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Tiwi Beach is one of the most beautiful free shore access snorkeling spots in Diani. Clownfish in their anemone, ghost pipefish, cowfish, starfish and small moray eels… each exploration holds its share of surprises. A shallow spot accessible to everyone, not to be missed if you are staying in the area.

Tiwi Beach, Diani
Tiwi Bach, Diani.

How to go snorkeling Tiwi Beach?

Tiwi Beach is located on the northern tip of Diani Beach, one of the main resorts on the Kenyan coast. It is 20km by road south of Mombasa, and 7km north of Ukunda/Diani airport. Access to the beach is free.

A dozen hotels (the most popular being the Coconut Beach Lodge, the Twiga Lodge and the Swahili House) line Tiwi beach. If you stay there, you will face the spot.

If you are staying in Diani, the easiest way to reach the spot is to grab a tuk-tuk or a taxi to the end of the coastal road, just north of Diani (ask to be dropped off at the Jacaranda Hotel or at the Kongo Mosque). Reach the beach and then walk north (to the left when facing the ocean) for about 1km. On the way, just after the mosque, you will have to cross the Kongo river estuary, sometimes with water up to above the knee.

You can also be dropped off directly at Tiwi Beach by taxi/tuktuk, but this represents a detour of nearly 10km from Diani, the road bypassing the estuary.

Tiwi Beach snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Tiwi Beach

You can get into the water directly from the beach. The dominant current being in a north-south direction, we advise you to enter the water to the north, then to let you drift slowly to the south. Do not get in the water further south than the Coconut Beach Lodge: as you get close to the estuary, underwater visibility becomes poor and the current stronger.

It is recommended to enter the water when the tide goes out, ideally 2-3 hours after high tide. It is in this interval that the conditions are the best, with calm seas and good underwater visibility.

Tiwi Beach snorkeling exploration tips

Tiwi beach is bordered by an approximately 350m-wide reef. Starting from the beach, you will cross sandy areas for about twenty meters, before finding the first seagrass beds. The seagrass beds dominate in the lagoon, interspersed by more or less extensive reef areas, poor in corals.

Red-knobbed sea stars in Tiwi Beach
Red-knobbed sea stars are abundant in Tiwi Beach shallows.

We advise you to stay at a distance of fewer than 200m from the beach, where the depth varies from 2 to 10ft/0.5 to 3m. Beyond that, the depth increases and the water is rougher due to the waves breaking on the reef.

The seabed of Tiwi Beach is home to an incredible diversity of invertebrates, with many species of sea urchins (a total of ten species recorded, including the fire urchin and the flower urchin), sea cucumbers, an impressive density of red-knobbed starfish, and a few cushion starfish.

Harlequin shrimp in Tiwi Beach
A harlequin shrimp feeding on a small starfish.

Tiwi lagoon allows spotting many fish typical of the shallows of the Indian Ocean: false-eye sergeant, butterflyfish, honeycomb groupers, but also small moray eels from different species hidden in the rocks.

If you’re lucky, you might also come across a roundbelly cowfish or a ghost pipefish, which can easily be mistaken for dead seaweed tossed in the waves. A few Merten’s carpet anemones fixed in the sand hosts colonies of twobar anemonefish, sharing their host with small threespot dascylus.

Ghost pipefish in Tiwi Beach
If you are lucky, you may spot robust ghost pipefish in the shallow areas facing the beach.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

A dozen hotels (the most important being the Coconut Beach Lodge, the Twiga Lodge and the Swahili House) line Tiwi beach.


  • Level required Intermediate
  • Maximum depth10ft/3m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersCurrents, urchins, lionfish
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.