Visiting the Kenyan coast (paradise)

  • Diani beach town — chill but sizeable beach town, lots of different accommodations and restaurants along a very long white sandy beach with a protective reef, marine reserve to the south, great for long walks on the beach or kitesurfing (if you have $ or equipment) or snorkelling or lounging, also good nightlife, some nice restaurants, lots of different kinds of places to stay. Very easy to fly in and out of. An hour’s drive north (and ferry) is Mombasa. Amazing deep sea fishing if you’re into that (and don’t get motion sickness). Go farther south to access more remote beaches.
  • Watamu — Also a residential beach area, near the sizeable town of Malindi, various resorts and houses to rent out, more residential-seeming with more diverse activity than Diani, lots of local delicious Swahili food options, a few good local music spots, a notably beautiful little nook of beautiful beach and blue-green water and a small rock island that’s just perfect, with a tiny cafe overlooking it. Interesting jagged cliffs around, too. A bit more rugged than Diani or Lamu. Fly into Malindi nearby, or drive north an hour from Mombasa. Farther north, around Malindi, if it’s been raining recently, the water gets brown (“golden”) from the Galana River delta.
  • Lamu — town is on Lamu island, part of an archipelago, with narrow walking lanes and no cars (but many donkeys) and a few villages, and then an extensive long white beach with protected sand dunes on the other side. A more remote destination but an easy affordable direct plane, all commuting is by boat, small Swahili community living normal life that you get to step into, town is UNESCO World Heritage site, various indigenous and traditional communities (and infrastructure project workers), tourists around but normal life continues around them. Very cool though deteriorating architecture. Unique experience. Dhow sailboats for fishing and tourists. Just amazing nature. Mangroves everywhere, a few snorkelling spots, seasonal phosphorescent plankton, seasonal baby sea turtle hatchings, all sorts of fishing.

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