The Most Beautiful Beaches in Kenya


Updated October 2019

Are you looking for the perfect beaches to go to during your getaway in Kenya? We’re here to help you out! Kenya has many beautiful beaches. We made a list of the best beaches you can visit in Kenya. 

Kenya has one coastline on the eastern part of the country, which is around 366 miles (590 kilometers) long. It stretches out from Vanga (southeast) to Kiunga (northeast). Mombasa is the biggest city located along the coast. The Best Beaches in Kenya are: 

  • Nyali Beach (Closest beach to Mombasa)
  • Mombasa Marine Park & Reserve
  • Shanzu
  • Diana Beach
  • Galu Kinondo Beach
  • Tiwi
  • Gazi
  • Chale Island
  • Kikambala Beach
  • Vipingo
  • Bamburi Beach
  • Lamu Island
  • Watamu (Turtle Bay)

In this article, we will tell you all about the different beaches — the unique things to do and how to get there. The beaches in Kenya are known as some of the best beaches in the world. So let’s find out where you can enjoy your next beach holiday! 

Please read our other blogs about Kenya for more inspiration!

Many famous beaches in Kenya are located around Mombasa, the capital of Kenya. We divided this list into three parts, so you can easily select the beaches you want to visit, depending on where you’re staying in Kenya. 

In this first part, we will focus on the best beaches that are close to Mombasa. The second part of this list, we will tell you all about the beaches in the Northern part of the coastline. In the last part of this list, we will focus more on the Southern part of the coast

Finally, you’ll have three shortlists of beaches in Kenya;

  • Beaches around Mombasa
    Nyali Beach, Mombasa Marine Park, Shanzu
  • Beaches South of Mombasa
    Diana Beach, Galu Kinondo Beach, Tiwi, Gazi, Chale Island
  • Beaches North of Mombasa
    Kikambala Beach, Vipingo, Bamburi Beach, Lamu Island, Watamu (Turtle Bay)
Beaches in Kenya

Beaches Around Mombasa

Nyali Beach (Closest beach to Mombasa)

Of all the beaches in Kenya, Nyali Beach is one that has a combo of city amenities mixed with a beautiful beach escape. This beach in Kenya is located near the city of Mombasa. It is only 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) away from Mombasa’s city center. Fantastic place to combine a day at the beach with an evening in the buzzing city of Mombasa.

Close to Nyali Beach, you’ll find Mombasa Beach, a relatively smaller beach, and often less crowded. However, also perfect to spend a day in the sun and enjoy one of the many beach bars. 

Nyali beach is the perfect tropical beach. White sand, palm trees, and crystal clear water. Great for swimming, snorkeling, and other watersports. You can easily spend a full day on Nyali beach. Find a place at one of the many bars along the beach. And prepare yourself for a perfect day of relaxing! 

Did you know that Mombasa Marine Park is close to Nyali Beach? This National Park is fantastic for snorkeling and exploring marine life.

Mombasa Marine Park & Reserve

It is not the typical beach, but one of the most beautiful places to visit along the Kenyan coastline. As we said, you’ll find this national park next to Nyali Beach. The Marine Park stretches out over 10 square kilometers and is a protected recreational area of the park. 

The national reserve, which is not open for visitors, is 200 square kilometers. 

Mombasa Marine Park & Reserve is one of the best places in the world where you’ll find beautiful coral reefs and a wide variety of marine life. Many other places the reefs are dying and have flattened or white colors. Fortunately, the marine park, established in 1986, is one of the places where you can still enjoy the bright colors of underwater life. 

The recreational park is excellent for snorkeling and diving. You can also join several boat trips to explore the park. Most boats offering see-through bottoms, so you can even see the beautiful fish swimming from the boats! 

Shanzu – Kenya’s perfect beach

A bit closer to Mombasa City is Shanzu Beach. Only 17 kilometers away from the city. Easy to reach in less than an hour. 

Shanzu Beach is the perfect beach in Kenya when you’re looking for a relaxing beach day. The beach is less crowded, but you’ll find everything you need along Shanzu Beach.   

Shanzu beach is absolutely stunning with fluffy white sand and crystal clear water. The beach definitely belongs on this list of the most beautiful beaches in Kenya. 

The beach is not only great for a relaxing day, but it is also perfect for several watersports. With the stunning reefs close to the shore, it is excellent for snorkeling. Just grab a mask and head right in! 

Absolutely one of the best beaches for a perfect beach day combining swimming and snorkeling, and relaxing in the sun.

Beaches South of Mombasa

Diani Beach (Most Popular Beach in Kenya)

Diana Beach is a popular destination and known as one of the most popular beaches in Kenya. The beach is famous because of the many things you can do here, known for its beautiful turquoise water, and lovely coconut palms along the coast. 

