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"This beach south of Mombasa is the quintessential tropical paradise, with thousands of palm trees leaning out across broad, shelving sands and outrigger canoes anchored in the crystal-clear lagoon. Although the area has been developed, there are still enough patches of jungle to preserve a sense of where you are."Most of the hotels here are well-geared for children, but standouts include the mid-sized, all-inclusive.

Southern Palms with its chain of giant, linked swimming pools and the boutique Asha Cottages.There are good places to eat too, including the hugely popular Forty Thieves Beach Bar and the upscale (no toddlers) Ali Barbour’s Cave, set underground in a fabulous coral cave."

Best beaches for active adventurers: Malindi

"Malindi, a thirty-minute flight or two hours' drive from Mombasa, is the coast's only other large town. The beaches to the north are open to the ocean and get real surf, while just south of the town lies the Malindi Marine National Park which is a haven for divers.

"Che Shale is Kenya's kite-surfing centre, set on a huge bay with three hundred days a year of monsoon winds. Stylishly furnished wood and palm-mat chalets, with soft sand instead of floors, stand between the coconut trees.

"Just south of the town centre where the good coral starts, the Driftwood is one of the oldest places in Malindi, with staff who never forget a face, a pool right by the beach and famous curry nights. They can organise anything for you, from windsurfing and diving to birdwatching or game fishing."