Alfajiri Villas: Our full report
Located on low cliffs above the northern stretch of Diani Beach, Alfajiri consists of three luxury villas.Each substantial villa is taken on an exclusive basis. The name Alfajiri means Dawn in Swahili and, like nearly all Kenya's coastal lodges, it faces east across the Indian Ocean. It's in a superb location, in a slightly quieter part of Diani Beach, on the more northern end of the beach. Being raised above the beach on low cliffs and tumbled coral rag allows it a measure of extra privacy and security.
The property comprises three completely separate, self-contained and secluded villas that are each booked on an exclusive basis. Each villa has its own butler to look after everything from drinks requests to laundry to arranging activities. As well as the bedrooms, multiple dining and lounging areas, sea views and direct beach access, each villa has its own swimming pool and an area set up for spa treatments.
The four-bedroom Cliff Villa was the first to be built in 1997 and is classically stylish, decorated in neutral tones and sea blues. On the ground floor is a twin room, ideal for children or a nanny, with a double bedroom on each of the consecutive floors. The villa's top-floor room, the Turret Suite, has a 270-degree view over the garden, beach and ocean beyond. All the rooms are air conditioned, which is a welcome relief from the coastal heat and humidity.
The Garden Villa and the Beach Villa are slightly more similar to each other in design, with high, makuti-thatch roofs and richly decorated interiors with inspiration drawn from across Africa. The Garden Villa has four very individually designed bedrooms (three doubles and one twin), and is the most spacious and open of the three villas, so it works really well for groups of friends travelling together.
The Beach Villa is the closest to the sea and perhaps the most quirky and cosy at Alfajiri. It has a double and two twins, dotted about the villa. We think this option is ideally suited for small families or honeymooners, as it feels more intimate and homely.
Among the activities included as part of a stay are snorkelling in the lagoon and on the reef, using the lodge's local ngalawa sailing punts; a daily massage; vehicle transport anywhere along the Diani Beach strip; and gym and sauna use at a nearby resort hotel. All the other possible activities and excursions you can do on Diani Beach can also be organized by Alfajiri's management at extra cost, from diving to kite- and wind-surfing, dhow cruises, golf, quad-biking and trips to the wonderful forests and waterfalls of the Shimba Hills National Park, a 45 minute drive inland.
Sitting down for a chat with the owner, Fabrizio Molinaro, we were told before anything else: "We have no sign on the road, and we take away the board by the gate every day. We only have it there to help drivers find us." The key thing at Alfajiri? Privacy, above all else. That's why it's long been a favourite with celebrity visitors who want to enjoy this area without being noticed.
Alfajiri is a very luxurious beach hideaway in an easily accessible location, with excellent food and service and plenty of activities and excursions on its doorstep. Although each of the three villas would make a very romantic honeymoon venue, they come into their own for small parties of friends or families celebrating special occasions. This is Expert Africa's standout choice on the Kenyan coast.
Country manager: Kenya
- Kenya Coast, Kenya
- Ideal length of stay
- 4 nights-plus
- Alfajiri is located at the northern end of Diani Beach. The transfer from Diani Beach Airport takes less than 10 minutes. Transfers to Mombasa Airport take two to three hours depending on the traffic on Mombasa Island and the Likoni Ferry.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board
- Food quality
- High-quality Mediterranean and international food is served to order, with fresh ingredients and seafood dominating. Your preferences are easily catered for here, and what you'd like to eat that day (and when) is usually discussed each day after breakfast.
When we stayed in 2019, we breakfasted on a huge platter of fruit, flasks of fresh juice (passion, orange), good toast from homemade brown bread and proper marmalade and jams. Seemingly any combination of hot items can be brought together for a cooked breakfast, which is deliberately prepared to be light and not overwhelming.
For lunch, we had delicate and flavoursome tuna tartare followed by a simple, delicious tomato and basil spaghetti.
At dinner, we started with thin-crust pizza bitings, followed by pumpkin soup, perfectly seared tuna steaks and crunchy veg. Zabaglione followed and it all went down accompanied by a very good cabernet sauvignon.
- Attitude towards children
- Children are welcome.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Generally recommended for children
- The privacy, flexibility and exceptional level of service makes Alfajiri Villas an ideal choice for families.
- Cliff or Beach Villa are good options for young families. The downstairs rooms are a good family space. Note, however, that none of the pools attached to each villa has a lifeguard.
- Power supply notes
- There are two standby generators. Power is provided from old-style Italian (Type L) 3-pin plugs, but these do fit ordinary continental 2-round-pin plugs. International adaptors are available.
- There is good Wi-Fi throughout the property and good mobile phone coverage.
- TV & radio
- There are no TVs in the villas, but if some major sporting event was taking place, Fabrizio would be happy to host guests to watch on his TV.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- There's good water pressure and hot water comes in seconds. Storage is provided by two large underground tanks filled from an inland borehole and piped to Alfajiri Villas.
Connecting Luxury to Communities & the Environment
Located on the Diani Beach, one of Kenya's most beautiful and popular beaches, Alfajiri Villas show the positive impact luxury tourism can have on sustainability and conservation. Winning the World Travel Awards' Africa’s Leading Resort in 2013, Alfajiri invests heavily in protecting the fragile marine environment and supporting the local economy.
Alfajiri uses ngalawa, local outrigger boats, to offer guests snorkelling excursions to the coral reef. These boats are specifically used as they have a shallow design with no engines. This means that tourists can enjoy unpolluted, crystal-clear water, and undamaged coral reef. The noise-free boats also ensure a wide variety of aquatic species for plenty of underwater photo opportunities. Most importantly, these reefs keep the waters calm for less experienced swimmers, allowing everyone to take part in the activity.
The family-friendly luxury villas also provide some of the best Mediterranean-style food in the area while supporting the local community, winning Best Safari Cuisine in Kenya every year since 2014. All seafood is bought locally and daily, including, shellfish, yellowfin tuna, dorado and snapper. This provides essential income to the local community and it means chefs have the freedom to develop personal daily menus based on each guest’s preference.
See more great sustainability projects in Kenya
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- A doctor is on call just 400m away, and Diani Beach Hospital is one of the best in Kenya. A first-aid kit is available.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- Security staff patrol the grounds, especially at night, with dogs and radios. An external security service is also contracted.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers around the villas and a fire hose at the bottom of the property near the beach. The wiring system was all imported, and incorporates tripping switches.
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- All laundry is included, free of charge. They have two washing machines and three dryers.
- There are no safes in the rooms, but Fabrizio will take valuables for safe keeping.
- Accepted payment on location
- Cash in major currencies, plus Visa, Amex and MasterCard are accepted, and no surcharges are applied.
Other lodges in Kenya Coast
Alternative places to stay in this same area.