The most perfect sandy beach stretching for miles with the crystal clear Indian Ocean water lapping the shore and Palm fringed paradise. Where would this be found? Diani Beach and Galu Beach in Kenya! Here is all the information you need for a visit to this Award winning beach. (Voted the best beach in Africa by the World Travel Awards).
- How to get to Diani Beach and Galu Beach
- What to Do in Diani beach and Galu Beach
- Where to stay in the area
- Where to eat in Diani
- What to do nearby
- Is it safe to visit Diani Beach and Galu Beach in Kenya?
- How to stay safe on your travels.
HOW TO GET TO DIANI BEACH AND GALU BEACH IN KENYA:
There are direct flights from London to Mombasa on Kenya Air. How did I get to Diani beach from London? We flew on Qatar Airways from London to Mombasa, stopping in Doha. Why? Qatar airways is my preferred Airline and considerably cheaper than Kenya Air! This added a couple of hours onto the total flight time.
PHOTO: Diani Beach Kenya
Top Tip: Buy Economy flights and gamble that you will be offered a cheaper upgrade before you fly! We were offered upgrades for £300 for the Doha Mombasa leg of the journey 2 days before the travel date. Also, I bought my original airline tickets from Momondo rather than directly with Qatar Airways, a considerable saving again!
My villa in Galu arranged a taxi from Mombasa Airport to Galu. This took one and a half hours and cost $50. Try and avoid the rush hour because it will take longer.
If you are flying to Nairobi for a Safari, then take a flight from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to Ukunda Airstrip. A return flight can cost as little as R 1000.00!
How to get around in Diani Beach and Galu Beach:
There are endless TukTuks driving along. Just stand by the road and flag down a TukTuk and negotiate a price before you get in. Our villa staff would go and fetch one for us.
PHOTO: Our TukTuk collecting us at the Villa, Galu Beach
WHAT TO DO IN DIANI BEACH AND GALU BEACH:
First and foremost relax and unwind. If you are coming here for a few days chill out time after a hectic safari or staying for a stunning beach holiday it is impossible not to exhale and unwind!
- Diving and Snorkelling on the Coral Reef. A great choice for divers! Lots of fish out on the Reef for snorkelers too. Spot the Green back Turtles and at the right time of year you can see Whales. There are glass bottomed boats that will take you out to enjoy the underwater world if you are not a swimmer.
- Water Sports. You will find everything from Jet skis, Stand Up Paddle boarding, Kayaks, body boarding and windsurfing. Paradise for Kite surfers as it can be windy on this coast. There were some dramatic displays of ability!
- Walking – Spectacular walk for miles along the beach. We stayed on Galu Beach and strolled down to Diani beach. One of the most spectacular beaches I have seen anywhere in the world. Perfect white sand, zero rubbish, crystal clear sea. We stopped off for a coffee then lunch on our walk.
- Visit Diani town for Supermarkets, banks, restaurants and shops for the most beautiful Kenyan carvings – a ‘must have’ and some gorgeous fabrics and cloths of Kenyan design.
- Diani Marine National Park – This was created in 1995 to protect the Coral Reefs and keep the Marine life safe and protected.
- Visit Kaya Kinondo – A Sacred forest for Kigo people.
- Do nothing! Relax by your own private pool, watch the monkeys playing (and trying to steal fruit from the kitchen!) listen to the birds singing.
WHERE TO STAY IN GALU BEACH AND DIANI BEACH:
We stayed in Galu beach area. This is quieter and more ‘up market’ than Diani Beach. The package hotels are on Diani Beach. There are some spectacular villas to rent in Galu Beach. We found our villa on Airbnb. Regular readers know that this is a favourite of mine! Almanara Luxury Resort looked very tempting but I did not stay there, just ate at the excellent restaurant.
PHOTO: Airbnb Villa, Galu Beach, Kenya
A gorgeous villa with six bedrooms, stunning gardens, big private pool and a staff including a cook for under £100 a night. It is a ‘no brainer’ really! (I know, there are only 2 of us, but we like lots of space!)
Diani beach has some nice tourist hotels that are inexpensive. Check out Booking.com on the right of this page! Also, great budget choices on Airbnb too.
WHERE TO EAT IN DIANI BEACH:
PHOTO: Almanara Luxury Resort home of Sails Restaurant
Sails – this was our favourite restaurant and the most stylish place to eat in Diani, Sails is gorgeous with a canopy of billowing white canvas covers the restaurant and waiters serve up fine dishes, particularly seafood, including Zanzibar-style snapper, steamed ginger crab and smoked Malindi sailfish. Reservations essential in the evening.
PHOTO: Seafood Platter at Sails Restaurant, Diani Beach
It was actually quite funny. Our villa is just up the road so we took a TukTuk to the restaurant, to the horror of the Doorman! I think he was expecting a Limousine! We liked it so much, we returned for drinks and would definitely recommend. Reasonable priced too for the quality and quantity of food. We chose the Seafood platter.
