Diani Beach in Kwale County is one of Africa’s leading beach destinations. With a flawless, long stretch of white-sand beach hugged by lush forest and kissed by surfable waves, it’s no wonder the Beach is so popular.
This resort town scores points with a diverse crowd: party people, families, honeymooners, backpackers and water-sports enthusiasts. The Beach is now the trendy escape for tourists looking for respite after safari trips in the Samburu and Maasai Mara regions.
At only an hour’s domestic flight away from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, the golden stretch of beach is becoming one of the most popular sun, sea and sand destinations in the country.
The first residents of this place included fishermen, pastoralists and subsistence farmers who led a quiet life here. After the First World War, European pioneers arrived and encouraged investors to buy land and develop the hotel and tourism industry upon which the economy of the area is largely focused today.
Most hotels were built after independence in 1963, when roads along the coast were tarmacked and electricity supplied to the area. The Ukunda Airstrip was opened by the late president Jomo Kenyatta in 2013, and Diani developed into a cosmopolitan resort town with over 100,000 inhabitants—all while maintaining its charm and simple ambience. Today, it is one of Kenya’s most renowned tourist sights and the country’s biggest foreign money earner.
Kenya is widely known for its diverse blend of cultures and traditions. Diani is mostly inhabited by Swahili people, whose culture is largely influenced by the Arabs.
The prevalence of the Islamic religion and traditions govern nearly every aspect of the Swahili tribe’s culture, including food, clothing, and lifestyle. Communities present in the area include the Giriama, Digo, Duruma, Rabai, Kambe, Chonyi, Jibana, Kauma, and Ribe. These tribes represent a traditional way of life here
Centered around beach life, Diani is a hive of activities that cater to pursuits both on land and sea. Residents can test their swings at Leisure Lodge Golf Club, swim and dive with a whale shark, the world’s largest fish, go deep-sea fishing along the Pemba Channel, visit the coral caves at Shimoni Village – part of the historic slave trail – enjoy flora and fauna in the Mangrove forest ecosystem of the Ramisi River Delta, or try their hand at kitesurfing (Diani is also home to the annual Kenya Kite Cup in January).
A good number of parks and game reserves are nearby, including the Shimba Hills National Reserve, which is approximately 25 miles from Diani Beach and home to wildlife, including the rare sable antelope, giraffe, buffalo, leopard and a high population of elephants. The Colobus Monkey Conservation, designed to promote the protection of primates, and the Diani/Chale Marine National Park & Reserve are also surrounding attractions.
Diani Beach in Kenya is the perfect spot for surfing, because the tides are especially strong and cause great waves. The water in Diani Beach is completely free of rocks and stones, offering absolute security. In addition to the perfect surf conditions, there extremely beautiful landscapes. A bright and warm sea, yard-long white sand beaches, palm trees, sun and an African flair create a dreamlike atmosphere which you will learn to love immediately.
Diani boasts of upscale hotels and resorts, renowned restaurants and celebrated beach clubs. Various popular restaurants, such as the famous Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant, Leonardo’s Restaurant, Sails Beach Bar & Restaurant, Nomad Restaurant, among others, are also within easy reach.
So, whether you want to take advantage of the local cuisine, enjoy fine dining, or simply laze by the beach, frozen cocktail in hand, Diani offers a path of leisure for every kind of seeker.