When you’re visiting the beach you generally want long stretches of sand, clear blue waters, and balmy temperatures. What better place to get all of that than Diana Beach in Kenya?
Gorgeous white sand wasn’t the first thing that came to mind when I looked into visiting Kenya – we tend to think first of its expansive safari parks and crowded cities instead. Diani Beach is well known though, being Africa’s leading beach destination since 2015, and at 11 miles long it’s got plenty of space to relax. The nearest airport is Ukunda (the smallest airport I’ve ever been to in my life) which you can fly to direct from Nairobi.
Setting foot on the sand for the first time I noticed how different it is to other sand I’ve walked across before – it’s so powdery and soft, almost like walking across icing sugar. In the evening when the beach is clear you can witness small red crabs scurrying across it in hordes – we tried chasing them but they were too fast to get a photo of! It was a lovely sight though, and a great thing to watch while you’re eating dinner or lounging on the sand.
The water at Diani Beach is absolutely stunning, and quickly made the Indian Ocean my favourite of all the oceans. You can see everything within the water which is magical, and due to the temperature of the equator it is warm from the moment you first dip your toe in. The sea can be quite rough at times with a strong backwash, so be especially careful if you aren’t a strong swimmer as the undercurrent is quite powerful at points and I definitely noticed it on some days.
You’ll notice loads of accommodation on other at Diani Beach, ranging from treehouse hotels to luxury five star resorts. When we visited the second time we stayed at Stilts Backpackers, just a short walk from the beach, which I’d recommend for its gorgeous treehouse dwellings and amazing activities on offer such as evening bushbaby feeding.
Swimming was definitely my favourite activity whilst at Diani Beach because the sea just felt so alive – the sort of ocean where it’s easy to lose hours splashing in the waves or enjoying the calmness that it brings. As well as swimming Diani Beach is a very popular location for water sports, with plenty to do out there. We saw wind surfers, jet skiers, and kite surfers, and the area is also great for snorkelling, SUP, and sky diving. You can rent and buy equipment down there at the main water sports shop and instructors are also available for lessons.
Boats are also super popular and you may well notice the specific areas for boats where swimmers are advised not to enter – there are lots of options for hiring out your own boat, which isn’t something that I’ve done due to the format of both visits but I’d love to tick it off my bucket list.
Food And Entertainment
For those who want something a little bit more relaxing than thrashing about in the ocean, Diani Beach offers much more in the way of entertainment. Dotted along the beach are a variety of shops where clothes, accessories, and decor can be bought for very reasonable prices. We saw some absolutely gorgeous pieces in one of the local shops, and the stands have a whole host of different items available, with many of them perfect as take-home gifts for family and friends. Diani Beach is really one of those beaches where it’s easy to part with your money!
There are plenty of bars for drinks and snacks, and also some wonderful restaurants. My favourite restaurant is one that I have been to twice – Nomad Beach Bar & Restaurant – and I would totally recommend the Red Snapper for a sit in meal or one of their beautiful pizzas, which can be takeaway if you want and are up to a metre in diameter!
If it’s nightlife that you’re after then everyone you ask will recommend the popular Forty Thieves Beach Bar And Restaurant, where you can party well into the night with serene beach views, before staggering home early morning beneath the captivating African sunrise.
What You Need To Know
As with any location in Africa the sun in Kenya gets exceedingly hot, especially during their summer (which is our winter in the UK). If you’re travelling to Diani Beach then suncream, protective clothing, and lots of water are musts, and it’s generally suggested not to go on the beach at midday when the sun is at its strongest. The water is warm enough to swim both in the morning and late afternoon to evening, so there isn’t any reason to risk burning your skin. It’s also worth noting that Diani Beach unusually has two tides per day, rather than the one tide you are probably used to, so bear this in mind when planning your visit.
Although the vibe of Diani Beach is generally lovely there is one thing to watch out for – the beach boys (no, I’m not referring to the band). Well-travelled people will most likely have encountered a similar experience in different countries but it’s always good to be aware of where they are. Beach boys will generally hang around and approach tourists trying to sell their wares – they are quite persuasive and don’t take your first few rejections as an answer so you have to be persistent. One even tried to trade his product for the clothes I was wearing when I said I didn’t have any money! They’ll stop hassling you after a while and guards are present to keep them from exhibiting too much harassment but it’s worth noting that you should never take a product from them when they try to show it – as soon as you touch it they will claim you owe them money for it and they are much harder to get rid of. The best thing to do is to walk past them without acknowledging them and then generally they will leave you alone.
Aside from the beach boy situation, Diani Beach has to be one of the best beaches I’ve ever visited – the scenery is stunning, the food is amazing, and it’s the perfect place to unwind and relax in the African sun. If you’re visiting Kenya at any point then Diani Beach is a must-visit location!
What do you consider the best beach you’ve ever been to? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to like and pin!
You can read some of my other Kenya reviews here:
***All photos taken by Adam Smith and Tim Wright as sadly I’d dropped my phone on Mt. Kenya and rendered the camera useless, oops***