I have always found that the best way to unwind and relax has been a trip to the Mombasa coast. There is nothing more satisfying than digging your toes into the soft powdery white sand, soaking up the sun rays while sipping a chilled “Dawa” cocktail under a palm tree, watching the gentle waves of the turquoise blue ocean and feeling the warm salty sea breeze against my face.
Mombasa has a lot to offer, but if it’s some R&R off the beaten path that you’re really looking for, the South Coast is what you need. From award-winning five-star resorts to cozier stand-alone cottages that are quite reasonably priced, the South Shore has an option to suit your financial budget. Both Air Kenya and now Safarilink Aviation fly direct to Diani’s Ukunda airstrip from Nairobi, eliminating the cumbersome road trip from Moi International Airport via ferry to the south coast.
The Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa is ranked as one of the best hotels on the south coast and is located on a private stretch of beach in Diani. The Leopard Beach Resort and Spa, the Southern Palms Hotel, the Indian Ocean Beach Club, and the Pinewood Beach Resort are other popular hotels located on the strip.
But for me, the escape from these resorts leads me to the relatively secluded Tiwi Beach, just north of Diani Beach. The endless stretches of wide white sand beaches and the lack of crowds make this the ideal place to rest. This dreamy beach has excellent opportunities for snorkeling at high tide, windsurfing, dolphin watching, shallow and deep water diving, swimming and beach ball games at sunset. You’ll probably find yourself swaying gently in a hammock, adjusting to the slow pace of life in beautiful Tiwi.
Most of the accommodation along Tiwi’s stretch of beach is in fully equipped self-catering cottages such as the Sand Island, Maweni and Capricho cottages which are a great way to stay at an affordable price. You can hire a cook and cleaner for an additional cost and in most cases the fee is negotiable.
If you’re on the South Coast and looking for some evening entertainment, Forty Thieves nightclub is a great place to kick back and enjoy some great music. What better way to have fun than on a beach under the African sky! Adjacent to the club is Ali Barbour’s Cave restaurant, offering what is perhaps the most captivating dining experience in Kenya. The restaurant is situated deep within a natural cave that is believed to be between 120,000 and 180,000 years old.
If you’re looking for other things to do while you’re on the south coast, you might want to book a dolphin dhow safari excursion to Wasini Island, which is famous for its dolphin watching. Shimba Hills Game Reserve where you can walk in the wild with elephants, buffalo and the endangered Sable antelope among many other animals is a must see! If you are traveling with a young family, some attractions worth visiting are Diani Crocodile and Snake Park, near the Diani Mall, and Diani Falconry, an amazing bird sanctuary located not far from the township of Ukunda.
For those who wish to see Diani in a more mobile way, there are several places to rent bikes, perfect for the quiet and picturesque roads that wind through this paradise. History buffs won’t want to miss a visit to an old mosque located near the Indian Ocean Beach Club. For the conservationist, a visit to the Colobus Trust is a must. Take some time to get to know these amazing animals and learn what you, too, can do to help the ongoing protection efforts for these monkeys.
All in all, this place has something for everyone. So next time you’re looking to take a break from your hectic life, make it an unforgettable experience on Mombasa’s South Shore!