Published on April 19th, 2022
It’s been a while since I travelled solo. So, my trip to Kilifi Beach was nostalgic in the sense that it reminded me of how I once travelled in the past – solo and spontaneously. After having this Kenyan Coastal town on my mind for a while, I got up one morning and decided it was a good time to travel there.
I didn’t pre-book anything and rather, just went with the flow. I decided on the spur of the moment how long I wanted to spend in each place and booked all my accommodation, save the first 2 nights, on the day of.
I’ll mention here though, that this was an off-season trip, and I wasn’t particular about the places I wanted to stay at or visit. So, travelling this way was ultimately beneficial. I ended up spending 3 nights in Mombasa (2 nights at the beginning of the trip and 1 at the end) and another 2 nights in Kilifi.
Getting to Kilifi Beach from Mombasa
Kilifi is located on the North Coast, which means there is no need to take the Likoni Ferry to get there. Depending on where you stay in Mombasa, the drive could take a little under two hours or more. Since I stayed in Shanzu, the journey took about an hour to get there using Uber.
If you are travelling from Nairobi, there are direct flights to Malindi and Mombasa. From there, you can take a taxi to Kilifi. The SGR Madaraka Express and Inter-County trains to Mombasa are also options that are available to travellers.
Where to Stay in Kilifi Beach
I found the accommodation options in Kilifi to be quite sparse. Looking on Airbnb, I did find some gorgeous villas and private homes that were more tailored to group travellers. As I was visiting solo, I decided to stay at the Mnarani Beach Club. For the amount I paid, I thought it was fair for the 2 nights I spent there.
My accommodation was a 1-bedroom bungalow with a garden view. I can’t say that I loved it enough to stay again but it was not awful and there were a few upsides to staying here. First, I enjoyed each meal I had here and loved that guests were offered free activities at 3 Degrees South, a water sports company on the adjoining beach.
I also enjoyed taking a plunge in the hotel’s pools, one of them is an infinity pool with gorgeous views of the Indian Ocean.
If I do visit Kilifi again – and there’s very little chance that I would do so, I would stay on Bofa Beach or visit with friends and rent out a private home.
The Best Things to Do in Kilifi Beach
When you look up the best things to do in Kilifi Beach, you’ll find that most activities are located outside the town. Trips to Watamu, Vipingo Ridge, Gede Ruins and Hell’s Kitchen Marafa are popular outings to make from Kilifi Beach.
However, these were not options for me because I didn’t have a car and did not wish to rent one out while travelling solo. My activities were limited to the beach club and here’s what I got up to:
Kayaking at 3 Degrees South
This is one of the activities that Mnarani Beach Club offers its guests for free. It was my favourite thing I did in Kilifi. I don’t recall that I have ever kayaked alone, so this was quite the ‘thrilling’ adventure for me. I felt extremely comfortable kayaking close to the shore and knowing that 3 Degrees South had a lifeguard on duty.
Snorkelling & a Dhow Trip
On my second day in Kilifi, I took a dhow (traditional boat) out to snorkel for about 4 hours. I thoroughly enjoyed being on this dhow and frolicking in the ocean. However, as far as snorkelling is concerned, this was not the best place to do it.
Rather than a day trip, I would recommend a sunset dhow trip instead. Alternatively, if you do want to snorkel, I think Watamu is a better place to do so.
Spa Day at the Urembo Spa
Finally, you may end your stay in Kilifi and the Mnarani Beach Club with an afternoon at the spa. I do think a good beach holiday should be inclusive of a day at the spa :). If you stay at Mnarani, be aware that this spa is quite busy, so don’t be like me by putting this until the last minute. You probably wouldn’t get a spot there.
Overall, I enjoyed my solo trip to Kilifi Beach. If this is somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit, I say go for it! If you are visiting the Kenyan Coast for the first time, I think Watamu and Diani are much better options.
Ever been to Kilifi? How did you find it and what are your top recommendations for intending visitors?
Also, what is your favourite coastal destination? It could be in Kenya or elsewhere. Please share with me in the comment section below!