TO DO: Try kitesurfing, surfing and stand up paddle boarding with H2O Extreme the only reputable water sports centre in Diani. Operated from the Kenyaways Kite Village, the instructors are very knowledgeable and have you up and going before you know it! I was SUPing from the first go, was standing on the surf board and riding waves shortly after starting…
Spend a day snorkeling or diving the reef at Wasini with Pilli Pipa Dhow Safaris. They lay on an incredible lunch at the end of the trip too!
TO STAY: Kenyaways Kite Village – a place that I have spent more hours than I can count. It’s relaxed and the perfect place to come and stay if you’re visiting Diani. It has its own piece of pristine beach front and the views are to die for. There is a great water sports centre operating from here called H2O Extreme.
If you’re looking for a more expensive and luxurious stay, get hold of Valentina at Water Lovers, a lovely small boutique resort in the heart of Diani; or Ida Andersson at Kinondo Kwetu, a gorgeous and exclusive retreat 10kms south of Diani. Kinondo Kwetu also offer horse riding on the beach and yoga overlooking the sea. All three of the above places won Trip Advisor Travellers Choice awards last year.
I also stayed at South Coast Backpackers when I arrived. If you’re on a budget, stay here. The pool is lovely and the bar is always open. The owners are three young French guys, Kevin, Justin and Louis, who know how to show their guests a good time. It’s full of backpackers, volunteers and other young travellers. Head here if you want some company and a bit of a party.
TO EAT: Get hold of Bruce at Madafoos at the Kenyaways Kite Village – great vibe, relaxed atmosphere and always filled with Diani’s usual suspects. They have fish BBQs on Friday nights and curry buffets on Sundays – not to be missed! For a more special evening, head to Sails (at Alamanara) – the chef Luke is one of Kenya’s finest and you dine under the most beautiful sails right on the beach. The food is under-priced for the quality of cuisine that is served up!
TO STAY: I stayed at Mombasa Backpackers. If you’re looking for a party and great way to get meet travellers – head over here. Look out for Rasta Dave (came to the backpackers over a year ago to stay for a few days and never left) as well as Dan Sorrell, a crazy South African full of fun who spends most nights here too. Dave the owner is very helpful and will ensure that you have a good time…
TO STAY AND EAT: You can’t go wrong with Camp Carnelley’s. Set on the water’s edge, this beautiful array of little cottages as well as sweeping lawns for camping is the perfect spot to explore the water, Hells Gate and Crater Lake game park nearby. The restaurant, complete with a wood burning pizza oven, serves some of the most amazing food I’ve ever had! The owners Lovat and Chrissy Carnelley are warm and hospitable. Ask Lovat if you have car trouble – he’s a mechanic of sorts…
TO STAY: I tried a few places in Nairobi but nothing compares to Wildebeest Eco Camp between Karen and the city. It’s secure, beautifully maintained and extremely reasonable (free wifi!). They have a range of options from tented dorm rooms (crisp linen included, couldn’t believe it!) to luxury permanent tents overlooking a lush garden. They also have a small area for camping. Can’t recommend this place enough! You can find out more about tours going out to the Masai Mara etc here too.
Sadly if you are planning on staying at Jungle Junction, just be aware that they had two armed robberies late 2013. You make the call… Karen Camp too is an absolute dive so don’t bother with that either!
TO STAY: We had a magical few days at Che Shale, near Malindi on the North Coast of Kenya. Owner run, this remote retreat is set in a coconut grove away from everything and everyone! The food is absolutely first class and you couldn’t ask for a more hospitable stay! The winds are good here, so kite surfing is popular. Che Shale has its own kite surfing centre.
GUIDED EXPEDITIONS ROUND KENYA
Tailor-made safaris with a focus – photography, cultural, kitesurfing, fishing, birding – you name it, these guys can make it happen. Contact Kenyan born Boris Polo at Expeditions East Africa, he knows more about the bush and coast than anyone! Drop my name, he may cut you a deal…
I used Safaricom, it’s the most widespread provider and is the provider most people use. Buy data bundles if you plan on using the 3G for browsing – you get about 10 times more out of it than using your regular top up money for data.