Beach Safari in Kenya

Among my favorite types of safari holidays are beach holidays in the Kenyan Coast. Situated on the Indian Ocean, this lush and tropical region is home to some of the best beaches in the world. From white-sand beaches with crystal clear waters to rocky shorelines lined with swaying palms, there’s something for everyone at Kenya’s coast.

For those looking for a traditional beach holiday, there are plenty of resorts that offer all-inclusive packages. These include airfare, accommodation, meals and activities such as snorkeling and diving. The crystal-clear waters make for some great underwater exploration, with visibility often exceeding 30 meters.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is a beach holiday safari?

A beach holiday safari is an adventure holiday that combines a beach getaway with nature and wildlife experiences. It involves staying at eco-friendly lodges and resorts located along the stunning coastline, as well as taking part in activities like fishing, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, and kayaking.

Itinerary for a Kenyan Beach Safari Holiday – 3 weeks

For an unforgettable expedition along the Kenyan coast, three weeks is the recommended period to cover beaches from Lamu’s Archipelago in the North to Southernmost Kisite Marine National Park.

Your beach safari will allow you to experience remnants of Swahili culture and relax on beaches for as long as you please. There are plenty of public transport methods to get around; however, if you find yourself entranced by the beauty beneath your feet and don’t want it to end, simply opt for more time! Before taking off on this thrilling journey though, be sure to check out security updates first.

This is a snapshot showing a map you can use to explore the entire coastal towns doing all the main fun activities during your beach holiday safari in Kenya's coast.
This is a snapshot showing a map you can use to explore the entire coastal towns doing all the main fun activities during your beach holiday safari in Kenya’s coast. Credit: Lonely Planet

Begin your journey in Mombasa, one of the most remarkable port cities on earth and a symbol of East Africa. As temperatures can get unbearably hot here, take some time to explore Tiwi Beach next; it’s an idyllic white-sand oasis favored by solo travelers. Southbound from there lies Diani Beach with its resort vibes and plethora of water activities that make for a perfect holiday retreat!

For an escape from the hustle and bustle of life, Funzi and Wasini Islands near Tanzania are ideal; Mkwiro on Wasini Island is a slice of heaven! Furthermore, these islands provide easy access to Kisite Marine National Park where you can witness crocodiles lazing along mangrove-lined rivers or dolphins frolicking through the waves. A visit to this marine park is truly magical and only enhances Kenya’s beauty.

From August to October, why not take a trip out offshore to try your luck spotting humpback whales? A journey in a classic dhow is also something you just shouldn’t miss. Make sure that you leave yourself at least one week for this area! Then move north up the coastal route and make a swift stop in the picturesque town of Kilifi before journeying on further to Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve – an incredible remnant full of indigenous coastal woodland located within East Africa. There’s an abundance of birdlife here along with forest elephants and golden-rumped elephant shrews so don’t miss it!

  Venture even further north to uncover the ruins of Gede, a 13th-century Swahili city. Follow in the footsteps of traders from centuries ago and head over to Malindi, the 14th-century port town that is now one of Kenya’s most popular beach destinations for Italian holidaymakers—with more than just sand awaiting you. Finally, cap off your journey with a visit to Lamu Archipelago: an idyllic tropical paradise rich in history and cultural heritage!

What to do on a beach safari:


Experienced sailors and windsurfers, take note! If you’re looking for a sailing adventure like no other, then look no further than the coastal towns of Kilifi, Mtwapa and Mombasa. You can even opt to join one of the freshwater clubs at Lake Naivasha or Lake Victoria – both renowned spots with exceptional conditions that make them prime destinations for water sports enthusiasts alike. Don’t have any prior experience? No problem! Just become a temporary member in order to pick up some crewing at these yacht clubs.

Windsurfing & Kitesurfing

Windsurfing fanatics will certainly revel in the optimal conditions on Kenya’s coastline, where steady and robust winds blow from offshore reefs. A variety of resorts near Mombasa provide sailboards to patrons; while pros should look no further than Lamu-Manda Islands for calmer waters! For those who favor kitesurfing, Diani Beach & Malindi are favored locations.

  •  Lamu and Manda Islands
  •  Watamu
  •   Malindi
  •   Diani Beach

Whitewater Rafting:

The Tana River is one of the most thrilling whitewater rafting spots in Kenya, so make sure to include it in your itinerary! It’s a great way to combine an adrenaline-filled activity with an appreciation for nature.

For the most thrilling whitewater rafting experience, plan your trip between late October and mid-January or from April to July when water levels are at their peak. The Athi/Galana River boasts some of the highest rapids, chutes, and falls you’ll ever encounter on a river cruise! Other options include Tana River near Isiolo and Ewaso Ngiro River. Now that’s an adventure!


Fishing is also a popular activity in Kenya. The country has some of the most productive fishing grounds in Africa, offering anglers the chance to reel in several varieties of game fish including yellowfin tuna, marlin and sailfish.

If you plan to fish in Kenya, the Fisheries Department is ready to assist! Fishing camps are located around various parts of the country and special licenses must be obtained. To ensure your safe fishing experience, don’t forget to ask for help from your accommodation or safari operator who will provide all the necessary information about how to make arrangements.     

  If you’re interested in freshwater fishing, there are plentiful Nile perch, some as large as a human being, that can be found in Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana. Trout fishermen should definitely make their way to Mt Kenya or the Aberdares for an unforgettable experience!

