Agness and her colleagues from the Poki team had come away with memorable experiences of visiting the Masaai tribe in the Mount Suswa region, but there was one more excursion planned before they left these shores for snowy, cold and grey Europe!
What better way to prepare for returning to that miserableness than a trip to the beautiful white sands of Diani Beach, with its tropical climate, friendly locals and luxurious oceanfront accommodation?
It’s going to be extremely difficult to leave, that’s for sure. But rather than get depressed at the thought, Agness and co made the journey to the Kenyan coast to enjoy the final days of their African adventure and bask in the warm sun, perfect temperature and soothing waters of the Indian ocean. The seasonal affective disorder can wait. So, for the uninitiated, here’s a guide to Diani Beach and all the things you can get up to while putting off going back to the blizzard!
The Kenyan Coast
It’s often forgotten that Kenya is blessed with over 500 kilometres of coastline which sits on the Indian Ocean in an equatorial climate.
As well as beaches as far as the eye can see, you’ll find mangrove swamps along the waterfront, a very different world to the mountainous Rift Valley and safari plains. For holidaymakers, you have a choice of the north or south coast, which basically means either above or below Mombasa – the second largest city in the country. For the next five days, Agness and pals would be located in the south, around the popular Diani Beach. It’s twice been awarded the best beach in the country – and it’s not that hard to see why.
Life’s a Beach!
Diani beach is a 10 kilometre stretch of stunning white sand predominately served by the coastal town of Ukunda. The azure blue waters of the Indian Ocean make it an ideal scuba and snorkelling spot, but there’s a whole host of activities to be enjoyed in the area. In fact, you’ll find something for everyone here and it attracts a really diverse crowd – whether you’re a honeymooner or a backpacker, water sports enthusiast or yoga practitioner – everyone seems to get along without treading on each other’s toes.
Life here can be as hectic or as relaxed as you like, and with arguably the best accommodation in Kenya, many believe that Diani Beach is the number one place to go in the country.
Where to Stay
And speaking of accommodation, you’ll find a broad spectrum of places to rest your weary bones here. Agness was lucky enough to find herself staying with The Zubeida, private villas along the beachfront which had a wonderful staff, a nice swimming pool and a perfect location right on the white sands. There are plenty of options though if you’re looking to slum it a bit more, including budget hostels and party digs you might struggle to sleep at. But hey – whatever floats your boat! If money is no object, you’ll find many five-star options, including hotels and villas frequented by the likes of Angelina Jolie and Jose Mourinho. In fact – Diani Beach as something of a reputation for celebrity spotting because it’s still relatively unknown to all but its regular visitors. Those in the limelight can benefit from relative anonymity here. We doubt it will stay that way for much longer though!
Activities and Action!
Where to begin?! Diani Beach has an abundance of activities to get your teeth into, it entirely depends on how energetic you are! Agness spent much of her time at a slightly slower pace, enjoying her morning jogs on the beach, snorkelling, chilling by the pool or spending time in the company of friends during the social meals. For those who need to kick it up a notch (like some of her colleagues) you can participate in surfing, paragliding, windsurfing, scuba diving, jet-skiing and quad biking.
Lessons are available for all budgets and time frames. However, Diani Beach is most famous for its kitesurfing because of the formidable conditions, and there are even places to say which specifically cater for enthusiasts of the sport. If you only do one activity – make it that one!
Those who don’t have the get-up and go to experience the thrills and spills of the beach and water sports scene, why not enjoy the chills instead? As well as the hours you can spend watching the world go by on a poolside lounger or from your towel on the beach, you can also explore the surroundings and discover some interesting attractions. Diani Beach Art Gallery is full of Kenyan talent, with some beautiful, contemporary pieces regularly on the show. Dolphin and whale watching is popular, with a number of options for taking a relaxing (but exciting) sea safari with glass-bottomed boats.
Naturally, the beachfront has plenty of bars, restaurants and night-life hot-spots, but by far the best of these is The Forty Thieves bar which has a weekly schedule of sociable events. But Diani Beach is quieter than those sands north of Mombassa – so don’t expect the really wild parties here.
Shop Until You Drop!
Agness also went into the local town to explore, taking a tuk-tuk and discovering they drive a hard bargain when it comes to bartering for fare/fair prices.
Make sure you stick to your guns to get the best deal. There’s a plethora of shopping options to be found running along the beach front and in Ukunda itself, from modern shopping plazas and supermarkets to crafts stalls and boutiques, as well as a huge western-style market where you can pick up anything your heart desires. At that moment of time, Agness desired lots of croissants, but there’s an extensive selection if you’re missing a taste of home.
Diani Beach was the last destination on the Agness in Africa series, but she’s pretty sure she’ll be back on these shores sooner rather than later. Kenya has been a fascinating and educational experience – we whole-heartedly recommend you consider it as your next destination – you won’t regret it.
Would you like to visit Diani Beach and explore Kenya? Let us know your thoughts!