Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa

4.5 out of 5 stars4.5 Stars

P. O. Box 35, Diani, 80400, Kenya
Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa
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More about Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa

Reaxing time at Diani Reef Beach Resort

by TripAdvisor Member Steele-2

Stayed for 6 nights from 19/3/07, booked through African Mecca(Thoroughly recommend) as part of our honeymoon.We had just had 3 nights in Samburu & 3 nights in Masai Mara on Safari.The idea of this stay was just to relax after all the early morning game drives on safari.

The resort is to a very high standard throughout.We were met at reception with face towels & wine.The reception area is beautiful & includes glass flooring with fish swimming below (Koi carp i think).When we booked we had wanted a deluxe room but had to make do with standard as there were none available.The standard room was perfectly big enough for our stay & was very clean.There was a bed turn down service every night.

The staff were all very good & helpful.The food at breakfast & in the evening was to a high standard & freshly prepared (usually in front of you)The meals were buffet type with a vast range of food available to cater for everyones tastes.We had a look around the spa but didn't use it.It all looked very professional.

The drink was reasonable with the exception of wine which was expensive.The absence of any price lists for drink meant you weren't aware of what you had spent until the end of the night.All drink had to be signed for & paid on departure.

The pools were good & the water very warm but it was too hot in this area.We chose to use plentiful sunbeds on the sea front where there was a breeze.When the tide came in, the sea was also very warm for swimming.When the tide went out it exposed a reef were you could walk out to.The beach boys never bothered us as they are not allowed were the sun beds are situated.

There was a market just outside the resort with very reasonable prices unlike the many touts.We visited a shack that sold carvings & painting & tried to buy a painting we liked.They wanted £200.We eventually bought one, the same, from a nearby shop for £8.

Mombasa Tip

by Araneida

Visiting Shimba Hills, snorkeling at Diani Reef and horseback riding at Aberdare Country Club remain some of my most memorable experiences from Kenya.
Of all, however, spending a quiet afternoon at Shimba Lodge just sitting on the balcony watching a pair of African fish eagles may actually rank as my fondest memory. At one point one of the men who worked there noticed I was watching the pair and asked if I would like him to get one of the dinner rolls so I could see how the birds hunt. I wasn't sure what a dinner roll had to do with a fish eagle, but I though perhaps the bread would attract fish, so I said sure. He returned with a roll and threw it to the near edge of the pond. From his perch on the far edge the smaller eagle (I'm guessing he was the male) immediately spotted it and swooped down, grabbing it from the water in mid flight and returning to his perch to eat it. I've always wanted to see an eagle grab something from the water like that! Throwing bread to the ducks will never be the same!

Home again

by TripAdvisor Member jack3167

We stayed at the Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa in January 2006 and were very impressed. We had a great time and the staff were more than helpful. Nothing was too much trouble. We enjoyed it so much that we are going back on 8th January 2007 for three weeks. We also recommend the Nyali Beach Hotel, Mombasa. A trip back in time were colonialism is mixed with the modern.

Sue & Cyd

Brilliant holiday!

by TripAdvisor Member Kmc-7

We stayed at the Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa for a week just before Christmas. From the time we arrived everything was done to make sure our stay was enjoyable and the cheerful smiles of the staff were infectious.
We had emailed the hotel before our arrival to request 2 interconnecting rooms on a high floor for the best view. Our requests were met with, what we consider, must have been the best situated rooms in the hotel - the view over the pool and towards the beach was fantastic! We were also entertained regularly by the many monkeys that inhabit the hotel grounds!
The food and restaurant service was excellent - food was freshly cooked on request and there was always a very good selection.
At the time the hotel was relatively quiet and it was always possible to get sunbeds, either by the pool or on the beach. The beach was soft white sand - and the beach boys were not a problem.
While there we used the hotel's dive school and also visited the Colobus Monkey Trust in Diani Beach. Shopping was 'limited' to the usual souvenir shops and taxis were cheap and would wait while we shopped.
We also did a short safari while there (see separate review under Governor's Camp) but the weather at the beach was much better! We could happily have stayed longer at the hotel and would certainly return again for a beach holiday.
P.S. Tried to attach lots of photos - most wouldn't load as 'too large'! Sorry!

Really good hotel

by TripAdvisor Member PaulineNorway

Returned on 24 Feb after a 3 week stay at the Diani Reef including safaris to Shimba Hills, Tsavo East and Governors Camp in the Masai Mara (trips booked through Micssafaris.com -excellent service!! and such experiences - total delight at Governors Camp - jolly air trip, service, wonderful animals, fun with a luxury tent and Masai to lead you back and forth).
The Diani Reef Beach hotel is in a class of its own on Diani Beach, but is also more expensive - I would not have been at all happy to have found myself in any of the other hotels we saw for a 3 week stay. The staff at Diani Reef are so caring and service minded, food is varied and extremely good (I am about as fussy as you can get about food), wine rather expensive (UK prices). We had a standard room which was fine -didnt spend a whole lot of time there, and the public rooms e.g. Zebra Bar, reception etc are stunning!
We got in some pool training for scuba diving at the hotel (Hasimi is a wonderful teacher, patient and caring) and ventured out on our first 2 one hour dives, something that made our holiday magical as we are both "getting on a bit" and saw huge turtles at 12 metres depth, and a huge group of dolphins on the way back. Kenya is wonderful - will be going back!

