The beaches of Kenya can be divided into four main regions, each of which offers a unique experience.
Kenya's South Coast is renowned for palm-fringed white sand beaches such as ever-popular Diani Beach as well as accessible coral reefs. The scuba diving - in particular at Kisite Marine Reserve - is excellent and there are many wreck dives to entice advanced divers. There's a hassle-free atmosphere on the South Coast which together with a wide range of accommodation, kids' entertainment clubs and golf courses make for matchless family beach holidays.
For a far quieter South Coast experience, six kilometres of beautiful beach awaits at Msambweni, 25 kms south of Diani. There's excellent snorkelling and diving nearby as well as an 18-hole course and plenty of opportunities for sailing, fishing and watersports.
Mombasa's lively atmosphere has long attracted beach-lovers who like to party after the sun has gone down. This is where you'll find the larger hotel resorts and popular beaches so bear in mind that if it's peace and quiet you want on your Kenya beach holiday, we'd recommend other parts of the coast. Nevertheless, active families and visitors who want to mix and mingle, this don't-make-me-think beach holiday destination is ideal.
There are several places of interest nearby - the best is Shimba Hills National Reserve, a small national park situated 56 km south of Mombasa and directly inland from Diani Beach. Its proximity to Mombasa makes this reserve is a great option for visitors on a beach holiday but who want to fit in a game drive or two. Wildlife highlights of Shimba's forested hills and grasslands are elephants, leopards and sable antelope plus many bird and rare plant species - and it's easy to build a visit into your itinerary.
North of Mombasa lies ever-popular Malindi, a town at the centre of some of the finest tropical beaches and beach resorts in Africa. Blessed with enormously long, clean beaches, Malindi is also the place in Kenya for deep-sea fishing as well as some excellent diving and snorkelling at the Malindi Marine National Park.
In the far north of Kenya is the Lamu Archipelago which includes the islands of Lamu and Manda. Lamu's distinct Moorish feel makes for a wonderfully exotic beach holiday experience and this low-key little island has become well known for its Lamu villas - Swahili-style beach houses with large cool living areas and rooftop terraces. The smaller islands of the archipelago provide idyllic and exclusive settings for honeymoons and romantic getaways.
At a Glance
Kenya is as famous for its dazzling beaches and tropical islands as it is for its wildlife. End off a classic Kenya safari with a stay on the Indian Ocean coast for the best of both worlds.