Where to go

Southern Beaches

Where white sand beaches and crystal coral reefs meet

The South Coast of Kenya offers a wide range of different options for the discerning beach-goer. From the wide, white sand beaches of Watamu and Diani, to the hidden coves of Funzi Keys and the secluded luxury of Msambweni and Kinondo Kwetu, there is something for everyone's palate.

The main two areas that have become known along the coast are the regions to the north and to the south of Mombasa. Mombasa itself, while still offering plenty of beach options, has, in our view, become so over run these days by the larger, package companies, that it is not somewhere that we tend to recommend. With a little research and perseverance, there are plenty of smaller, family run operations that are well worth a look, in particular the lodges to the south of the city and on through to Diani on the Tanzanian border.

North of Mombasa

The main beach to consider to the north of Mombasa is called Watamu and is the home to the infamous Hemingway's Hotel, made famous by the fishing exploits of its famous namesake. The beach and the hotel are still firm favourites both with tourists and locals, mainly for its stunning, 4 mile beach, and the annual run of large sailfish that pass just offshore. Year round, the hotels in the area and humming with activity and so it is definitely in with a strong mention for those looking for a few of the larger hotels that the coast has to offer.

South of Mombasa

South of Mombasa run a series of small, privately owned and managed lodges, set on quiet coves, away from the general melee of the more well known beaches. A few of the less known, but truly fantastic lodges along this coast, between Mombasa and Diani, are Msambweni House and Kinondo Kwetu... both being ideal for either families or honeymooners. Other than these, Diani beach is in a similar vein to that of Watamu... an absolutely stunning, white beach running along the coast for as far as the eye can see with perfect blue waters. Again, this areas is also a good place to base yourself if you are a keen fisherman and, with restaurants such as the Forty Thieves nearby, Diani is a really good option for those looking for a little more than just a beach.

When to go to Kenya's southern beaches:

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    At a glance... Southern Beaches

    • Location South East coast of Kenya
    • Recommended time 5 to 7 nights
    • Time to visit Year round
    • Topography White sand beaches and a beautiful coral stretch

    Further reading...

    Our top five hotels & lodges in Southern Beaches:

    1. The huge pool in front of the lodge

      Saruni Ocean

      Like its sister properties in the Saruni collection, Saruni Ocean is off the beaten track, priding itself nothing less than a hidden paradise on the glistening Indian Ocean. The grounds of the lodge are large and spacious, yet it still maintains an intimate and personal atmosphere with only six... More...

      Our rating:
      4
      User rating:
      4
      Price:
      4
    2. The beach bar and dining at Waterlovers

      Waterlovers Beach Resort

      Waterlovers is a great choice for those looking for a little more intimacy and privacy on a stunning stretch of Kenya’s southern coast. The owners, Riccardo and Valentina, planned and constructed every single detail themselves, as a result of their passion for the ocean and their motto “come as a... More...

      Our rating:
      4
      User rating:
      5
      Price:
      4
    3. Beds on the beach overlooking the Indian Ocean

      Kinondo Kwetu

      Kinondo Kwetu is a home away from home… a stunning family-run lodge on the idyllic Kenyan coast. The lodge has maintained its high standard of luxury and serenity, encouraging guests to wind down from their safari, journey or maybe just general day-to-day stresses. It offers a wide range of water... More...

      Our rating:
      4
      User rating:
      4
      Price:
      3
    4. The pool lit up at dusk

      Afrochic

      Contrasting against the larger beach hotels and resorts along the Diani beach coast, Afrochic is the jewel of the crown, offering an intimate experience with exceptional service and attention to detail. As part of the Elewana Collection, the boutique hotel occupies a large, modern house and is the... More...

      Our rating:
      4
      User rating:
      4
      Price:
      4
    5. The interior of the cliff villa

      Alfajiri Villas

      Located on Kenya’s Diani Beach, guests at Alfajiri are able to enjoy a peaceful stroll barefoot along the beach, with views of the sparkling Indian Ocean and the coral reefs that are close by. With three large private villas available for exclusive use with a team of wonderful staff, chefs and... More...

      Our rating:
      4
      User rating:
      4
      Price:
      4