Descent 3* Hotel Nice Staff

by TripAdvisor Member Black-Chinaman

Fisrtly I would like to thank all the people that have written their reviews on this site, their information really helped with planning our week stay in Kenya. We stayed at the Diani resort for a week in October, the hotel can be described as a good 3 *. Some brochures describe it as a 4 * which simply is'nt true. The hotel complex and grounds are kept very tidy and the staff are very helpful. The rooms are what you would expect from a 3* hotel but nothing special. The food in the restaraunt was descent but nothing compared to the standards you would find in Jamaica, Barbados or St lucia in a All Inclusive resort. The bar selection was very limited so dont go looking for top shelf brands. The entertainment in the evening was simply not for us but some people might like it. The beach in front of the hotel was the most beautiful white sandy beach I have ever seen ( and I've seen a few). The beach boys can be a bit of a pain but I think people have to understand that they are simply trying to make a living in a very poor country, a simple NO is usually enough for them to get the message to stop pestering you.

We visited both Forty Thieves for lunch which you get to by turning right on the beach and walking down and we went to Ali Barbours cave for an evening meal. Both restaurants are in the same place and will arrange a taxi if you want to visit in the evening all you need to do is ask at the front desk.

The highlight to our trip was definitely the safari we went on which was booked through a recomondation from this site with Cyrus who runs an agency just outside the resort. To get there go to the front of the resort and turn right and his agency is about 100 meters on the other side of the road. He charged us a really good price which was much cheaper than KUONI and his guide was absolute star i dont know where he got his energy from. We booked 1 day in Wasim Dhow looking for dolphins which we did'nt see because the water was a bit rough and some people got a bit sea sick (but this dosent mean we did'nt have a nice day) and then we did a 2 day Safari in Tsavo East staying at the Voi Lodge which had the most breath taking views and a superb restaraunt i wish we could have swapped the restaraunt with the on at the Diani resort.

To summarise we had a lovely time in Kenya the Diani resort is a descent 3* but I dont think we would stay there next time simply because we prefer 4 * resorts. The safari we did was the highlight was excellent.


by TripAdvisor Member HexOfBex

I stayed at this hotel for 3 weeks and it was wonderful, so much so that I have already booked to go back for another 3 weeks. I cant think of a better recommendation than this.
The food was delicious and all freshly cooked, hot and lots of it and that was just the buffet ! The head chef is a man called Martin. His skills are amazing and he always smiles.
The hotel was clean and well designed. There are lifts and ramps in the building. The staff were the epitome of politeness and helpfulness. Nothing was too much trouble for them from bringing you freshly made coffee or a cocktail to changing your wet beach towels.
There are beach boys and yes they can be a pain but if you bother to learn a few words such as "hapana asanti sana" (spelt how it is pronouced and means no thank you) then they soon leave you alone.
Life at the hotel is peaceful but they do have a disco (sound proofed) and there are themed nights on Tuesdays and Fridays when you eat outside (weather permitting) other than that the entertainment is not great but what they do have is good, a sort of quality rather than quanity thing.
A safari is well worth doing and if you want a suggestion of which to do then I can recommend The Govenors Camp in the Massi Mara and Finch Hattons in Tsavo West both to be reached by small plane, dont go by road unless you like to spend hours and hours driving along very and I mean very bumpy roads. If driving is your chosen option them make sure you bring a pillow !!!

Asante sana!!

by TripAdvisor Member unbwogable99

I have stayed at various hotels around Mombasa for all my life and this was probably the best stay I've had.

1. Accomodation
The deluxe rooms are very nice. The standard rooms need some work (1 was damp). If you need an extra bed make sure you tell them early or they will try and give you a camp bed!

2. Food
Amazing. Spectacular quality buffet for breakfast and dinner. Sweet fruit, waffles, pancakes, full english, indian etc..)
At lunch the food at the beach bar is excellent (pizza , burgers, salads etc.)

3. Ambience
Very chilled with great style. Hopefully won't change when all the rooms are completed and more guests.

4. Beach
Beautiful white sand beach, when the tide is in is perfect for swimming.

We had a spectacular time and would unreservedly recommend to anyone. This is Kenya, so whilst everything may not be perfect, this was as close to it for a resort.

En Español: Itinerario del Viaje

by Fantasmine


En Kenya todo se combina de la manera más afortunada; sabanas interminables, selvas húmedas, montañas cubiertas de nieve, playas de ensueño, un clima muy agradable con días cálidos y noches frescas, tribus espectaculares, gentes amables y sobre todo animales. Animales por todas partes, animales en una variedad y número inimaginable para el hombre urbano occidental. Posee una extensa red de Reservas y Parques Nacionales. En un espacio relativamente pequeño se puede encontrar todo lo que ha hecho justamente célebre a la fauna africana ; gigantescos rebaños de ñus y cebras, más de 40 especies de antílopes, búfalos y jirafas, elefantes y rinocerontes, leones, leopardos y guepardos, hienas y chacales, hipopòtamos y cocodrilos, sin olvidar más de 1.200 especies de aves.

