurfing, sailing, and deep-sea fishing.
There’s also history: the stone ruins of Gedi, a medieval Swahili town nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status. The Arabuko Sokoke Forest Preserve, which runs along the western side of the coast road, is home to a diverse range of animals, including elephants, antelope, and the Sokoke wild cattle.
Hemingways Watamu is a top choice accommodation on Watamu Beach, centrally located and offering some of the best views of the Indian Ocean and offshore coral formations for which Watamu is famous. Excellent service and amenities, including ocean-view rooms and an outdoor pool.
Nyali is Kenya’s most populous beach, located across the creek from Mombasa. Fortunately, the lack of high-rise hotels and urban traffic makes it feel even further away from the big city than it is.
Behind the long stretch of white sand are upscale beach homes and resorts such as White sands and the Serena. Mombasa Marine National Park’s coral reefs and seagrass meadows are ideal for scuba diving or snorkeling. Malls and supermarkets, butterfly and crocodile farms, Hindu temples, and even golf courses are available as urban distractions.
In stark contrast to the ancient and bustling seaport of Lamu Town, the area offers some of the most peaceful, remote, and strikingly beautiful beaches on the Kenyan Coast. One of the highlights of any visitor’s time in Lamu is spending hours upon hours walking along the serene golden southern shores of the island.
And Shela Beach, with its coral town backdrop reminiscent of the Greek isles, proves to be an ideal location for sipping a cold drink and cooling off in the warm and inviting waters.
With a short hop across the narrow channel, visitors to Lamu will find even more peace, luxury, and palm-fringed beaches on neighboring Manda Island. With its remote and far-flung feel, Lamu offers some of the best Kenya beaches for those seeking privacy and solitude, honeymooners, and travelers looking for something different in a beach vacation.
The Majlis Resort, located just across the channel from Shela, sets the standard for stylish luxury accommodation in the Lamu area. The Majlis has an Italian-Swahili design, spectacular ocean views, a top-rated restaurant, and endless outdoor recreation opportunities.
Malindi is a popular stop along Kenya’s coast, owing to its well-connected domestic airport and proximity to the region’s main attractions. The town has a long and fascinating history, influenced by Bantu farmers and Swahili traders as well as Chinese, Portuguese, and German explorers and immigrants.
It has recently become a popular destination for Italian tourists and business owners, as evidenced by the numerous Italian-owned restaurants and hotels in Malindi. It’s not surprising, then, that the character of Malindi’s 8 km (5 mi) golden strand changes dramatically north of town.
Golden Beach (Bridge Beach) is ideal for scenic sunrise and sunset strolls, an easygoing local vibe, and easy access to the majority of the town’s restaurants. Continue north on the beach for softer sand, fewer people, and plenty of peace and serenity. Travel south for a surreal coral coastline and the majority of Malindi’s beach hotels and resorts.
Hotel Villa Malindi is a peaceful garden accommodation oasis located in the heart of Malindi. Enjoy soaking in one of the property’s two swimming pools, strolling the lush grounds, or exploring the friendly and historic town of Malindi, which is a relaxed 10-minute walk away.
Lion in the Sun Billionaire Retreat is exactly what it sounds like: a stunning beachfront resort in the heart of Malindi that offers luxury accommodations and a slew of upscale amenities. There are two Billionaire locations in Malindi, though this is most guests’ preference for its chic thatch-roof cabanas and serene setting.
Shanzu Beach, located ten kilometers north of bustling Mombasa, is a small slice of picture-postcard perfection where young families, romantic couples, and silver-haired vacationers enjoy seemingly endless days of fun in the sun. This is a place where crystalline turquoise water laps gently on powdery white sand and swaying palm trees provide natural shade.
Explore the Mombasa Marine National Park & Reserve, which offers countless opportunities to take in the breathtaking beauty of the area’s colorful and diverse habitat. You can also rent an umbrella and a chair, take a tour of the marine reserve, or bask in the sun at one of the magnificent resorts and hotels that line this magnificent beach.
The top-rated Serena Beach Resort & Spa in Mombasa may be the closest you’ll get to the quintessential luxury beach resort and spa. With well-appointed and artfully designed accommodations, excellent dining options, and one of the best locations on Shanzu Beach, relaxation and comfort are at the forefront of each stay.
This is yet another stunning beach located just south of Diani Beach. Galu Kinondo Beach, which is easily one of the best Kenyan beaches, is essentially a continuation of Diani Beach into the communities of Galu and Konondo, so guests should expect much of the same in terms of sand and sea quality.
You have to keep in mind that Galu Kinondo Beach has fewer amenities than Diani, but they are adequate if you plan ahead of time. This low-key white strand is lined with several excellent hotels and guesthouses.
If you plan to spend a couple of days in the area, you must visit the Kaya Kinondo Sacred Forest. Excellent guides are on hand to point out the highlights and provide background information on the forest’s cultural and historical significance.
Pinewood Beach Resort & Spa is a small boutique beach hotel and water sports resort halfway between Galu and Kinondo. Concrete bungalows are tastefully decorated and nestled in a dense tropical forest setting that is home to Colobus Monkeys and other native wildlife.
Che Shale is a world unto itself, located 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Malindi Town. Che Shale beach is a low-key paradise brimming with rugged beauty, spread out along one of Kenya’s more isolated stretches of coast.
Che Shale may be just what you’ve been looking for if you want to get away from it all in paradise while still enjoying several modern conveniences. One of Kenya’s best beaches for rest, relaxation, and getting away from the crowds.
Che Shale, a well-known family-run accommodation hotel is ideal for romantic getaways, family reunions, and anyone seeking serenity and a touch of luxury in a relaxed tropical setting.
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White Water Rafting