When it comes to breathtaking landscapes and thrilling water sports, Kenya may not be the first destination that comes to mind. However, our East African gem is home to some of the most fantastic kitesurfing spots, where the wind, waves, and warm waters conspire to create a kitesurfer’s paradise. From pristine beaches to vibrant marine life, Kenya offers a unique kitesurfing experience that combines adventure, nature, and culture. In this blog post, we’ll explore the best kitesurfing spots in Kenya and what makes each location a must-visit for water sports enthusiasts.
When is the best time to go kitesurfing in Kenya?
Tropical and mild temperatures prevail year-round along Kenya’s coastline. The water is usually 26 degrees, while the air is generally around 30 degrees. This enables a holiday that includes water sports without wearing a wetsuit, however, I’d advise bringing long lycras and a lot of sunscreen to protect yourself from the intense equatorial sun.
In Kenya, there are two distinct wind seasons:
- Kaskazi – from mid-December to mid-March
- Kuzi – from June to mid-September
With an average wind speed of 17 knots, the Kaskazi wind is quite dependable and consistent. Typically, the wind blows from late morning in the morning until 7 in the evening.
In Kenya, we usually refer to the Kuzi season as our “winter” because it is the cooler season. With an average wind speed of 18 to 22 knots, the wind is generally stronger but less steady. The passage of tropical rainstorms makes it more challenging to forecast the wind and weather.
Naturally, there are windy days outside of the wind seasons as well. You’re likely to see some windy days all year round, particularly between the months of April and October. However, it’s really difficult to foresee these, so you’ll need a little luck. The lowest wind guarantee of the year is in November! The wind is simply a mild breeze of 4 to 8 mph and is entirely onshore. In general, the ocean is tranquil and welcoming for SUP, kayaking, and diving.
Things to note: The spring tides, which occur on full and new moons, are when the tide variations are the greatest. Galu Beach has the significant advantage of always having adequate water to kite as opposed to central Diani Beach.
Sea urchins are naturally present on the ocean floor because the Indian Ocean is a tropical body of water. Since the areas where they enter and exit have sandy bottoms, they often pose no problems. However, if you are still uneasy, frequently lose your board, and haven’t mastered up-wind body dragging yet, you might want to carry shoes with a Kevlar sole to guard against catching sea urchins in your feet.
Now that we’ve established when you should go on your Kenyan kitesurfing and/or windsurfing adventure, let’s check out some of the best spots this country has to offer!
1. Diani Beach
Diani Beach, located south of Mombasa, is undoubtedly the crown jewel of kitesurfing in Kenya. This tropical paradise boasts stunning white sandy beaches, azure waters, and consistent cross-onshore winds, making it ideal for kitesurfers of all levels. The peak season runs from December to March and July to September when the winds are strong and reliable.
Aside from kitesurfing, Diani Beach offers a wide range of activities such as snorkeling, diving, and exploring nearby Shimba Hills National Reserve. After a day of exhilarating rides, you can unwind at beachside resorts, savoring fresh seafood and immersing yourself in the warm hospitality of the local Swahili culture.
Best Kitesurfing Schools in Diani
Since Diani is a popular destination for kitesurfers, there are a bunch of schools available. All of these schools are also IKO-affiliated and offer high-quality kitesurfing lessons. I’ve taken a bunch of classes myself at some of these schools and can attest that the teaching is very good!
KiteMotion is a professional kite school based in beautiful Diani Beach. They offer services to both beginners and expert-level riders.
KiteMotion has two locations: The main school is located at Sould Breeze Resort their second branch is located at the Flamboyant Boutique Hotel.
Quest Kiteboarding, which was founded in 2014, is Kenya’s authorized Cabrinha Kites distributor as well as a professional I.K.O. Kitesurfing & Wing Foil Centre.
The center is located on the lush lawns of the Diani Sea Lodge, and offers coaching and lessons for kitesurfing at the beginner, intermediate, and expert levels.
3. H2O Extreme
H2O Extreme was Kenya’s first water sports facility and offers kitesurfing, windsurfing, SUP, surfing, kayaking, body boarding, and skimboarding.
Diani Beach as a kitesurfing in Kenya destination seems to have gained a lot of popularity over the last few years and now you’ll also find some schools at Galu Beach, which is the lesser populated area at the tail end of Diani Beach. Galu Beach is especially popular for kiters who are looking for a more tranquil and quiet area.