Este safari recorre los principales Parque Nacionales, Reservas y Lagos del Gran Rift. Es un viaje recomendado a aquellas personas que buscan un viaje diferente, profundizar más en un país tan diverso y llegar a lugares remotos y con escasas visitas por la dificultar de acceder a ellos. Para ello utilizaremos vehículos 4 x 4 y nos adentraremos hacia el Norte del país, frontera con Etiopía, para llegar al Lago Turkana, conocido como “el mar de jade”. Lago Baringo, Lago Bogoria, Lago Nakuru, Lago Naivasha, Reserva de Samburu y la reserva de Masai Mara completan el recorrido. Tomaremos contacto con tribus Samburus, Masais y Turkanas. Finalmente terminaremos esta agotadora e increíble expedición en las playas del sur de Mombasa.


Durante el viaje, iremos al compás de la naturaleza y de la luz solar; es decir, nos levantaremos al amanecer, y nos acostaremos generalmente temprano. Tras el desayuno, recogeremos el campamen-to y nos pondremos en marcha.
Iremos parando a lo largo del día en varias ocasiones para estirar las piernas, hacer fotografías del paisaje o cosas de interés, refrescarnos al paso de alguna población etc. A mediodía nos tomamos el tiempo preciso para tomar el lunch y continuamos de nuevo hasta, generalmente, un par de horas antes de la puesta de sol. En el caso de campamentos o acampada libre, haremos un buen fuego y montaremos las tiendas de campaña alrededor. Las puestas de sol de Africa en medio de impresionantes y silenciosos escenarios naturales y la posterior cena y charla alrededor del fuego, crearán sin duda, momentos mágicos e inolvidables.
En casi todas las jornadas consideradas "de tránsito", realizamos diversas paradas en lugares concretos que aportan un contenido específico a cada día hasta conformar un viaje compacto y vivo. Algunas jornadas estarán más aprovechadas en cuanto al número de horas de conducción y serán un poco más largas; en otras por el contrario, apenas nos desplazaremos o no nos moveremos del lugar en el que estemos durante dos noches consecutivas, resultando así un óptimo equilibrio que nos permitirá disfrutar plenamente de un viaje magnífico.


La alimentación durante el viaje será suficientemente rica, variada y abundante en el vehículo viajará con nosotros un cocinero y llevaremos todos los alimentos que precisemos.
Los desayunos son abundantes: café o té, leche, tostadas, mantequilla, mermelada, cereales, a veces huevos revueltos con beicon y fruta. El "lunch" de mediodía suele ser un simple "tentempié" ligero, ensalada o sandwich que acompañaremos con fruta.
A veces aprovechamos nuestro paso a mediodía por alguna población para estirar las piernas y para que cada uno pruebe suerte con la gastronomía local: pinchitos de carne, samosas, etc.; en caso contrario, utilizaremos los alimentos del camión y prepararemos alguna ensalada o sandwich que acompañaremos con fruta.
La cena será, al igual que el desayuno, plato "fuerte" del día: vegetales, pasta, carne, pollo y algún que otro plato con sabores "nuestros". Como decíamos, en el viaje nos acompañará un cocinero habituado a preparar comidas de campaña para grupos, él será el responsable y encargado de esta materia. En el vehículo llevaremos todos los utensilios necesarios, y platos y cubiertos para todos.

Para el recorrido dispondremos de un 4x4 (Toyota Land Cruiser o Land Rover) especialmente equipado con el techo que se eleva para poder observar mejor la fauna y el paisaje.

ES ESENCIAL LA PARTICIPACIÓN del grupo. Los integrantes del mismo deberán colaborar y ayudar en los pequeños detalles (montar y desmontar el campamento etc.). Estos detalles, aunque son obvios y espontáneos entre las personas con la actitud requerida para realizar este viaje, los queremos reflejar para ayudar a una mejor comprensión de la naturaleza del mismo.


Salida del vuelo internacional con destino Nairobi vía El Cairo. Noche a bordo.

Llegada a Nairobi. Recogida de los viajeros en el aeropuerto y traslado al hotel. Tarde libre. La capital cosmopolita de Kenya es una ciudad viva, interesante, agradablemente ajardinada. Se puede caminar de un extremo del distrito comercial central al otro en 20 minutos y es un gran lugar para ponerse al día sobre la vida africana urbana moderna.

Desayuno y salida a nuestro primer destino, G.R. de Samburu siguiendo la falla del Rift Valley y adentrándonos en tierra Samburu.

