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 sands 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. 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 in my life) which you can fly to 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 site though, and a great thing to watch while you’re eating dinner or lounging on the sand.
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.
My favourite thing to do whilst there was swim, with the waters so blue and clear. You can see everything within the water which is magical, and due to the equator’s temperatures it’s 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.
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. 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!
Although generally the vibe of Diani Beach is lovely there is one thing to watch out for… The beach boys (sadly 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 they 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 – 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 that 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!
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***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***