The ultimate guide to Diani beach
Located on the South coast of Kenya, Diani Beach is ranked the best seasides in the world, the beach has been voted as one of the top beaches in Africa by CNN and the best beach destination in Africa for 5 years running.
This beautiful beach boasts a magnificent 25 kilometers stretch of crystal white sand , fringed by swaying palm trees and smooth ocean waves of Indian Ocean.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF DIANI BEACH
Diani Beach and the whole coastal Kenya is believed to be the origin of the East African Civilization, the specific history of Diani Beach is less known however pieces of this history can be tracked back in the 8th Century AD.
In the 9th Century, the Indian and Arab traders arrived on the coast of Kenya and started mingling with the indigenous population creating the unique Swahili cultures with much of it still thriving until this day. During this period, the whole Coastal region of Kenya enjoyed a golden age of trade.
In the 15th Century, the Portuguese arrived at the Kenyan Coast and effectively dominated the region for approximately 2 centuries, later their dominance was over thrown by the Oman Arabs.
In the 19th Century, the British colonialists established their rules on the coast and declared it a British Protectorate.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN DIANI BEACH
VISIT DIANI BEACH
Diani Beach is one of a beautiful beach destination offering memorable and thrilling activities such as sky diving, deep sea fishing, sea diving and wind surfing. the coast line of Diani Beach is endowed with a rich aqua life such as dolphins which you can enjoy swimming with.
At Diani Beach, you can take a walk along the pearl white sands, swim in the warm waters or sun bathe.
EXPLORE THE KONGO MOSQUE
Named from the surrounding forest, the Kongo Mosque is an ancient structure rich in history. This mosque was previously known as Diani Persian Mosque a name coined by the Arab Merchants who then occupied the area. Today, the mosque is more than just a worship center. It is a tourist site you which you not miss visiting while on your holiday in Diani.
VISIT THE SHIMONI SLAVE CAVES
The Shimoni slave caves are a perfect site to visit for travelers fascinated by history, Shimoni is a Swahili word meaning “the place of the cave”. These caves have a fascinating history revolving around them which goes back many centuries, the age of these caves is evident with the huge stalactites and stalagmites in the interior which complete the horror feel as while inside the cave.
ENGAGE IN ECO BIKE RIDES
Bike riding is the best way to explore the interiors of Diani Beach and marvel at its fascinating beauty, the Diani eco bike rides are designed to provide you with a tour through the villages and in the revered Kayo Kinondo Forest. During the bike, you will encounter various species of flora and fauna in the forest and the locals as they go with their daily life.
DISCOVER KAYA KINONDO FOREST
The Kaya Kinondo forest is one of the oldest forests on the South Coast of Kenya with 187 plant species, 48 species of birds and 45 of the butterfly which represents 5% of Kenya’s known butterfly species. The forest is home to the rare Zanj Elephants Shrew and threatened Colobus monkeys among others.
A tour in the Kaya Kinondo Forest enlightens you on the cultural and spiritual importance of the forest to the Digo people living on the cost.
GO DEEP SEA FISHING
Deep sea fishing is a fun activity to enjoy on your holiday in Diani, this activity is done on Pemba Channel which is one of the best fishing spots in the world, the channel is home to Striped, Black and Blue Marlin, Sailfish, Broadbill, Mako, Tiger and other sharks, Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, Dorado, Giant Trevally among others
DEEP SEA DIVING
The Indian Ocean waters around Diani Beach are warm and clear thus perfect for diving experience, the waters also have great visibility, colorful reef and aquatic life making diving excursion a memorable one.
There are many diving spots along Diani beach and many companies offering diving excursions.
VISIT DIANI ART GALLERY
The Diani Art Gallery is the only gallery located on the coast of Kenya, the gallery offers a wide variety of fine African art with diverse selection of painted works, sculptures and photographs from well-known artists and up-coming creatives from Kenya and other parts of Africa.
Diani Art Gallery offers art classes, wine and cheese evenings, special promotions and other events.
