Sand Island Beach: Idyllic beach life near Mombasa

Sand Island Beach

After a 5 day eco-friendly safari experience, involving 3 different safari types (by land cruiser, by mountain bike and by foot) we were back in busy Nairobi.
With another 4 days to go, we decided spontaneously to book a flight to Mombasa. We definitely needed a well-deserved beach break. Having seen the pictures of Kenya’s eye-poppingly beautiful white sand beaches on pictures, we tried to avoid those massive all including resorts lined up along north and south of Mombasa’s coast. we needed something a bit more authentic, off the beaten path. When we heard about the Sand Island Beach Cottages, we phoned them on the spot, crossing fingers and toes, that they would still have a cottage available for 3 nights. And yes, luck was on our side.

Although I was overly cheerful by the good news, I didn’t know at that moment that I was about to stay in one of the most idyllic and remote places I’ve ever been to.

Sand Island Beach Cottages (on the map)

Sand Island Beach really is a secluded strip of beach, some 17km south of Mombasa, next to Tiwi. To get there, you need to take the Ferry.

Road from Mombasa
On the road, from Mombasa to Sand Island Beach
Mombasa road
Impressions from the road

Sand Island Beach Cottages is born of a lovestory with that beach and Zoe Foster in the 1940’s. Today it’s still a family business. The manager of the Cottages sent us a cab with a trusted driver to pick us up at Mombasa airport. Since the cottages are self-catered (you have to bring your own food), the driver first dropped us off at the nearest supermarket, so we could buy the essentials for our stay (it goes without saying, that wine is one of those essentials).

When we arrived, we were shown around by the very nice and helpful manager. My mouth fell open, when I discovered our cottage, standing there all lovely and tiny under the shadows of palm trees overlooking the white sand beach. Heaven on earth!

Sand Island Cottage View
Sand Island view from our Cottage
Sand Island Beach Cottage
Our cute little cottage

Life on Sand Island Beach

Of course, this experience is not for everyone.  If you love luxury and having your meals cooked and your coconut cocktails served to you while lying next to an infinity pool, then you will be very disappointed at Sand Island Beach Cottages.

But if you’re up for some serious relaxing and easygoing beach life in a remote bay, and if you don’t mind an occasional spider or a fat looking centipede (yikes!) crossing your way, then you’ve found the Promised Land! Nope, no exaggeration here, I’m serious!

At Sand Island Beach you can also support the local community by buying freshly fished fish or joining the fishermen on scuba diving trips to the Starfish Gardens and Africa Pool.

Sand Island Starfish Gardens
After scuba diving we discovered the beautiful Starfish Gardens
Sand Island Beach
In great company, with our tour guides & fishermen. Happy times!

Little joys in life at Sand Island Cottages

  • A gas cooker and an oven are at your disposal, in your cottage for delicious seafood meals… that being, if you can cook!
  • At the beach, sociable and curious crabs might come and tickle your feet. If you are really lucky, you can see whales jumping and splashing around in the distance (depends on the season and on your eye-sight).
  • Monkeys will wake you up every morning chasing each other and fooling around on the roof of your cottage.
  • The cottages are not entirely closed, so you will feel the fresh sea breeze rocking you into a deep snooze at night.

This might as well be the cause of our nightly visitor who really much-loved our avocados, leaving every fruit perfectly organised in the bowl on the kitchen table with just one bite mark. Unfortunately, we never found out who this clandestine avocado enthusiast was and it makes me still chuckle today when I think of our puzzled faces when we discovered that our avocados had been tried one by one.

Sand island beach sunset
Sunset at Sand Island Beach

Long story short, don’t miss out on this stay!

Friendly people, awe-inspiring sceneries and a spritz of good-natured folly, those are the quintessential ingredients for a memorable stay, just like our experience at the Sand Island Beach Cottages.

This place is, without a doubt, THE hottest tip in Kenya! I feel very privileged that I could discover this awesome place and I’m more than happy to pass it on to you!

Have fun chilling under the palm trees, enjoy the spectacular beach. Don’t forget to put out an avocado at night, though!

Another hot adventure tip in Kenya is Hell’s Gate National Park!


  1. Your words just made me to travel with you in Sand island beach! I want just for once in my lifetimento spend some days like this! Listening to the monkeys, touching the starfish and watching this scenery every day…Buy I have one major issue,I dont eat fish 🙂

  2. I bet not many people think of the beach when they think of Kenya. I liked this idea from your first photos of the shacks and the beer prices. It’s seriously good to see a beach post that has no luxury whatsoever, just a real place.

    • Thanks a lot, Tom! Sometimes such beach holidays without the luxuries and all-inclusive stuff help you relax and enjoy life a bit more!

  3. It looks gorgeous! I think I’d forgo the luxury to experience Sand Island Beach. More so if I take a peak outside and look at all the snow and ice! Those shots with the starfish are my favorite!

    • Thanks a lot. Am happy that you like the post and cross fingers you’ll soon be travelling to this awesome spot of the world! 😉

  4. Wow….that is indeed a beautiful starfish garden. I have never seen so many at one go. And I suppose they are harmless considering you are sitting amidst them. Thanks for sharing these.

  5. I must say Mombasa is one of the African countries I didn’t really have a focus yet, but your post made me really curious!
    Your photos are lovely, these sand beaches look fantastic and even the starfish gardens look really beautiful! The cottage looks really cozy – how was it inside?

    • Unfortunately I don’t have good pictures from inside. But it’s really tidy and clean, you have a bed with a mosquito net, a fan, a gas cooker & oven, a fridge and the shower is outside. It is quite cosy inside. In every room you also have books to read and exchange. A really cool place!

  6. I love, love, love coming across blog posts like this with dreamy lesser known destinations. Your post cause me to add it to the travel list. I genuinely hope one that we can stay in one these exact locations. I know our kids would just go crazy over it, and the seclusion is just my cup of tea 🙂

  7. Kenya yetu hakuna matata! Glad you had such a great time. I’m from Nairobi and enjoy an occasional breather down at the Coast – south coast is beautiful. If you get time try Watamu or Malindi at the North.

  8. Great that you have discovered this place in Kenya, otherwise, I wouldn’t have any idea about Mombasa and thanks for passing on your story. Such a serene experience in a beautiful place… More travels to you…

  9. Sand Island Beach Cottages sounds like my kind of place – monkeys and all – and the starfish garden is so pretty! I’ve only been to North Africa so it’s about time I get myself to the rest of this vast continent!

    • Oooh yeah, if you haven’t been to Kenya yet, you should go!There are so many great things to do and the people are very friendly 🙂


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here