In 2018 I went to Kenya for a month, taking a group of my then students with me as part of a school trip alongside Camps International. As well as a mountain trek the point of the trip was to contribute what we could to the country, and we stayed in a variety of different locations. One of these was Stilts Backpackers in Diani Beach, a dreamy accommodation option just a stone’s throw from the beach itself.
Situated about a 300m walk from Diani Beach, Stilts Backpackers is in the perfect location to give you great beach access whilst also being a little bit out of the way. It’s easily accessible via the main road, Diani Beach Road, but just far enough off it that you feel encapsulated within your own little retreat. Surrounding the plot is a large amount of tropical rainforest which has intentionally been left there by the owner to allow the wildlife to thrive.
Stilts Backpackers is close to local amenities, such as a general store and several food places along Diani Beach Road. On the beach itself you will find restaurants (such as Nomad Beach Bar & Restaurant, which also does takeaway) and a variety of shops for clothing, trinkets, and beach activities.
The main type of accommodation featured at Stilts Backpackers are these gorgeous treehouse-style hostel rooms, of which there are five available at any one time. There are also four cottages that can be booked out, plus tents for those that are looking for a really budget stay.
We didn’t get to try out the treehouses or cottages as we were a large school booking (Stilts Backpackers work alongside Camps International so take a number of group bookings from them every year, however they are separated from the public side of the hostel), but we did stay in the tents, which were honestly the best tents I’ve ever camped in! You may think that a tent sounds simplistic and basic, but these came with full beds, loads of storage space, and a heavy duty zip door that kept all of the crawling visitors out. Mosquito nets are provided for free throughout all accommodation types.
All accommodation has access to plentiful toilet and shower facilities, plus washing lines should you need them. There are also some gorgeous seating areas, decorated with brightly-coloured plush cushions and sofas, and nice, open dining areas as well. We spent a lot of time in our relaxation area as it was just so lovely to experience – there’s a no shoe rule, meaning that everything is clean, and a helpful board that’s updated daily to give you weather and tide information (interestingly, Diani Beach has two tides per day).
There’s some really interesting extras at Stilts Backpackers that made our stay absolutely wonderful, and one of these was the opportunity to feed bush babies every evening at the bar. As soon as the sun sets they come out looking for bananas, and will take pieces straight from your hand! Although bush babies became the bane of my life whilst in Muhaka (they make the most sleep-disturbing noise on the planet), these ones were lovely and interestingly we didn’t really hear them at night.
Talking of the bar, this was a great feature to have whilst there – it’s a lovely lounge area by day, with free WiFi and a chilled atmosphere, and then at night it converts to a great social area. The drinks are super cheap, something which we particularly liked about Kenya, and they even make their own signature cocktail (which is amazing, by the way). Not too far from the bar is a bonfire area, and so this was another nice place to chill out in the evening.
The other cool extra you get whilst staying at Stilts Backpackers is access to Stilts On The Beach (aka Flamboyant Hotel), another business owned by the owner of Stilts Backpackers. There’s a gorgeous pool there and loads of sun loungers, plus you can indulge in beauty treatments and absolutely gorgeous food from their restaurant. We spent one lovely evening there on our last night, and despite being quite ill I still couldn’t believe how good the food was.
When you hear the words “backpacker accommodation” the first thing that usually comes to mind is a large room with about 12 strangers sleeping in it on bunks, but this is the complete opposite of Stilts Backpackers. Despite their budget prices the place feels luxurious, and it’s hands-down the best accommodation I’ve ever stayed in abroad. The staff are super friendly, the premises beautiful, and you’ve got 24/7 access to one of the best beaches in Africa. Need I say more?
If you enjoyed this review then don’t forget to like, pin, and leave a comment! You can read some of my other accommodation reviews here:
For other Kenya-based review, check out these posts: