The world-renowned Diani Beach stretches about 17 kilometres (11 miles) long, from the Kongo river to the north and Galu beach to the south. Formed of the softest white sand, lined with palm trees which are set against azure blue waters, it’s easy to see why Diani has consistently been recognised as Africa’s best beach destination six years in a row, between 2014 – 2019.
Whilst Kenya has a number of dive centres and scuba diving is a popular activity, it’s more well known internationally for the epic, land-based safaris, including being a premier location for sighting the famous ‘big-five’ and the stage for the greatest wildlife show on earth – the annual migration. Kenya attracts many tourists to its amazing coast each year, but for some reason, it’s still an underrated international dive destination.
In December 2021, I took the opportunity to visit Diani (from the UK) and check out the diving for myself. I’d been waiting for this trip for some time but due to COVID, it was postponed a few times before I was finally able to go!
In this post, I share my experience of staying and diving with Diani Marine. The pictures and videos below cannot compensate for actually visiting the place in person!
Welcome to Diani Marine!
I arrived in Diani via the small but incredibly convenient Ukunda Air Strip, which provides regular services between Nairobi and Kenya’s southern coast, within an easy 1 hour flight. After making my way to Diani Marine’s beautiful base, which is less than 10 minutes away, I was welcomed by their friendly team and shown around.
Diani Marine is set on a prime beachfront spot, and features 3* B&B rooms, 5* luxury villas, a PADI dive centre, swimming pool, bar, lounge area, 2 dive boats, luscious tropical grounds and private beach access. The rooms are comfortable and being onsite when diving with them makes everything very easy. The villas look totally amazing and would be ideal for families and friends staying together. If you’re staying elsewhere and just coming to the dive centre for a course or daily diving, then there’s a pick up service available.
Scuba Diving in Diani, Kenya
Diani boasts some of the best scuba diving in Kenya, with a mix of dive sites that cater for all abilities from beginners to advanced. The dives are primarily reef dives, with a light to medium current, depending on the conditions of the day.
There is a stunning wreck located a short distance offshore; the Alfa Funguo wreck. This is a 45 metre-long fishing trawler, that was sunk deliberately on 21st February 2002 to form an artificial reef. It now makes a stunning dive. The wreck rests at about 27 metres, so is best suited to Advanced Divers. It attracts large shoals of fish life including Barracuda, Sweetlips, Fusilier, Batfish, Snappers, and Trevallies. Other marine life and corals make this a really beautiful dive.
Other sites I did during my trip included Baobab, Igloo and Shark Alley (just a name apparently, there’s not usually sharks around). These sites were fairly easy reef dives, ranging from 12 – 18 metres in depth, making them suitable for beginner and intermediate divers. These sites offer stunning marine life, including moray eels, turtles (seen on all but one dive), clownfish, starfish, sweetlips, lionfish, crocodile fish, stunning anemones to name just a few.
The dive centre is professionally run and has a friendly, knowledgeable team. Whether you’re learning to dive for the first time or are an experienced diver simply enjoying the wonders of Diani, you will be made to feel at home here. Before each diving day, the team will provide a good briefing on what to expect and any important safety notices. The dive boats have modern safety equipment on board, including oxygen and first aid equipment. There’s also soft refreshments and delicious fresh fruit aplenty after each dive!
Beyond Diani Marine
Outside of the Diani Marine complex, there’s easy access to numerous local restaurants, shopping, supermarkets and activity centres. Walking short distances is an option but the heat can be very exhausting! I opted to take tuk tuks most of the time, which provide the easiest way to get around for a very small fee ($1 – $3). Uber also operates across Diani as well, so there’s always alternative options.
Some of the restaurants I visited and can highly recommend are:
When to Dive in Kenya
Diving is possible year round in Kenya. However, the best time is from October to the beginning of March. Seas are generally calmer and visibility tends to be much better at this time of year. Holiday weeks can be exceptionally busy though, so consider booking early or travelling outside of the main December holiday period.
Want to Scuba Dive but not Certified? No Problem!
If you’re not a certified diver, it’s much easier than you might think. Becoming an Open Water Diver allows you to travel the world and dive with other certified divers to 18 metres (12 metres for 10 – 15 year olds). There’s a whole new world out there – in fact 71% of our planet’s surface is water and largely unexplored territory!
Diani Marine offers full PADI Open Water Diver courses. These typically take around 4 days, including all academic, pool and open water training. There’s also the opportunity to try scuba diving for the first time, before deciding to take the full course.
A perfect alternative is to learn in your home country before travelling. This option is ideal for many reasons but often gets overlooked. The main advantage is that you can learn at a slower pace and save precious time during your vacation. Rather than taking 4 – 5 days from your trip to complete the course, you can use this time to just enjoy the diving that’s on offer as a certified diver!
Travel Tribe Africa can organise all of this for you! Whether you are just making a trip to Diani or combining it with a full Kenyan trip, we can help you. We have partnerships with leading operators, including Diani Marine in Kenya and Scuba 2000 in the UK, to ensure you get the best deal and trusted advice.
Want to have your own Magical Kenya Experience?
If you’re thinking of organising a trip, we would be delighted to put together an amazing, unique Kenya travel experience for you. Each itinerary we create is based on our expert knowledge and our guests’ personal requirements. We work with well-established, hand-picked partners and operators in Kenya. In addition our own team has deep experience of the Kenya travel industry, spanning well over 30 years.
Why not get in touch with us today for a chat?
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