Sitting on either side of the equator, Kenya is undoubtedly one of Africa’s top travel destinations. It has vast world-famous national parks where animals roam freely in their natural habitat on a landscape that is beautifully diverse, natural, and, to a large extent, untouched. And for its wildlife numbers, Kenya is a dream safari destination. Here, you’ll find families of lions hunting in groups on the vast open grasslands—or sleepily lazing about—under the shade of thorny acacia trees or other shrubs. On the rolling plains, herds of elephants dust-bathe by scraping the soil using their flexible, boneless trunks—which they then pour on their bodies in a fascinating cloudy spectacle.


And for the photogenic, Kenya has many Instagrammable spots. It also plays host to the wildebeest migration —that’s been justly described as the greatest animal show on earth. You’ll not want to miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance. And while Kenya’s coastline is less famous, it’s no less attractive. Along the coastline are many stunning palm-lined beaches with spectacular Indian Ocean views. These beautiful beaches are spread along extensive stretches of coral reefs and other marine life. For perspective, the stretch of coral reef along Kenya’s coastline forms part of the second-longest coral reef on the planet, exceeded only by Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Let’s take a detailed look at Kenya's coastline.

Kenya’s coastline is divided into the north coast and south coast with the historic Mombasa mainland town serving as the reference point. Of the two sides, the south coast is more quaint and pristine, perhaps because it’s more removed from the life and spirit of Mombasa town. Without any road bridge, its only connecting link is the Likoni Ferry which lumbers noisily across the busy Likoni channel at regular intervals. While the south coast offers many interesting travel options, Diani Beach, located 30 kilometers from Mombasa, is its golden goose. Diani Beach is the best in Kenya, 10th in Africa, and one of the best on the planet. Angelina Jollie, Brad Pitt, Jose Mourinho, Cameron Diaz, Naomi Campbell, and many other celebrities have, in Diani Beach, discovered a stunning, secret hideaway, that’s just as beautiful as any world-class Caribbean beach. Of course, you should expect a top beach experience. Soft, white sand; clear, turquoise waters; lines of slender coconut palm trees; a gentle, leaf-rustling zephyr, and spectacular sunsets.

  • How To Get To Diani: Take a train from Nairobi to Mombasa for $10. From the train station in Mombasa, take an Uber to Diani. Or, take a direct flight from Wilson Airport, Nairobi straight to Diani.

Related: 10 Best Things About Traveling To Africa

On a 7-mile stretch along the beach lies the Diani Forest. Although now reduced to fragments due to human activity, you’ll still find quiet, majestic tree covers, especially as you near the tarmac. Further inside, there’s a snake park and a world of birds and butterflies of an impressive variety. For the ultimate forest experience, wend your way to the traditional sacred groves, locally known as kaya, of which there are three along the beach. They are not only sacred but also have an air of traditional mystique.

Tiwi Beach, just about 11 miles south of Mombasa and 7 miles before Diani, is another attractive travel option—and perfect especially for budget travelers.

Further afield is the beautiful island of Chale, some 8 miles from Diani Beach on the southern ends where you’ll find some of the biggest mangrove trees in East Africa—on what is Kenya’s only private island. The jewel in this exclusive resort is the 2.5-acre bay, a stunning vista of sparkling whiteness. To crown your seaside experience at Chale, there’s a beautiful luxury resort, The Sands at Chale Island Resort, that sits right on this island. There’s a reason CNN Travel ranks Chale Beach as Kenya’s second best. Just 2.5 miles from Chale Island is the secluded Gazi Beach, hypnotically beautiful and almost unspoilt. And for the ultimate private beach experience, we think no other Kenyan beach comes close.

Yet that’s not all. Funzi Island—no, archipelago—known for its pristine beaches—can stretch your trip even closer to Tanzania. A boat trip to the nearby Ramisi River may just be your first time to see the chilling grin of a Nile crocodile in its natural habitat for the first time. There are actually 4 islands here but Funzi, for its size and beauty, carries the fame. Sea turtles, now globally endangered, regularly forage the ground along Funzi Beach and is one of the beach’s top attractions. Unlike the exclusive Chale Island, Funzi is free and easily accessible and can afford what should be a memorable camping experience. Funzi Island is a decent 40 miles from Mombasa.

A further 7 miles from Funzi, will land you right inside Wasini Island, a stunning paradise with no sound of speeding cars or trains. The vibe is slow and quiet; and could answer to the romantic fairy tale destination, where people “live happily thereafter.” On the coral gardens immediately south of Wasini, lies the Kisite Marine National Park, the home of dolphins, and perhaps the most gorgeous snorkeling location in the country.

After this thrilling whirlwind tour of Kenya's south coast, you will want to travel back home only reluctantly.