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North or south for relaxation

Coffs Harbour
Level Contributor
26 posts
2 reviews
North or south for relaxation


I am planning on being in Nairobi for 4 weeks next July. Would like a short beach break before flying home. Main aims are relaxibg in sun with some touristing on the side. Maybe 4 or 5 night visit.


Solo female traveller

No more than 30km from airport

1 or 2 day tours (around Mombasa and maybe a boat tour)

Safe to walk around nearby streets/shops

Do people lay on the beach or is it best to soak up the sun poolside?

Budget moderate $100/night or less. Can pay more if its awesome but dont need luxuries.

5 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
234 posts
1. Re: North or south for relaxation

You come across as a nature lover so I feel you'd enjoy Diani Beach on the South Coast. It's quiet and at more than 10 km in length you can walk or jog to your heart's content, as well as swim anywhere you like. I think it offers a longer uninterrupted stretch of sand than any of the nearby North Coast beaches. You can fly directly to Diani (Ukunda) from Nairobi, eliminating the need to use the Likoni Ferry.

As for side attractions, the coast doesn't have a lot to offer in that department. I don't think Mombasa's Old Town is worth the time, and Fort Jesus can be done in an hour. From Diani you can book brief snorkelling boat rides to the reef any day at low tide, or go down to Shimoni for a full day of snorkelling. Both can be arranged at your hotel or at some of the beach bars. But as I mentioned the coast is not a wonderland of activities outside the beach. The only coastal safari park, Shimba Hills, has been reported to be very short of wild animals lately and may not be worth the visit.

Nairobi, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
5,718 posts
46 reviews
2. Re: North or south for relaxation

Some of the popular beach locations are Bamburi, Nyali ( North Coast ) & Diani ( South Coast ).

Room Single Suppl. Fee will apply since solo.

Have a look at Baobab Beach Resort in Diani.


Superb 'All Incl' Hotel & value for $$$.

If you want to experience Swahili culture, take Dhow trips, explore narrow streets, Lamu Archipelago Islands & snorkeling, then head out to Lamu.

Flights to Lamu from NBO with Skyward Express & Fly540.

Mtwapa, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Barcelona, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bamburi, Mtwapa
Level Contributor
16,683 posts
55 reviews
3. Re: North or south for relaxation

Mombasa Town is on an island between two Creeks / inlets. To the North of the island and adjacent to it, connected by a bridge are the North Coast beaches ( Nyali, Bamburi, Shanzu). The South Coast beaches (Diani, Tiwi) are a bit further away and connected by a ferry. It depends what you want, the North Coast is more developed with a wider choice of facilities, bars, restaurants, shopping malls, cinema, water park, etc and has always tended to be busier than the South. It is handier for the airport and Mombasa Town. The South Coast is much less developed, more idyllic and the beaches are better, unless you go further north to Kilifi and Watamu.

But only the North Coast beaches meet your 30km criterion, Nyali Beach is around 16 km and about 45 minutes (assuming no traffic problems) from the airport, Bamburi beach is around 20 km and about 45 minutes to an hour, Shanzu is about 25 km and just over an hour. Whilst Diani Beach is around 40 km and around 1h 45 mins ( assuming no ferry problems), it's around 70 km and getting on for 2 hours from the airport to Kilifi

Nowhere is busy these days except for during local holidays when Kenyans flood in from upcountry, which are the only times the beaches are anything like busy. The once busy North Coast beaches are predominantly quiet, there some hotels that are linked to German holiday companies that are doing reasonably business as the German companies are doing direct charter flights. The hotels have been offering special deals to attract locals and conferences.

From what I've been heariing for the last couple of years from people who cross to the South Coast regularly is that it is even quieter, they often describe it as being deserted or like a ghost town, though some younger locals do come down from Nairobi to party at the weekends.

For sightseeing in Mombasa Town it's a short trip from Nyali or Bamburi, you cross the bridge onto Mombasa Island then through Mombasa Town to the centre, the Old Town, Fort Jesus, etc which would take around 30 minutes if traffic is good, (can be a lot longer if it is bad). To visit from the South Coast it's a 30 minutes or so drive to the ferry (how long the ferry crossing takes depends on the queues) then a short drive to the centre. A half day is more than enough for sightseeing in Mombasa Town.

From Bamburi or Nyali you could also pay a visit to Jumba La Mtwana ruins and the excellent Monsoons restaurant on the beach there. Go around midday, spend some time checking our the ruins of the C14th Swahili village, and relaxing on Monsoons' loungers or swimming on the semi-private beach, have a lazy, chilled lunch then relax some more on the beach. It's closed on Mondays and busy on weekends but any other day and you have a fair chance of having the beach to yourself. You could also do day trips to Kilifi or Watamu and Gede Ruins.

Pretty much anywhere is safe to walk during the day, as long as you don't do anything silly, but at night get a taxi or tuk tuk door to door.

People don't tend to sunbathe on the beaches, most hotels have beds on grass right next to the beach, the only sun beds on a beach, other than those at Monsoons that I know on are at the Suli Suli beach bar / restaurant on Bamburi beach.

Coffs Harbour
Level Contributor
26 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: North or south for relaxation

Thank you for your detailed replies. Looks like I cant lose either way.

Mombasa, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Mombasa, Tsavo National Park East
Level Contributor
1,381 posts
108 reviews
5. Re: North or south for relaxation

If you just want to relax take a flight from Wilson Airport to Diani.... From the Airstrip to the Hotels is 5 to 15 minutes drive

Then look at your Budget, Baobab Resort, Neptune Hotels in Galu or Diani Sea Lodge or Diani Sea Resort

these are all AI or

Swaheli Beach Hotel HB or The Sands at Nomads BB or HB

Edited: 02 November 2018, 13:34
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