VISIT CHALE ISLAND ON A BIKE
The beautiful Chale Island is the only private resort island in Kenya, Diani Beach is a gateway to this beautiful island and it can easily be accessed by a bike rented at the shopping center. If you are looking for a more thrilling ride, you can hire big four-wheel dune buggies – Quad bikes which can be rented just a few meters away from the shopping center.
VOLUNTEER AT THE COLOBUS TRUST
The Colobus Trust is a non-profit organization that is wholly dedicated to the conservation of the Colobus monkeys on the coast specifically Colobus angolensis which are found in Diani, these primates have been classified as an endangered species whose population is drastically descreasing due to human encroachment, kills by vehicles and snares.
While on a holiday in Diani, you can help save the colobus angolensis by joining as an Eco – volunteer for 3-4 weeks for a volunteering holiday.
TOP HOTELS AND BEACH RESORTS IN DIANI BEACH
There are abundant accommodation options in Diani Beach ranging from hotels, resorts, villas and cottages, the most popular places to stay at include
- Diani Reef Beach Resort
- Swahili Beach Resort
- Amani Tiwi Beach Resort
- The Zuibeida
- Queen Chateau Boutique Villa
- Manyatta Resort & Apartments
- Amani Luxury Apartments
- Lofta Resort Diani
GETTING TO DIANI BEACH
FLYING TO KENYA
There are many direct flights to Kenya’s capital Nairobi from many European hubs, USA, Arab countries and Asian countries with the most popular ones being Frankfurt (Lufthansa), Newyork (Kenya Airways) Zurich (Swiss), Amsterdam (KLM), London (British Airways, Kenya Airways) or Paris (Kenya Airways).
If you do not intend to spend days in Nairobi or go to safari holiday in Kenya’s national parks and reserve, it is better to fly directly to the Ukunda Airport, Diani from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
FLYING TO DIANI BEACH
From Nairobi, you can fly to Diani Beach and that is by flying either from Wilson Airport, from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport or from Moi International Airport in Mombasa.
For visitors who prefer self – driving to Diani Beach, you can comfortably drive from any part in Kenya. It is a whole day trip. Not driving through Mombasa will save you time as you will be avoiding the traffic jam and the Likoni ferry bottleneck and this is by branching off Mombasa Highway in Samburu and then drive through the Shimba Hills.
By Bus from Nairobi
There are at least two buses leaving from Nairobi to Ukunda (Diani) that is Chania and Simba.
Note: these buses are not as comfortable.
GETTING TO DIANI BY SEA
Sailing is the most common way used to access Diani Beach.
By Ferry from Mombasa
If you are traveling from Diani, you will need to use the Likoni ferry to reach Diani Beach, the five – minutes crossing runs regularly throughout the day. After you get off the ferry, the drive to Diani is roughly about 30 minutes on a good tarmac road.
GETTING AROUND DIANI BEACH
There are plenty of Tuk Tuks, motoerbikes and taxis which can take you around Diani Beach. For visitors who prefer to self-drive you can hire bikes and car from the shopping center.
Using a taxi is the main mode transport used to get around Diani Beach and there many taxis to use. The easiest places to find a taxi are Bazaar, Petro, Diani Shopping Centre, Ushago and the are around Nomad Hotel.
Taxis along Diani Beach are in good condition, very clean and are operated by friendly, helpful, honest and knowledgeable individuals.
Public Transport in Diani
The matatu is the fast and most reliable transport in Diani Beach for short range travelers, you will find the Matatus on the following routes
- Leisure -Ukunda – take you to the left side of Diani Beach
- Pavillion-Ukunda – take you to right side of Diani Beach
- Likoni- Ukunda – From the Likoni Ferry
The Matatus have irregular travel times and are normally available all day from dawn (6 am) to night fall, they also stop almost everywhere.
You can catch a matatu at designated stops which are the pick up points, also you can find them cruising around and a simple wave is enough to bring them on a halt.