The Kenyan coast has a mixed range of experiences. If you just saw the large hotels that’ve sprung up around Mombasa you could be forgiven for thinking you’re on a slightly more exotic costa, albeit one that has camels wandering along the beach. Head north or south of here though, and there’re a wonderful range of beach resorts and secluded lodges that offer something totally different and magical.
Lamu’s somewhere that we’ve always loved. This ancient Swahili island town has long been a Bohemian hangout, and the lodges and villas here are all incredibly laid back and understated, but oh-so-chic. The feel is utterly timeless- to this day transport on the island is largely by dhow or donkey, though we did hear a rumour there’s now an ambulance in Lamu Town. This is a place to spend the afternoon under the fluttering sail of a dhow, or having a gentle wander on the golden sand rather than engaging in anything too strenuous.
Diani’s our other favourite area of the Kenyan coast. For a classic tropical beach experience, this is one of your best bets in East Africa. The scattering of lodges along the beach are largely low-rise, the sand is white and powdery and the water’s an impossible azure. For those who want a little more going on in the evening, it’s best to stay in town, where there’s the odd bar or restaurant to pick from. Alternatively, if you want to retreat from the world altogether, head south to Msambweni or Galu Beach, where’re you’re likely to be troubled by little more than what type of fresh fish to eat for lunch.
Reviewer’s pick- our selection of places to stay on the Kenyan Coast: