Imagine Kenya as a travel destination and you are probably conjuring up images of expansive savannahs teeming with herds of wildlife with the iconic image of an Acacia tree starkly silhouetted against a crimson sky. Kenya, after all, is renowned for one of the greatest natural spectacles on earth – the Great Migration of millions of wildebeest and zebras, as well as arguably the world’s most iconic African safari destination. But did you know that this country has one of Africa’s most historic and fascinating coastlines (European colonialists, Arab traders, and African empires have all left their mark) with endless picture-postcard-perfect beaches?
From Kenya’s famous Diani Beach, through to lively Mombasa and tranquil Malindi, and further afield to the idyllic islands of the Lamu Archipelago, the beauty of Kenya is that you can easily combine a thrilling safari in the Masai Mara one day with a relaxing beach holiday the next, making it the perfect ‘Bush and Beach’ destination! It’s also considered an all-year-round destination (for both safaris and beach vacations); its coastal temperatures are consistently hot and humid with the occasional shower to cool things off. The best time to visit Kenya (especially its Indian Ocean coastline) is from June to early March when temperatures and rainfall are at their lowest. Kenya’s coast is well known for its natural beauty and is filled with all sorts of diverse wildlife: from coral reefs teeming with tropical fish, to marine parks, bird-filled coastal forests, to game reserves where you can marvel at the Big Five just a hop and a skip away.
Mombasa: Kenya’s Coastal Heartbeat
Kenya’s Mombasa region is perhaps its most famous coastline, known for its diving and deep sea fishing, as well as its lively atmosphere favoured by those seeking a more festive vacation. It offers a number of larger resorts, has a great selection of restaurants, night clubs, and shops, and the proximity to Mombasa’s airport means it’s the perfect safari and beach destination. We recommend staying at Voyager Beach Resort located in the Nyali area, just north of Mombasa. Perfect for both couples or families, the resort offers the visitor fantastic value for money, well maintained tropical gardens, three large swimming pools, and a flawless white sandy beach sheltered by a coral reef with activities to suit all ages.
Diani Beach: Kenya’s Southern Jewel
Your second port of call should be Kenya’s southern coast: expect palm-fringed white sandy beaches with crystal blue waters and some of Africa’s finest dive spots. Diani Beach (where most of our recommended accommodation options are located) is world-famous for its pristine white beaches and safe, shallow, tropical waters – the classic beach destination perfect for either families or those seeking a romantic honeymoon destination. Kenya’s warm tropical water (in particular around the Diani area) is well-known for its migrating whale sharks known as the gentle giants of the deep (and measuring longer even than a school bus!).
There are a number of luxury hotels and resorts dotted along Diani Beach, but we love Kinondo Kwetu Hotel and the Almanara Luxury Resort. For the perfect post-safari-beach-bliss book yourself into Kinondo Kwetu. This Swedish family-owned resort located south of Diani Beach offers utter relaxation in a laid-back, yet luxurious setting: relax on your own private stretch of beach or cool off in one of two swimming pools, revitalize body and soul at the cliff top yoga studio, go horse-riding along the pristine beach, set off snorkeling along the magnificent coral reef or dive with whale sharks, or simply enjoy a candlelit dinner on the beach with your loved one. For a bespoke luxury experience, the Almanara Luxury Resort offers you the choice of either staying in an exclusive private boutique hotel or a private villa complete with butler service and your own personal chef. Feast on freshly caught seafood right at the water’s edge at the Sails Beach Bar, go kite or wind surfing, scuba dive around world-class dive sites and experience the underwater wonderland and the shimmering coral reefs such as the Kisite National Marine Reserve, go deep sea fishing to the famous Pemba Channel teeming with Sailfish, Black Marlin and Yellow Fin Tuna, or simply hop aboard Almanara’s ‘Ngalawa’ (their locally crafted sailboat) to go snorkeling around the sand islands. The list of water-based activities is endless.
Malindi: Kenya’s Tranquil Coast
The Malindi region (popular with European holidaymakers and ex-pats) and nearby Watamu are also well worth a visit with spectacular beaches abounding and superb diving at Malindi Marine National Park perfect for honeymooners or families seeking a quieter Kenya beach destination. Tsavo National Park (known for its incredible variety of big game) is a mere hundred kilometers inland, making a safari-beach holiday an easy option.
Lamu Archipelago: Kenya’s Idyllic North
For the ultimate private island vacation and barefoot luxury with a lovely laid-back charm, the islands of the Lamu Archipelago offer the idyllic romantic honeymoon destination. There is a range of incredible lodges and private villas on offer, but you will need to take a boat to navigate between the islands. For the ultimate Kenyan honeymoon destination, we recommend staying at Manda Island.
With its dazzling and secluded tropical beaches, intense turquoise Indian Ocean waters, extravagant sunsets, Swahili hospitality, and activities to suit both honeymooning couples and families, it’s time to start planning your beach holiday to Kenya.