Kenya : South Coast

The Pemba Channel Lodge

The Pemba Channel Lodge is a friendly, informal owner-run lodge tucked away in the tiny fishing village of Shimoni on the southern Kenya coast, not far from the Tanzania border and about 80kms south of Mombasa. With wonderful views across the channel to Wasini Island and the Usambara Mountains of Tanzania as a back-drop, it is a peaceful oasis with colourful tropical gardens, a large freshwater swimming pool on the edge of a cliff and watersports available nearby. The six cottages, set in a much-loved tropical garden, are light and airy and combine African tradition with colonial elements. All have a veranda overlooking the sea or the swimming pool. The food - a combination of Swahili, Indian, Mediterranean and Eastern cuisines - is excellent. There is a reef in front of the lodge with some excellent snorkelling or you can go on day trips to the marine park, dolphin viewing or deep sea fishing. Diving is also possible a bit further afield.

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Tijara Beach

Tijara Beach is an exclusive African retreat with four peaceful, luxury cliff-top cottages, and can either be a private haven for a little romance or an exotic getaway with a group of friends. The well-spaced coconut thatch cottages sit among five acres of colourful gardens overlooking the Indian Ocean, each one decorated in traditional Swahili style with handcrafted furniture and ornate carvings. The large, private verandas all have breathtaking views out to sea. There is also a honeymoon cottage with a double bath tub. There is a fresh water swimming pool, and at the foot of the cliffs there is a private, white sandy beach. From Tijara, you can go snorkelling, diving, deep-sea fishing, play golf or visit the elephant sanctuary or take a tour of Mombasa Island.

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Kinondo Kwetu

Kinondo Kweto is a small lodge on Kenya's South Coast with a selection of exceptional suites, family rooms and cottages. Set on a tranquil private beach south of Diani, it is home to Ida and Filip Andersson, a Swedish family related to the famed Baron Blixen, and is ideal for those seeking a more personal experience. The rooms are all surrounded by green shady gardens and just a few steps from the white sandy beach. It is ideal for total chillout and you can relax in the sun and swim in the Indian Ocean, or for the more active there is kite surfing, deep sea fishing, scuba diving, horse riding and game drives. There are also yoga retreats.

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Pinewood Village

Pinewood Village is a relaxed, friendly hotel on the quieter, less developed Galu Beach just south of Diani. There are 58 stylish rooms and suites set in colourful gardens, and the hotel prides itself on exceptional personal service and great food prepared using fresh local ingredients from their own vegetable garden or straight from the sea. There is a great stretch of beach and plenty of facilities with four restaurants, three bars, a pool, gym and massage spa. Pinewood is also home to Kenya's first five-star, all-in-one watersports centre 'Aqualand'. The area around Pinewood is still free from large hotel developments and therefore offers a beautiful, safe, hassle-free beach and lagoon ideal for kitesurfing, windsurfing, snorkelling, jetski adventures, big game fishing and scuba diving (PADI courses available).

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Mswambweni Beach House and Villas

Mswambweni Beach House and Villas is a wonderful family-owned hideaway in a quiet, unspoilt setting with its own private stretch of beach. It is one of the more luxurious options in this area. Set high on a cliff, it has three master rooms and an ocean suite in the main house, and three private villas, as well as a fantastic 25 metre infinity pool. The emphasis at Msambweni is on relaxation, reading by the pool or perhaps a long walk on the deserted beach and a dip in the sea. Snorkelling, deep sea fishing, trips to Kisite Marine Park (an excellent spot for snorkelling or diving with sea turtles), swimming with dolphins, golf, mountain biking, local safari and massages are also on offer.

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Saruni Ocean

Saruni Ocean is a peaceful and relaxing hotel on Kenya's South Coast on a tranquil beach at Msambweni. With a focus on well-being and healthy living you can relax, rejuvenate and energise during your stay here. With a spa, daily pilates, yoga and meditation classes as well as more strenuous activities such as snorkelling, paddle boarding and kite surfing there is plenty to do or you can relax on the white sandy beach or by the infinity pool. Alternatively the hotel can easily arrange day trips to go diving, deep sea fishing, on dhow excursions and local village visits. With fresh food grown and caught locally, the food here is both healthy and delicious. Saruni has just 14 private suites all with ocean views, it is the perfect place to start or end your holiday.

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