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The nomad guide to Diani Beach, Kenya

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

We love Diani Beach - it's one of the most accessible beaches in Kenya for visitors, with plenty of activities to do. It's also a totally great place to hang out and do nothing but idle by the beach. Whatever the pace of your beachside trip, here is some advice about how to get oriented in Diani and make the most of your time there.

This is the Diani vibe.


How to get there


By air


Diani has its own airstrip (called Ukunda Airstrip) which has flights to exactly one destination - Nairobi. It's super convenient if you're in Nairobi to fly directly to Ukunda - you can be off your flight and on the beach in 10 minutes.


You can also fly into the larger Mombasa airport, which has flights all over East Africa and even some to European destinations, and then take a cab down to Diani Beach from there. (We don't advise public transport - it can require and often crowded and uncomfortable.)


Either way you'll want to sort yourself with a car to transfer from the airport to your LivingRoom. From the local Ukunda airstrip, you can grab a tuktuk or Uber for just a few hundred shillings at most - just avoid the taxi cartel at the exit if you can to avoid paying more. If you're coming from Mombasa, you can take an Uber, but drivers sometimes decline, or may ask you to pay off-platform. This is pretty normal in the coastal context, where Uber's prices are treated as a suggestion - just expect to pay about 4-5 thousand KSh for the trip.


By road

You can drive into Diani - it's about an hour to 90 minutes from Mombasa, depending on traffic. At Ukunda, you'll turn off the main coastal highway towards the ocean to access the Diani Beach area.


Getting around

Getting around is easy as most of the town is centered along Diani Beach Road, a strip running parallel to the ocean, which makes navigating easy. If you don't have your own transport, tuktuks are plentiful and cheap.


What to do


Go (kite)surfing - You'll see surfers and kitesurfers across Diani - the windiness of the Indian Ocean making this one of the top places in the world for the latter.

Kaya Kinondo - This "sacred forest" has been preserved as one of the few places to learn about Kenya's pre-colonial spiritual practices and offers a very interesting tour.

Take a dhow ride - A staple of a visit to the Swahili coast is a sunset ride on these traditional Arabic-style boats which have been used for centuries.

Kisite Marine National Park - This marine reserve outside Diani offers incredible snorkeling and diving along the offshore reef, and you're likely to spot a dolphin or five along the way.


Many tour operators will offer a number of these: some established ones are Pilli Pippa and H2O Extreme. You'll find a number of touts offering these experiences too - trust your gut when dealing with them as you can get a deal but you may also get something other than what you agreed to.

If you're lucky, you'll spot a majestic sea turtle along the reef.


Where to eat and drink


Local Food

African Pot - A homey, out-of-the-way place with all of the Swahili specialties.

Shan-e-Punjab - The name may say Punjab, but that's mostly a testament to the influence of Indian cooking on coastal cuisine - as exemplified by the awesome curries here.


One of African Pot's, well, pots of local curry.


International Food

Nomad Beach Bar & Restaurant - Situated in a resort, this spot has got lovely seaside views and top-notch cuisine for less than you'd expect.

Salty Squid - When you want seafood but don't care to go for something fancy, Salty Squid is a great choice, offering simple but delicious fare like seafood pastas and fish tacos.

Shashin-Ka - An amazing sushi bar with freshly caught fish and other Japanese cuisine. This might be the best restaurant in Kenya.

One of Shashin-Ka's sushi platters - those fish were probably alive the morning this photo was taken.


Cafes

Kokkos - This place is hard to miss - it's directly across from Diani's main shopping center. It's the perfect place to grab a tall french press that can last you the entire morning.

Java House - A Kenyan chain that's safe and reliable when it comes to coffee, bread and local and Western food.


The breezy sitting area at Kokko's.


Bars

Funky Monkey - Recently opened, Funky Monkey has craft cocktails and delicious bar food in a very neon Miami atmosphere. A don't miss.

Havana Bar - The coastal outpost of a popular Nairobi bar - expect lots of mojitos and tequila shots.

Tiki Bar - Live up the fun tropical vibes with this rustic, easygoing spot on Diani's main strip.


A chill night at the normally happening Funky Monkey.


Where to stay


LivingRoom Africa offers beautiful homes apartments with high-quality amenities like wi-fi, kitchen amenities and workstations. Check out all our offers on our apartments here.

One of our units at LivingRoom Diani Beach.


Where to get your errands done: services and shopping in Diani Beach


Supermarkets

Carrefour Market: Massive international chain with a variety of imported items.

Chandarana Foodplus: A local supermarket chain, centrally located with all the essentials.


Gyms

Fitness Tribe Diani: A gym with a mix of strength training, martial arts and cardio.


Other essentials

Get a SIM card: Safaricom shop, Centre Point Mall


Go the hospital/doctor: Diani Beach Hospital


Order food delivery: Diani is a small town - you won't find Uber Eats or Bolt Food here. You're best off contacting a restaurant over the phone and negotiating for them to send your meal with a tuktuk (usually very cheap).


Safety tips: Diani is generally quite safe. It is very dark at night, so try to arrange transportation in advance (get the contacts of a few tuktuk or taxi drivers). Beware of pickpockets at nightclubs.



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