Craving for a beachscape? Diani Beach on the Kenyan coast of the Indian Ocean should be top of your travel list this year.
30 kilometres (19 mi) away from Mombasa, in Kwale County, Diani Beach is an immaculate stretch of bright sand lined by lush forest and washed by surfable waves. The resort caters to all needs, providing a wide range of accommodation options fit for all pockets, from groovy hostels to funky kite-surfing lodges and romantic retreats for newlyweds. Most of them stretch along the seafront, hidden behind the forest.
Feel free to stretch a hammock between two palm trees and enjoy the sun and the breeze. When you feel like you’ve taken enough tan for one day in the Kenyan sun, you can always visit the coral mosques, famous for their archways which overlook the ocean, or take a walk into the sacred forests, where trees are said to speak an ancestral language. It is not at all uncommon to see local guides hugging trees listening intently to the voices of their ancestors. The forest is home to black-and-white colobus monkeys, which seem to thrive here.
The beach stretches along 10 kilometres (6 mi) from the Kongo River to the north and Galu Beach to the south. An old Baobab tree is the southern landmark, which guides locals and will guide you too, if you go to Diani. Adjacent to the small town of Ukunda, the population of which is nearly 100,000 inhabitants, Diani Beach is connected to the Mombasa-Lunga Lunga road through a small airstrip. Near shore the water is shallow, with a few underwater sandbars near the surface, allowing wading with a crystal-clear view of the sandy sea bed.
The lush vegetation found inland from the beach is dominated by the palm tree, unlike the mountainous Kenyan Highlands where the acacia rules. Here, at Diani the Mwachema River flows into the sea.