by Vika
August 30, 2021

Mombasa boasts some of the best beaches, not just the best of Africa but of the world. And despite its name "Kisiwa Cha Mvita" in local Kiswahili, meaning "Island of War", Mombasa conjures a vision of endless white beaches and tropical paradise. And this certainly holds true!
But where to stay in Mombasa - with 500 km of beaches it is not always easy to find the best spot for you! To ease your search and make the right choice, we have written this guide to the best beaches in Mombasa.

Best beach in Mombasa

Not only is Mombasa the ideal destination for sun and relaxation, but also the perfect base for a wide variety of water sports, and even whale watching! Thanks to its legacy as the largest port in East Africa, Mombasa is a cultural melting pot. British, Asian, Arabic, Omanis, Indian, and Chinese immigrants have enriched the city's architecture and cuisine, and many mosques and temples grace the city streets. And to top this off - Mombasa is located just a stone throw from some of the best safari parks in the world.

Roughly, you can divide the beaches to the North and the South Coast. On the south coast of Mombasa, the beaches are lined with gorgeous palm trees and have incredible white sandy beaches. One of the most popular beaches throughout the southern coastline is Diani beach. Overall, the southern beaches offer more tourist facilities than the northern and are detached from the hustle and bustle of local life.
The North Coast is located very close to the city - within ten minutes, you can immerse your feet in the sand. If you are keen to merge with local life - this is the place for you. Because of the proximity to the city, many locals visit the northern beaches. One downside is the persistent presence of the local beach boys - who are always ready to sell you something you need or do not need. Also, the beaches tend to be slightly rockier here than the ones in the south.

SOUTH COAST OF MOMBASA

DIANI BEACH

That is THE beach in Mombasa. Located 30 km outside of the city, the sparkling white sands and lush greenery of Diani are a fantastic material for films. It has been voted Africa’s best beach destination for the sixth time running since 2015 - there is simply no competition!

The sandy beaches are wide, white and they stretch out as long as you can see. Beautiful coral reefs protect the beaches from heavy waves and offer fantastic snorkelling opportunities. You can also enjoy some great diving and plain old regular swimming here. It's also renowned for kitesurfing, skydiving, and deep-sea fishing.

When the sun sets - there is again plenty to do here. Diani offers the best coastal nightlife on the continent!
And, as a cherry on top, combining your unforgettable beach vacation with a safari adventure is a piece of cake - for the cherry to put on! Nearby Shimba Hills National Reserve and Mwalunganje Elephant Sanctuary are both only a little over an hour’s drive away.

The best places to stay in Mombasa

MALINDI

Not far from Watamu, another half-hour drive north is the 13th-century Swahili city of Malindi. In an idyllic setting, this place offers historical and cultural monuments and attractions in addition to activities along, on, and in the water. The styles of various previous periods are intertwined with modern comfort in an excellent mix of cultural, adrenaline, and relaxation offers.

You will probably start your vacation on the white beach of paradise and go swimming in the ocean first. But you will soon be tempted by some of the activities on offer. Let’s say scuba diving along the branching coral reef here, for the less active perhaps a glass-bottomed boat ride which also reveals a wonderful underwater world that you can enjoy without having to get wet.

Once you have soaked up the sea and tested yourself in enough water activities, treat yourself with an explorative trip to the cultural and historical background of Malindi.

Ancient buildings tell the story of the city. Among the traditional village homes and local shops, we find churches, a palace, and a popular tourist attraction, the Jumaa Mosque. Imagination will be stirred by the sinister ruins of Gedi as you discover, layer by layer, the story hidden in the remains of homes and other buildings.

For the perfect experience, head northwest to the Marafa Depression, where the ground is split by jagged sandstone gorges. When you see it, you know why its other name is “Hell’s Kitchen”. For a perfect contrast, visit the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve, where you can see several species of endemic vegetation, birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and insects.

WATAMU & TURTLE BAY

Watamu

A good two hours drive from Mombasa, along the picturesque road around the Marine National Park and Watamu Reserve, stretches for about 7 kilometers a beach of the same name. The three bays, Watamu, Blue Lagoon, and Turtle with white sand, constantly kissing the turquoise ocean in a light breeze that just sways the tops of palm trees, are not only breathtaking but also full of interesting activities.

Stunning coral reefs stretch out just off the coast, part of the Watamu National Marine Park Protected Area. Here are some of the most beautiful diving locations in the world, the desire of every avid observer of the underwater world.