Este día lo dedicaremos a ver esta espléndida reserva de animales. La situación de nuestro camping (a orillas del río Waso) nos permitirá ver a los cocodrilos muy cerca.
El complejo formado por las reservas de Samburu, Buffalo Springs y Shaba constituye uno de los lugares más interesantes de Kenya y es único por varios motivos. Se trata de los entornos protegidos más accesibles y visitados del norte del país. También es el lugar donde es más fácil contemplar algunas especies poco frecuentes en Kenya o de difícil observación en otros parques, ya que únicamente se encuentran al norte del Ecuador. Entre ellas destacan la cebra de Grevy, la jirafa reticulada y el oryx beisa. Dentro de la reserva también hay importantes manadas de elefantes. Entre los predadores hay leones y quepardos, pero el verdadero rey es el leopardo.

Desayuno y salida hacia la zona de los Lagos de Kenya. Este día será de tránsito, haciendo noche en este bullicioso pueblo.

Desayuno y salida hacia una de las zonas más inhóspitas del Norte de Kenya. Comida en ruta. Llegada al Lago Turkana , acampada en el Molo (Loyangalani)

Lago que se extiende más de 240 km de norte a sur, la mayor parte del cual se encuentra en Kenia. Antes era conocido como lago Rodolfo y, con frecuencia, se le llama el «Mar de Jade» debido a su color. Los viajes de búsqueda de vestigios que Leakey (prestigioso paleoantropólogo) realizó a las orillas del lago Turkana en el norte de Kenia, se tradujeron en el descubrimiento de una multitud de fósiles homínidos que provocaron la revisión total de las teorías sobre la hominización. Estos días los dedicaremos a convivir con las tribus Turkana y visitaremos el lago, donde habitan enormes cocodrilos e hipopótamos.

Día de tránsito para regresar a otra de las zonas más bellas del Norte de Kenya.

Dejamos atrás este pueblo y continuamos hacia el Lago Baringo. A nuestro paso veremos diferentes tribus, llegada al camping situado en la orilla del lago. El lago no posee ninguna calificación oficial como espacio protegido, pero es refugio de más de 400 especies de aves que constituyen el principal atractivo de la zona. El lago es un tranquilo y solitario oasis incrustado en el terreno árido y abrupto que antecede a los desiertos del norte. Baringo continúa fuera de los itinerarios masivos más frecuentes, por lo que a la orilla de este lago se disfruta de una tranquilidad difícil de encontrar en los parques más concurridos. Sus aguas, chocolateadas por el suelo rojo de la región, parecen cambiar de tonalidad según el momento del día y el color del cielo. Se puede contemplar a los hipopótamos, que durante el día permanecen sumergidos hasta el hocico pero de noche salen a pastar en ruidosos grupos bajo la luz de la luna.
En el lago habitan también los cocodrilos, considerados inofensivos por la tribu local Njemps, pescadores y pastores de origen paranilótico emparentados con los Maasai y que hablan un dialecto del Maa. Los Njemps navegan en pequeños botes y se hunden en el lago hasta el cuello para pescar, mientras a su alrededor los cocodrilos se dedican a la misma actividad.


Este día se desayuna muy temprano y navegaremos por el Lago Baringo para ver en acción al águila pescador y visitaremos a los lugareños de la isla central. Ya después de comer visitaremos el vecino lago de Bogoria, donde alberga a miles de flamencos emigrados de otro famoso lago, el Nakuru. Salvo en el caso de los aficionados a la ornitología que no perdonan la peregrinación a Baringo, esta región no se encuentra incluida en los itinerarios más comunes. J.W. Gregory, el geólogo inglés que visitó la zona en 1892, calificó el lugar como "la vista más bella de Africa". No le faltaba razón. El lago ofrece un soberbio paisaje de colinas azuladas pobladas por arbustos secos, praderas y bosques ribereños, enmarcando la plácida superficie de agua salpicada por los flamencos. Los géyseres en primer plano, las pinceladas rosa de los flamencos sobre el lago en segundo término y el telón de fondo de la sierra de Laikipia, ofrecen una composición estética difícil de superar. Pero cuidado, no te acerques demasiado, los carteles que advierten "peligro: no pasar de este punto" hablan en serio: la tierra cede bajo los pies y debajo hay agua hirviendo.

Desayuno y salida con dirección al famoso lago rosado . El Nakuru es uno de los lagos sódicos del Rift Valley y un fantástico santuario de aves, con sus orillas pobladas en otros tiempos hasta por más de un millón de flamencos. Frecuentemente se utiliza el tópico que lo define como "el mayor espectáculo ornitológico de la Tierra", según una frase del famoso ornitólogo Roger Tory. Lo cierto es que durante los últimos años, los flamencos han desaparecido esporádicamente para reaparecer después de forma tan misteriosa como se fueron, pero siempre en números mucho menores. Además de aves y rinocerontes, el parque cuenta con un gran número de especies de mamíferos, entre las que se encuentran los carnívoros como el león y el leopardo.

Desayuno y safari fotográfico hasta la hora de la comida, en el veremos la gran fauna incluido el rinoceronte blanco que esta en un programa de protección y reproducción, después del almuerzo salida hacia el Lago Naivasha.

