The 6 Best Beaches In Kenya: Tips & Best Time to Visit

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Kenya is well-known for its numerous wildlife refuges and safaris.

However, some might not know Kenya boasts a beautiful coastline spanning 333 miles thus there are a lot of pristine beaches.

Since Kenya is located on the equator, it enjoys similar geographical conditions as some of the world’s leading sun, sea, and sand tourist destinations, such as the Maldives and Seychelles.

The 6 Best Beaches In Kenya

Whether you want to relax, participate in water sports, eat some good food, learn about a new culture, or visit remote and historical sites, there is a beach for you in Kenya. 

Here are some of the best beaches in Kenya.

1. Diani Beach

Diani beach is an award-winning destination in Africa making it one of the most visited beaches in Kenya.

The beach is popular for its tropical climate, white sand, pristine greenery, clear waters, and coral reefs.

Where it is located

Diani beach location in Kenya
Diani beach map

Diani beach is located 19 miles south of Mombasa. The beach also has an airstrip making it easy to access from either Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) or Wilson Airport.

What`s great about its location is its close proximity to other Kenyan attractions.

For Instance – Shimba Hills is just about an hour`s drive from the beach. This is a coastal forest with a diverse range of wild animals.

Some animals that the forest hosts include elephants, buffalo, sable antelope, monkeys, more than 100 bird species, waterbucks, and many others.

Other attractions located nearby are Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary, Kongo Mosque, and Diani beach art gallery exhibitions.

What to do at Diani Beach

Some activities you can participate in include:

  • Skydiving
  • Kite surfing
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Deep-sea fishing
  • Golf
  • Boat trips

Diani beach prides itself as the only place in Kenya to have a permanent skydiving club.

The club provides divers with safe diving gear and training sessions.

Diani beach Kenya view
Diani beach

Additionally, there are weekly boogies festivals where divers are exposed to cutting-edge skydiving experiences, including diving from an airplane.

If you are into marine life, Diani beach is the place to be. Diani beach boasts rich and diverse marine life, including green turtles, dolphins, and whale sharks.

Think of encountering a whale shark during your boat ride or swimming with the turtles; is that not exciting?

Lastly, you can’t leave without experiencing the hospitality and vibrant nightlife offered by the coastal town of Kenya.

The neighborhood boasts a wide selection of excellent dining and drinking establishments. 

2. Kikambala Beach

Kikambala beach is known for its magnificent stretches of white sand, and quiet and serene environment.

Other major attractions include Kipepeo Aquarium and the nightlife.

Where it is located

Location Kikambala beach in Kenya
Maps Kikambala beach

The Kikambala beach, also known as Vipingo beach, is around 12 kilometers long and located in Kilifi County.

It’s 32 kilometers from Mombasa- a 26-minute drive.

It is also located 6 kilometers from the world-famous Nyali beaches.

Its location on the outskirts of Mombasa makes it difficult for many people to visit; thus, it’s less congested. Therefore, it’s ideal if you don`t want to deal with crowds.

While at Kikambala beach, make sure to visit the nearby Kipepeo Aquarium and get to see Kenya’s coast ornamental fish and invertebrates. It is the best children’s amusement park.

What to do at Kikambala Beach

Kikambala beach is not packed with a lot of activities. It is more of a place where you go to chill. 

Kikambala beach in Kenya one of the best
Kikambala beach in Kenya

As you relax, the view of the coral is breathtaking as the tides come crashing in.

You can also get close to the coral reef during low tides or enjoy playing with the waves during high tides.

The quiet and serene environment of the beach allows you to reflect and meditate as you take that walk or run, watching the waters and surrounding palm trees.

However, it is essential to have the right shoes, such as reef shoes.

Depending on your budget, there are several accommodation spots within Kikamabala beach, including:

  • PrideInn Flamingo Beach Resort and Spa
  • and Salama Bling Beach Resort

3. Nyali Beach

Thanks to its calm waters, high-end resorts, extensive white sand beach, tropical weather, and affluent residential houses, Nyali beach is one of the best places to be.

