Beach Holidays along the Kenyan Coast

The beautiful white sandy beaches and turquoise waters of the Indian ocean have long lured beach holiday makers from the world over to the magical Kenyan coast to famous beaches such as Diani, Galu, Shanzu and Nyali, not to mention exotic coastal spots such as Lamu. The added attraction is the wonderful year round tropical climate of Kenya that is free from extreme summers or winters, being just moderately warmer during certain times of the year.

The Kenyan coastal strip is divided into the North and South coast. North Coast ( north of Mombasa city) has the more developed and more frequented grouping of beaches starting from Nyali beach all the way to Shanzu and Kilifi, with plenty of hotel choices, night spots and tourist spots for those seeking a beach vacation.
South coast ( south of Mombasa city) is a quiter and more relaxed, with even cleaner and sandier beaches and less crowds - ideal for that lazy, "away from it all" beach holiday in Kenya. We often get asked if there are any beaches in Nairobi. The answer is no, there are no beaches in Nairobi as this city is actually very much inland in the centre of Kenya, and it is Mombasa which is the main city along the coastal strip of Kenya where superb beaches are in plenty. As regards how far Nairobi is from the beaches near Mombasa, there are direct non-stop one hour flights from Nairobi to the Moi International airport in Mombasa, with plenty of airlines flying this route including Kenya Airways, Fastjet and Fly 540. Driving from Nairobi to Mombasa is not suggested as it is a 500 kilometer drive that could take upto 8 hours due to prevailing road conditions.

Best Beaches in Kenya and Where to Visit along the Kenyan Coast

While there are several beautiful beaches along the Kenyan coast, there are some of these that have found special favor with beach vacation goers. Diani Beach in south coast is counted among the best beaches in Kenya and indeed in Africa. ( see below). Shanzu, Bamburu, Tiwi and the beaches along Watamu and Malindi are also highly rated. There are also other favoured spots along the coast for everything from snorkelling, diving, deep sea fishing and water sports, not to mention marine parks. Keep in mind much of the coast line in Kenya is reef protected and has wide sandy beaches often backed with thich rows of palm trees giving the much needed natural shade and green cover so useful for keeping cool during warm sunny days seaside. Below are some of the places we recommend for a beach holiday along the Kenyan Coast.

Mombasa North Coast ~ Bamburi & Shanzu Beaches

Stretching about 40 miles north of Mombasa city upto Kilifi town, this coastal strip includes famous beaches such as Bamburi, closer to Mombasa city and Shanzu Beach further north. The Mombasa Marine park is located here with the Watamu Marine park found further north closer to Malindi town. Generally north coast beaches tend to be more lively with a larger number of tourists on the beaches, greater hotel choices as well as wider choice of night spots, restaurants and places to shop.

Diani Beach ( South Coast )

Diani Beach is the most famous beach in Kenya and arguably in East Africa. Fine "icing-sugar" pristeen sandy beaches lined with palm trees and washed with the turquoise blue Indian ocean protected by coral reef, the question is not whether you want to enjoy a holiday here but rather how can you leave once you are at this ocean paradise. Other beaches near Diani are Galu, Msambweni and Tiwi, along with stand alone island beaches such as Funzi Island and Chale Island. These south coast beaches tend to be mose secluded with fewer visitors, ideal for that wonderfully lazy beach getaway.


Lamu is a unique destination ~ a 14th century Swahili settlement where you might still wonder today if time stood still as Lamu still evokes images of the old world where people use mules instead of cars for transport. Infact one of the attractions of Lamu is it's Old Town on the island, with its historic architecture and laid back way of life. Lamu is best accessed by air and there are daily flights from Nairobi and Mombasa to Lamu .

Malindi & Watamu

Malindi is a small town about 70 miles north of Mombasa. Known for its wonderful coast line and vibrant night life, Malindi is also famous for an Italian presence due to a large number of Italian residents and tourists who frequent this location. You can therefore enjoy some authentic Italian food as there are several Italy themed restaurants. Watamu, close to Malindi is a laid back town know for its marine park and diving and fishing spots. Another attraction is the Arabuko-Sokoke National Park and the ruins of Gedi.