Traveller’s Guide - Diani Beach in Mombasa, Kenya

Welcome to Diani Beach, an idyllic paradise nestled along the stunning coastline of Mombasa, Kenya. From its pristine beaches to its vibrant culture and array of activities, Diani offers something for every traveller seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion. As you plan your visit, find out about how to get there, things to do, where to eat and what to eat, when to visit, places to visit, where to stay and how to get around this tropical haven.

How to Travel to Diani Kenya Beach

Travel to Diani Beach with transport options that fit every traveller’s budget. You can opt for a scenic journey by road, or a train ride from Nairobi to Mombasa followed by a short road trip to Diani Beach, or ferry services between Mombasa and Diani and as a last option – air travel, which of course is the least eco-friendly option.

Getting to Diani by Road

Self-Driving

When driving to Diani in Kenya from any part of the country, including Mombasa, you can easily reach your destination. 

From most parts, the journey by car takes a full day, but you can bypass Mombasa, saving time and avoiding traffic jams and the Likoni ferry bottleneck.

Simply take a detour from the Mombasa Highway in Samburu and enjoy a scenic drive through the Shimba Hills.

Diani by Bus from Nairobi

Simba Bus to Diani Beach - Image Copyright @ Book A Way
Simba Bus to Diani Beach – Image Copyright @ Book A Way

When travelling from Nairobi to Ukunda (Diani) in Kenya, the fare typically costs around 1400 shillings ($14). However, keep in mind that these buses may not offer the same level of comfort as those departing from Mombasa.

Take a train to Diani Beach

If you’re not pressed for time and are on a budget, consider taking the SGR train from Nairobi to Mombasa, also known as the Madaraka Express.

SGR to Diani Beach Mombasa - Image Copyright @ Mystery Wonder
SGR to Diani Beach Mombasa – Image Copyright @ Mystery Wonder

Overland journeys offer scenic views and affordability, with the train being more eco-friendly and cheaper than flying.

However, the trade-off is a slower journey, taking 5 hours or more.

You’ll have the opportunity to spot wildlife such as elephants, gazelles, and giraffes as the train passes through Nairobi National Park, Tsavo National Park and Amboseli National Park.

Due to its affordability, train tickets sell out quickly – especially in high season. To avoid stress, it’s recommended to purchase tickets in advance, as they can be bought up to 60 days before travel, particularly during peak travel times in Kenya.

Getting to Diani by Sea

Sailing is not a common method for accessing Diani, but some seafarers from Zanzibar use this route to import merchandise through the Shimoni Port.

Alternatively, private boats can be arranged from Mombasa to access Diani.

Take a Ferry to Diani from Mombasa

Ferry from Mombasa to Diani  Beach - Image @ Explore With Finesse
Ferry from Mombasa to Diani Beach – Image @ Explore With Finesse

If you’re travelling to Diani from Mombasa, you’ll need to use the Likoni ferry to reach Diani Beach. The five-minute crossing runs regularly throughout the day. After getting off the ferry, the drive to Diani is roughly about thirty minutes on a relatively good tarmac road.

Use the Likoni ferry to reach Diani Beach when travelling from Mombasa. It’s a regular five-minute crossing that you can use all day long. Once you are off the ferry get to Diani by road – tarmacked and well-mainted.

You have a great choice of matatus (minibuses), tuk tuk and taxis from the Likoni ferry in Mombasa direct to Ukunda. The average cost is KES 200, it takes about 30 minutes to the Diani junction en route to Msambweni.

Getting to Diani by Air – Fly to Kenya, Fly to Diani Beach

Flying to Kenya

Prioritize direct flights to Nairobi from various European, American, Arab, and Asian cities. Popular routes include Frankfurt (Lufthansa), New York (Kenya Airways), Zurich (Swiss), Amsterdam (KLM), London (British Airways, Kenya Airways), and Paris (Kenya Airways).

