KITESURFING HOLIDAYS - KENYA DIANI
The beauty of a kitesurfing holiday to Kenya is the wealth of alternative activities to hand. In addition to kitesurfing, the Kenya coast offers white sands, turquoise waters, great scuba-diving (especially in November to March when whale sharks migrate up the East African coast) and deep sea fishing. Many of the more energetic kitesurfers also combine their trip with a hike up Kilimanjaro, or Mount Kenya. And of course, you can't come all the way to Africa and not go on safari. 2 hours's drive from Nyali is the famous Tsavo East Game Reserve, where you can spot wildlife as it should be on wide open plains, including elephant, buffalo, sable antelope, elephant, giraffe and the lion and leopard. However, jump in a plane for an hour and you'll reach the Masai Mara, the most famous game reserve in the world.
The winds in this area are always cross or cross-onshore from the left, so you're never going to get blown out to sea. A reef that runs a kilometre off the whole coast keeps the waves out and also creates a fantastic lagoon on the inside that's perfect for learning or practising freestyle. There is very little chop on the inside, even when it's really windy. The only downside is that for an hour either side of low tide it gets very shallow. However, there is a deeper lagoon in Galu beach which neighbours Diani, if you don't fancy your chances. The reef itself creates brilliant down-the-line riding for those that are up for tackling an eight to 25 foot reef break which can be left exposed during a big swell.
The best time to kitesurf here is December to the end of February when the Kaskazi (northerly) trade wind blows, or between June and September during the southerly Kuzi trade wind season. However, there is usually enough wind to kitesurf in the off season too. In full swing the trades blow at 14 to 22 knots and are ideal for learning and improving your skills. The air temperatures hover around the 29°C mark.
Being the Indian Ocean, the water is always beautifully warm, welcoming you in most of the time at around 27°C.
There is a varied selection of accommodation available. Seafood is high on the agenda and fresh off the local boats each day and there are several local restaurants. The Forty Thieves beach bar which is one of those dream watering holes right on the beach. As this is a much quieter spot than Nyali, you may find a lack of single kiters to socialise with if you travel alone.
Find the KiteWorldWide Lodge Kenya in Mwazaro; 80 km south of Mombasa with a huge flatwater area, a licensed kitecenter with brand new 2013 gear from BEST, North and Core and awesome accommodation directly at the kitespot.
- Old Town Mombassa.
Mombasa Moi International airport (MBA/HKMO): 15 minute transfer to Nyali beach hotel.
You need a visa which you can buy on arrival. A single-entry visa costs USD50 and a multiple entry visa USD100. If you are planning on visiting just Kenya, then a single-entry is all you need. If your plans include crossing over to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or visit the Serengeti, then you'll need a multiple-entry visa if you wish to re-enter Kenya again.
Your hotel will usually provide a transfer for you from the airport, but there are always taxis, and they have fixed maximum rates that are non-negotiable in Mombasa. Car hire is expensive and the rules on the road are very different to what you might be used to!Jo Wilson, Kirsty Jones, Nick Jacobsen