El lago Naivasha es un lago muy bonito y agradable de visitar. Realizamos un safari a pié rodeados de animales en Hell's Gate.

Este día se desayuna muy temprano y se sale con dirección al parque más famoso de Kenya Masai Mara, tierra de Masais y de estos aprenderemos sus costumbres y formas de vida. Comida en ruta para continuar nuestro camino hacia la entrada de Talek.

Estos días los dedicaremos a recorrer la sabana en busca de los 5 grandes, donde haremos dos safaris fotográficos al día. Masai Mara es "El" parque de los parques en Kenya. Sus suaves colinas tapizadas por praderas, las aguas chocolateadas del río Mara en las que retozan los hipopótamos, así como la rica diversidad de vida salvaje, colman las expectativas de cualquier viajero en busca del paisaje africano que evocan películas como "Memorias de Africa" o "Mogambo". Salvo gustos particulares o requerimientos especiales, este es el parque que encabeza la lista de los must en el país: ningún viaje a Kenya estaría completo sin una visita a Masai Mara. Los leopardos y rinocerontes abundan, y con sus más de 450 especies de aves, la reserva no tiene nada que envidiar a los grandes santuarios de la avifauna kenyata. Los grandes rebaños de ñus y cebras, durante el periodo de migración de julio a noviembre constituyen su principal atractivo. Miles de ñus alcanzan el río Mara a mediados de agosto lanzándose a cruzarlo de forma suicida, como una masa desesperada. El espectáculo es tremendo quedando el río cubierto de cientos de cadáveres que servirán después como alimento a cocodrilos y buitres.


Desayuno y salida hacia la capital de Kenya dejando atrás unos días vividos con gran intensidad,
Llegada del safari a Nairobi. Por la tarde traslado a la estación de tren. Tren nocturno a Mombasa. Cena y noche en el tren.

Desayuno. Llegada por la mañana a Mombasa. Traslado al hotel Diani Reef en la costa sur.

Mombasa es la segunda ciudad de Kenya y uno de los puertos más importantes del Océano Indico. Estrictamente hablando, Mombasa es una isla unida por dos puentes al continente, aunque al sur, todavía es necesario utilizar el ferry de Likoni. Mombasa es una ciudad tropical en cuanto a su clima, caluroso y húmedo. Es, sobre todo, cuna de la cultura Swahili cuyo idioma, lengua del tronco bantú con influencias árabes, se extendió como “lengua franca” por todo el Este de Africa. Etnicamente es variada y cosmopólita. La influencia árabe y asiática es particularmente visible en más de 50 mezquitas y una docena de templos indúes y sikhis. Sus mercados de frutas, pescado, comercios de tejidos y tiendas de especias con olor a curry o a sándalo le dan una atmósfera especial a la ciudad. Las playas son de blanca arena con cocoteros, protegidas por arrecife de coral, donde se pueden realizar todo tipo de actividades acuáticas.

Traslado al aeropuerto. Vuelo destino Nairobi. Traslado al hotel en Nairobi.

Desayuno. Traslado al aeropuerto. Vuelo a El Cairo. Traslado al hotel en el Cairo y alojamiento. Posibilidad de excursiones opcionales (visita pirámides y esfinge...)

Traslado al aeropuerto destino Madrid.

Shimba Hills

by Araneida

Of the game lodges we visited during my trip to Kenya I think I enjoyed Shimba Lodge the most (though The Ark is a very close second!). I admit part of this may have been because we had a very good visit—it was relatively quiet (especially the first night) and we saw plenty of animals on our game drives. Furthermore I got to watch a pair of African fish eagles--my favorite species of eagle!
The people in the photo below are on the bottom floor; what appears to be a floor below them are actually the horizontal braces on the stilts. The entrance and reception are on ground level but because of the way the ground slopes down to the water's edge the first floor is at ground level on the reception side but is at least one story up on the pond side.

With such a healthy insect population it is no surprise that several bats were circling the large floodlights!

Though not as brash as the squirrels, the bushbabies were still inquisitive in their own quiet way, and this one wandered into our room that night after we were in bed (we left our balcony door open because we liked the fresh air (we had mosquito nets, so we didn’t have to worry about insects) and so we could hear any other animals that might come up. Although easily startled by sudden movements he didn’t mind our putting a few crackers out for him. First he had to check out my bag!

"The next morning..."

we got up early for our scheduled game drive, only to find that there had been some miscommunication somewhere when we signed up yesterday. Nevertheless, after a short wait the lodge provided us with a driver and vehicle, though it was just for the four of us. As it turned out he was a wonderful driver and guide!

While waiting for the lodge to arrange our game drive we sat on the porch watching a rather raucus group of hornbills foraging the trees and picking off more of those large mantids!

The first part of the drive passed through the dense forest surrounding the Lodge. In this area we came upon a group of elephants browsing the vegetation near the road. To me it seemed strange to see such large animals browsing in such thick woods, though they are noticeably smaller than those living in open plains.
The group reacted very little to our proximity, though I distinctly felt the watchful eye of the largest animal upon us, though she(?) was nearly hidden completely by the underbrush.

