Kenya Coast & Lamu

The Kenyan coast is a fabulous place to chill out on gorgeous beaches, swim in the Indian Ocean, and enjoy Swahili food, hospitality and culture.

  • Diani beach on the Kenyan Coast © kyslynskahal,Shutterstock

    Diani beach on the Kenyan Coast

  • The beach front at Diani Blue, Diani Beach, Kenya Coast © RosaliaFilippetti,DianiBlue

    The beach front at Diani Blue, Diani Beach, Kenya Coast

  • Beach by Turtle Bay Beach Resort, Kenya coast © StephanePerrier,TurtleBayBeachResort

    Beach by Turtle Bay Beach Resort, Kenya coast

  • Aerial view of Msambweni House, Kenya coast © Msambweni

    Aerial view of Msambweni House, Kenya coast

  • Watersports from Turtle Bay Beach Resort, Kenya coast © StephanePerrier,TurtleBayBeachResort

    Watersports from Turtle Bay Beach Resort, Kenya coast

  • Family activities from Turtle Bay Beach Resort, Kenya coast © StephanePerrier,TurtleBayBeachResort

    Family activities from Turtle Bay Beach Resort, Kenya coast

  • The Sands at Chale Island, Kenya coast © TheSandsatChaleIsland

    The Sands at Chale Island, Kenya coast

  • The Sands at Chale Island, Kenya coast © TheSandsatChaleIsland

    The Sands at Chale Island, Kenya coast

  • Lamu town, Kenya coast © BOksana,Shutterstock

    Lamu town, Kenya coast

  • Time for a chat, Lamu town Kenya coast © JCroucher

    Time for a chat, Lamu town Kenya coast

  • Swahili door on Lamu Island, Kenya coast © JCroucher

    Swahili door on Lamu Island, Kenya coast

  • Gedi ruins, near Watamu, Kenya Coast © JCroucher

    Gedi ruins, near Watamu, Kenya Coast

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A beach holiday on Kenya’s mainland coast of Indian Ocean islands is a fabulous experience in its own right. However, for many of our travellers, a relaxing beach break at the coast is used as a perfect end to an exciting Kenyan safari. Enjoy beautiful coconut-palm fringed beaches, watch black and white colobus monkeys emerging from the trees, and see dhows sailing on the horizon. Take a refreshing dip in the Indian Ocean and enjoy Swahili food, hospitality and culture.

From mainland destinations such as Diani Beach and Watamu to islands like Lamu and Manda, you’re spoilt for choice.  Once you’ve checked in, your time is your own to do as much or as little as you wish while you relax and unwind.

  • Mombasa and the south coast:  Mombasa is Kenya’s second-largest city. There are few good places to stay here, but we tend to prefer heading south from here to the gorgeous beaches of Diani, Galu and Msambweni, or Funzi Keys in the far south.
  • Malindi & Watamu:  North of Mombasa, Malindi and Watamu also offer beautiful beaches and each have a Marine Park in the waters off their coastlines. Watamu is the smaller and quieter choice here, but Malindi is an interesting mix of Swahili and other cultures. Both places have some great places to stay.
  • Historic Lamu Town: Explore the winding alleys of this ancient Swahili town - a UNESCO world heritage site.  Seek out the ancient mosques, the fort and interesting old houses and gain an understanding of Kenya’s history and culture. No cars, just donkeys!
  • Snorkelling & diving:  Along the Kenya coast and off Lamu Island, the waters are teeming with vibrant marine creatures living around the coral reef, perfect for underwater exploration.
  • Sailing on a traditional dhow:  Enjoy a sunset dhow cruise- a romantic way to take to the waters, or visit local fishing villages and neighbouring islands for an insight into local daily life.
  • History: Visit the 16th-century Swahili ruins on Manda Island in the Lamu archipelago where huge baobab trees dominate the skyline, or visit the elegant small island of Shela, a short boat ride from Lamu. Malindi is also a fascinating old settlement, with Gedi Ruins just south of here near Watamu, and of course Arab-built Mombasa old town is full of historical interest too.
  • Wildlife: You can head just inland to visit Shimba Hills National Reserve and the neighbouring elephant sanctuary, or perhaps Tsavo East National Park. Alternatively, it’s very easy to connect the coast with other parts of Kenya, such as the Masai Mara.
  • Nature:  Take a guided tour of Kaya Kinondo sacred forest or a dhow trip to Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park.
  • When to visit the Kenya coast & Lamu:  See our When to Go page for more detail, but as a general guideline the Kenyan coast, the core temperature varies very little all year (around 30°c) but the Kusi tradewind brings the heavier rains in mid-late April, May and sometimes into early June. The months of July to October tend to be excellent, then December to March are good too, leaving April to June (and perhaps November) as being a bit of a mixed bag, though often still worth it in our view.
Kenya Coast & Lamu map pin

Kenya Coast & Lamu

Diani beach on the Kenyan Coast

The Kenyan coast is a fabulous place to chill out on gorgeous beaches, swim in the Indian Ocean, and enjoy Swahili food, hospitality and culture.

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