Kenya’s beaches are some of the best in Africa. An often-overlooked beached destination, in favour of more popular islands, Kenya boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Their soft, silky sands merge into a sea of clear, turquoise waters that wrap around Kenya’s coastline. Fringed by coconut palm trees, wild mangroves and white-washed beach resorts, you can easily pick any of its gorgeous beaches to laze on, grab a sundowner and watch the scarlet sunset.
Here are a few of our favourites:
The long stretch of beach in Malindi is an all-round fantastic beach. Its pristine, shimmering sands stretch for miles and it’s perfect for long morning strolls or romantic sunset walks. Spend your day snorkelling just off the beach, or head a little further out for scuba diving, water-skiing and deep-sea fishing. Windsurfers and snorkellers can enjoy this slice of the Indian Ocean at Malindi Marine National Park, teeming with coral gardens, zebra fish and brightly-coloured starfish.
As dusk settles, trade in your fins for dancing shoes as the nightlife comes alive at the scattered bars and clubs around this former Italian neighbourhood.
Watamu Beach & Turtle Bay
Just 15km from Malindi, Watamu Beach is one of Kenya’s not-so-secret beaches. The coral reefs, whale sharks, leatherback turtles and manta rays that call these waters home makes it the ideal place for scuba diving. Surfers can grab their surfboards and ride the best waves between May and October.
You’ll find beach resorts aplenty, from the luxurious to the more laidback. See the nesting leatherback turtles at Turtle Bay, where you can laze, suntan and picnic along its 7km stretch of powdery sand.
For something a little different, visit Watamu Turtle Watch and help out in rescuing sea turtles!
Kenya’s beaches along the coastal town of Mombasa are home to many visitors and bustling beach resorts. At just 56km outside of the city, a day safari at Shimba Hills National Reserve is the perfect way to combine your classic sun, sea and sand getaway with a wild adventure.
But, back to the beaches…
Famous for its colourful display of coral reefs, Diani beach is one of Kenya’s most prized jewels. With its towering palm trees swaying above its turquoise waters and silky sands, this beach paradise stretches for miles along Kenya’s coastline. Water sports is a hot priority here, and snorkelling rules the day. Keep it local and trot along the waves on the back of a camel, taking in the views in true Kenyan style.
Rent a beach bungalow or stay in a luxury beach lodge at the water’s edge. Be sure to pack in a good book, your snorkel and suntan lotion as you’ll definitely be here a while.
A great spot to take a break from the city bustle and chill out under a palm tree, taking in the sweeping ocean view. This is a good beach for swimming and surfing. If you’re a party animal, the city festivities are never far away once the sun goes down. Nyali beach is lined with some of the best of Kenya’s beach resorts as well as budget-friendly hostels.
A stone’s throw from Diani beach, this beach is one of Kenya’s best-kept secrets. Isolated from lively crowds, this is the perfect spot for nature lovers in search of some peace and quiet. Its rustic charm and scattered beach cottages make it an ideal honeymoon retreat.
If you’re in search of a beach party, Shanzu beach is where it’s at. Just 30km from Mombasa, it’s just far enough to be away from big city life. Its long stretch of sand is fringed with colourful beach bars and vibey restaurants where you can sip on refreshing Dawa cocktails and feast on as much fresh seafood as you like before dancing under the wild African stars.
Sunbathers, this one’s for you. If lounging by your hotel pool a stone’s throw from the ocean doesn’t quite cut it, pack your swimsuit and beach hat and head down to Bamburi. Find a shady spot under the leafy palms or grab a deck chair under a thatched beach umbrella and work on that shimmering glow. Bamburi offers a peaceful escape, where you can enjoy long walks on the beach or charter a boat and cruise around the bay.
Lamu is the perfect escape for a bit of everything! The island bristles with stunning beaches, the most popular ones being Shela and Manda Bay. Shop for souvenirs and silver jewellery in the Old Town, while those looking to explore its historic side can explore the ruins of Takwa and Manda on Manda Island. Lamu is a picture-perfect paradise for honeymooners and families looking for a secluded getaway.
Sail in a traditional dhow or take a cruise to Kiunga Marine National Reserve and swim with the dolphins or snorkel among the starfish.
Choose between luxury 5-star resorts, beach bungalows or stay in Arabian-style forts for a taste of the exotic. Opt for a rustic Swahili-style beach house and step out of your bedroom onto the warm beach sand for a true seaside feel. Time to kick back and embrace the island life.
What are you waiting for? Book your next holiday to Kenya and discover these gorgeous beaches for yourself. With incredible snorkelling, diving, fishing, thrilling water sports and exotic beach resorts, you’ll feel like you’re on your own private island miles away from home. Paradise awaits!
Let us know which of these beaches gets your top vote in the comments below.