Diani Beach is a tourist-oriented town located 30 km south of Mombasa, Kenya. If you are looking for a place to unwind, enjoy sightseeing and a lot of cultural and adventure activities, Diani Beach is the place to be. The location is accessible as it is nested in a stretch of white sand, surrounded by a deluxe forest, and borders tranquil waves. The spot is ideal for honeymooners, water-sports enthusiasts, backpackers, and party people.
Diani also hosts some of the best hotels in Kenya. You’ll find private honeymoon spots, funky kitesurfing schools, and affordable party hotels. You can take a walk through the sacred forest and listen to trees speak in their ancestor’s voices and meander through coral mosques. There is more to Diani Beach than just the sun and the sand.
The best time to visit Diani
Based on the average temperature and humidity, the best time to visit Diani is from December to March. Diani Beach has some extra humid months and is above average in humidity throughout the year. May is the most humid month with 76.5% humidty. February is the least humid month with 66.8% humidity. May is the windiest month, followed by January and June.
Since December to March is the best time to visit Diani Beach in terms of weather, these are the busiest tourism months in Diani Beach. During these months, flights and hotels rates will be at peak prices. Book well in advance to save money. June is Diani Beach’s low tourism season where almost everything is less expensive. The seasons will determine your travel plans — especially if you’re a kitesurfer:
March to May (fall): The season is warm with high humidity and temperature. Rain is typical during this time. Tourism is slow hence perfect for those looking for deals.
June to August (winter): These months have the most comfortable weather. The temperatures are high yet pleasant. Precipitation is moderate. Above all, they are the slowest season for tourists. Hotels and activities cost less than usual.
September to November (spring): Tourism is a bit high due to the ideal weather. Accommodation is slightly elevated and you’ll want to book your activities and accommodation early.
December – February (summer): For warm weather travelers, this is the ideal time to visit Diani. This season is the busiest with a lot of trourism activities on offer (some tourist companies shut down during slow months).
The best hotels in Diani, Kenya
Kenyaways Kite Village: A world-class kitesurfing bed and breakfast that combines local wilderness and creature comforts. The little hotel-cum-kite-school won’t tear your pocket and welcomes kitesurfers of all abilities. There are many quaint rooms that offer sea views and are just steps away from a prime kitesurfing spot.
Water Lovers Beach Resort: Situated along the Diani Beach, Water Lovers Beach Resort has an outdoor pool, a restaurant, and free Wi-Fi. The accommodation is a combination of the Mediterranean atmosphere and Swahili designs. Each suite features a veranda with ocean view. If you want something more spacious, choose a villa that comes with a fully equipped kitchen.
The Villa Luxury Suites: These suites are situated 700 meters from the Diani Beach Shopping Centre. Each suite has a refined interior mixed with Swahili elements. Each suite comes with a flat-screen TV, a fan, and an air-conditioner. Enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of tea as you enjoy the view of the garden or pool area. The suites host a private bathroom with a shower and a bidet and bathrobes provided. You will also enjoy free toiletries.
Hotel Sonrisa: Hotel Sonrisa is one of the most beautiful hotels in Diani Beach. The hotel has a swimming pool, a bar, and BBQ facilities. Visitors can enjoy a drink as they relax in the garden. Or, enjoy some sunshine on the terrace. Wi-Fi is free and accessible throughout the property.
Ocean Village Club: Ocean Village Club features a tropical décor with teak furniture. Each room comes with an air conditioning unit and private veranda. The luxury rooms have a sea view, small fridge, flat-screen TV, and a sitting area.
How to get to, from, and around Diani
There are several ways you can access the Diani Beach:
Plane: Flying is the easiest and fastest way to get to Diani Beach. Air Kenya and Safari Link are the two airline operators that host direct flights to Ukunda Airport. The airport is a small airstrip which is just five minutes’ drive from the main Diani Beach road. The two airline operators run daily flights from Nairobi to Mombasa. So, if you happen to alight in Nairobi from Europe, Asia, Australia or North America, you will likely stop in Mombasa. You can opt to use a train which takes approximately 15 hours.
Car/Taxi: If you arrive at Mombasa airport, take a taxi/cab to Diani Beach which charges about Ksh 3,000 ($35 USD). The drive can be boring and long — especially the Likoni Ferry during rush hours. The ferry drive is less than 10 minutes, and you drive along be on the South Coast. The drive from the ferry to Diani Beach is approximately 45 minutes.
