Kenya may well be one of the safari ‘capitals’ of the world, but everyone also needs time to relax and recharge either as soon as they step off the plane in Nairobi, or after a hectic week on safari chasing Africa’s big game over dusty savannas. Kenya has some of the top beaches in Africa thanks to the Indian Ocean. You can now rethink your family vacations in Africa. Instead of thinking Lions and Zebras, think bright Sandy shores and tall coconut trees giving Maldives a run for her money.
Lamu Archipelago is the peak of Kenya’s North coast. Lamu Island is one of many islands in Lamu Archipelago. Some of the Islands that make up Lamu Archipelago are Lamu, Kizingitini, Chudwa, Pate, Iyabogi and Faza Island. It takes 70mins to fly from Nairobi to Lamu’s Manda Airport and only a 7 minute flight from Moi International Airport in Mombasa (Once in Manda you take a dhow to Lamu Island).
For road trip lovers it takes a whopping 5-7 hours (depending on road conditions) to drive from Mombasa to Lamu. The main means of transportation in Lamu Island is donkey and between Lamu Island and the other Islands is by boat. Here children can ran free in the streets with no fear of being knocked by car; thus making it a go-to place for family vacations in Africa. As a matter of fact there is only one car in Lamu Island which belongs to the D.C (District Commissioner).
Lamu is considered the birth place of Swahili civilization. Drawing in historians, anthropologist, scholars and enthusiasts of the Islamic religion and Swahili culture from all over the world. Today it is a major reservoir of Swahili culture whose inhabitants have managed to sustain their traditional values as shown by a sense of social unity and solidity. Thus making it the ideal gateway for newlyweds. The population is predominately Islamic and as such tourists are advised to wear more than just shorts and bikinis, better yet immerse yourself in the Lamu fashion and get yourself a Derra.
As you wake up to the breaking ocean dawn in Lamu you will appreciate the gentle nature of the rhythm of the city as the sights and sounds that you experience seem as if frozen in time,
If decor and ancient architecture is what you desire then look no further than Lamu’s narrow winding streets. The Island is characterized by its unique Swahili architecture that is defined in intricate details not only on the white washed walls but the carved massive wooden doors that have been around for hundreds of years. The sight of them will take any antiques’ dealers breath away.
After taking in the sights, sounds, and senses of this intriguing island locale coupled with leaping about in ocean, healthy appetites abound. And there is nothing like some grilled sea food special on the beach as you take in that refreshing ocean breeze, Lamu is known for its sumptuous mouthwatering dishes. Moving south of Lamu is Malindi.
Malindi is a 65minute flight from Nairobi and about 5 minutes flight from Mombasa; however it is a 2 hours 16minutes bus ride from Mombasa. Malindi has some of our best hotels in Kenya’s North coast. A place where the past meets present and you can enjoy the comfort and benefit of modern day water sports such as sailing and wind surfing. Side by side with the coastal fisher men plying their age old craft under the watchful gaze of the Vasco da Gama pillar which was erected in 1498 by the Portuguese explorer. Due to the vast settlement of Italian tourists Malindi is said to have the best pizza in Africa. Get your preferred traditional ocean baked pizza made with a wide array of toppings and ingredients that are of your own particular taste and choice.
Half an hour drive south of Malindi you reach Watamu. From Malindi airport the easiest way to get to Watamu is via taxi. It is a 90min drive from Moi International airport Mombasa. Once in Watamu getting around is easy.
There are taxis available locally at affordable rates, which can be booked via your hotel or from the staff at rental houses or can be called from restaurants. Bikes can be hired locally and are a fantastic way of exploring the surrounding area. You can also explore the local area on foot via the beaches or through town. Watamu Marine National Park Reserve is Kenya’s first Marine Park.
Blessed by long, white sand beaches (No better beach for a long stroll perfect for honeymooners) the Park is home to unique species both above and below the surface of the Indian Ocean, from coral reefs to coastal creeks to forests alive with birds milling along the shoreline. The beach is strictly protected as a turtle-nesting site so there are no noisy jet skis to spoil the peace and tranquility. However, sailing, wind and kite surfing, scuba diving and snorkeling are amongst the attractions and there is a big game fishing base towards the northern end near local small and medium sized hotels.
Watamu has a number of resident expert guides who will be able to name many of the fish and corals encountered during your snorkeling.
The most spectacular area for snorkeling is around the Coral Gardens, where species of Surgeonfish, Snappers, Parrotfish, Angelfish, Puffer fish, Butterfly fish, Triggerfish and many, many others offer an unbelievable display of variety and color. Several types for Ray and occasionally young (and harmless!) Sharks can also be seen. As well as the main Coral Gardens there are countless other interesting places to snorkel in the park, especially for the confident and intrepid snorkeler! There are many operators of glass-bottomed boats to take you snorkeling, usually to the Coral Gardens. For confident swimmers, snorkeling can be undertaken direct from the beach, but beware of tidal currents, especially near the entrance to Mida Creek.
Mombasa’s Moi International airport is just a 45minute plane ride away from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi; by road Mombasa is 8hours away from Nairobi.
Mombasa will draw you in with seductive temperatures and lingering breezes. Then drown you in welcoming smiles and hospitable embraces. Mombasa is all about art, culture, tradition and religion and all these aspects have made a very major impact on the people of the Kenyan coast. With art being not just a form of expression but a language and it is viewed both a skill and a divine calling.
This can be viewed in whichever place you will stay in Mombasa. There are a lot of fun things you can do in Mombasa; Take a ride on a Swahili Dhow or Jahazi where you will drink the most delicious tropical cocktails while you cruise down the coastline just as it was done in the olden days, before the coming of speedboats and cruise liners. Visit the renowned Forte Jesus; a place so rich in history.
If you are one for the night life, Mombasa has something for you too, the clubs and casinos will give a new meaning to “party till the sun comes up”. You can avoid the crowded beaches by getting your hands on our Mombasa holiday packages that are tailored just for you This will allow you to get the most of Mombasa at an affordable rate.
Voted best beach in Africa, picture perfect, with crystal clear, warm waters, shade, sun and powder white sand are some of the words used to describe Diani which is about 1hour 20minutes from Mombasa. The cheapest way to get to Diani Beach is by local bus-taxis (Matatus).From Mombasa town to Likoni Ferry then From the Likoni Ferry, take another matatu to Ukunda (30 kms).
From Ukunda to Diani Beach, take another matatu about 5 kilometers. However there are direct flights from Nairobi to Diani which is 1h10mins. Diani Beach is one of the most un-touched Beaches on the Kenya South Coast and offers fabulous diving in Kenya South Coast. Snorkeling trips at Diani Beach are a must for those who love nature and would want to explore the Marine life. You can enjoy Diving and Snorkeling in Diani or at the nearby Kisite Marine Park at Mpunguti.
Diving in Diani Beach is very safe as it is free of sharks. One can see Dolphins, pipe fish, lobsters, morays, turtles, and tropical fish. For the deeper dives, one can see groups of Blue Striped Snapper, Leopard sharks, Shovel of Rays, Trevally, Barracudas among others. Diani House Mombasa Kenya is close to sacred Kaya Forest for those who love to watch monkeys and in their natural habitat.
Diani has some of the best hotels in South coast & Water sports for the adventure lover. Enjoy exclusive accommodations in an array of luxury hotels, giving you a flavor of both worlds with their large private pools and guaranteed spectacular beach sunsets due to the ocean facing balconies and terraces. Get entertained with a little beach volleyball or a camel ride.
You are spoiled for choice next time you planning that beach vacation.