For Families…What To Do With Kids, On Diani Beach, Kenya

Get a head start on planning your family holiday with some local knowledge of all the tips, trick, contacts and activities whilst in Diani, Kenya.

How to Travel:

A taxi – we recommend Eric +254 (0) 723 480286 or ask your receptionist / manager to assist.

A tuktuk – a great way to travel around Diani. It’s fun and memorable and kids love it. We recommend Abel +254 (0) 721 740310 or ask your receptionist/manager to assist. Please get a rate first so you don’t have to keep haggling.

A camel on the beach – call Abdullahi Wario +254 (0) 718 68372 and ask your manager for the rate to prevent being overcharged.

Walk on the beach – FOC!

Activities:

Inland:

  • Colobus Conservation – Is a very simple, no frills, not-for-profit organisation, which promotes the conservation of the colobus monkey, other monkeys, turtles, as well as the whole Diani eco-system and environment. They work to address the threats to the species survival. The organization works in partnership with local communities to futher conservation efforts and we ask you kindly to visit. In our view, it is because of this organisation that Diani beach is as it is, they are continuously fighting the cause.
  • The Sands @ Nomad Marine CentreA visit here is 100% necessary in our opinion! It is a little rustic, but a highly informative centre with lovely marine biologists, that teach us all about the ocean, whats happening to it and how we can all help; it’s amazing for kids!
  • Kaya Kinondo Sacred Forest – For those interested in history, flora & fauna, it is an interesting hour or two. Kaya Kinondo is a sacred forest originally home to the Digo people. Thanks to successful conservation efforts, they now live nearby and use the forest as a place of worship. The Digo people show us a beautiful example of environmental conservation and cultural preservation managed at the grassroots level.
  • Feeding Bushbaby’s – An incredible activity for adults and kids alike. Jump in a Tuktuk at 6.30pm (book first) and head for Stilts Backpackers for a sundowner and some supper whilst the gorgeous little bushbaby’s are fed at 7pm (you will be able to feed them if you’re lucky). A great night out for kids… and/or those wanting a night out with backpackers and Diani residents.
  • Golf Diani is home to one of the Kenyan coast’s finest golf courses. The Leisure Lodge Beach and Golf Resort offer a championship golf course. 18 holes, par 72, the course measures 6084 meters and includes a driving range, a chipping green, and a bunker. There is a resident golf professional, equipment hire, and a Pro shop.

On the Seas:

  • Ngalawa Fishing Boat Excursion – A Kenyan fisherman’s traditional dugout canoe excursion with a paddle. It’s a natural, exciting and peaceful excursion over the waters of the Indian Ocean. You can choose to visit the sandbank and snorkel. Take water to drink.
    • Child friendly for kids who can swim.
  • Glass Bottom Boat – Contact John +254 (0) 726 678867 to book ‘a private boat’ in advance. The reef can get very busy during high season, so make sure he takes you ½ an hour earlier than the ‘crowds’. You can also then ask him if you can leave when the crowds arrive. A very Kenyan 1-2hr long excursion, in a shaded glass-bottom boat that will take you out to the sandy reef to snorkel in the pools and have a walk around the reef. This boat is nothing fancy at all, but full of character and the kids will have a ball. Take water to drink.
    • Child friendly to the extreme … in fact every child visiting Diani should do this activity.
  • Snorkeling & Lunch – Whilst Sailing on a Traditional Swahili Dhow – an incredible day out to the local Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park in a traditional boat, with Pili Pipa. You will join other guests on one of two dhows (both with flushing loos and shades) off which you will be able to dive or snorkel (even if you can’t swim!!). Dolphins and whale shark/humpback whale sightings are a regular occurrence. You will receive lunch at the owner’s private home prepared by smiling Swahili ladies … there is even a swimming pool! The price includes transport to and from your hotel, all equipment, trained guides, marine park fees, water & snacks, a wonderful lunch, and drinks with lunch. 
    • Child friendly to the extreme… we feel every child visiting Diani who likes snorkeling should do this.
  • Deep Sea Diving – This is for complete beginners and experienced divers alike. It is also possible to do a ‘fun dive’ where no experience is required and a guide takes you down to 6 metres. Due to the Indo-Pacific current, the Indian Ocean boasts the same fish species as Australia. This includes manta rays; reef, hammerhead and whale sharks; turtles as well as multi-coloured reef fish in coral gardens. We can arrange a wide range of deep sea diving excursions, including certified PADI diving courses and wreck diving.
    • Not child friendly. The minimum age is 10 years old.
  • Night Diving is also available with Pili Pipa.
  • Deep Sea Fishing – East Africa is a Mecca for deep-sea fishermen, with many of the World and all-Africa records being held in Kenya. We offer ½ day, full day, night & day-night-day trips with Sport Fishing Kenya. They pride themselves in being passionate about sustainable sportfishing and engage actively in conservation both on the water and onshore. Their policy is to tag and release all billfish and other designated endangered species such as giant trevally. There are six types of billfish, striped, blue and black marlin, sailfish, swordfish, sharks, wahoo, yellowfin tuna, and dorado. Boats typically depart in the early morning, trawl for bait and then head out to the deep water to wait for the big catch. The fishing season is August to March (billfish season from November to March).
    • Not child friendly until they get the taste for fishing and then a perfect Dad & son day out!!

