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Approximately 35 miles south of Mombassa, on the eastern coast of Kenya and bordering the Indian Ocean lies the beach resort of Diani. Diani Beach incorporates Tiwi Beach and also neighbouring Galu Beach - another very popular tourist destination - and between them, they provide what is best described as a never ending expanse of white sandy beach, swaying palm trees and clear, warm waters. Little wonder then that this area is dubbed locally as the Kenyan Maldives.
As with any modern tourist resort, Diani Beach provides a wealth of hotels and self catering apartments, including idyllic beachside villas, together with bars and restaurants, many providing nightly entertainment. As you may expect, with such a glorious expanse of sand and sea, there is no shortage of beach sports on offer. Kite surfing is a particular favourite in the area, due to the steady cross-shore winds, the calm waters making this an excellent area for beginners and the more experienced alike. If water sport isn't really your pleasure, there are also other sporting activities on offer, including an 18 hole golf course located a short distance from the resort, horse riding and for the more adventurous, even camel riding.
As you might also expect from a coastal resort, sea excursions are in abundance. Scuba diving, snorkelling and deep sea fishing are all available but if you don't feel the need to be quite so energetic, simple sightseeing pleasure cruises are also provided. The area also offers tropical forests, teeming with local wildlife, including monkeys and birds – most notably the endangered Angolan Colobus Monkey. It is advisable to join an organised excursion for any trip which may take you off the main routes. The surrounding areas are deemed to be holy forests and sacred land and are best explored with the help of an experienced local guide, as they are classified as a 'Kaya' meaning they are protected by the National Museum.
One thing you can be sure of in Diani Beach is that you will never be short of something to do. In addition to the regular activities, the beach plays host to a number of annual and seasonal events, including a rugby tournament, music festival, polo (including on camels!) and even a New Year's Eve beach party, where you are almost guaranteed a stunning sunrise to start your New Year.
If you can bear to tear yourself away from the enticing beachfront and all it has to offer, travelling a little further will open up the chance to visit Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro, as well as the chance to see the spectacular wildlife at a number of Kenya's National Parks, including the Masai Mara.
For those who prefer not to stray too far, Diani Beach can also offer an array of shopping facilities right on your beach doorstep. Whether shopping for gifts or just stocking up your holiday cupboards, Diani Beach and the surrounding area have both modern shopping centres and more traditional local vendors to browse. Credit cards are widely accepted across the area, particularly within the larger establishments. There are cash machines available but these are generally only in the major cities, so it is most advisable to take travellers cheques, which can be cashed at banks and hotels.
With no specific seasons such as those of the western hemisphere, temperatures in the area range, on average, between 20 30 degrees, making it a good all-year round resort. Do bear in mind, however, that the rainy season takes place between March and May and this is generally not a good time to visit if you are planning on taking a safari during your stay.
Travel throughout the area is generally via taxis and minibuses (if you don't hire your own vehicle). The locals refer to the transport as 'matutas' and they are one of the most popular forms of transport over short distances and between cities - although it is recommended that you do not use them at night. Train services do also operate but are generally very unreliable and offer little in the way of comfort or dependability.
When eating out, like any coastal tourist resort, you will find an emphasis on locally caught fish produce. However, there are also European and Asian cuisines available across many restaurants and some local restaurants also serve traditional Kenyan food, predominantly goat meat dishes. If you want something totally different, head to Ali Barbour's Cave Restaurant - situated in a natural coral cave, this is a truly unique dining experience.
Visas are required for all visitors to Kenya and are obtainable via most travel agents. It is also advisable to seek advice on the appropriate inoculations prior to travel. Immunisation against typhoid, malaria and yellow fever are generally recommended, as of course is the provision of suitable medical insurance.