Visiting Kenya and exploring its magnificent ecosystem should be on the travel list of any tourist. Kenya offers a fantastic tourism package including nature reserves, numerous game parks, botanical gardens, white sandy beaches, tropical and savannah forests and a rich culture that accompanies the country’s rich historical past. For many revelers, a visit to Kenya wouldn’t be complete without visiting Diani Beach. Located in the County of Mombasa, Kenya, Diani Beach offers tourists a wholesome experience. The beach lies by the shores of the Indian Ocean and is approximately 30 kilometers south of Mombasa. It stretches about 17 kilometers starting from the Northern Kongo River up to the southern Galu beach. Diani Beach without any doubt is the leading beach destination in Africa and this has been demonstrated by the recent beach awards which saw it being voted as the best beach destination in Africa for the third time running since 2015.
Diani is a popular tourist resort area in Mombasa, Kenya. This is due to the fact that it not only offers white sandy beaches for tourists to bask in but guests get to experience the rich culture of the indigenous Digo people who inhabit the area. The Digo tribe is an ethnic community who relive their past and are well known for practicing traditional dances as well as making traditional artifacts that depict their history and culture. They are a friendly community and also act as local tour guides in the area. What’s more to the beach is that it is known for its black-and-white colobus monkeys, coral reefs and that it also neighbors a wildlife reserve by the name Shimba Hills National reserve known for its forested landscape, steep valleys, sharp slopes, and the lush green vegetation.
Four things to do in Diani
Visit the Diani Beach Art Gallery
For tourists who are art lovers and artists, then you will fancy visiting the Diani Beach Art gallery. The art gallery features contemporary African art with a diverse selection of sculptures, painted works, and marvelous photography from a number of different artists. The Diani Beach art gallery is open 6 days a week from Monday to Saturday.
Visit the Diani Beach
Diani beach offers tourists an unforgettable beach experience. The Beach is the perfect destination for Kite surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and deep sea fishing. The white sandy shores of the Diani beach are perfect for basking.
Tour the Shimba Hills National Reserve together with Fort Jesus
While these two tourists destinations aren’t located on the beach, they are just a 1-hour drive away from the beach and are worth visiting. The Shimba Hills National reserve provides tourists with exciting activities including trekking, game viewing, and overnight camping. The reserve is rich in Flora and Fauna and boasts of having the highest density of the African elephants in the country. Other wild animals you can expect to see include the bushy-tailed Mongoose, stable Antelopes, and the rufous elephant shrew. Shimba hills national reserve also features a forest which hosts over 111 bird species.
Also located near the Diani Beach is Fort Jesus; a historical landmark in the continent which is a popular tourist attraction site. Fort Jesus was built in the year 1593 by the order of two Monarchs; King Philip I of Portugal together with King Phillip II of Spain. In 2011 the Fort was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO due to it’s well preserved and outstanding ancient century Portuguese military fortifications. The Fort also hosts a conservation Lab, research programs, and is also the education department for the ancient town of Mombasa.
Where to stay while at Diani
Diani Beach has numerous hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, and various shopping centers within the vicinity. The surrounding hotels offer superb accommodation facilities that enable guests and tourists to relax and enjoy. The hotels feature BBQ facilities, bars, and both indoor and outdoor swimming pools. The spacious rooms of the hotels come in handy as they are clean and most of them have free wifi access. Guests and tourists can relax by the hotel gardens during the day and enjoy the sunshine of the warm Mombasa region.
Most accommodation facilities in Diani also offer massaging and fitness services that help guests relax and keep in shape while touring the Beach. For guests who fancy seeing an oceanic view, there are Beach cottages that offer splendid sea views. The average amount you can expect to spend at the accommodation facilities per night in Diani ranges at $70.
What to eat while at Diani
Mombasa coastal dishes are the best and I can attest to that. From spicy dishes to the local cuisine that is offered by several restaurants in the area, I can guarantee that you will enjoy the finger licking dishes. Whenever visiting Diani, request to eat Nyama Choma which is the Swahili name for roasted or grilled meat. The grilled meat is mostly goat meat but you can also order for roasted or grilled chicken. This delicacy can be enjoyed with roasted potatoes or the more famous Ugali (cornmeal staple). Personally, I recommend that you try Nyama Choma with Ugali…you will never go back!!!!
For seafood lovers, plenty of restaurants in Diani offer the choice menu. Seafood in the area goes beyond just fried Tilapia, in fact, some restaurants in Diani offer seafood as their only menu and most of them have special seafood nights during the week. The delicious seafood menu includes prawns, oysters, fish, lobsters, Moroccan fish skewers, shellfish, whole catch creviche, pawns, and Crab Bao.
Transportation options to Diani Beach, Mombasa
Access to the Beach is easy and affordable. For international Tourists, you can book your flights from your country straight to Jomo Kenyatta international airport in Nairobi (The capital city of Kenya) then you can opt to book another flight from Nairobi to Mombasa or simply take a bus or train from Nairobi to Mombasa. The city of Mombasa also has an international airport by the name Moi international airport but only selected flights are cleared to land in the airport, therefore it is advised to check whether your flight flies to the destination before booking. While in Mombasa, public transport is also recommended for tourists. The city also has numerous taxis that can carry you to any destination of your choice. My take is that you board a taxi as it is much easier to talk to the driver and clearly state your destination preference.