What is Diani known for?

What is Diani known for? Located between Likoni and Msambweni, to the south of Mombasa, a continuous stretch of beach is bordered by palm trees and occasionally disturbed by tiny rivers. There is only one substantially developed resort area, Diani Beach, along the 100 km of coastline that runs south from Mombasa to the Tanzanian border. The shore south of Diani is not well-known, and until one reaches Shimoni, at least in the opinions of the majority of tour companies, no one makes another stop. If you have the leisure to look for unexplored beaches, this is fantastic news. You can also take a day trip or an overnight vacation with your own vehicle to the Shimba Hills National Reserve and the nearby Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary.

Diani Beach

The majority of people’s fantasies of the ideal, palm-fringed paradise should come true at Diani Beach. The reef is a safe thirty-minute swim or ten-minute boat ride away; the sand is soft and brilliantly white; the sea is blue and frequently crystal clear; and, arching overhead, the coconut palms create collections of cool shade and maintain an ongoing slow move as the breeze stirs through their fronds. Even while Diani’s paradisal features are constantly in danger of being tarnished by rivalry for space, the recent decline in tourism has forced the closure of certain hotels, while the masses of hustlers, or “beach boys,” have diminished to a handful of comparatively easy-to-brush-off diehards. Askaris have been stationed outside of every establishment along the beach and there is strict security at the hotel gates as a result of increased security.

The Diani Beach road feels like Kenya’s top strip when it is busy because it extends 300 metres behind the beach and is separated from it by vegetation. Fortunately, a forest and scrubby vegetation separate the road from the coast, but more of the Diani Forest is being removed each year, causing its disappearance to accelerate.

Head south down the Diani Beach road, which has more shade than the northern section, for a stroll or a jog. The Jadini or, more accurately, Diani Forest, which is vanishing, is near the end of the tarmac surface. Jadini, however, turns out to be a decorated acronym made from the initials of members of a white settler family who once owned most of the surrounding land. There is the almost mandatory snake park, but if you’d rather not support the project and look for animals in the wild, take one of the many tracks heading inland. This will lead you right into stunning areas of hardwood forest that are teeming with birds, butterflies, and vervet and colobus monkeys. The most impressive forest stands are the isolated kayas, or sacred groves, of which there are at least three along the Diani Beach road: Kaya Diani, on the north side of the Leisure Lodge golf course (easily accessible by car or foot, and several trees have plaques announcing the grove’s status); Kaya Ukunda, west of the entrance to Diani Sea Lodge; and Kaya Kinondo, south of Pinewood Beach Resort. The first kaya that was formally made available to tourists was Kinondo.

The Beach Boys

The hustlers selling their wares, their camel rides, their boat tours, or just themselves, can make it seem nearly impossible to relax on the beach at times. Fortunately, the issue has diminished recently, but a few beach-boy botherers—who are all, in principle, licenced in some way—remain. Different strategies are used by people to deal with them. It is considered disrespectful to ignore their pleasantries, yet it might not stop them. One approach is to form a loose friendship with one of the beach boys, to make at least one purchase, or to take a boat ride. You should discover that you can utilise the beach with fewer issues from the other users once you have a friend and have completed some business. For single women, it’s harder, but the general rule still holds true: don’t resist it. In addition, there is no need to feel unsafe or in danger while on the beach. Every hotel has askaris (security guards) stationed along the line separating the hotel property from the beach, and they are typically on the lookout for any problems, which is extremely uncommon.

Diani Wildlife

Although it is unknown what the future holds for the threatened species found in the Diani forest, the hotel gardens in Diani provide great entertainment for birdwatchers. Be on the lookout for the spotted ground-thrush, which hasn’t been sighted in this area since the 1980s, as well as the plain-backed sunbird, Fischer’s turaco, southern banded snake-eagle, and Fischer’s turaco. Snakes are not likely to be found here. No matter the type of snake—harmless green tree snakes, egg-eating pythons or snakes (the most prevalent species), or more rarely deadly mambas—those that go too close to the hotels are typically struck to death by determined askaris who also use their slingshots to chase away the neighbourhood monkeys.

What is Diani known for?
Angolan colobus monkeys

Leopards often frequented the jungle along Diani Beach, but they haven’t been spotted in this area of the shore in many years. But if you go into the woods at night, preferably with a guide, you’ll notice eyes in the shadows, probably bush babies’. The uncommon Angolan colobus monkeys that inhabit Diani are the species that are well known. Baboons are the most prevalent and most aggressive of the other monkey species. Keep your distance from them because they have rapidly proliferated thanks to their adopted diet of leftovers from hotels and are not scared of people. Close your windows if there is food in the room and avoid leaving items on your hotel balcony to avoid annoying overly tame Sykes’ monkeys.

A visit to Kaya Kinondo

The Digo tribe’s Kaya Kinondo, located behind Kinondo Beach at the southern end of Diani Beach, is Kenya’s first kaya or Mijikenda holy forest to be made accessible to tourists. The Digo initially settled in Kaya Kinondo around 1560, and the settlement site was abandoned in 1880.

Prior to starting your forests walk, spend at least fifteen minutes exploring the interpretation centre by the entrance. You must visit the forest with a Digo guide from the centre (individual wandering is not permitted) and be wrapped in a kaniki, an indigo-dyed calico sarong that will be lent to you. Except for the grave sites close to the centre, photography is encouraged, but you are required to show profound respect for the spectacular woodland setting by refraining from rushing around or snuggling. You won’t make a mistake if you act as though you’re in a mosque or church. A quietness usually descends upon events as soon as you leave the light and reach the cathedral-like darkness of the understorey. You focus on stepping over the root systems of forest giants and avoiding coming into contact with hanging plants or ant-covered surfaces.

In any case, there is a more light-hearted side to the experience, as tree-hugging transmit all your worries and cares to the tree and tales of “herbal Viagra”, sexual stimulant essences, and treatments for pregnant women’s back pain are all included in the two-hour nature walk as you are accompanied, if you’re lucky, by someone of seemingly endless knowledge.

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