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Galu Reef

Kwale & Mombasa, Kenya
Starting at the widest and whitest pair of the South Coast’s stunning beaches: Galu Beach is relatively undeveloped, extending 25 km from the mangroves to a more privatised northern stretch. Sideshore winds blow over mirror-flat water at low tide, but it gets choppy when the tide’s high. Kite Kenyaways Village up north has plenty of sandy lagoons, so low spring tides aren’t a problem – plus a consistent surfable beach-break. Launch further south on high springs as the north end will flood. Offshore, the break at Galu Reef pick up serious waves during a big swell (as can all of Kenya’s reef-breaks). Diani Beach is the hub of the South Coast scene, though low spring tides render it too shallow to ride. Launch from H2O Extreme, which offers all the essentials (there are no public beach facilities in Kenya). Galu Reef ensures the water’s flat inside and provides waves for the adventurous. 25km up the road, Tiwi Rivermouth is a local 'secret spot’ worth a look during the dry monsoon (Dec-Feb). It’s unprotected by the reef so often gets a decent swell, but shifting sands make for an unpredictable break. Offshore winds mean it’s more of a surfing spot in Jun-Sep. The south of Tiwi Beach near Coral Cove Cottages is better as the north gets very rocky with narrow coves. The reef here is close inshore rendering it unsailable at low tide. Nyali Beach is good for beginners, if generally too light for advanced windsurfers. Sideshore winds over very flat water at low tide that gets increasingly choppy towards high. The beach can get crowded but Nyali is handy for the airport and hotels, and makes a good stopover or safari base. Nyali Reef offers the usual offshore action. Nearby Mombasa Old Town and Fort Jesus are worth a visit. About a half-hour drive north, Shanzu Beach is much quieter – a picture of palm tree perfection, although rocky in places with very shallow low spring tides. Kitesurfing’s yet to catch on here, despite Mtwapa Creek’s glassy potential. If that’s your thing, an hour-and-a-half further north Kilifi Creek is a quiet little place that’s famed for its sailing. There are very flat conditions inside the Creek, although the wind can be gusty. The North Coast has sporadic stretches of clear beach among the rocks. The first is popular with weekenders from Nairobi, meaning the best of Watamu Beach is privatised, but Turtle Bay and Juja Rock offer access. Watamu Reef does its job of keeping the inside flat and offering waves to the more advanced. The spots either side of Sabaki River are markedly different: Malindi Town is more developed with white sand and clear water, best sailed at low tide as the beach floods at high. Contrastingly, Malindi Bay is brown with clean but murky water. There’s no reef protecting the Bay, allowing plenty of fun sets in. Loads of space, hardly any people on the beach – but there have been incidents of muggings. It’s arid this far north, and the sand-dunes make it look wild and deserted. The city of Malindi is famous for Vasco da Gama Point, marking the explorer’s last stop in Africa before sailing for India in the 15th century. For a 21st century taste of adventure, try the consistent beach-break at the vast 20km long Mambrui Beach, but be ready for a long hike to the water’s edge and don’t expect any creature comforts. Up towards the border with Somalia, the launch at Lamu Island is a 20-minute walk or donkey ride down a remote beach from the village of Shela. There’s wonderful kiting on a small lagoon, but it only works in Kusi winds (June-Sep) and beware of being swept downwind in the channel.

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Kite and Windsurfing Guide
Wie überall an Kenias Riffgürtel können draußen am Galu Reef bei gutem Swell ernst zu nehmende Wellen brechen.
Offshore, the break at Galu Reef pick up serious waves during a big swell (as can all of Kenya's reef-breaks).
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