About a 2.5-hour drive north from Diani Beach, we find another kitesurfing gem: Watamu. This coastal town is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, famed for its pristine coral reefs and diverse marine life. Between June and September, the trade winds known as “Kaskazi” create fantastic conditions for kitesurfing, while the “Kuzi” winds from December to March offer a different yet equally enjoyable experience.
What sets Watamu apart is its eco-friendly approach to tourism. Kitesurfers here have the opportunity to witness turtles nesting, explore the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, and contribute to various conservation projects. It’s a paradise for nature lovers seeking an eco-adventure.
Watamu is also great because you have more flat water areas, which makes for much better teaching, especially for beginners.
Best Kitesurfing Schools in Watamu
Tribe Watersports is a renowned kite- and windsurfing, stand-up paddle- and wake-boarding, and water-skiing school. With over 20 years of expertise and affiliation with the IKO and BKSA, you can count on receiving tuition from the top coaches in the world.
JC Kiteschool is another great kitesurfing center in Watamu, where you’ll be able to receive top-class coaching from IKO-certified instructors from all around the globe.
Kitesufing spots in Watamu you should check out!
1. Mida Creek
There is a broadwater tidal creek that is flanked by vast mangroves and lined with palm trees when entering the Arabuko Sokoke Forest from the sea. Many different bird species, fish, and feeding sea turtles call the 30+ km2 creek home.
The sandbar is located directly in the middle of the creek. Speak to one of the Kite Beach kitesurfing schools and take a look at it; low tide is the optimum time to do this. It’s a wonderful opportunity not to be passed up.
2. Turtle Bay Sandbar
The finest rides here are during the Kaskazi season, which runs from December to March. This is more of a seasonal kitesurfing location. Low tide is the best time to arrive because the water is flat and ideal for kitesurfing lessons or freestylers. Again, year-round cross on-shore winds are present.
This spot is a little bit of a trip from Watamu and due to being a bit hidden around the coast, Silversands tends to work the best only in Kuzi season, so that’s from June till September when the wind hits this spot just slightly cross off-shore which also delivers some awesome waves. So if you enjoy wave riding, watch out for this one.
4. First Kite Beach (Garoda Beach)
The most well-known kitesurfing location in Watamu is Kite Beach. Along the coast, the beach spans roughly 5 kilometers. Most of the water is flat, however, there are occasional waves and small areas of coral reef. Even during low tides, this system performs admirably. In both the Kaskazi and Kuzi seasons, the wind frequently blows cross-on-shore.
3. Nyali Beach
For those seeking an urban kitesurfing experience, Nyali Beach in Mombasa delivers. With its lively atmosphere and warm waters, Nyali Beach provides a unique blend of adrenaline-pumping kitesurfing sessions and vibrant city life. The peak kitesurfing season falls between June and September when the monsoon winds sweep the coast.
Kitesurfers can revel in the challenges of the sea while taking in the stunning view of Mombasa’s skyline. With a variety of restaurants, bars, and cultural attractions nearby, Nyali Beach offers the perfect balance between adventure and relaxation.
Best Kitesurfing Schools in Nyali Beach
As one of the most visited kitesurfing schools in Nyali, Pepea is a great option for kitesurfers seeking top-class equipment and lessons in the Mombasa/Nyali area.
Nestled between Mombasa and Malindi, Kilifi is a hidden gem known for its picturesque landscapes and tranquil atmosphere. Kitesurfers are drawn to this serene spot, especially during the monsoon season from June to September, when the wind is at its prime.
Kilifi Creek, in particular, offers an idyllic setting for both beginners and advanced kitesurfers. The shallow waters and gentle waves provide an excellent learning ground, while the more experienced can explore freestyle tricks and jumps.
Best Kitesurfing Schools in Kilifi
Saltys is a combination of a beach bar and restaurant which is a great spot for kite surfers since they have stunning tropical waters, quiet lagoons, and fantastic waves out on the reef. The center accommodates various kitesurfing types and also provides kite surfers with reasonably priced lodging.
When it comes to kitesurfing in Kenya, this country offers an enticing blend of adventure, nature, and culture that is hard to find anywhere else in the world. From the tropical allure of Diani Beach to the eco-friendly haven of Watamu, and the urban excitement of Nyali Beach to the tranquility of Kilifi, each location presents its own unique charm and kitesurfing experience.
As you embark on your kitesurfing journey across Kenya, remember to respect the environment and local communities. Let’s preserve these fantastic spots for future generations of water sports enthusiasts to enjoy. So, pack your gear, ride the wind, and immerse yourself in the thrill of kitesurfing in the heart of East Africa’s paradise.