Diani Reef Beach Resort, Kenya

Guide to Diani Beach, Kenya – Escape to the Coast

Here’s a guide to Diani Beach, Kenya – to experience white sand beaches and crystal blue waters escape to the coast. Finding and booking the perfect beach destination is not easy, most islands are expensive and wildly overpriced.

Diani Beach is an island, a boat ride away from Mombasa, and one of the most affordable beach destinations in Africa. This post breaks down everything you need to know to enjoy the East African sun.

Guide to Diani Beach – How to get there from Nairobi

You can get to Diani Beach, an island off the coast of Mombasa, by train or by flight – both ways are very accessible.

Fly to Diani Beach

You can find flights starting from $125 to Diani Beach from Nairobi on Skywards Express, a local airline in Kenya. They fly out of Nairobi Wilson Airport, a much smaller airport than Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Skywards Express only allows 15kg for checked-in luggage, so keep this in mind when packing. Once the flight lands in Mombasa after the hour-and-a-half flight from Nairobi, it’s a 1-hour drive to the ferry that takes you and your vehicle 30 minutes across to Diani.

All the counties in Kenya are very well connected, and there are numerous travel options whether you want to go by plane or train.

Take a train to Diani Beach

If you are not pressed for time and are on a budget, using the SGR train from Nairobi to Mombasa (also called the Madaraka Express) is a great alternative.

Taking overland journeys is so scenic and also affordable, in this case, the train is cheaper than flying, but much slower as the entire journey from Nairobi to Mombasa on the express train takes 5 hours (or more). However, the train passes through a national park so you have the opportunity to game view and see some Elephants, Gazelles and Giraffes.

Due to its affordability, train tickets sell out very fast so although tickets can be bought at the station, purchasing them in advance will save you a lot of stress. Tickets can be bought up to 60 days in advance, this can come in handy during peak travel in Kenya.

The prices of the train start from $20 return for an adult economy ticket, when compared to a plane ticket, it is major savings.

Guide to Diani Beach – The best time to visit

Diani Reef Beach Resort

Diani is hot and sunny most of the year except April and May when heavy rains are expected. I travelled to Diani for 3 days in November and the weather hit 32°C. There are some rains in October & November but it’s rare.

Read: The Ultimate Kenya Travel Guide

Guide to Diani Beach – Transportation

Diani is a small island, so the main form of transportation is tuk-tuks – these are affordable and efficient three-wheeled vehicles, hail one from the side of the road or ask your hotel security to call one.

What to wear in Diani Beach

Diani is an island and since it’s “summer” all year round, so there are no dressing restrictions. Pack shorts, summer dresses, flip flops – clothes that won’t make you overheat.

Where to stay in Diani Beach

Searching for where to stay is a crucial part of trip planning, and the fact that Kenya is known for its stays does not make the search any easier. From hotels to lodges, luxury camps, resorts & villas, there is something for every type of traveller regardless of budget.

Diani is an island so all the great resorts have a beachfront with private access to sandy beaches and blue waters. My 3 days in Diani were spent at Diani Reef Beach Resort

Diani Reef Beach Resort

Diani Reef Beach Resort is a stunning property; the blue waters and sandy white beach were the highlights of my stay and easily accessible. Unfortunately, the resort was extremely crowded since a large engineering conference was being hosted there, which dampened the stay.

The rooms are not the most modern and, in my opinion, need to be upgraded. However, breakfast was an incredible way to start my day, especially since the mornings were the quietest.

I would love to stay there again when it’s less crowded to get the full experience.

Where to eat in Diani Beach

Ali Barbour Cave

This is a very popular restaurant in Diani because of its cave aesthetic. It was under construction when we were in Diani in November (2022) so we couldn’t eat here, but they have raving reviews so I will be sure to try it out on my next visit.

Nomad Beach Bar & Restaurant

This was a last-minute choice since our original plan (dinner at Ali Barbour) didn’t work out. Although the food was good, the quality of the meals was inconsistent.

The service was incredibly slow and our waiter forgot a lot of the orders he took at first and a few of the girls’ meals came out cold. It is a beachfront restaurant so the views were amazing, however, I think eating here once was enough for me.

2-Day Itinerary (What to do) in Diani Beach

Read: 12 Best Things to See & Do in Kenya

Day 1: Jetskiing or Snorkelling & Camel Ride

Start your day at 9 am when the tide is low, book a snorkelling tour for $15 and spend 2 hours swimming with colourful fish in crystal clear waters. After, take a $5 camel ride along the beach for 10 minutes.

Alternative to snorkelling, you can JetSki for $60, however, compared to snorkelling, I don’t think Jetskiing would be worth it.

Day 2: Shopping at the Local Market & Africa Pool

Take a TukTuk from your hotel and shop at the roadside markets 5 minutes away. Make sure you haggle because the first price is never the true price, the prices are often tripled for tourists.

Tiwi Beach home to the African pool is a short 7-minute drive from Diani. The pool is a natural tide pool shaped like the map of Africa and is a stunning swimming spot during low tide.

Read this Ultimate Travel Guide for a 10-day Itinerary for Kenya.

Final thoughts on Diani Beach

My first time seeing crystal blue waters was in Diani so it’ll always hold a special place in my heart. It’s an affordable way to experience island life on the continent and if you love water activities, there is no shortage of them in Diani. I will be going back.

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I hope this post helps you plan your trips to Kenya. Please leave any questions you may have in the comments below.

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