You’ll find the beach, located 21 miles (34 kilometers) away from Mombasa city. It will take you around between 1 and 2 hours, depending on traffic, to reach the beach when you’re traveling from Mombasa.

The beach is excellent for snorkeling and diving. Diana Beach is also one of the top locations to go swimming with whale sharks

Diani Beach has become home to several shops, boutiques, and restaurants that are perfect for shopping after a day on the beach once you have had plenty of sun and sand. 

You can easily spend a full day on Diana Beach. During the evening and nighttime, the bars and restaurants along the beach transform into a fun party places with different styles of music. Great for a night of clubbing! 

Galu Kinondo Beach

Officially this beach belongs to Diana Beach area. However, it is worth it to point out on its own. 

The large white sandy beach and beautiful turquoise waters you’ll find here are absolutely amazing. 

It’s perfect for a visit when you want to escape the crowds at Diana Beach. You can easily spend the whole day relaxing in the sun here. 

Staying overnight at the luxury beach bungalow (check the latest price on Booking.com), the only one you’ll find on Galu Kinondo, is a unique experience. You’ll feel you’re staying at a private beach. 

Tiwi Beach

A hidden gem for most tourists, but very popular among the local community. Tiwi Beach is one of the beaches that are still quiet. The coastline doesn’t consist out of many hotels and restaurants. You’ll find a lot of palm trees instead. 

Tiwi Beach is known as one of the best snorkeling spots, after Mombasa Marine Reserve, among the Kenyan coast. It is also a great place for wind- & kitesurfing because the congo river ends here into the sea, creating some nice conditions.

During low-tide, you can find many small ponds at this beach, which are used by the locals to catch some fresh seafood. Great to participate in, and enjoy a nice fresh meal with the local community! 

Staying overnight at Tiwi beach is a great and romantic thing to do. You can book different beach cottages and stay at the quiet beach, enjoying the beautiful night and sunset. 

Gazi Beach (Off the Beaten Track)

Gazi is unknown to many and a gem to those who have visited. It is not on your typical itinerary, and it’s a bit of a hassle to reach Gazi Beach, but once you’ll reach it, it is probably one of the best places you’ll ever visit! 

You’ll find the beach near Gazi Village, south of Mombasa and Diani beach. You can find luxury accommodations near the Diani beach, however, Gazi Village is a typical local village where you can’t find much luxury. 

Visiting Gazi Beach is not a visit to a luxury beach. It’s kind of back to basics. But if you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy a beach day with beautiful nature, we definitely recommend going to Gazi beach. 

At the northern part of this beach, you’ll find amazing mangroves, which are fun to explores and unique to walk around. We recommend exploring the mangroves with a guided tour. This way, you support the local community, and they can show you some of the unique places. Ask around for Gazi Ecotourism!

Chale Island

Known as Sacred Kenya, Chale island is one of the unique places to visit along the coastline. Located between Diana Beach and Gazi. 

This beach in Kenya is truly in a league of its own. Chale Island is home to a private island resort, making it one of the unique beaches in Kenya you can visit. Luckily it is also possible to visit the beach for a day trip — many boats leaving from Chale harbor and take only a few minutes to reach the island. 

Relaxing on the beach or in the water is the main activity for Chale Island. However, there are a few other activities you can do while visiting. 

Chale Island is a nesting ground for sea turtles, so the island is an excellent location to spot these beautiful creatures. 

Staying overnight at Chale Island is a perfect romantic getaway, however not your cheapest option for a sleeping spot in Kenya. The Sands at Chale Island is the name of the private resort where you can stay. Prices vary depending on the time of the year; on average, you’ll pay around 166 USD for a night. 

Watamu Beach in Kenya

Beaches North of Mombasa

Kikambala Beach

Kikambala is relatively close to Mombasa. The beach is only around a 1-hour drive from the large city. However, it is an entirely different world. 

The white sandy beaches, a coastline covered with only palm trees. You might think it is your typical paradise beach. Kikambala is a beautiful beach, don’t get me wrong. However, its coastline is busy with hotels and resorts. It is one of the most bustling beaches you can stay. 

When you’re looking for a few beach days where you’ll find great restaurants and perfect amenities, Kikambala is the place you want to go. But when you’re looking for a quiet getaway, this might not be your favorite pick. 

Vipingo – Getaway beach in Kenya

Talking about quiet getaways, that’s a coincidence! 😉 

Vipingo Beach is known as a quiet beach, which is one of the beauties of it. It will bring you more of a peaceful and relaxing vibe since you won’t have to deal with a crowded beach of tourists.

Vipingo Beach is near Kilifi. Close to some traditional villages. You won’t find much in the form of restaurants, shops, and resorts. What you will find is the shoreline with coconut palms, a white sandy beach, and clear blue water waiting for you to jump in. It is one of the best beaches in Kenya for a quiet relaxing day.