While the adults in the group seemed largley indifferent to our presence, the younger animals (there were two that I could see) showed more interest. The smallest one came to the edge of the road to get a good look (or let us get a good look!) and smell, holding its trunk out to get a good whiff of us.

Emerging from the dense forest to a more sparsely wooded area we encountered Shimba Hills' entire population of zebras...both of them!
Zebras, we learned, are not native to Shimba but were introduced recently. (Our guide did not say why, but I suspect it was for tourism.) While the two males we encountered were quite at home, young animals apparently had failed to thrive in Shimba's cooler climate, so that the two males are all that remain.

Also not a native, the next animal we encountered had a very different story to tell of its introduction. Not very long ago, officials in Mombasa (Kenya's major port city) intercepted six giraffes on a boat about to be successfully smuggled out of the country. (Rather begs the question of how they successfully smuggled them to the boat--these were adults!) As Shimba Hills is the nearest national park to Mombasa, the giraffes were released here. Unlike the zebras, they have adapted quite well to the climate and have multiplied.

Located on the second floor, each of our rooms had two beds with mosquito nets hung over them (these were tied up in a knot until the evening when the staff came around and made the beds and pulled down the mosquito nets). We had reserved two nights and one full day in Shimba Lodge, and the first night we (the four of us) were about half the guest population of the Lodge, making for a quiet, relaxing atmosphere.
We arrived shortly after noon and were greeted with some sort of fruit drink at the reception area. In the dining room we found tea and crackers (& cheese) available. Shimba Lodge doesn’t serve lunch, so mid afternoon tea and our personal stash of snacks tied us over to dinner. At tea I spotted an African fish eagle flying in over the water hole, but it disappeared before I could get a decent shot of it. We did see some squirrels hanging around the reception and dining room (below).
Guests are not supposed to walk around underneath (or outside) the lodge, but when I first got to my room I leaned over the balcony a little to look down--I forgot I had loosely tucked my travel journal behind my waistback and it fell the story and a half to the brush below! My roommate and I went down to retrieve it; the area under the lodge is mostly clear of vegetation with some scattered plants and definite signs that animals pass through regularly.

The giraffes, much like the elephants and zebras, showed very little concern at our presence. When we encountered this giraffe browsing near the road he looked us over a bit as though looking for food, but went back to browsing.

We only encountered giraffes browsing the more open areas in Shimba. As far as I recall, Shimba is primarily wooded, and though I can't picture giraffes navigating the thick vegetation I don't actually know whether they entered the forested areas or not.

In another open area we found a lone bull elephant grazing the lush grass.

Eventually our sharp-eyed driver spotted Shimba's most famous resident grazing on a hillside in the distance. (I must say I was quite impressed by his ability to spot far-off animals long before we did, all while driving and avoiding potholes. When we pulled over to look at the heard, he counted up seven animals unaided, some of which were lying down, showing only their horns above the grass, in less time than I could find them all with my binoculars!) Knowing the roads as well as he did, our driver quickly got us around to a closer view of the animals.

Named for the male's luxurious black coat, the sable antelope is notable for the color differences between males and females. Males, like the one on the right above, are very dark to jet black. Females and young are a tawny brown except when pregnant or nursing, when, like the one above left and the one below, they darken to a deep brown in front and a dark tawny behind.

Male sable, we learned, wander around as loners until able to take over a herd. The group we encountered had about 30 individuals that we could count, and I think that was fairly typical. Because of the effort involved in keeping up with and defending 30 or so females, a given male usually only remains in control for 3 or 4 months before another takes over.

(We later discovered that the squirrels here are as annoyingly bold, inquisitive and intelligent as the monkeys that plague other game lodges. We returned from our morning game drive the first day to discover that the squirrels had gotten into our bags (we had left our balcony door open) and discovered the peanut butter—chewed a whole in the lid and helped themselves!)
After tea we did a bit of repacking before lying down to enjoy the nice quiet atmosphere and have a bit of a nap. We had left our balcony door open, and after a bit, as it was starting to get dark, I heard movement in the brush outside our room. At first I thought it was just someone walking around underneath the lodge, but then I remembered that people weren't supposed to go down there. I figured most animals would be pretty quiet so I thought, "Hmm, maybe it’s...

We stayed to watch the herd of sable for quite awhile before finishing our game drive and returning to the Lodge for breakfast.

"Back at the Lodge..."

we had a refreshing breakfast overlooking the pond. Shimba Lodge is fairly quiet between the morning game drive and dinner, and we spent the time reading and lounging in the hallways on the the walkway that extends out from one side to a little gazebo overlooking a stream.

Athough most larger animals are less active during the day we encountered several smaller species throughout the day. Not surprisingly, many of those were insects and small lizards.

While the birds had been particularly vocal this morning before our game drive, they were much quieter later on. Nevertheless, we still saw some of the smaller birds here and there during the afternoon.

