Diani Beach is a major beach on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. It is located 30 kilometers south of Mombasa, in Kwale County.
People who want to spend their holidays at the wonderful beaches of Kenya and to go on a safari tour have to decide whether to go to the South Coast or North Coast, which simply means south or north of Mombasa. While the South Coast has nicer beaches and more primordial nature the North Coast around Mombasa offers many more activities. Some of the hotels on the South Coast are quite isolated, offering tranquil holidays at the beach and pool which might become boring. Others are closer to the night-life and shopping centers. In contrast, the beaches of the North Coast that are close to Mombasa are more crowded but offer a lot of action and activities, sightseeing, sports, night-life. The beaches further north (Kilifi, Watamu, Malindi) are like the South Coast, relatively undeveloped and tranquil, not as long and broad as Diani Beach but even more photogenic.
There will be many cultural differences that often lead to misunderstandings between guests and locals. It’s advisable to inform you.
Kenya is known for its sex tourism too. Along the beach, in beach bars, or in the huts along the beach offering massage you will get in contact with Kenyan women and men who try to attach themselves to a tourist in search of a better life. Money, not sympathy, is what they are looking for. If you choose to partake, take the usual precautions against HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections.
Beach on map:
How to get:
Package or individual trip
If you come to Kenya for the first time, it is better to book a package tour. Then you don’t have to worry about anything and you can get to know the country and its peculiarities in peace. If you liked it and you want to come back, then it is cheaper to book your individual flight and hotel or holiday apartment.
Taxis from Mombasa city center will be around Ksh 3500, from the Mombasa Airport a little more (Ksh 4000-5000). Uber or Bolt (formerly Taxify) will cost a lot less. A taxi can be a good choice because with public transport you have to change 3 times and it consumes a lot of time. If your hotel does not offer transport to the south coast, it is often possible to join other hotel vans that wait in front of the airport if you speak with the driver and give a tip. Travel time is 1-1½ hr.
The cheapest way to get to Diani Beach is by local bus-taxis (matatus). From Mombasa town to Likoni Ferry is about Ksh 30. From the Likoni Ferry, take another matatu to Ukunda (30 km) for about Ksh 100. From Ukunda to Diani Beach, take another matatu about 5 km at the cost of about Ksh 50. An alternative, from December 2019, is the Hakuna Matatu Bus Shuttle Service that operates on the Kenya Coast, and a ride from Mombasa costs roughly Ksh 1000 and takes 1 hr 30 min. The shared taxi is a door-to-door service, meaning you will be collected from your current accommodation in Nyali, Kilifi, or Watamu and dropped directly at your next accommodation in Diani
Coming from Tanzania, you can get a bus going to Mombasa and ask the driver to be dropped in Ukunda.
To get to Diani Beach from the airport, you have to take a ferry across an estuary. This runs 24/7. It is very busy at peak times. You also have to take this ferry if you want to visit Mombasa from the south coast.
The climate at Diani Beach is tropical, wet, and warm. The best travel time is from late November to mid-March. After that, it gets uncomfortably hot with increased humidity. The worst travel time is in the main rainy season from April to June. It usually rains only briefly and then the sun shines again, but it is also possible to suffer continuous rain for days. Also in the 2nd rainy season, October-November, you have to reckon with inconveniences. As it is never cold on rainy days you can still sit at the pool bars or even take beach walks. Aside from the several bars and the shopping malls in Ukunda, there are no other attractions that you can visit in the rain; you can only tour Mombasa, visiting the old town, Fort Jesus, some temples, shops, and shopping malls. Rainy days can be a bit boring in Diani.
The weather in Diani is one of the most incredible for beach lovers. Usually on average of between 28 and 29 degrees Celsius. However it can be quite sunny sometimes, most people especially tourists are comfortable walking along the beach and streets at any given time of the day.
Much of the accommodation along this beach is placed in cleared patches of the Jadini Forest, which is home to not only black and white colobus and vervet monkeys but a wide variety of colorful birds. Besides hotels, there are also houses (some of which are rented out) and self-catering villas.
Watersports and things to do:
Many hotels have their own private facilities for enjoying water activities such as windsurfing, water-skiing, kitesurfing, scuba diving, snorkeling and deep-sea fishing. There is a magnificent golf course at Diani by Leisure Lodge Resort, and the best place for fishing is Shimoni, which lies further south of Diani, close to the border of Tanzania, near Lunga Lunga. The Diani Beach area in Ukunda provides travelers with a few restaurants to choose between, offering discerning dining and entertainment. Many reefs along the South Coast may be viewed with little more than a mask and snorkel, and maybe a pair of flippers.