Something special are the mangrove forests and tidal wetlands on the mainland, where you will enjoy watching many different birds. Perhaps the most important are the nesting grounds of three species of endangered turtles, here safe from egg poachers. Injured or sick turtles have also found shelter, increasingly threatened by plastic that floats in the oceans and is often mistaken for food, or they get fatally entangled in it.

In this beautiful and diverse environment, pursue your favorite water sport, or try something completely new.

After a day full of adventures, visit one of the great restaurants in the evening or treat yourself to a glass of your favorite drink while watching the sunset on the beach.

white sand beaches in Mombasa

LAMU

Founded in the 13th century, Lamu island has been continuously inhabited for over seven hundred years. It is proud to be one of the oldest and best-preserved remaining Swahili-tradition settlements in East Africa. It is a city and port just off the Kenyan shore some 250 kilometres north of Mombasa. It is also easily accessible by just a 40 minutes flight from Mombasa to the adjacent island of Manda.

Nevertheless, a visit to the island of Lamu promises a break from the hustle and bustle and a rest in the most beautiful scenery, worth every postcard.
If you are looking to stay away from anything too touristy or busy - and luxury facilities are not a must for you, Lamu island might be just what you are searching for. Slow visitors’ flow keeps this place filled with the charming flair of bygone times. The latter is emphasized by seeing locals riding donkeys to get around their daily chores - cars for personal use are on the island banned.

Lamu Old Town represents the Swahili culture at its truest and finest - not a unique or single way of life and culture, but an ever enriched blend of traditions and cultures from whole Africa, Asia, and Europe. Walking the narrow streets among friendly and kind locals, visibly proud of their traditions, feels somehow surreal, like being a part of an exhibition - but amazingly fulfilling!

The crescent-like southern shore of Lamu island's windward side is a long, long sandy dune. With no barrier reef to hold the waves, this is one of the few beaches in Kenya, where you can expect wind conditions to surf properly. Perhaps even hang ten! On the northeastern point of the completely uninhabited crescent, there’s this heartwarming, quite laid-back, artsy bohemian town of Shela. A completely different vibe as in Lamu Old Town.

Diani Beach best beach in Mombasa

NORTH COAST OF MOMBASA

Nyali & Bamburi Beach

The north coast of Mombasa is connected to the mainland by the Nyali Bridge, making it easily accessible and popular with locals. Nyali, Bamburi, Shanzu, and Kikambala are four beaches with big resorts and hotels, and, full of life - visitors to the endless white sandy beaches and residents below sea level. Just off the coast is a stunning coral reef that ranks the north coast of Mombasa among the most interesting diving sites. The reef (for now) bursts with life. Divers dive along the reefs, walls, and on the wreck of the MV Dania. At low tide, you have a fantastic opportunity to walk to the outer reef, which is truly a unique experience, and swimming and other fun in the sea are possible at all times, regardless of the tide. And there are plenty of water activities here, in addition to diving, snorkelling, and swimming, there are many water activities available here, so you can spend a day full of adrenaline.

The magical beauty of the coast and the beach lull you to rest in between, and you can end the day by visiting one of the top restaurants in the area.
Or visit the historic Niyali Golf Course, where all guests of the north coast hotels can play squash or tennis in addition to golf.

So the north coast of Mombasa is suitable for everyone - you will find many activities there, and at the same time you will be able to lie lazily on the beach and enjoy the beautiful views sipping on a delicious cocktail.

Kilifi Beach

Just under a two-hour drive from Mombasa is the charming town of Kilifi, perfect for a relaxing holiday, as Kilifi, despite the bridge that greatly facilitates access, is almost overlooked on the tourist map. You will meet locals, mostly Giriama and Chonyi from the Mijikenda tribe, as well as a few tourists.
The central part of the city is the Kilifi stream, and in its estuary, you can observe thousands of birds and other riparian life.

The town of Kilifi is set on beautiful white sandy beaches - Bofa beach, which is considered one of the most beautiful, uninhabited towns along the Kenyan coast, lined with palm trees, and the smaller Shauri Moyo beach on the south side of Kilifi Creek, ideal for sunbathing or active rest while engaging in one of the water sports available. Kilifi lies next to important archaeological sites, and the ruins of two 15th-century Mnarani mosques are worth a visit.

Best Beaches in Mombasa

In short, there is the perfect place for everyone! Contact us today and book your trip to Mombasa.

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