GMT +3 hours
Miles of white sands at Kenya’s premier beach resorts
The vibrant city of Mombasa is the gateway to Kenya’s tranquil coast which boasts a diverse blend of cultures, sights, and over 300 miles of palm-fringed beaches stretching from the small town of Malindi in the north to the dazzling white sands of Diani in the south. Brilliant year round temperatures coupled with azure waters make for a sensational, relaxing break or a more active one with plenty of watersports on offer too.
Best time to visit
From January to March and July to September.
Located on Kenya’s tropical east coast, bordering the Indian Ocean, Mombasa is a bustling city with a rich culture dating back to the 12th Century. The city itself is located on an island connected to the mainland by a bridge, causeway and ferry. Its main attractions include the imposing 16th Century fort of Fort Jesus overlooking the harbour, standing watch over the traditional dhows and modern ships. In the Old Town, narrow streets house Swahili houses, mosques and colourful markets.
Southwest of Mombasa, Shimba Hills is a coastal nature reserve 400 metres above sea level, renowned for its elephant population, but offering sightings too of lion, leopard, zebra, giraffe and the indigenous sable antelope.
But the reason that most come here is for the surrounding beaches, where the warm, clear waters are excellent for snorkelling, diving and watersports including windsurfing and waterskiing. Migratory whale sharks also inhabit the waters during February and March each year. Popular with families and honeymooners alike, the choice of accommodation ranges from value hotels to luxury all inclusive resorts.
Mombasa’s south coast is accessible from both Mombasa – by ferry and road – and the closer Ukunda airport, and plays host to some of Kenya’s finest beaches, including Diani Beach – the most developed beach in the region, with its glistening white sands. Further south, Galu Beach is another favourite, and a quieter option than Diani.
The resorts on Mombasa’s north coast are closer to the airport and a little livelier, reached via Mombasa’s Nyali Bridge. Nyali Beach has the shortest transfer (approx. 40 minutes) and can get relatively busy at weekends. It is well-located for visiting Mombasa Marine National Park, and is a popular beach for watersports. Further along the coast, Bamburi and Shanzu beaches also play host to a range of popular resorts.
For wildlife viewing on safari, the closest national park to Mombasa is Tsavo East, approx. three hours’ drive away, although all national parks and reserves can be easily reached via a short flight or two and road transfer.