Suppose you plan a trip to Diani in Kenya and Mombasa and your itinerary doesn’t include spending time in Nairobi or going on a safari upon landing. In that case, it’s more convenient to fly directly to Ukunda, Diani from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

Flying to Diani Beach

To get to Diani Beach in Kenya from Nairobi or Mombasa:

  • From Nairobi, fly from Wilson Airport with Safarilink or Silverstone.
  • From Jomo Kenyatta International Airport fly with Jambo Jet.
  • From Moi International Airport in Mombasa fly with Mombasa Air Safari.

For a high-end experience use private charter planes. They offer more flexibility, flying to and from Diani to various locations across Kenya, including Maasai Mara, Mombasa, Kisumu, and Vipingo.

Getting Around Diani Beach

As you get around Diani Beach, consider public transport as it is more sustainable and more eco-friendly.

Tuk Tuk in Diani Beach - Image @ Tuktuk Kenya Diani Beach Regional Transport
Tuk Tuk in Diani Beach – Image @ Tuktuk Kenya Diani Beach Regional Transport

In Diani, you’ll find plenty of TukTuks, motorbikes, and taxis available for your transportation needs.

Additionally, you have the option to self-drive or rent bikes and cars from the shopping centre. With around a hundred taxis easily accessible around Diani Beach, getting around is convenient.

You’ll find taxis readily available at popular spots like Barclays Shopping Center, Bazaar, Petro, Diani Shopping Centre, Ushago, and around Nomad Hotel.

These taxis are typically clean and well-maintained, with drivers who are friendly, helpful, honest, and knowledgeable about the area.

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

Public Transport

The matatu (minibus) culture in Kenya adds its own allure and serves as a unique attraction. Matatus offer swift and dependable transportation for short-distance trips, making them a popular choice for travellers in Diani Beach.

You’ll encounter matatus operating along specific routes in the area including:

  • Leisure-Ukunda (taking passengers to the left side of Diani Beach),
  • Pavillion-Ukunda (serving the right side), 
  • Likoni-Ukunda (connecting from the Likoni Ferry), and
  • Shimoni-Ukunda-Likoni. 

These minibuses operate from dawn until nightfall, with somewhat irregular schedules, but are generally available throughout the day.

While designated stops exist for boarding, you can also easily flag down a matatu with a simple wave of your hand as they roam the streets.

Always confirm the fare to your destination before boarding.

Things to Do & Experience In Diani Beach | Attractions & Activities

Personalised Trips & Experiences

As you visit Diani Beach you are set for an experience of a lifetime. Going on personalised trips with guides would be a great option to kick off.

Here are some sustainable options to consider for things to do in Diani.

Go for a Sunset Canoe Ride within Mangroves – Things to Do in Diani

Discover a truly extraordinary location where the river gracefully meets the sea amidst serene surroundings.

With its tranquil mangrove forest and nearby Digo village, this spot offers a tranquil retreat.

Experience the breathtaking colours of sunset while sailing through the waters, interacting with villagers, and witnessing the unique ecosystem.

Whether you choose to swim in the river or the clear seas, or simply enjoy the ride, this area promises an unforgettable experience

Learn more about Sunset Canoe Ride within Mangroves Trip

Diani Kenya Wellness Sessions

Wellness Sessions for Positive and Mindful Living - Travel4Purpose
Wellness Sessions for Positive and Mindful Living – Travel4Purpose

Engage in personalised wellness sessions in Diani Beach things to do that promote positive and mindful living. You have a wide selection of activities such as meditation, journaling, yoga, mindfulness, and kindness circles.

Learn more about Wellness Sessions in Diani

Visit the Beach Itself

A Person Walking in Diani Beach - Image Credit - Zhanna (Getty Images)
A Person Walking in Diani Beach – Image Credit – Zhanna (Getty Images)

Diani offers a wide range of activities, from skydiving to deep-sea fishing, kite and windsurfing, making it a destination unrivaled by few in Africa.

Beyond its stunning beachfront, Diani’s coastline extends to Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park, home to abundant marine life.

Explore the Kongo Mosque

The ancient structure known as Kongo Mosque, named after the surrounding forest, holds a rich history and has been transformed into a popular tourist attraction.

Previously called the Diani Persian Mosque by Arab Merchants who inhabited the area, it now serves as more than just a place of worship. 