There are also private shuttles that operate the route from Mombasa airport to the resort area. They charge approximately Kes 4000 ($45).
It is best to get around Diani Beach by cab or walking (daytime hours only).
Where to eat in Diani Beach
Lymington: A Kenyan restaurant located right on the beach. Relax under the baobab tree on the comfortable couches as you enjoy the breeze. The menu features spaghetti carborane, garlic prawns, and smoked sailfish. The bar has the best cocktails and ice-cold Tuskers. It operates from 8 am to 10 pm. The prices range from $9 – $15.
Kokkos Café Bistro: If you want anything to do with banoffee pie and coffee, this is your one-stop shop. After a walk along the beach, you can enjoy baked oysters and BBQ pork ribs. Come on Tuesdays for burger and beer specials on the menu while Saturdays’ is rib night. Open from 7 am – 10 pm. The prices range from $7 – $13 per meal.
Rongai Restaurant: A favorite joint for barbecued meat (nyama choma) roast meat and boiled maize.
Other must-visit restaurants include Coast Dishes, Swahili Pot/African Pot, Shanshan-Ka, and Aniellos.
Top things to do in Diani, Kenya
Apart from the relaxing on the sandy beaches, going skydiving, kayaking, and swimming, these are many other activities that will enhance your stay at Diani Beach:
Tour the Depths: The 39 kilometers of protected waters are ideal for snorkelling enthusiasts and scuba divers. The best spots are at Kisite Punguti Marine Park. The seas are safeguarded so that visitors can enjoy the natural beauty and healthy reef environment. The marine area hosts more than 250 species of fish, sea turtles, whales, and dolphins.
Visit the Shimba Hills: Shimba Hills is a National Reserve that comprises woodland canopies, expansive grasslands and coastal rainforest. The reserve is accessible through organised group tours. Shimba Hills is a biodiversity destination for African elephant species, Sable Antelope, black and white Columbus monkey.
Learn About the Region’s Murky Past: The Shimoni is a designated spot that was once used as a stop-over during the slave trade. As of now, there are remains of structures along the caves and pens used. Tourists can visit and understand how the slave trade affected the region.
Golf at the Golf Club: Leisure Lodge Golf Club sits on 38 acres of prime beachfront property. It features 18 holes. Players of all skills are eligible to play the game.
Swim with Whale Sharks: These gentle giants migrate past Diani Beach from February to April each year.
Safety concerns: Is Diani safe?
Take normal safety precautions while traveling in Diani Beach. Try not to walk along the beach at night by yourself. If night falls and you are far away, take a taxi. Beach touts can be annoying — it’s best to ignore or decline politely. If you’re walking a short distance along the beach at night, inform the security guard at your hotel.
Chapter 2: Kitesurf guide for Diani
Why kiteboard in Diani?
With consistent wind, warm weather and water, and a lively beach community known for its hospitality, the reasons to kitesurf in Diani are self-explanatory. Diani is accessible and laid back, where you’ll feel as though you’ve ventured to a place that’s not yet discovered by the larger kiting community. If you want wind that blows 20 knots+ from mid-morning to sunset, then Diani should be a top candidate of places to kite.
The best time to go kitesurfing in Diani, Kenya
There are two windy seasons, Kuzi and Kas Kazi. Both seasons offer side-shore, reliable, consistent wind. Kuzi: Is from late June to September Kas Kazi: From late December to April
The water temperature hovers above 71°F (22°C) all year long.
The best kite spots in Diani, Kenya
Diani Beach makes for a great base for those who love kitesurf safaris or epic downwinders. Here are a few of our recommended places to kitesurf:
Galu Beach: A sandy lagoon with waist deep, flat water — waves are out back. Ample launching and landing space.
Kitesurfing schools and camps in Diani
H2O Extreme: An IKO registered kitesurfing center partnered with Kenyaways Bed and Breakfast. They offer classes, coaching, and rental equipment — including kites ranging from 5 to 14m.
Quest Kiteboarding: This kiteboard school and rental shop is IKO certified and offers daytrips, organized downwinders, lessons, and rentals. They also offer standup paddle yoga classes and beach buggy excursions.
Wendy Buyengo is a travel writer based in Diani, Kenya.