For deep-sea anglers out there who seek the best of skillful sportfishing experiences, they needn’t look any further than Kenya’s coast – it is among the top spots on Earth. Private resorts and operators near these locations rent boats priced between US$250-$500 per trip (that fits 4-5 fishers!), making this journey achievable during August to April each year.

Below are some places you can go fishing while on beach safari vacation;

  • Diani Beach
  • Watamu
  • Malindi
  • Shimoni
  • Mtwapa

  Diving and Snorkeling

Kenya’s coral reefs offer an array of brightly-hued sea creatures, vibrant corals and sprawling seascapes. If you’re looking to explore this underwater paradise, several areas along the Kenyan coast have become well-known for their exceptional diving spots.

Mtwapa, Diani Beach, Shimoni and Watamu are renowned for their thriving coral reefs and vast array of marine life. The abundant sea turtles, manta rays, dolphins and whale sharks will fascinate even the most experienced divers!

For those who don’t have their diving certification yet, snorkeling is an option to explore the colorful Kenyan coast. All you need is a decent pair of goggles, a snorkel and flippers to have an amazing time.

The clear waters along Malindi and Watamu offer some of the best snorkeling experiences in Kenya, with plenty of brightly-colored species waiting to be discovered.

Are you ready to explore the depths of the ocean? The coastline boasts a plethora of professional dive centers, and if you don’t have your certification yet, many hotels and resorts offer open-water diving courses. Though they aren’t much more budget-friendly than those offered elsewhere in the world (a five-day PADI course can cost as much as US$470), two tank dives for certified divers will only set you back around US$100 – gear included!

Other places to check out in the Coast

Kenya is home to some of the most breathtaking coastlines in the world, from heaving resorts to quiet and idyllic beaches that will forever stay etched into your memory as pieces of paradise. Take Shela Beach for instance – 12km of fine white sand awaits you here with one of Lamu’s best-kept secrets.

In Watamu, explore a 7 km uncorrupted beach dotted with a charming fishing village close by or travel to Manda Island where you can spend time on sandy dunes, mangroves, and private strips along its shoreline.

Tiwi Beach stands apart from Diani; it may be less crowded but still holds an equal measure of beauty. As for Diani itself? A stunning seascape even if it’s bustling at times!

Please check back soon as we put together the best beach vacation packages in Mombasa, Lamu, Malindi, Watamu and Diani.

What is the best time to go on a beach safari?

If you want to dive or snorkel in Kenya, the best time to visit is from August to April. This period has milder temperatures and calmer seas which make it an ideal time for diving and snorkeling. However, if you’re looking for higher-class waves or wish to experience some deep sea fishing, the best months are October through January when water temperatures can reach up to 32°C (90°F).

If you want to fish, the best time to visit is from April through July when the seas are relatively calm and there is plenty of baitfish around.

It is important to note that you should avoid traveling to Kenya between June and August since this is the rainy season and many operators close for business.

Beach Holiday Safari packages:

Barefoot beach safari:

For the perfect barefoot beach escape, experience’s 5 Day Luxury Kenya Beach Holiday! Enjoy lavish accommodation with mesmerizing views of the Indian Ocean and exclusive access to an untouched beach. You’ll be delighted by a wide selection of activities ranging from snorkelling to cruising around picturesque coasts and fishing expeditions. Immerse yourself in nature while luxuriating on your dream vacation!

Mombasa Beach Safari:

Another package to consider is also by and is focussed on exploring Mombasa beached for 4 days. The Kenyan Coast 4-Day Beach Getaway package was designed for those who wish to soak up the sun, swim in warm waters and explore the wondrous wildlife of this part of Africa. During this luxurious getaway, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in exciting activities such as snorkeling, sailing and deep-sea fishing!

Embrace the exotic mix of cultures in Mombasa, where you can revel in thrilling water sports like kayaking, snorkeling and windsurfing. Wander through its lively streets to satisfy your taste buds with succulent seafood dishes and uncover hidden treasures at bustling markets. Uncover why Mombasa is so cherished by travelers from across Kenya as one of its most beloved beach destinations! Read more about this package here.

Malindi beach Safari:

The Malindi Beach Safari is perfect for those looking to experience the exotic beauty that Kenya offers. Relax on white sand beaches and explore the surrounding area, taking in a diverse array of wildlife at Mida Creek and nearby Watamu Marine Park. Enjoy private boat trips out into the Indian Ocean, where you can go deep-sea fishing and snorkeling or spend the day exploring the vibrant coral reefs. With an abundance of activities such as kayaking, sailing, and kitesurfing all available to you, a blissful beach vacation awaits!

Diani Beach Safari:

Diani Beach is a stunning destination in Kenya’s south coast, and the perfect spot for an unforgettable beach getaway. Enjoying all the luxuries of this paradise such as delicious food, world-class accommodations, and exciting activities like kitesurfing and snorkeling. The Diani Beach Safari package also offers private boat trips out into the Indian Ocean, where you can explore pristine coral reefs and vibrant marine life. With plenty of opportunities to relax under palm trees or take a leisurely stroll along the shore, there’s no reason why your beach holiday in Diani shouldn’t be extraordinary!

Tawi Lodge Beach Safari

The Tawi Lodge Beach Safari is a great way to experience the beauty and culture of Kenya’s south coast. Spend your days exploring fascinating wildlife in Mida Creek and going snorkeling in Watamu Marine Park. Private boat trips will take you out into the Indian Ocean, where you can witness first-hand its vibrant and colorful coral reefs. Spend your evenings watching the sunset at the lodge and indulge in delicious local dishes prepared by masterful chefs. Relaxation and exploration await you here, making it a perfect beach holiday!

Read more about this package here.