Where it is located

Nyali beach is located in Mombasa and linked to Mombasa Island by Nyali Bridge.

Location Nyali beach Kenya
Location Nyali beach

It is only 6 miles from Mombasa town and 9 miles from Mombasa international airport.

The beach is in the northern part of Kenya’s east coast. It is only a walking distance from several luxurious hotels.

On the southern part of the beach, you can find a natural cavern referred to as Lord Shiva Gombeshwar caves.

According to local legend, it is believed that the caves can improve women’s fertility for those who tour them.

The beach is also in close proximity to iconic hiking trails like Likoni Tower, Old Town, and Garden City Trails for hikers.

Nyali beach in Kenya
Nyali beach

Likoni Tower Trail is the best as it provides a 360-degree view of coastal Kenya and an opportunity to view diverse wildlife.

Some other exciting sites include Bombolulu workshops and cultural centre, Mamba Village Crocodile Farm, Old Town, and Fort Jesus. You can also opt to visit Nyali Golf Club.

What to do at Nyali Beach

You can engage in various activities at the beach, including:

  • Swimming
  • Snorkeling
  • Diving
  • Kayaking
  • Chilling
  • Scuba diving  
  • Boat tours and Dhow cruises
  • Beach volleyball
  • Windsurfing
  • Kite surfing

Although scuba diving is carried out throughout the year, it is rare and not advisable between July and August due to silting and high seas.

Nyali beach in Kenya
Nyali beach

Nyali is highly modernized, and it is easy to get several amenities as those in the West, including shopping malls, cinemas, supermarkets, and banks.

There are many affluent hotels and resorts in Nyali where you can try both local and international cuisines at all price ranges.

The beach is also great for nightlife lovers to wine, dance, dine, and party till late.

4. Chale Island

Like other beaches around Coastal Kenya, Chale Island is home to an impeccable shoreline, weather, and breathtaking waters.

Where it is located

Chale Island is located in the coastal region of Kenya.

Location Chale Island in Kenya
Maps Chale Island

However, there is no direct flight to the island; you will have to take an hour’s flight to Ukunda from Nairobi, then a 30-minute drive to Chale Island.

Some areas you can visit while at Chale island include Diani Beach, only 24 kilometers away, or Kisite Mpunguti Marine National Reserve, about 63 Kilometers from Chale.

What to do at Chale Island

Chale Island is mostly serene and quiet, with exciting waterways and crevices.

However, you can enjoy several activities and attractions, including Kayaking, diving, and boat rides.

Chale Island beach Kenya
Chale Island beach in Kenya

The island is home to the largest mangrove forest in Eastern Africa.

For Example – To discover and explore the intricate mangrove forest, you can take a motorized dinghy and enjoy a variety of local wildlife, from form sea eagles to herons and crabs.

You can get up close at the diver’s corner with stingrays, snapper, and other smaller aquatic animals within the coral reef.

Chale Island offers a range of diving experiences for experienced and novice divers.

5. Kilifi Beach 

Kilifi beach is synonymous with white and sand beaches, allowing visitors to enjoy the cool breeze of the Indian Ocean.

Away from the bustling tourist destination of Malindi and Mombasa lies Kilifi. 

Where it is located

The beach is located 6 kilometers from Kilifi town and 63 Kilometers northeast of Mombasa.

Location Kilifi beach Kenya
Maps Kilifi beach

Although Kilifi beach is a major tourist attraction, the ruins of Mnarani, including mosques and tombs dating between the 14th and 17th centuries, are other attractions.

You can also visit the nearby Vuma cliffs and enjoy waves crashing into the walls of the coral cliff. Vuma cliffs are only a 30-minute drive from Kilifi town.

You can also stop at Watamu Marine Park and swim with dolphins or visit Gede Ruins.

What to do at Kilifi Beach

Kilifi beach is the place to be either on the creek or open ocean for the water sports enthusiast.

