Diani On a BudgetDiani is a major beach resort town on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. It is located 30 kilometers south of Mombasa and the beach has been voted Africa’s leading beach destination several times. With a flawless, long stretch of white-sand beach hugged by lush forest and kissed by surfable waves, it’s no wonder Diani Beach is so popular. This resort town scores points with a diverse crowd: party people, families, honeymooners, backpackers and water-sports enthusiasts. But Diani also has some of the best accommodation in Kenya, from budget party hostels to funky kitesurfing lodges and intimate honeymoon spots. Most places are spread along the beach road, hidden behind a line of forest. When lazing in a hammock gets tiring, visit the coral mosques with their archways that overlook the open ocean, venture into the sacred forests where guides hug trees that speak in their ancestors' voices, or take in the monkey sanctuary – all are good ways to experience more of the coast than the considerable charms of sun and sand.
SightsThe beautiful stretches of white sand beach and gorgeous blue waters of Diani Beach is the most popular sight and is what draws the majority of tourists, but there is more to see in Diani than award winning beaches.
Colobus Conservation, established in 1997, is a primate sanctuary, re-adaptation center, and orphanage for Angolan colobus in the Kwale County. If you want to see one of the six primate species in South Coast Kenya visit the colobus trust for an informative walk to spot one of the many wild primates. They work to promote conservation of the colobus monkeys and address threats to them. It can be an interesting and educational place to visit.
See the Kaya Kinondo Sacred Forest to have some hours of relaxation and to get a spiritual lift. This is a special forest which can only be visited with a guide. It is better to phone ahead to confirm there is one, especially if you want to go early while it is still cool. Allow 2 hours for a full tour. It’s a place rich in cultural heritage as well as sacred ambience. One has to tie a black kanga as a sign of respect to the spirits residing in the holy forest. Through the nature trail you'll learn of different plants and a cleared area that shows the residence of the ancestors. After the long walk you can also enjoy a cultural dance. This sacred forest is a beautiful atmosphere surrounded by trees that are used in different medicines.
Visit Komboza Cave. The entrance is directly on the beach road near Southern Palms beach resort. The cave system runs from the entrance to the sea at Leisure Lodge in one direction and to the Mosque by Kongo river in the other. Or see the coral rock Slave Caves in Shimoni, the start and finish point for trips to Wasini Island. In these coral rock caves slaves were captured before they were sold in Zanzibar. A sad and yet interesting place. The caves now run as a community project. Short guided tours are offered.
The most popular area of Diani is the world famous, award winning beach. The water invites you to jump in for a leisurely swim and modern hotels populate the coastline with relaxing amenities. A place of wonder and excitement with lines of hotels that create the booming tourism industry that is the backbone of the area. There are shops, restaurants, and activities found at resorts and around beach areas since tourism is the main economy here, but the larger shopping area is in neighboring Ukanda.
Ukunda, the gateway region to Diani, is a bee hive of activities with all sorts of businesses established. These range from Mobile Money transfer services, boutiques, electronic shops, hotels and guest houses, and micro finance institutions. It is also home to Ukunda Airstrip managed by the Kenya Airports Authority to serve the tourism sector.A drive through Ukunda is a display of sales talent with many Kenyans selling beautiful African Kanga or Lessos depicting African culture, carvings, ornaments and paintings that are designed to capture the eyes of the tourist with rich colors. The plum trees line up their long leaves in welcome as they move to the ocean breeze.
ActivitiesExperience a wide range of watersport activities. For something different, learn the basics of kite surfing. There are also opportunities to experience paddle boarding and kayaking. Try snorkeling in some of the beautiful waters. You can even rent a jet ski and enjoy a day of riding around this tropical paradise.
A favorite activity here is to take a glass bottom boat tour where you can watch the fish and other ocean creatures in their natural world beneath you.
This is also a great opportunity to learn and experience skydiving, if you enjoy a good rush of adrenaline.
There are also several opportunities to book tours in the area. It is easy to book many tours right on the beach, though it is advisable to research ahead or ask at your hotel for reputable tour options. Tours are available for dolphin watching, safari's, snorkeling, sailing trips, Dirt road tours, tours to coral gardens and slave caves, river cruises, tours to a nearby island, and many more are available.