Bamburi Beach

One of the beaches in Kenya you won’t want to miss is Bamburi Beach. Bamburi Beach is part of a large public beach. However, it is one of the most popular beaches to visit in Kenya, so be prepared for a busy beach day.  

As almost everywhere along the coast of Kenya, you’ll find beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal clear water here. It is still a perfect spot to waste the day away, soaking in some sun and floating around in the water. You’ll find plenty of resorts and restaurants where you can stay overnight or go for a nice dinner. 

The beach is still close to Mombasa, so you can easily combine a day visit to the beach with a city trip. 

You’ll find some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving spots along Bamburi Beach. The sea and its coastline is part of the Marine Park and Reserve. 

Lamu Island

Looking for which of the beaches in Kenya offers some of the most luxurious experiences? One of the best beaches in Kenya that will exceed all your expectations is Lamu Island. Here you will want to visit Manda bay and Kipungani Beach. 

These beaches offer some of the most idyllic scenery and will have you feeling relaxed with a little sand and sun in no time!

In addition to having some of the best beaches in Kenya, Lamu Island also offers a fascinating cultural history. At the island, there’s an old Swahili town that is a fusion of African, Arabian and Islamic heritage. Perfect chance to combine a relaxing beach day with a cultural experience. 

Kipungani Beach is probably the most unique beach on Lamu Island. You can only reach this beach following a long path or taking one of the local boats, which are called dhows. When you’re visiting Kipungani, we recommend taking a boat, it is a short boat ride, but one with amazing views over the beautiful sea. 

The beach is not that busy, because it is not very easy to reach. However, Kipungani is one of the best snorkeling spots on Lamu Island! 

Watamu

Located just south of Malindi and north of Mombasa, Watamu is one of the more popular beaches in Kenya. Watamu is excellent for those looking for marine life, beautiful beaches, and top-notch restaurants. It is one of the best beaches in Kenya because it has everything you need for a perfect beach holiday. 

Watamu Beach is part of Watamu Marine Park. The oldest marine park in Kenya, established in 1968. You’ll find beautiful coral reefs here, and it is one of the favorite spots of sea turtles. Watamu Beach is known as Turtle Bay among the local people. These unique creatures are coming to shore at Watamu to lay their eggs. It is a protected area, but you can go on guided tours to spot the sea turtles. 

Also, Watamu is excellent for scuba diving and snorkeling. The beautiful reefs and busy marine life are fantastic to explore. You might end up swimming with sea turtles as well! 

Best Beach Activities in Kenya

The beaches in Kenya are perfect for relaxing in the sun and enjoying some cocktails and nice Kenyan food. However there are some activities you simply can’t miss while visiting the beaches in Kenya.

Camel Ride

Make sure to ask around for the people who are taking good care of their animals. Luckily there are many possibilities you can choose from. It is great fun to ride along the coastline on the back of a camel.
The local people will take good care of their animals because for them it is an important source of income.

Don’t be surprised if they want to sell you all kinds of souvenirs after your camel ride. You can friendly decline if you don’t want to buy anything else.

Snorkeling

The Marine Reserve close to Mombasa results in some of the best coral and reefs still existing today. It is amazing to swim around and explore the beauty of ocean life.

Scuba Diving

When you’re into scuba diving you’ll find some great diving spots along the coast of Kenya. Not only the beautiful reefs and coral are amazing to see, but the wide variety of marine life you’ll possibly encounter is amazing. It’s truly a paradise!
Watamu Marine Park is known as one of the best scuba diving spots in Kenya.

Snorkeling with Whale Sharks

One of the most adventurous water sports to do in Kenya is going on a whale shark safari. These amazing creatures are coming close to the Kenyan shore, which makes it possible to go snorkeling among them.
Whale sharks are the largest in the world, even bigger then Humpback whales!

When you’re interested in this adventure, make sure to visit Whale Shark Adventures for more information.

Kenya Nairobi

Kenya Itinerary

Kenya is perfect for sunny beach holidays. However, when most people are planning a trip to Kenya, they’re looking to go on a safari. With so many national parks, the chance of spotting the big five, it is almost a must-do while traveling to Kenya.

There are many possibilities you can choose from while planning your trip. Still, we would recommend combining a safari in Kenya with a city trip to Nairobi, and a few days of relaxing on one of the beautiful beaches. 

Are you planning your trip to Kenya? We’re trying to help you find the best information for your next travels. We wrote several articles about Kenya which you might find interesting; 

Léon Kopijn

Léon Kopijn works and lives as a Digital Nomad. He travels the world with the love of his life and writes about inspiring cultures and practical travel tips. Find out more about Léon on his about page!

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