Visit the Shimoni Slave Caves – Things to Do in Diani

Shimoni, derived from the Swahili word meaning ‘the place of the cave’, is steeped in centuries-old history.

The Shimoni caves, with their massive stalactites and stalagmites, bear witness to their ancient origins, adding to their mysterious allure. 

Much of Shimoni’s history is intertwined with these caves, highlighting their significance in the area’s narrative.

Diani Beach Bikes – Eco Bike Rides

Eco Bikes Diani Reef Kenya - Image @ Coral Spirit
Eco Bikes Diani Reef Kenya – Image @ Coral Spirit

Lose yourself in the beauty of Diani Beach as you venture into its interiors.

Experience the unique charm of Diani and its surroundings with eco-friendly bike rides provided by Diani Bikes.

What better way to explore than by cycling along the beach, through local villages, and even to the esteemed Kaya Kinondo forest?

Diani Bikes, boasting the latest bicycles, arranges this memorable tour for you.

Discover Kaya Kinondo Forest – Things to Do in Diani

Kaya Kinondo stands as one of the most ancient forests on Kenya’s South Coast, boasting 187 plant species, 48 bird species, and 45 butterfly species, accounting for five percent of Kenya’s known butterfly species.

The forest is also home to rare wildlife such as the Zanj Elephants Shrew and the threatened Colobus Monkey.

Exploring this forest on a guided tour provides insight into its cultural and spiritual significance to the Digo people.

Diani Beach Art Gallery - Image @ Fred Abuga - Tripadvisor
Diani Beach Art Gallery – Image @ Fred Abuga – Tripadvisor

Diani Art Gallery is likely the only gallery found along Kenya’s coast that showcases a diverse range of fine African art.

Their collection includes paintings, sculptures, and photography from both established artists and emerging creatives across Kenya and Africa.

Keep an eye out for their art classes, wine and cheese evenings, special promotions, and other engaging events.

Visit Chale Island with a Bike

Chale Island in Diani Kenya - Image @ The Sands At Nomad
Chale Island in Diani Kenya – Image @ The Sands At Nomad

Chale Island stands out as Kenya’s sole private resort island, and Diani serves as the gateway to this extraordinary destination.

To reach Chale Island, you have convenient options like renting bicycles at the Baharini shopping center.

For those craving a more exhilarating journey, consider renting the big four-wheel dune buggies, also known as Quad bikes, available just a few meters away from the same shopping center.

Deep Sea Diving in Diani

Scuba Diving in Diani Mombasa - Image @ Visit Diani
Scuba Diving in Diani Mombasa – Image @ Visit Diani

The waters of the Indian Ocean surrounding Diani Beach are consistently warm and clear, providing ideal conditions for diving with excellent visibility.

Numerous diving locations are scattered along the coastline, and several companies provide daily dive sessions at affordable rates. 

With its clear waters, vibrant coral reef, and diverse marine life, Diani Beach is a must-visit destination for all diving enthusiasts.

Thrill-seekers Activities – Things to Do in Diani

Tandem Skydiving in Diani Beach - Mombasa - Image @ Tripadvisor
Tandem Skydiving in Diani Beach – Mombasa – Image @ Tripadvisor

For thrill-seekers, the euphoria of jumping out of a plane, descending into a deep canyon, or plunging into icy waters is unparalleled.

Diani Beach offers some of the world’s most popular adrenaline-filled activities, including skydiving, paragliding, jet skiing, kitesurfing, and windsurfing.

Beaches and Water Activities

Diani Beach Kisite Marine Park Dhow and Snorkeling - Image @ Safari By Locals
Diani Beach Kisite Marine Park Dhow and Snorkeling – Image @ Safari By Locals

Diani is famous for its awe-inspiring beaches that span for miles.

The powdery white sands, pristine turquoise waters, and gently swaying palm trees create a genuine paradise. Dive into a plethora of water activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, kiteboarding, or just unwind under the warm sun.

Make sure to explore the magnificent coral reefs at the nearby Marine National Park for an unforgettable experience.

Wildlife and Nature

Sheldrick Falls - Shimba Hills National Reserve in Diani Kenya - Image @ Tsavo National Park
Sheldrick Falls – Shimba Hills National Reserve in Diani Kenya – Image @ Tsavo National Park

Apart from its stunning beaches, Diani boasts an array of natural marvels waiting to be explored.

Venture on a day excursion to the nearby Shimba Hills National Reserve, a brief drive away, where you can encounter a variety of wildlife such as elephants, buffaloes, and the rare sable antelope.

Additionally, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Colobus Conservation Center, where you can discover and observe the fascinating Colobus monkeys up close.

Cultural Experiences in Diani Beach Things to Do

Culture - Digo Community At Diani Beach @ Travel The World Pages
Culture – Digo Community At Diani Beach @ Travel The World Pages

Experience the rich local culture by delving into nearby villages and engaging with the welcoming Swahili community.

Explore the Diani Art Gallery to admire indigenous artwork or participate in a traditional Swahili cooking workshop.

Be sure to savour the mouthwatering coastal cuisine, including Swahili biryani and succulent dishes, to complete your cultural immersion.

Accommodation in Diani – Where to Stay | Resorts & Hotels

Diani Beach offers a diverse range of nice places to stay and great accommodation choices, from luxurious resorts to budget-friendly guesthouses.

You’ll find options like beach resorts, villas, cottages, budget hotels, and holiday homes, catering to different preferences and budgets. 

If you’re looking for convenience and beach access, consider booking a stay along Diani Beach, known for its abundance of beachfront hotels and resorts.

To secure the best deals and ensure availability, make sure to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Sustainable Accommodation in Diani

Travel4Purpose carries out impact assessments for potential accommodations to ensure they align with our positive impact values. Do you value sustainable travel? We have found Kinondo Kwetu in Diani who aligns with our values.

They have created impact via:

  • Kinondo Kwetu Health Center – A clinic for medical treatment for the inhabitants of Kinondo.
  • Supporting the primary school in Kinondo village – improving the premises, paying teachers and sponsoring school uniforms.
  • Kinondo Kwetu Sponsorship Programme – supporting children to further their education into high school.
  • Sponsoring Whale Shark Trust and being a member of Colobus Trust conservation.

Kinondo Kwetu Diani – An Accommodation Home away from Home

Kinondo Kwetu-Hotel Bungalow Galu Beach Diani Mombasa Kenya

Stay are the Kinondo Kwetu paradise for those wanting a more personal experience on the Kenyan coast.

It is located on a tranquil private beach on a 16-acre plot south of Diani Beach, distanced from residential neighbours by rocky cliffs and endless beaches.

Full details about Kinondo Kwetu Accommodation

Best Time to Visit and Experience Diani’s Greatness

Diani’s allure remains enchanting regardless of the season, allowing visitors to tailor their plans to suit their personal preferences.

Best Times to Visit Diani Mombasa - Kenya
Best Times to Visit Diani Mombasa – Kenya

Diani experiences a tropical climate, characterized by consistently warm temperatures throughout the year.

The dry seasons, spanning from June to October and December to March are the optimal times for visiting, offering sunny weather with minimal rainfall.

Where to Eat in Diani Beach

Diani is popular for its variety of excellent dining establishments situated along its picturesque seafront. Its lively bars and upscale restaurants, cosy cafes and charming bistros offer something to suit every taste and occasion. Here is a handpicked selection by Travel4Purpose:

Pallet Cafe, support deaf people, beachfront:

  • Delicious diverse menu
  • Very kind staff

Estuary, where the river meets the ocean:

  • Overlooking majestic baobabs, the river and ocean
  • Great pizza’s and Italian pastas
  • Where our sunset canoe ride starts / ends – reach out for more info!

Tribe Earth, vegan cafe and Ethiopian flavours:

  • Ethiopian coffee and vegan food options
  • Jewellery gallery supporting and training local artisans
  • Regularly have live music

Nomads, pizzas by the beach:

  • Usually very busy but by one of the best beaches in Diani
  • Farm to table ingredients used
  • Place to do watersports too!

Chill Spot, local joint on the beach:

  • Locally owned small space
  • Great for fresh juices & local food

Tiki Bar, cocktail famous:

  • For your evening cocktails
  • Well located on the Diani strip

Soul Breeze, chill beach vibes:

  • Fun, relaxed vibe for some food and drinks
  • Overlooking a great part of the beach
  • Activities such as outdoor gym, volleyball and watersports

Kokkos Cafe, your one stop cafe:

  • Craving a good coffee? This is the place!
  • Yummy desserts too and diverse food menu

Enjoy your favourite international cuisine or choose from a variety of local delicacies.

Diani’s dining scene offers a diverse culinary experience.

Enjoy breathtaking ocean views while indulging in delicious meals and refreshing beverages at these waterfront establishments.

What to wear in Diani Beach

Diani, being an island, enjoys summer-like weather year-round, meaning there are no strict dressing regulations, but rememeber to stay respectful!

Pack lightweight clothing such as shorts, summer dresses, and flip-flops to stay cool and comfortable without overheating.

Ready to Visit Diani?

Diani Beach stands as a true gem along the coastline of Mombasa, Kenya, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty, rich culture, and endless opportunities for exploration. Get ready, travel and experience its pristine beaches for relaxation, thrilling activities for adventure, or vibrant cultural experiences, Diani has something to offer every traveller.

Ready for purposeful exploration? Explore T4P Experiences to start planning your unforgettable trip to Mombasa with Travel4Purpose.

Contact us today. Your adventure awaits!

About T4P

The core of T4P is to create a positive impact while travelling. This blog is all about sharing valuable, fun gems on impact travel, living with purpose and insights into Kenya, our home!

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Ruth I
Ruth I
2024-07-09
Beautiful and peaceful experience We had such a beautiful peaceful experience on the canoe tour, and our guide was informative but also let us enjoy the sounds of nature and the quiet moments. The sunset was beautiful too ❤️
PhilippeS1707
PhilippeS1707
2024-05-23
The magic moment of our holidays Magic, Romantic and Fantastic trip! Travel4Purpose gives you this feeling to be unique! I warmly recommend!!Thanks to the T4P Rafiki!!!
Basheer S
Basheer S
2024-04-09
Trip of a lifetime T4P/Shanmi was incredible. Helpful, supportive and kind. T4P played a major role in me and friends having one of the best trips of our lives. Immensely grateful for the support, organising and friendliness throughout.
Sahdi
Sahdi
2024-02-21
Mombasa City Tour The Mombasa city tour was great! A wonderful way to see the city in action and get to know more about the area. Was able to pay by card/link which was good! Tyson was a great guide who made the experience more enjoyable for us 👍
Georgia M
Georgia M
2024-02-18
Loved it! The view was was great and I have loads of nice photos! The guide was also lovely and chatty, making us feel very comfortable. We overall loved the experience. Definitely on the pricier side of other options but the ride was longer and more catered to our interests. It’s worth noting the coconuts at the end are not included and expensive for tourists (probably obvious but not to us!)
Shamija J
Shamija J
2024-02-04
Cultural, Relevant, Impactful Experiences Sham of Travel4Purpose is thee absolute best. From the first contact up to the day we landed in Nairobi, she makes sure everything is organized well, so that we could enjoy each day to the fullest. And when she wasn’t available, she had someone there checking on us. From our drivers, to the tours, to the experiences even help with lodging everything was amazing. We wanted this trip to be a cultural, fun learning experience and we got that plus more with help from Sham. We just had to show up and all the rest was taken care of. Can’t wait to do it all again!
Shamija J
Shamija J
2024-02-04
Amazing Tour and Animals Shams is absolutely amazing. Our itinerary for this trip was carefully arranged down to the simplest details. The tour was amazing and we got to see so much up close and personal.
Thill D
Thill D
2024-02-04
A must for Naturelovers We had a very nice morning, saw a lot of plants, insects and animals. Our guide Omar was very helpful and patient. He explained very well and answered all our questions. All in all it was a very satisfying experience. Dany
postikortti
postikortti
2024-01-28
Interesting Mombasa City and Food Tour We requested a private city tour of Mombasa combined with the food tour. Travel4Purpose were very quick with the inquiry and were very flexible with arranging the pickup and return to our hotel. So if you don't see exactly what you want on their website, don't be afraid to reach out and inquire about the changes. We were picked up from our hotel in a car and then had an enjoyable day exploring the old town of Mombasa in a tuk-tuk, visiting the markets and some shops. We especially enjoyed visiting Imani Collective, where local women make different items (soft toys, bags, home accessories, etc.). You can be very specific with the places you want to visit and they are happy to accommodate your requests. We also enjoyed different snacks and drinks bought from the local vendors. At the end of the day we were returned back to our hotel in a car. Do take some cash with you if you want to buy something and also for tips to the local guides.
Hannah B
Hannah B
2023-12-22
Great day organised by Travel4Purpose Sham of Travel4Purpose is the best. From the first contact upto the day after she makes sure everything is organised well, so that we could enjoy the day to the fullest. We started with a Nature Walk with the Giraffes. It was hot, but very impressive. Not only giraffes, but there were also other animals. To have a break before our next activity, we took lunch at Yuls. A very enjoyable place and good food. Then we went ahead for the Dhow tour. It was a great way to end the day: seeing the sunset from the boat and sipping coconot water from a coconut. We had a great time. The driver, the guide at Nguuni Sanctuary and the 3 sailmen were incredibly friendly. Thank you for a wonderful day.

Annabelle Waghorn
Annabelle Waghorn
2024-06-08
We went on the boat trip with T4P, it was the most relaxing journey! The crew went above and beyond, even climbing the mast to the get the best group selfie! We also did a bracelet workshop with such lovely men by the Fort Jesus, they shared their stories and skills with us, we will be forever grateful for the insight they gave us on Mombasa! Thank you Sham and everyone!
Philippe Sarzi
Philippe Sarzi
2024-05-23
Magic, Romantic and Fantastic trip! Travel4Purpose gives you this feeling to be unique! Thanks to the T4P Rafiki!!!
Jenny Cusack
Jenny Cusack
2024-05-08
I loved my experience on the street food tour! Qamili quickly became a friend, we explored areas of Mombasa I haven’t been to, and enjoyed some delicious street eat. Sham & Qamili communicated well and everything was smooth pre and post tour. I highly recommend it 🩵
Vicky Stroud
Vicky Stroud
2024-04-30
We had a wonderful afternoon walking through the Old Town and then seeing Mombasa from a tuk tuk! Our guide was informative and interesting. Highly recommended!
Basheer Shonuga
Basheer Shonuga
2024-04-09
T4P/Shanmi was incredible. Helpful, supportive and kind. T4P played a major role in me and friends having one of the best trips of our lives. Immensely grateful for the support, organising and friendliness throughout.
Varun Lahoti
Varun Lahoti
2024-03-23
Travel4purpose's Mombasa city tour exceeded expectations! Hillary and Tyson, our guides, were exceptional. Their knowledge and enthusiasm brought the city's rich history and culture to life. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, every corner of Mombasa was explored with thoroughness and passion. Their attention to detail ensured we didn't miss a thing. The tour seamlessly blended historical insights with local anecdotes, offering a comprehensive experience. Whether you're a history buff or simply seeking adventure, this tour is a must. Thanks to Travel4purpose and their outstanding guides, Hillary and Tyson, for an unforgettable journey through Mombasa!
Roxanne Braganza
Roxanne Braganza
2024-03-19
We had a great time! The trip was peaceful and calm. Omari was a fantastic guide 👏
Gemma
Gemma
2024-03-08
Thank you Tyson for an incredible Mombasa City Tour! We had a great time and learnt so much. Tyson went out of his way to assist us. Dogo in Fort Jesus was a powerhouse of information! We were really impressed with Travel4Purpose! 👍👍👍
Mihret Haile
Mihret Haile
2024-03-08
We had an amazing food tour in Mombasa organized by T4P, we loved all the food we tried and learning about the history of old town. Tyson was a great guide.