Diani Beach, Kenya. + (1 night in Mombasa)
First Impression: The traffic from Mombasa to Diani Beach was horrendous mostly due to the ferry crossing. Mombasa City appears quite run down when driving through but Diani Beach is obviously cleaned up for the tourists. Diani Beach is littered with fancy resorts and it’s a bit difficult to find an affordable place on the beach.
Where I stayed: We stayed at Simba-Oryx Beach Cottages on Galu Beach, it’s a bit out of the way of the big resorts and clubs but easily accessible by tuk tuk. Honestly this was one of my favourite places I’ve stayed. We had a 1 bedroom cottage with a terrace, and kitchen/dining room. They put a bed in the dining room since our friend decided to join us last minute. The place was very quiet as there is no bar and restaurant on site. You can however, walk 2 minutes down the road and buy fresh food or 2 minutes down the beach to eat the best calamari of your life! The owner is so lovely and helpful. Budget an extra 50-60$ for airport transfer.
We stayed in Mombasa for 1 night and honestly, I wish we hadn’t, I wish we had just got up at some ridiculous early hour to make the trip into the airport. We stayed at Coast Gate Hotel which is just in the middle of nowhere and we were hard pressed to find a decent place to eat. My friend was covered in mosquito bites the next morning (somehow I was not).
What to wear: Beach wear at the beach, casual conservative in Mombasa. I’m sure many tone deaf tourists do it but I think it would be quite rude to go wandering around town shopping in your bathing suit so do wear a cover up.
What I did: Beach! Every morning after making a lovely breakfast, we walked down the beach to an awesome little spot on the beach at the Blue Marlin Beach Hotel, for a really good cappuccino-usually 2. Then we would swim and lay about for a bit and eventually go wander and do some shopping, reading, napping, journaling, etc. We shopped around town, nowhere truly special as every stall on the road had the same stuff as the next one. The people at the stalls next to Diani Beach Shopping Center were very aggressive and kept following us around as we were trying to get groceries and have lunch at Colubus Café. At first we said we’d go see their stuff but after the 4thtime of being followed by the same man we tried to escape with notice in a tuk tuk and he actually tried to chase it down on foot.
Colubus Café was a lovely cool spot for a nice cocktail and sandwich. Around the corner from the shopping center there is a local outdoor eatery serving up Mishkaki and Naan which is so good I even ignored (somewhat) the giant roosters milling about. Just ask the tuk tuk driver for Mishkaki.
We also ate dinner at Sundowner, my friends seemed to enjoy their meal but mine was so salty I could barely eat it.
We ate New Years dinner at Lymington’s Beach Bar and Restaurant-do make reservations if you are there during New Years-I think we got the last table in Diani Beach. The food was amazing-lobster, prawns, and other seafood perfectly grilled with a bottle of champagne.
We spent our last night at Bidi Badu a local bar and restaurant on the beach that is quite the experience.
Mvureni Beach Bar has the best calamari but their other food is awesome and the staff extremely friendly.
I strongly suggest you avoid the hotel bars for drinks as they are both boring and well overpriced, also Forty Theives Beach bar, the food was blah and the owner a straight asshole. They charge cover starting at 9pm so if you’re late going to eat, you have to pay cover to eat. Then you can watch as all the sweaty tourists grind up on each other…really not a nice place for a night out.