The Ultimate Guide to Diani Beach

Located on the south coast of Kenya, Diani boosts of a magnificent 25km beach stretch whose life blossoms into something the body feels as much as the soul, her waters stretch out freely, flaunting white sands and smooth oceans waves welcoming the blue sky and sun rays to a celebration of freedom, love and great memories.

Her weather calm as it is warm brings with it the conduciveness required for the beach life – Laughter, bare foot dances, wind tousled hair, water sports, name it, Diani offers her pleasures seamlessly for all your desires.

Diani’s economy is anchored on the hospitality industry – being a leading tourist destination, Diani has a wide array of accommodation facilities to cater for all travel budgets from the economy tourist to the top of the top, the likes of Angelina Jolie, Jose Mourihno and other celebrities who occasionally tour Diani beach.

A Brief History Of Diani

Diani and perhaps the whole of Coastal Kenya is the believed to be the origin East African Civilization. Little is known about Diani’s specific history but shreds of evidence suggest that her history can be traced back in the 8th Century AD.

In the 9th century, the Indian and Arab traders started to mingle with the indigenous population to create the unique Swahili culture, much of which still survives until this day. During this period, the whole Coastal region of Kenya enjoyed a golden age of trade. During the 15th Century, the Portuguese arrived at the Kenyan Coast and effectively domanited the region for 2 centuries after which the Oman Arabs took over.

At the turn of the 19th century, the British established a foothold and declared the coast a British Protectorate. Jadini Beach Hotel was the first tourist hotel to be built on Diani beach in 1937. It was formerly a cottage. Trade Winds and Two Fishes followed later as tourism took off in Diani.

Today, Diani is regarded as one of the leading tourism beach destinations in the World.

People & Culture

The indigenous people of Diani are the Digo Community who are the the second-largest tribe of the 9 Mijikenda tribes. With an estimated population of 400,000, the Digo are concentrated on the southern coastal strip of Kenya specifically Diani and the border of Tanzania. The Digo people speak chidigo, which is a Bantu language closely related to both Swahili and the other Mijikenda languages. Over 90% of Digo people are Islams.

Diani boosts of a vibrant culture drawn from the different communities and nations who live here – Despite the cultural mix that Diani boosts of, the indigenous locals culture remains alive, known for their warmness and accommodative nature the locals hold visitors in high regard as visitors are believed to be a source of blessings.

As vibrant as the culture, so is the night life, as the sun fades away, Diani transcends to become the life of the party. Endowed with various night clubs and great music, her people rise to the occasion with unreserved energy making the most of each moment, this is how memories are made here.

Directions to Diani Beach

If you do opt to fly to Diani, then you have two options either flying from Nairobi’s Wilson airport or Jomo Kenyatta International Airport or from Moi International Airport in Mombasa. The major airlines serving Diani are (Jambo jet, Safarilink, Silverstone and MAS . It is also key to note that there are private charter planes that fly people in and out of Diani to nearly any location in Kenya, the most common being Maasai Mara, MIA & Vipingo.

If you prefer the self-driving, you can comfortably drive to Diani and the road infrastructure is suitable for all types of cars.

By far the least common way used to access Diani, this normally done by seafarers from Zanzibar who import merchandise through the Shimoni Port. However, from Mombasa, one can get private boats to access Diani.

Getting Around Diani Beach

Diani has plenty of TukTuks, Motorbikes and taxis. Besides that, you can also self-drive or ride by hiring bikes and cars rentals from the shopping Center.

There are at least a hundred taxis around Diani Beach that are easily accessible. Using a taxi around Diani is much the same as in other places. The taxis here are not heavily regulated, in fact very few are differentiable from the cars on the road. The easiest places to find taxis are Barclays Shopping centre, Bazaar, Petro, Diani Shopping Centre, Ushago and the area around Nomad Hotel.

You will find the Taxis waiting and you can choose whichever pleases you most. Taxi drivers along Diani Beach are very loyal and when you find a good one, take his card and call him anytime in the course of your stay. That way, you will get better rates for the repeat business.Take a taxi at all times you travel after dark.