Ali Barbours Cave Restaurant – This is set in a cave and was also recommended for me. However, it was still closed as the season is just getting going late June.
WHEN TO VISIT DIANI BEACH AND GALU BEACH KENYA:
High Season – August to end January
Rainy Season – February to June. We went from 17 June and the weather was perfect for us. Not too hot with an average temperature of 27 degrees plus a lovely light breeze sometimes. Two mornings started with a little rain but perfect sunshine for the rest of the trip.
WHAT TO DO NEARBY:
PHOTO: Antelope at Shimba Hills National Park
Shimba Hills National Park. Shimba Hills is a short drive of 45 minutes. We hired a driver and car for the day trip at a cost of 90 dollars. We had already visited Shimba Hills some years ago. The difference between the two visits was stark. Last time, the park was teeming with Elephants who visited Shimba Hills Lodge every night. The Elephant population has decreased by 82% since that time due to poaching. We were also surprised at the lack of wildlife now. Many species have been decimated by Tetse fly.
PHOTO: Warthog family at Shimba Hills National Park
However, the views at Shimba Hills and Flora and Fauna are gorgeous. Also, you will enjoy it almost to yourself. Visitor numbers are down because of the lack of animals to see! There are Giraffe, a few Elephants. We saw Warthog families, Bush Buck, Antelope, lots of butterflies, a monkey and really enjoyed our day exploring.
PHOTO: Shimba Hills National Park
Hike Sheldrake Falls at Shimba Hills. This has to be arranged with the Park in advance, because you must walk with a guide.
Shimba Hills Lodge. We stopped off at Shimba Hills Lodge for late afternoon drinks, expecting to see the Elephants as in the old days! The Lodge is recently renovated but looks exactly the same as it did on our last trip, minus the Elephants. However, the Bush babies do still visit the bar in the evening apparently. You can stay here over night if you want to extend your stay in Shimba Hills.
PHOTO: Pool at Shimba Hills Lodge, the Elephants have long gone
IS IT SAFE TO VISIT DIANI BEACH AND GALU BEACH IN KENYA:
The Tourist industry was decimated here after a terrorost attack downed an airplane a few years back. 83 airplanes arrived from the UK every week at Mombasa airport but today no planes arrive at all. There are now some abandoned hotels in Diani as demand stopped overnight. The area has still not recovered the tourist numbers. However, it is a good time to visit and enjoy the peace and quiet. We felt perfectly safe at all times. I do not believe there is any greater risk of terrorist attack than in France or England for example.
Petty Crime: Remember that although Kenya is a growing economy and doing very well, there is still a lot of poverty. 50% of the population live on $1.20 a day. As in most developing countries you will see very impoverished people trying to earn a living.
PHOTO: Mr Diva and Me enjoying the beach life
Use your common sense, just as you would travelling anywhere. Do not leave valuables in your villa or hotel room. Lock everything in the room safe. Do not take valuable jewellery, watches or fancy designer bags. Do not carry lots of cash. Use a cash belt. Only carry a small amount of cash and one credit card when you are exploring the area.
Late at night. We felt perfectly safe at night. However, do not just wander around in isolated places at night. You would probably not do this in your home country so why would you do it here? Organise a TukTuk or Taxi in advance to take you out.
Beach Boys: They can be annoying! It is quite funny to watch them as we stroll down the beach, waiting on the beach outside tourist hotels for tourists to step on the beach! These guys are generally very poor and trying to make a buck or two selling trinkets, boat rides and various other things.
How to deal with these guys? Do not interact!! If you talk, they have you hooked. Avoid eye contact and say ‘No thank you”.
We did arrange a snorkel trip with some boys who lived next to our villa. We figured it would help a very poor family, be friendly and then not be harrassed by other beach boys. This worked well. Remember to be kind and give back in small ways.
HOW TO STAY SAFE ON YOUR TRAVELS:
- Make sure you have all of the relevant Vaccinations, including Yellow Fever for Kenya
- Take Malaria Pills with you and make sure you take them
- Use Mosquito Spray. This will keep all insects away
- Don’t wear dark colours on Safari, Tetse fly are attracted to black and blue
- Wear a hat and use Factor 50 sun protection. Remember you are near the equator and the sun is hot.
- Only carry a small amount of cash for the day and 1 credit card. Use a money belt
- Do not wear expensive jewellery or designer bags
- Be careful what you eat. A bad stomach will ruin a trip. Never eat Salad (unless in a top restaurant or prepared by your personal chef.) Eat fruit you peel yourself. Avoid meat. Make sure all food is very hot and thoroughly cooked. Avoid ice (unless in a reputable restaurant or bar). Do not eat raw food.
- Drink plenty of water, do not get dehydrated in the heat. Take energy snacks and Berocca for long days on the road. I always pack dates and nuts.
Have a great trip to Diani Beach and Galu beach!