Kenya is a country found in Eastern Africa that is famous for its game reserves and wildlife safaris. What you might not realize is that Kenya also boasts a long coastline along the Indian Ocean. As a result, Kenya is home to a number of incredible beaches.
You’ll find peaceful, scenic beaches like Nyali close to Mombasa, or you could try surfing at a beach like Diani. Whether you’re looking for water sports, seclusion or breathtaking views, you can find it all at the best beaches in Kenya.
A few miles north of Mombasa is Kilifi Beach. Kilifi is a small coastal resort that boasts sugar sand beaches and plenty of history. Lush greenery borders the sandy coastline on one side, and on the other you’ll find the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
Make time to get out on the water by riding in a dhow, a traditional Kenyan boat. You can expect a handful of incredible seafood restaurants perched right over the water, offering cheap food with unparalleled views. Don’t leave Kilifi without trying the cocktail called dawas, which is garnished with a piece of local sugar cane.
Located on Mombasa’s North Coast is Bamburi Beach, a wonderful beach retreat for those you want to spend time in the sea and in the sun. Right off the coast there is a coral reef, which makes the spot a great place for anyone who wants to do some snorkeling or scuba diving.
Plenty of accommodation lines the coast, and this is definitely a top tourist spot in Kenya for a beach getaway. For a truly unforgettable experience, you can ride on the back of a camel along the sands of Bamburi Beach. If that’s not for you, just sip a cold drink and enjoy the beautiful views over the water.
Just off the northeast coast of Manda is a small island called Manda Toto. To get there, you’ll need to ride in a small boat for about 40 minutes from Lamu. Most visitors come for a full day tour, and there are plenty of opportunities to snorkel and do some traditional hand line fishing along the way.
Once you arrive, settle into the secluded beach and enjoy a packed picnic lunch. There is virtually no infrastructure on Manda Toto, allowing you experience the raw, natural beauty of Kenya for yourself.
Nyali is a great beach located just minutes outside of Mombasa. Since it is so close to the city, Nyali is an excellent day trip destination. With plenty of hotels right on the coast, however, it’s also the perfect getaway spot for a beach holiday. Nyali is rarely crowded, and it is one of the best places in Kenya to try surfing.
If you’re more interested in relaxing, the white sandy shoreline is ideal for making sandcastles or just strolling next to the water. You’ll find a variety of local and international restaurant a short walk from the beach, so fill up once you’ve worked up an appetite.
Off the Mombasa-Malindi Highway, you’ll find the beach known as Shanzu. The water here is clear and refreshing, and the sand is white and dotted with coconut palm trees. Shanzu Beach is home to a number of hotels and resorts, so you’ll have no trouble finding local accommodation or a place to dine on delicious seafood each day.
If you head to Shanzu Beach, pay close to attention to the tides. The beach looks completely different and low tide and high tide. If possible, plan a walk along the coast at low tide, because you can go for miles on foot in either direction.
On Mombasa’s South Coast is Tiwi Beach. You can get there by ferry from Mombasa, which makes for a fun means of transport. This is a relatively small and uncrowded beach, but it boasts plenty of recreation options.
Of particular note are the small tidal pools that become visible in low tide. Find one and settle in, because the fish in the pools are trapped there until the tide changes. You can watch underwater creatures splash around, making it an interesting spot for kids and adults alike.
Malindi is a famous destinations in Kenya for a number of reasons. First, it is where explorer Vasco de Gama eventually landed in Africa. Today, it is one of the most popular beach destinations in Kenya offering an amazing climate, beautiful views and plenty of wonderful hotels right by the water.
You might try some sailing, windsurfing, deep-sea fishing or snorkelling in the coral reef south of the town center. The local restaurants and bars have a diverse crowd, and you’ll be able to find some fantastic cuisine as well as a few lively nightlife spots.
Just off the North Coast of Kenya, you’ll find the island of Lamu. This destination is completely pedestrian friendly, and donkeys are the most popular means of transport. You can explore some of the island’s many beaches on a dhow boat, and these dhow tours are a huge part of the local economy.
Back on dry land, make your way to Shela Beach on the northern side of Lamu. It’s a quick walk from the town of Lamu, and the coastline is made up of shells and sand. Best of all, locals sell homemade samosas right on the beach, and these tasty treats are considered to be some of the best food on the island!
Watamu is a charming village along Kenya’s coastline, and it is well known for its pristine white sand. As part of the Watamu National Marine Park, this is a great spot for scuba diving or snorkeling. The coral reefs are home to all types of colorful underwater life, and they also help to create breaks for surfing enthusiasts.
When the tide goes out, you can walk out into the shallow water for miles. Even heading out for a few minutes can be a remarkable experience. Watamu boasts a number of excellent hotels and restaurants just steps from the sand, allowing you to spend the whole day or even an overnight trip enjoying the environment.
Based on the number of visitors each year, Diani Beach is the most popular beach in all of Kenya. Located just a mile south of Tiwi Beach, Diani is easily accessible from Mombasa and boasts plenty of amenities and infrastructure.
You’ll find a wonderful coral reef right off the coast, plenty of shade provided by the groves of palm trees and underwater sandbars. Whether you want to swim, snorkel or surf, you can do it all at Diani Beach. You can also expect plenty of great bars and restaurants in the area, not to mention an abundance of beachfront resorts.