You will find that the drivers speak English but in a case where you are not able to communicate properly, write your destination on a piece of paper and the driver will take you there.

Tipping is not mandatory and the drivers know that so they will be extra helpful and courteous in the hope that you will leave “something small”. Taxis along Diani Beach are very clean and most in excellent condition. The drivers are very friendly, helpful, honest, and knowledgeable about the area.

The Best Things to Do in Diani Beach | Diani Activities

Attrations in Diani Beach

Visit the Beach Itself

From Sky Diving to sea diving, desires to memories, deep sea fishing to kite and wind surfing, Diani has it all in a way few destinations can match in Africca.

Besides the beachfronts, Diani’s ocean line streches to the Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park which is endowed with a rich aqua life so much so the dolphins accompany you for a swim sensually flaunting their moves as though in a bid to seduce you.

 Explore the  Kongo Mosque

Borrowing a name from the surrounding forest, Kongo Mosque is an ancient structure rich in history now turned – tourist attraction.

Previously known as Diani Persian Mosque, a name coined by the Arab Merchants who occupied the area then, Kongo Mosque is today more than a worship centre. 

Visit the Shimoni Slave Caves

Shimoni is a Swahili word which means ‘the place of the cave’.  These Shimoni caves have a fascinating history going back many centuries.

The age of the caves is evident with the huge stalactites and stalagmites inside that complete the horror feel. Shimoni’s history revolves a lot around the cave.

Diani Bikes

Eco Bike Rides

Get lost into the interiors of Diani Beach and marvel at her beauty.  Diani eco bike rides are designed to give you a unique tour of Diani Beach and her environs. What better way to tour than cycling along the beach, through the villages and even to the revered Kaya Kinondo forest. This memorable tour is arranged by Diani Bikes who pride themselves as having the most modern bikes.

Kaya Forest near Diani Beach

Discover Kaya Kinondo Forest

Kaya Kinondo is one of the oldest forests on Kenya’s South Coast with 187 plant species, 48 species of birds and 45 of the butterfly, representing five percent of Kenya’s known butterfly species, the rare Zanj Elephants Shrew and threatened Colobus Monkey, among others.  A tour to this forest will leave one enlightened on the cultural and spiritual importance of the forest to the Digo people.

Deep-Sea-Fishing

Go Deep Sea Fishing

Diani is not far from the Pemba Channel, one of the best fishing spots in the world and home to Striped, Black and Blue Marlin, Sailfish, Broadbill, Mako, Tiger and other sharks, Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, Dorado, Giant Trevally among others.  A trip to the Pemba channel is nothing short of mind blowing for those that appreciate the magic of big game fishing.

Work with the Colobus Trust

Colobus Trust is a nonprofit organization that is wholly dedicated to the conservation of the Colobus monkey. Specifically Colobus angolensis, which is found in Diani has been classified as an endangered species whose population has been drastically reduced by human encroachment, road kills, and snares. You can help by joining as an Eco-volunteer for 3-4 weeks for a volunteering holiday.

Diani-Beach-Art-Gallery

 Visit Diani Art Gallery

Kaya Kinondo is one of the oldest forests on Kenya’s South Coast with 187 plant species, 48 species of birds and 45 of the butterfly, representing five percent of Kenya’s known butterfly species, the rare Zanj Elephants Shrew and threatened Colobus Monkey, among others.  A tour to this forest will leave one enlightened on the cultural and spiritual importance of the forest to the Digo people.

Whaleshark Safari

Little is known about the whale shark, the largest fish in the world, measuring up to 18 meters and tipping the scales at 20 tons. The whale shark is a protected species that currently thrives on the warm waters off Diani Beach where the East African Whale Shark Trust  (EAWST) is involved projects to create awareness, tag and monitor the whale shark population. You can sign up as a volunteer and get involved firsthand in the conservancy efforts.