This little hawk was perched about 15 feet outside my window just about at eye level just as dusk was falling. He was so still and blended with the evening blues so well I looked right at him for several minutes before I noticed him!

We also saw some larger birds--the pair of African Fish Eagles flew in from somewhere off to the left of the pond. The pair roosted in a tree on the far bank to survey the pond. I was hoping to see them take a fish from the water but very little seemed to be forthcoming. Occasionally the smaller of the two (I am guessing he was the male) would circle the pond, either looking for food or perhaps just to stretch his wings.

We could watch the eagles from the Lodge itself--from the hallways, our balconies, the dining room--or from parts of the raised walkway extending from the side of the Lodge to the raised gazebo. Once, while I was walking back to the Lodge from the gazebo the male spotted something on the water and swooped down to grab it. I couldn't see what it was from my vantage point, but my mom thought it looked like a green snake or lizard.

Taking the peaceful afternoon as a chance to catch up on my journal (I always keep a travel journal; otherwise I'd never remember all the little things that make a trip unique, and would eventually forget everything!) I sat facing the pond in one of the second floor hallways not far from my room, feet propped up but camera ever at the ready in case the eagles did something new. One of the staff happened by and asked me if I had seen the pair of fish eagles (I was often impressed by how the staff usually spotted animals while going about their duties before the guests who were just sitting and watching for animals!); I responded that I had been watching them for the past hour or so. He asked me if I would like him to get a dinner roll so I could see how the birds hunt. I wasn't entirely sure what bread had to do with a fish eagle but said sure. He returned shortly with a roll and tossed it to the edge of the water. The male eagle immediately spotted it, swooped down and plucked it from the water, then returned to his perch.

Back at his perch the eagle picked at the bread before dropping it in the water below--I don't know whether he let it fall intentionally, but he dropped down to the water to finish eating. Shortly after, the female followed him. They stayed in the water together for half an hour or so before the male decided to circle the pond again. The female stayed for awhile longer.

The pair hung around the pond all afternoon. My last view of them as dusk approached was of this bird sitting in the shallows on the right side of the pond.

...an elephant! It was! Very quietly, making only the noise that a human or two (well, okay, a human unused to moving soundlessly) would make, a group of elephants had come out of the woods to graze in between the front of the lodge and the waterhole. The elephant shown above was literally right underneath our balcony in the very area I had dropped my journal—I could have jumped off the balcony and landed right on its broad back. (Probably would have promptly fallen off and gotten trampled by a very startled elephant!)

While I watched the eagles some of Shimba's diurnal reptiles were prowling about. These little two-inch geckos (Lygodactylus sp.?) were quite ubiquitous at Shimba; while not particularly skittish they always managed to stay on the far side of the beam or railing when I approached, making it quite a challange to actually get a photo of one!

As I was photographing the pair of eagles from one of the hallways this fat little skink crawled out from under the beam next to me. (I was hard pressed to switch from my telephoto lens, which has a minimum focal length of about eight feet, to a standard lens before he scurried off!)

Not all of the reptiles at Shimba are so small; several times we saw Nile monitors around and in the pond. Considerably larger than those we saw at Diani Reef Grand Hotel, most were five to six feet or more in length; the largest was prowling the rocks along the stream by the gazebo and was probably over six feet (though hard to estimate from a distance).

I was a bit disappointed that this was the only snake I saw in Africa!

Periodically during the afternoon I walked out to the gazebo where I found most of the insects and spiders I saw around Shimba.

You can probably tell I like spiders!

This is the walkway leading out to the gazebo. Like all of Shimba Lodge it is on stilts. My pictures of Shimba Lodge itself were all taken from this walkway.

Shimba Lodge was not as quiet our second night. Another group had arrived, and while they were not especially noisy the tranquility of the previous night was gone. We did not see the elephants again tonight; I don't know whether they visit regularly or if we got lucky our first night.

Even though we saw no large animals that night Shimba's smaller nocturnal residents were still about. Though not as evident as their diurnal relatives, the nocturnal geckos haunting the interior and exterior walls were still quite common.

Much of the noise the elephants made was caused by their browsing rather than their movements through the brush. For the most part they seemed to be eating from the vegetation in front of the lodge, but I think the staff threw some sugar cane out for them as well (not enough to dent an elephant’s appetite, just a few sweets to encourage visits!)

The bushbabies returned to the feeding tray beside the bar, but I guess they were getting too many hand-outs at the bar to be interested in trying our room again!

"On our last day"

in Shimba Hills we joined on the regular game drive...or so we thought. About halfway through the drive the two vans pulled over and we shuffled who was in what van. We (the four of us) weren't quite sure why, but we soon found out. Another misunderstanding at the desk had resulted in our "signing up" for a drive that included a hike to a nearby waterfall--without even knowing it! Wish I'd worn my other sandals that day!

Although we saw several animals, mainly giraffes and sable, on the first part of the game drive we didn't encounter any large animals on the hike (maybe that was just as well!) We did see evidence of larger animals, some of which was relatively fresh, and plenty of smaller animals--insects and birds.

