Kenya Beaches

Where the shores of Africa are lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean...

Overview

A Kenya beach stay is perfect for unwinding after a safari. Or to get away from grey days in the northern hemisphere. There’s an enticing array of tempting, sand-ridden possibilities for a Kenya safari and beach holiday. These range from trendy beach resorts to atmospheric islands.

Diving off the Kenya Coast

The coral reef both protects the coast and offers great diving and snorkelling. Check out the Malindi Marine Reserve, with its coral reefs which extend to Watamu.

Kenya Beach Resorts – Diani Beach

The coastline south of Mombasa is quite developed with resort hotels. However the long, broad white sands at Diani take some beating. Its coral reef protects the calm turquoise waters off the beach. And the Diani beach hotels can arrange for an extensive array of water sports. But it’s still possible to find a secluded spot. Set slightly away from the larger hotels are bijoux houses for families, luxurious private villas and romantic retreats. Funzi Keys and Alfajiri Villas set the standards here. For more modest budgets, Asha Cottage in Diani and the Pinewood Beach Resort & Spa on Galu Beach are great options.

Malindi

On the Kenya coast, there are two protected stretches of water, at Malindi and Watamu. After Mombasa, Malindi is Kenya’s second largest coastal town. It’s an interesting mix of the local Swahili culture together with Arab and more recent Italian influences. Several beach resorts lie on idyllic tropical beaches. The Malindi Marine National Park extends south to meet the coral gardens of the Watamu. And a break in the reef allows waves big enough to surf to reach the shore. Alternatively try your hand at deep sea fishing. Or visit the reefs and marvel at the colourful fish from a glass-bottomed boat.

Watamu

Watamu Bay, to the south, is a quieter option. The Marine Park, with around 700 species of fish, affords excellent snorkelling and diving. This area is also a breeding ground for Green and Hawksbill turtles. Plus there’s  plenty to do. You can take a boat to the mangroves at Mida Creek. Or travel inshore to visit the fascinating and atmospheric ruined settlement at Gedi. This was mysteriously deserted sometime in the 17th century.

Watamu used to be a quiet fishing village and still has the same ambience. But now it also has a number of top beach resorts. We recommend Hemingways. Close to Watamu are the ruins of the lost town of Gedi. It is an important archaeological site and well worth a visit.

Mombasa

Mombasa is Kenya’s second largest city. While the cobbled streets and colourful, exotic markets are entrancing, the sheer hustle and bustle of Mombasa can be overwhelming! Most visitors visit the old town of Mombasa as a day excursion to soak up the atmosphere. But they prefer to stay on the long stretches of white beach of Diani to the south.

Lamu Island

The Lamu Archipelago is a collection of unspoilt, idyllic islands off the far north of Kenya. Lamu Island is the largest. For centuries this has been a calling point for the Arab dhow traders trading spices, mangrove poles and ivory. More recently, it became a charming, slightly alternative destination for a beach retreat. It remains beguilingly different from the rest of Africa - offering a magical atmosphere in whose narrow alleys unique Swahili traditions and customs have been preserved.  It’s best for the more adventurous and seasoned visitor.

See Exploring Lamu Island

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Milandi Joubert

Africa Travel Specialist
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. More enriching, more restorative and making more of a difference. Discover how working with a specialist adds value to your African adventure.

Features

Why you may love it

  • Kenya coastline offers a great mix of stunning white beaches, colourful marine life and the unique Swahili culture
  • Great diving and snorkelling around a coral reef that runs the length of the country
  • Beautiful beaches south and just north of Mombasa. The famous and lovely Diani Beach is just an hour’s drive south
  • A number of international-standard beach resorts lie on idyllic tropical beaches (At Malindi, 2 hours north of Mombasa)
  • For a quieter option visit Watamu Bay
  • Lamu Island, off northern Kenya, is a long-term favourite where Swahili traditions and customs have been preserved

Explore the Kenya Beaches map

When to visit Kenya Beaches

December to March

Summer in Kenya Beaches

It is hot and humid from November to March but relatively little rain, especially in January and February. So you need to be comfortable with heat!
AVG RAINFALL 24 mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 9 Hours
MAX TEMP 31 ℃ / 88 ℉
MIN TEMP 24 ℃ / 75 ℉

April to mid-June

Not the ideal time for beach stay

The long rains typically start a little later on the coast and tend to be greater in the far south (Mombasa area) than further north (Malindi and Lamu). This is not the ideal time for a beach stay and consequently hotel prices are much lower and some even close during this time. May is the wettest month with rain typically every other day.
AVG RAINFALL 207 mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 8 Hours
MAX TEMP 31 ℃ / 88 ℉
MIN TEMP 24 ℃ / 75 ℉

Mid-June to September

Best months at the coast

The best months for the coast are mid June to September as they are warm and humid but not very hot. There are light, short showers every 3-5 days but these don’t last long. Sea temperatures remain warm throughout the year.
AVG RAINFALL 67 mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 9 Hours
MAX TEMP 27 ℃ / 81 ℉
MIN TEMP 22 ℃ / 72 ℉

October to November

Occasional showers and rising temperatures

The short rains are much less of a ‘thing’ on the coast. The occasional showers continue, every 3-5 days, and temperatures and humidity start to rise. However this time is more unpredictable with more rain some years than others.
AVG RAINFALL 73 mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 9 Hours
MAX TEMP 31 ℃ / 88 ℉
MIN TEMP 23 ℃ / 73 ℉

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Did you know
  • LandscapeHome to some of the continent's best beaches
  • NameNairobi is popularly referred to as the Green City in the Sun