Kenya is not short on amazing sights – I witnessed the Great Migration of wildebeest and zebras across the plains of the Maasai Mara National Park and got up close with giraffes and baby elephants in Nairobi’s animal sanctuaries. But the most memorable part about my 2 weeks in Kenya was to be found on the eastern coast of Kenya, an hour south of Mombasa, where I went skydiving over Diani Beach and plunged 12,000ft (3,600m) down onto the sand.
About Diani Beach
People associate Africa with wide open plains and Savannah landscapes, but they have some spectacular coastlines and Diani Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen – ever. Fine white sand, crystal clear turquoise waters, it’s hard to put into words how serene and beautiful this beach is.
I mean, look at it.
Diani Beach was one of the highlights of the 2 weeks that I spent on the inaugural Rock My Adventure Kenya tour. Skydiving was an optional activity on the tour as it was quite pricey, and originally I hadn’t intended to do it as I was trying to stretch my dollar on my Career Break.
But when the time came to decide, I hemmed and hawed but finally decided to just do it. When would I next get the chance to skydive and land on such a beautiful beach? “If not now, then when?” was kinda the whole reason I was on this career break anyway.
Jumping with Skydive Diani
I was the only one on my tour who signed up for skydiving. The next morning I headed to Skydive Diani while the rest of my group chose to chill out on the beach and watch me land.
My tandem skydiving buddy was a lovely Finnish lady. I also met another Kenyan guy who was treating himself to a birthday jump, and squeezing onto the plane with us was an Aussie guy who jumped solo as he was racking up more experience for his skydiving certification.
The propeller plane that we went up in was pretty tiny. There were no seats, and we sat down with our backs to our instructors as they busied themselves strapping us firmly to them. It didn’t really begin to sink in until the plane took off and everything started to look like a diorama – it honestly didn’t feel real.
Taking the leap
15 minutes later, we’re at about 12,000ft when the pilot gives the go-ahead for the jump. The solo jumper nonchalantly shuffles his way to the doorway and leaps out, disappearing in a flash. Next is my new Kenyan buddy who is nearer the doorway, and with a scream, he’s gone too.
My instructor shuffles us towards the doorway and to arch backwards as she slowly manoeuvres me out of the open doorway. The wind is whistling, and there is a moment where I’m just hanging in the air, my body curved into a stiff bow, and suddenly we are tumbling down, down, down.
I scream so hard as we fall. According to the video, it was about 45 secs worth of freefall, but when you are actually tumbling in midair with the wind blowing your cheek flaps like you are a demented cartoon character, it feels like way longer.
At some point, my screams turn into gleeful laughs.
At about 5,000ft, my instructor pulls the chute open, and with a jerk upwards, our freefall turned into a lazier drift downwards. Only at this point was I able to properly appreciate the epic coastal scenery below. If you thought those earlier beach pictures were beautiful, they were even more amazing from up here, as the beach seemed to stretch almost endlessly in both directions and you could see the blue gradient of the water.
The entire jump from the moment we leapt out to the time we touched down took about 7 minutes in total. It’s a bit crazy how quickly it was all done.
A sand-soft landing
As we dropped lower, the tilt-shift photos from above were transforming into more tangible buildings as we came into land. Our landing spot was on the beach right next to the water, marked by a large red cross in the sand.
Ideally, you’re supposed to land standing up in a bit of a jog, but we came down with more of a thump. Good thing we didn’t end up in the water though.
I walked over to find my friends lazing at the nearby Forty Thieves Beach Bar and they were pretty surprised that I had already landed.
I’m quite an adrenaline junkie – the closest I’d gotten before was bungee jumping in New Zealand (and now in Taiwan as well), and Skydiving over Diani Beach was one of the most amazing experiences ever, and I’m really glad my first jump ever was done at such a beautiful location. Hopefully, I’ll find other places that can live up to this experience in future!
Check out Skydive Diani for the latest information.
Open 8am – 6pm
Diani Beach Road, Diani, Ukunda, Coast, Kenya.
Tandem Skydiving (jumping with a licensed instructor) costs US$350 per jump. It cost an additional US$75 for the video which is taken by a GoPro on the instructor’s hand, edited and handed to you along with your certificate and souvenir shirt at the end.
Have you ever been skydiving? Tell me where you went and what you loved about it in the comments. Or check out more of my Kenya posts.