Africa Travel
Kenya beach holiday in 10 Instagrams
August 1, 2013
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This is one of those many long overdue posts that I’ve been meaning to write about but never got to. This evening I was going through my old Instagram shots and came across some pics of my holiday on the Kenyan South Coast this past December. Seeing them made me nostalgic for the long beaches of Africa’s east coast,  the romance of Mombasa and the quiet of the mangrove forests at Funzi.  

Beach holidaying on Kenya’s South coast

Our base for our Kenya beach holiday was the white sandy, palm tree lined beaches of Diani, one of the bigger resort areas on the South Coast. It was hot and humid, but there was always a cool breeze blowing to cool us down. Though a lot of my holiday involved getting some serious beach time, catching up on my reading and treating myself at the spa, I did manage a few activities.

kenya south coast

Probably the coolest thing about Diani Beach are the camels, all decked out in their finest, parading the long stretch of beach and posing for tourist photos.  I’m used to the cows on the beach in the Transkei, but beach camels were a novelty.  I resisted the opportunity for a camel ride but couldn’t resist taking countless pictures of them.  Who would have thought camels could be so cute?

kenyan coast

I was inspired by our day trip to Mombasa’s old town where we hired a local guide who enlightened us on the fascinating colonial history of Fort Jesus as well as his own family history. It was exhilarating to walk the narrow streets of Old Town and soak up the city’s rich heritage, its ancient mosques, impressive wooden doors, and beautiful balconies.  Old Town was definitely a highlight of the trip, I loved the fusion of Arab and African culture and the sense of history of the city. Here’s my instagram of  brightly coloured washing lining the narrow streets.

colours of mombasa old town

On our dhow safari to Kisite Marine Park, we snorkelled in the protected reef with its rich marine life and even saw dolphins!  This wasn’t our dhow, but one that we sailed past…

dhow safari

There’s something rather  romantic about sailing on a traditional Arabic dhow, the wind sweeping through your hair… and later jumping into a reef to snorkel with the pretty fish.

dhow safari kenya

As part of our dhow safari daytrip, we visited the slave caves of Shimoni and Wasini island.  Wasini is a coral island and a site of early Swahili civilization. It also has lots of baobabs and a coral garden that is worth a visit.

kenyan coast

Our lunch with a view at Wasini Island… the crab was the starter. The mains were crayfish. So good!

crab lunch wasini island

Probably my favourite activity of our holiday was a kayak trip exploring the mangrove forest of  Funzi Bay and a freshly-caught lunch on the eco-lodge on Avicennia Island.  Kayaking through the mangrove swamps was epic, just the sounds of the birds and the occasional splash of jumping fish. The bay was teeming with marine and birdlife, we even saw a school of baracuda! I was disappointed when I later saw a local selling a de-finned shark 🙁

kenyan coast

At low tide we pitched a temporary beach camp on the Funzi sandbar (above) and waded in the emerald-blue waters of the bay. It was pretty close to paradise as I’ve been. Its also where I almost stepped on  this little guy…

kenyan coast

If I had the chance to go back, I would definitely spend a few days at Avicennia, it was so peaceful and beautiful. Here’s one last Instagram of my Kenya trip –  a Tusker in the moonlight at the famous Forty Thieves beach bar in Diani…  Cheers Kenya, hope to be back again soon!

tusker beer kenya


Have you been to the Kenyan coast? How was your experience?




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Meruschka Govender

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There are 8 comments

  • Di Brown says:

    Kenyan coast holiday looks awesome. What was it like price was converting Rands? Is definitely a place I would consider going to, especially for the markets. Nothing better for me than to while away hours looking at all the different stuff at a craft or flea market…

  • mzansigirl says:

    Hi Di,
    I found it a little pricey, but it was our fault for leaving the booking till late, and travelling in peak season (over Christmas). We did a package through Flight Centre and stayed at Diani Reef Hotel, which I wasn’t very impressed with. The hotel needed maintenance, but did have a great location. It costed just under R20k per person for 13 nights, half board. The daytrips were lovely but also quite pricey as it was all priced in USD, however we did negotiate a very good deal on a PADI dive course. I’m not usually one for package holidays but that’s what happens when you let the hubby do the booking. In hindsight, I would do a private rental on the beach.

    • mzansigirl says:

      The market in Old Town was great, though I wouldn’t be comfortable without a guide. We also went to the Akamba wood carvers market which had some of the most amazing woodwork I’ve seen. All in all, it was a super relaxing beach holiday, just what I needed.

  • this looks like an amazing trip! Great tips on things to do there to (as well as doing nothing at all!). What’s the best time of year to go there?

  • Ah, Kenya! We spent some time in Mombasa as well and loved it there. We then went to Malindii (ok) and up to Lamu Island….which at the time was swarming with the US Army due to the kidnappings happening on the surrounding islands! Crazy times.

    We had a great time in Lamu though and our safari in the Masai Mara was unforgettable!

    Great photos! Cheers for the post 🙂

    • mzansigirl says:

      Thanks Dariece! We didn’t make it to Lamu or the Masai Mara either, but definitely planning to go back soon and explore magical Kenya some more.

  • The Kenya Coast never disappoints those who chance to travel here. It gets even better when you have a little bit of history about the town, its people and cultures. Then you discover that every footstep you take to the many amazing places there are to see, almost always feels like taking a journey back in time – from the ruins of Gedi to the ancient old town it is a romantic epic straight from the pages of the Arabian nights! Glad you had fun at the South Coast.

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