In the air:

  • Sky Diving – The Kenyan coastline is amongst the finest scenery in the world; the beaches are breathtaking and the calm sea waters protected by the reef have an indescribable colour when you look at them from above. Whether you want to do a tandem for fun, learn to skydive or jump every day of the week, this is the most spectacular dropzone in the world.

Shopping:

  • The Diani Beach Shopping Centre – A great supermarket, some lovely shops, a jeweler, an art gallery, some great arts & crafts shops, but some of our favourites are:
    • Johari Glass – Beautifully engraved glassware. They repurpose used glass bottles to create unique glassware and custom etches glass through sandblasting… you can even order your own branded items.
    • Kazuri beads – handmade Kenyan ceramic beads.
    • Sandstorm Kenya – canvas & leather items.
  • Baharini Plaza Shopping Centre – Has a good supermarket, a good travel agent, jewelers, a pharmacy, boutique shops, and a fully-loaded pool/beach shop… as well as a couple of restaurants.

Recommended Restaurants in Diani:

Please book or ask us to book for you to avoid disappointment (and please advise us if it is for a special occasion).

Treat Yourselves:

  • ***Sails Beach Bar & Restaurant – Our personal favourite for a special occasion. AMAZING & not extortionate! Located on the beachfront within Almanara Boutique Hotel & Villas, the modernization of the sweeping sails and curving beams create an ambiance unparalleled on the east coast of Africa. The waiting staff are professional, kind, and friendly. The ambience is friendly, paired with delicious fresh seafood, delivered daily by the local fishermen, there is a selection of meat, salads, and scrumptious treats for those with a sweet tooth. YUM!
    • Child friendly, the kids can go and play table tennis or on the beach if they feel restless in the restaurant.
  • Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant – Treat yourself to a candle-lit dinner in a cave, under the stars, simply magical! This wonderful and unique experience coupled with a great ambiance, skilled waiting staff, and tasty food (from fresh seafood to European cuisine), makes for a great evening out. They will even pick you up and return you to your hotel or house at no charge.
    • Child friendly, what a magical experience for the little ones.
  • Nomad’s Wine Cellar Tasting Menu – Yes, spend the evening in a wine cellar, tasting old and new wines, paired with a menu of your choice:
    • Swahili (5 courses, 4 wines)
    • Seafood (6 courses, 5 wines)
    • NB. Not Child friendly.

Other Recommended Restaurants, and why?:

On the beach:

  • The Sands at Nomad Beach Bar – A wonderful beach bar, on the white sands of Diani Beach. They have wonderful pizzas, great Japanese, other seafood and non-seafood choices as well as, a great ice-cream bar. This beach bar & restaurant is attached to a nice 4* hotel.
    • Child friendly with a lovely little natural play area for all ages .. huge Connect 4, huge Tumbledown etc.
  • Asha Bistro (was The Edge)– Barefoot, comfortable, chillaxed and essentially a beautiful little beach-side restaurant. The food is terribly tasty (my favourite chilly, ginger crab on the beach) from seafood, curry to lovely simply soups and salads. The service is very slow, so order in good time and enjoy the view … or have a massage in the spa! Asha Bistro is part of a lovely little 6-room boutique hotel.
    • Child friendly, the kids can play in the sand and on the beach, but no games or toys provided.
  • Salty Squid Beach Bar & Bistro (Lymington’s) – An affordable, laid back beach bar and restaurant that serves a mixture of good food from seafood to pastas and sandwiches. The service is a little slow, but the food good, so order in good time and enjoy the view. It is essentially a kitesurfing hub with a little affordable accommodation. 
  • Colobus Shade – is a proper local restaurant owned by some Diani fisherman. There is nothing fancy or chic, but a great experience. It is reasonable and the fish platter or the plain fish, calamari and crab is fresh & delicious!

Off the beach:

  • Piri Piries Bar & Restaurant – a really lovely little café, restaurant and bar, very popular with Diani expat residents. Their menu is wonderful, serving seafood specialities, delicious meat dishes, vegetarian options, I loved the ploughmans and the huge selection of salads! They also offer amazing coffees and cocktails. Plus:
    • They show all major sport events on the TV.
    • Club night & Hockey on Fridays from 6pm, if you would like to mix with some Diani residents.
    • Check out their Facebook page if you’re in town, they also have other great evening events.
    • A great playground for littlies .. they can play whilst you eat.
  • Leonardo’s Restaurant – Essentially an Italian restaurant with a little playroom nearby. Delicious pizzas and ice cream .. and incredible service.
  • Kokkos Cafe Bistro –  A nice, simple coffee shop with sweet treats and some tasty lunches.

Playgrounds in Diani:

  • Piri Piries restaurant – The best playground by far for little kids, there’s tonnes to do here, in an enclosed space where you can monitor them from your table.
  • Leonardos – A very simply little castle in a room, managed by a carer, if other kids are around they’ll have a scream.

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