Finally we reached the waterfall at the bottom of our hike. We walked around it for a little bit before hiking back up to the van.

We continued on our game drive after the hike, and eventually we encountered the one large animal we never saw yesterday; buffalo.
On the whole I preferred the "private" drive from the day before; the group game drive didn't tend to spend as long around each animal (the driver yesterday stayed in each spot until we were ready to leave), but I guess that is to be expected with a larger group.

At the beginning of the game drive we passed through the same thick wooded road wherein we encountered the group of elephants yesterday. We didn't see any elephants, but we did briefly see a leopard--he was standing in the tall grass on the edge of the road. When the second van pulled up he seemed to decide it was getting crowded and turned back into the dense forest, disappearing completely. We only saw him for a several seconds before he vanished.

As dusk turned to darkness we moved from our rooms to the first floor balcony between the bar and the dining room for better viewing. With so few guests the night was rather quiet and we could easily hear the deep rumblings the elephants made between themselves.

The elephants seemed unconcerned by the Lodge’s floodlights (over the waterhole) or by camera flashes. Eventually they slipped quietly back into the night, just as the dinner bell sounded for us humans!
Arriving just as quietly as the elephants, but with none of their powerful nonchalance, were the bushbabies hanging around the bar. These adorable little primates came to a feeding tray (below) outside the bar where the staff placed a few pieces of fruit each night. (I’ve wondered if feeding wild animals to attract them to game reserves is bad or not—after all, is it different than putting out a bird feeder? I guess it depends on how much food you give them compared to their overall diet.)

After finishing off the fruit near the bar the bushbabies tended to wander around the rest of the lodge looking for scraps (I guess) or insects. While somewhat shy, they clearly were used to people and only tended to run off if we made any sudden moves.

Sometime after dinner while in my room I walked up to my bed and stepped on what felt like a crab (I was barefoot)! Instinctively I jumped back and flicked it across the room—it was a rather large preying mantis! I had just seen something fly into our room through the balcony door, but didn’t realize it was such a large insect. (I dare say it was even more startled to be stepped on; but it didn’t seem to have sustained any damage!) There must have been a rather healthy population of them around the Lodge because I saw this bushbaby grab one later on (that is a preying mantis in his right front paw).


Beach in front of Diani Sea ResortBeach in front of Diani Sea Resort

Hotel from the Moi AvenueHotel from the Moi Avenue

Jesus Fort, MombasaJesus Fort, Mombasa

Jesus Fort, MombasaJesus Fort, Mombasa

Forum Posts

diani reef beach resort and spa

by pspriggs1

Has anyone been to the diani reef beach resort and spa. Me and my boyfriend have just booked to go early 2007 and were a bit concerned about the prices in the hotel for food and drink as we could only book to go half board.

If anyone can help it would be appreciated!


diani reef hotel

by twaithe

does anyone know how expensive drinks/snacks are in this hotel, are they similar to the UK because I was thinking of upgrading to all-inclusive for an extra £30 per night?

RE: diani reef hotel

by Servalcat

$2.00 a beer, $1.00 soft drink and spirits $ 1.50 a tot.

Enjoy your holidys.
Greetings to guys at MICS TRAVEL www.micssafaris.com


RE: diani reef hotel

by natt75

you should no be worried about the prices theyare quite cheap. you will afford according to your budget.drinks are like 1 pound. will send you the rates later today

hotels in diani beach

by bobwylie

Hi. Does anyone know anything about a hotel called Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa?

Meant to be going there for honeymoon


RE: hotels in diani beach

by Heavens-Mirror

Hi there
how you doing? I was thinking of going to Kenya sometime. There are some good websites here about the hotel.
Here is the official website for the hotel



Take care
Stacey xxx

RE: hotels in diani beach

by Servalcat

The hotel Diani Reef is the only Five star hotel in the South Coast of Mombasa. It is one of the finest places you can ever be in Diani Beach as honey mooners.

To top up your experience, you may contact peter info@micssafaris.com for excurions or visit www.micssafaris.com I was in Diani Beach month ago and did visit this hotel. It is Very LOVELY.

RE: hotels in diani beach

by bobwylie

thanks for the help guys :-)

RE: RE: hotels in diani beach

by twaithe

We're going to the diani beach and everything I've read about it seems fantastic.

RE: hotels in diani beach

by Rossvonny

Hi there
I stayed at the Diani Reef Resort & Spa last year and it is "Fab". We stayed on Half Board where the maels are buffet, however you do get an allowance to eat in the A la Carte restaurants, we tried the Seafood, Indian & Chinese and all were good. It is by far the best hotel I have stayed in while in Kenya, if you get the chance to do a safairi: try to get to Governors Camp in the Masai Mara (especially if you can get t0 Little Governors). I am sure you will ahve a great Honeymoon.




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 Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

Diani Reef Grand Ukunda
Diani Reef Beach Resort And Spa
Diani Reef Beach Hotel Ukunda

Address: P. O. Box 35, Diani, 80400, Kenya