Best 6 Kenya Beaches

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Mention the name Kenya to people and most of them automatically think of safaris, but there's so much more to this East African country than wildlife encounters.

The country's vast stretch of coastline straddles the Indian Ocean, and powdery white sands and clingfilm-clear waters come as standard for most resorts.

Diani Beach is probably the most popular of Kenya's seaside resorts, and it regularly finishes high up the table of Africa's best beaches. Ask someone to picture a tropical beach and this is perhaps as close as you'll get - the soft white sands find themselves sandwiched between glistening glass-like waters and a lush green forest that's home to various wildlife. You'll find this 11-mile sweep of pearly white sand just south of the country's second largest city, Mombasa, so you can expect to have plenty of company while you catch the rays here. Another feature which draws the tourists here is the impressive diving and snorkelling scene, with plenty of coral reefs to explore. Watersports are also big business, with the likes of kayaking, jet skiing and kite surfing popular.

If you prefer to escape the crowds, then Msambweni is a better option. It's just 25km south of Diani, and there are still plenty of diving and snorkelling spots to check out, but it's far quieter than its neighbour.

But if you really want secluded and scenic, then the place to head to is Lamu - an archipelago that sits just off the coast in Northern Kenya. Its relatively remote setting and low-key nature are a world away from some of the bigger resorts on the mainland, which makes it a top pick for honeymoons and romantic escapes. And of course, the beach scene ticks off soft white sands and crystal clear waters.

The Best Kenyan Beaches...

  • 1. Diani Beach // Diani Beach

    Diani Beach
    Roma Neus
    Great for:
    • Snorkeling

    Regularly riding high in polls to find Africa's top beaches, Diani Beach stretches for a generous 11 miles. A short distance south of Kenya's second largest city, Mombasa, it is a quintessential Indian Ocean beach. Verdant forest, which is home to all manner of native monkeys and birds, gives way to a phenomenal ribbon of near white sand that appears totally untouched by man. This in turn slopes gently… read more »

  • 2. Watamu Beach // Watamu

    Watamu Beach
    Jenny Kellett
    Great for:
    • Snorkeling
    • Swimming

    Particularly popular with high-end Italian travellers, Watamu Beach is one of the best places to sample genuine Italian gelato in Africa.

    Stretching from the mouth of Mida Creek to the centre of Watamu town, the beach's white sand attracts not only those seeking out a tropical paradise but also endangered sea turtles, who routinely nest on the beach.

    In fact, the range of marine life that can be discovered in the warm… read more »

  • 3. Msambweni Beach

    Msambweni Beach
    Great for:
    • Snorkeling

    Located on a quiet stretch of Kenya's Indian Ocean coastline between Mombasa and the border with Tanzania to the south, Msambweni Beach is dominated by the upscale beach resort of the same name which watches over the beach from low rocky cliffs.

    The beach comprises close to three kilometres of soft white sand contrasted against the deep green of the surrounding vegetation and sparkling blue of the Indian Ocean at its… read more »

  • 4. Kikambala Beach // Mombasa

    Kikambala Beach
    Great for:
    • Snorkeling

    One of a string of excellent stretches of white sand which lie immediately north of Mombasa, Kikambala Beach is one of the quietest and the most serene.

    Part of this sense of space comes from the fact Kikambala Beach runs for approximately 12 kilometres in total. Difficult to reach without your own transport or pre-arranged shuttle service, you'll still need to be prepared for a walk of several hundred metres from… read more »

  • 5. Nyali Beach // Mombasa

    Nyali Beach
    CT Cooper
    Great for:
    • Snorkeling
    • Surfing
    • Kitesurfing

    A short distance south along the coast from Mombasa Beach, Nyali Beach is located on the peninsula of mainland which drops down beside Mombasa Island. Curving around the southern coast of the peninsula in a north-easterly direction, its beautiful white sands stretch in a wide ribbon for several kilometres.

    Relatively uncrowded, Nyali Beach is incorporated into Mombasa Marine Reserve. Its waters are not only protected, but also very calm, providing ample… read more »

  • 6. Chale Island Beach // Diani Beach

    Chale Island Beach
    © ostill
    Great for:
    • Snorkeling

    Chale Island Beach sits on the northern coast of a small island just 900 metres by 300 metres wide. It is a short sailing away from the Kenyan mainland by dhow sailboat.

    Part of a high-end resort, there's snorkelling direct from Chale Island Beach or as part of a boat trip, catamaran sailing trips to take in the indigenous forest covering the southern end of the island – an ancestral village… read more »