You can also engage in sailing, snorkeling, kitesurfing, diving, paddle boarding, deep-sea fishing, and many more.

Best beach in Kenya Kilifi beach
Kilifi beach Kenya

Kilifi is home to Vipingo Ridge, which prides itself on a par 72 18-hole golf course, and is the only PGA-rated course in Africa.

Kilifi has a very vibrant nightlife that is excellent for party lovers.

Besides, it hosts several upscale restaurants that will leave you wanting more. One such place is the Silver palm resort.

6. Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach

If you are a tourist who prefers to get up close with the locals and really get an idea of how people live and interact this is the beach for you.

Jomo Kenyatta public beach, locally referred to as Pirates beach, is very popular with most locals and beachgoers who want to socialize, taste local cuisines, and enjoy the nightlife.

Where it is located

The beach is north of Nyali beach and borders the Mombasa- Malindi highway.

Location Jomo Kenyatta beach in Kenya
Maps Jomo Kenyatta beach

It is a 30-minute drive from Mombasa. You can also take a cab from town or board the available means of transport at the bus terminus.

Some attractions near Pirate beach that you can sample include Haller Park, Fort Jesus museum, mamba village centre, Mombasa marine national park and reserve, and Bombululu workshop and culture centre.  

Haller Park boasts giant palm trees, tortoises, crocodiles, swaying trees, and unending trails.

While at the Mombasa marine national park and reserve will have the opportunity of seeing different species of fish and sea animals as you take a glass floor boat ride.

What to do at Jomo Kenyatta public beach

Jomo Kenyatta public beach is not like other beaches we have mentioned above.

This is not a beach you go to swim or participate in a lot of water games.

Jomo Kenyatta public beach in Kenya
Jomo Kenyatta public beach

Rather tourists visit the beach to experience how the locals live, interact, eat and enjoy themselves.

There are many vendors who sell various products ranging from clothes, artifacts, trinkets, and food.

Prices are very affordable, and bargaining is allowed to get the best deal.

You can also find a lot of street food kitchens that sell Swahili dishes and local drinks such as coconut juice.

The cost of food and beverages is very affordable compared to beachfront resorts.

Note – Most of the activities at the beach are handled by beach boys. Beach boys are sometimes irritating and persistent as they try to market their products and services. Therefore, it is best to be accompanied by a local guide.  

Also, when visiting this beach, ensure that you DO NOT leave your luggage unattended.

Best Time To Visit Kenyan Beaches

To enjoy Kenya’s beaches at their finest, travelers should go there between October and January, specifically in November.

Visit Kenyan beaches time of the year
Best time to visit Kenyan beaches

These months offer the optimal conditions for diving and snorkeling. 

The cost of visiting the beaches depends on the time of the year you visit, the accommodation package you will use, and how long you will stay. 

There wasn’t always such a wide variety of beachfront accommodations outside Mombasa and Malindi.

However, today you can find any type of hotel these days, from inexpensive dorms to luxurious beachfront properties.

The same can be said for the restaurant scene; you can find numerous options serving both international cuisine and innovative interpretations of traditional Kenyan dishes.

Frequently asked questions

Bamburi beach Kenya view

Is Old Town Mombasa safe?

Old town Mombasa is unsafe, especially for solo travelers, due to insecurity. It is advised that you avoid carrying lots of money and jewelry.

Again only walk during the day and ensure you are in the company of a tour guide.

Which are the coastal cities to avoid in Kenya?

Although most coastal cities are relatively safe, Lamu town has a travel advisory issued against it.

Should I be worried about Kenyan beach boys?

Beach boys can be a nuisance since they are quite persistent. When approached by them, the best remedy is to tell them point blank that you are not interested in anything they offer.

Final Thoughts

It is with no doubt that Kenya has a pristine and mystical coastline.

A visit to the above Kenyan beaches will undoubtedly remain a memorable experience.

Other than magnificent beaches filled with beautiful and soft white sand, the Kenyan coast offers a variety of other attractions, including natural reserves and archeological sites.

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