Deep Sea Diving

The Indian Ocean waters off Diani Beach are warm and clear during this dry period and the best for diving with great visibility. There are several diving spots along the coast and several companies offer dive sessions for an affordable fee every day. The clear waters, colorful reef, and vibrant aquatic life make Diani Beach a must for all divers.

Sky-diving-Diani

Adrenaline Packed Activities

For adrenaline junkies, there’s nothing like the feeling of elation after you’ve jumped out of a plane, dropped into a deep canyon or plunged into icy cold water. Whether you’re into sky diving, paragliding, jet skiing , kitesurfing or windsurfing, diani beachfeatures some of the most popular adrenaline-filled activities in the world. The intense and thrilling thrust of excitement that gets your heart racing and your palms sweaty.

Whaleshark Safaris

Little is known about the whale shark, the largest fish in the world, measuring up to 18 meters and tipping the scales at 20 tons. The whale shark is a protected species that currently thrives on the warm waters off Diani Beach where the East African Whale Shark Trust  (EAWST) is involved projects to create awareness, tag and monitor the whale shark population. You can sign up as a volunteer and get involved firsthand in the conservancy efforts.

Top Hotels in Diani Beach

 A guide to the most popular places to stay in diani beach.

Diani Reef Beach Resort

Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa is an award winning beach front resort located along Diani Beach Road, right next to Diani Beach and only 5 minutes drive from Ukunda.

Swahili Beach Resort

From the art to the architecture, Swahili Beach Resort is simply a masterpiece. Featuring a private beach area and water sports facilities, Swahili is one of the finest places to stay in Diani.

Amani Tiwi Beach Resort

Located on the private beach of Tiwi in Diani Beach, Amani Tiwi Beach Resort is the ultimate family holiday resort. Watch the sunrise & sit back and enjoy the charms of the African wilderness.

Top Villas & Cottages in Diani

The Zuibeida is  a collection of exclusive luxury villas in Diani beach, designed as a tribute to the Matriach of the Khan family.

Queens Chateau Boutique Villa is a boutique luxury Villa located in along Diani beach within the South coast of Mombasa.

Sunset Villa Boutique Resort is a modern retreat, with lush tropical garden that offers a relaxing environment for holiday makers.

Best Budget Hotels in Diani

Manyatta Resort & Apartments is an affordable resort featuring an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant, and a garden.

Diplomat Diani Beach Resort near diani beach features a restaurant, free private parking and an outdoor swimming pool.

Retro Boutique Hotel, a modern 3-star hotel near Ukunda airstrip features 12 quite comfy rooms, a swimming pool & free wi-fi.

Favorite Holiday Homes

Amani Luxury Apartments – Self-contained apartments with a private, shared pool facility – best for long-term stay.

Morning Star Diani Beach Resort offers accommodations with free WiFi and a garden with a terrace.

Lotfa Resort Diani located near Baharini Shopping Centre,offers amenities including water sports facilities and barbecue facilities.

Top Restaurants in Diani Beach

 A guide to our favorite places to eat in diani beach.

Nomads Beach Bar & Restaurant

Nomads Beach Bar & restaurant enjoys the smoothest beachfront in Diani & a constant supply of fresh seafood and fine dining options.

Sails Beach Bar & Restaurant

Picturesque at its finest, the architectural design of Sails beach bar & restaurant is one of the most exquisite along the entire coast.

Kokkos Cafe & Bistro

Kokkos Cafe & Bistro is best known as the best brewers of the finest coffee in Diani and bakers of lip-smacking cakes.

Best of Nighlife in Diani

Shakatak disco is widely known as the the best discoteque in Diani Beach and serves both local and imported German beer. 

Tandoori Bar – Located along Diana, Diani Beach Road, Tandoori is an open air bar, popular for their great night live music.

Shopping in Diani

Diani Shopping Center – Located at the heart of Diani beach, the center is a one stop shopping destination that takes care of all your shopping and banking needs.

Baharini Shopping Center – Baharini is a mordern shopping space with restaurants, tapas bar, grocery store, suvenier shops, cloths shops, pharmacy, and many more.

 

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