Explore our list of the top 7 best beaches in Mombasa, plus a bonus chill out spot.
Kenya’s coast is home to some of the most stunning beaches in Africa, with powdery white sands, crystal clear waters, and an array of water activities to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a lively beach party scene or a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the Kenyan coast has something for everyone.
This article will take a look at the top 7 beaches on the Kenyan coast, each with its unique charm and allure. So, grab your sunscreen, pack your bags, and get ready to explore these stunning coastal gems.
But before I do that, I should clarify that Mombasa is a town/city in the coastal region. Many often use the terms “Mombasa” and “Coast” interchangeably. But it is important to note that they are not the same thing. The coast encompasses a wider area, with several towns and villages. Mombasa is the largest city in the region and serves as its commercial and cultural hub.
I am clarifying this because many online articles list beaches from other towns as beaches in Mombasa. This can be confusing, especially if you’re visiting and have no idea about the beaches.
With that in mind, you can check out the best beaches in other coastal towns like Malindi, Kilifi, Diani, etc., below.
Top 7 Beaches in Mombasa, and a Bonus Chill Out Spot
In this section, we will explore the best beaches in Mombasa and answer all the common questions, including:
- How many beaches are there in Mombasa?
- Does Mombasa have nice beaches?
- What are the best beaches in Mombasa?
- Where is Pirates Beach?
- Where is Nyali Beach?
TLDR, a list of the best beaches in Mombasa
- Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach (Pirates Beach)
- Bamburi Beach
- Nyali Beach
- Maasai Beach
- Shanzu Beach
- Kikambala Beach
- Kuruwitu Beach
Here is a close look at some of the best beaches in Mombasa and how to get there.
Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach (Pirates Beach)
If you love crowds and the hype of beach life, then Pirates Beach will do it for you. Pirates Beach, or Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach, as it’s officially known, is popular among locals and visitors alike. It is located in the Bamburi area, along the Mombasa-Kilifi Road, making it accessible to anyone. The beach boasts clean and clear waters, a variety of activities for visitors, soft white sand, and a serene atmosphere, and it is a perfect spot to:
- Relax on the beach
- Surf and kiteboard at the offshore coral reef
- Snorkel and dive during high tide
- Explore the underwater world on a glass-boat
- Enjoy beach parties
- Interact with the locals
Pirates Beach is the only beach in Kenya that has no hotels. There are only a few properties that blend into its attractive setting. This makes it a beautiful, unspoilt beach. Compared to other beaches in Mombasa, and the coastal regions, Kenyatta Beach can easily be accessed through a wide path with ample parking. The entrance is also marked with vendors selling all kinds of souvenirs, swimming costumes, and local foods.
Note that Pirates Beach is a Public beach and does not charge an access fee. You will, however, pay for storage and other services should the need arise.
Confounder: Strong tides
Nyali Beach is another stunning public beach in Mombasa. It is situated in the leafy suburbs of Nyali, about two kilometres off of Links Road, from the Links Arcade Nyali. This should be your go-to beach if you want to experience the extensive white sandy beaches with picturesque coral rocks and first-class resorts. I go to Nyali Beach Mombasa whenever I want to:
- Play beach football
- Take pictures
But unlike Pirates, there are few stalls for souvenirs or food. You also won’t find crowds, especially during the weekdays. Nyali Beach is more popular with locals and tourists, especially since it’s lined with beach resorts. It is perfect for relaxation and family time.
Confounders: Strong winds, dogs, strong tides
Maasai Beach is also located in Nyali, behind Reef Hotel and Maasai Beach Hotel. Like other beaches in Mombasa, it has extensive white sandy beaches with clear, blue waters. I love catching the sunrise at Maasai Beach. The view is often spectacular – and in many cases, you can see various fish, crabs, etc. Beyond that, swimming, sunbathing, beach games, surfing, and other activities. However, there are parts with seaweed down below with sea urchins, which makes it hard to swim in some seasons.
Hazard: Sea urchins
Shanzu Beach is located in Shanzu, north of Mombasa. It is relatively short and surrounded by rocks on either side. Shanzu Beach is also quiet and remote; you’ll likely find few people or activities. Still, Shanzu Beach is a very clean beach with very clean water, and it is perfect for relaxation. You can easily access it by taxi, bus or tuk-tuk – though it only has one entrance from the road. But you can walk to the beach from the neighbouring Bamburi Beach during low tide.
Hazards: Sharp rocks, Jellyfishes
Bamburi Beach is a natural, sandy beach with a nice diving and snorkeling location at a coral reef during low tide. The beach is lively, as tourists and locals enjoy diverse activities like windsurfing, jet-skiing, and exploring the reef on a glass-bottom boat. There are also vendors selling local crafts and souvenirs and beachside restaurants and bars where you can enjoy a refreshing drink or a delicious meal with a stunning view of the Indian Ocean.
Bamburi Beach is situated on Mombasa’s North Coast and is easily accessible from the city center. The beach is popular and can get quite crowded during peak seasons. Despite the crowds, the beach maintains its natural beauty, and the lively atmosphere only adds charm. You can also walk along the beach toward Pirates Beach.
Hazard: sea urchins
Confounders: strong tides
This 12-kilometre-long beach sits north of Mombasa and is home to reef walks and beach parties. It is a sleepy dream beach tucked about several hundred meters from the road. There’s also only a handful of bars at the beach, and the northern part is left to nature. Kikambala Beach is perfect for long walks, especially during low tide. You can even walk all the way to the coral reef to explore different creatures like starfish and sea worms.
Bonus Chill Out Spot: Mama Ngina Drive
And if you are just seeking to chill and watch the ocean without from up-close without getting your fit wet, then Mama Ngina Drive is the perfect spot. Mama Ngina Drive is a scenic waterfront promenade located in Mombasa’s central business district, near the Likoni Ferry. It stretches along the coastline and offers stunning views of the Indian Ocean, and is a great spot to relax and unwind while enjoying the sea breeze. You can stroll along the paved walkway, take a seat on one of the benches, and admire the panoramic views of the ocean, or visit the nearby restaurants and cafes for a bite to eat or a refreshing drink. Mama Ngina Drive is also a popular spot for events, concerts, and festivals, especially during the festive season.
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, the Kenyan coast is a destination that is sure to leave you enchanted. I hope that this article on the top 7 beaches in Mombasa has given you a glimpse of the natural beauty and diverse attractions that this region has to offer.