One might assume the immediate reaction after jumping out of a plane at 12,000 ft and safely landing on the beach would be one of relief. But apparently Skydive Diani's customers are much more likely to say 'Wow, that was amazing. I want to do it again. Right now!'
And on second thought, this makes complete sense. Diani oﬀers an unrivalled location to try out one of life's most exhilarating experiences, bringing together a world-class team of skydiving professionals with some of the most spectacular scenery available anywhere in the world.
Set up in December 2013 by a group of passionate skydivers looking to promote the sport more widely in Africa, Skydive Diani has fast established itself as a core member of the international skydiving circuit. For Skydive Diani's chief instructor, Gary Lincoln-Hope, Diani is the most spectacular drop zone in the world, and is one of only a handful of locations globally that oﬀers beach landings. Gary is delighted to be able to share this natural beauty with fellow skydivers, and for him a sunset jump over the southern Kenyan coastline is the most magical of them all.
The most popular activity oﬀered at the club is the tandem jump, where novices can try out the sport in complete safety, jumping attached to a fully trained instructor. Typically, the whole experience lasts an hour, and includes a 20-minute ﬂight to 12,000 ft with amazing bird's eye views over Diani and its myriad of shades of shimmering blues and greens. The freefall part of the experience typically lasts for 45 seconds (at a very exhilarating 200km per hour!), with a further 10 minutes of breathtaking views after the parachute has been opened by the instructor.
At Skydive Diani, jumping isn't the reserve of young adrenaline junkies. Women are as likely as men to take part in tandem jumps and as things currently stand, the age of jumpers ranges from 7 to 76. For many novice jumpers, skydiving is high up on their bucket-list and where better to give it a go than over Diani's famous white sand beaches?
And for those who really do want to relive the experience time and time again, this is something that the club also oﬀers. Equipped with professional recording and editing equipment, Skydive Diani can ﬁlm the whole experience enabling skydivers to share the experience and the breathtaking scenery with their friends and family.
And for jumpers who really have caught the skydiving bug, the club also oﬀers all-inclusive residential courses at its skydiving school. The courses usually last a week, with students completing a skydiving license allowing them to jump independently. The club is also a hub for qualiﬁed jumpers who ﬂock to Diani to enjoy the spectacular drop zone and the relaxed beach vibes. A quick look at Skydive Diani's Facebook page conﬁrms that the club has a huge fan-base within the skydiving community and beyond, with an impressive 350 K
In addition to the amazing location, Gary Lincoln-Hope believes that the success of the club is down to their uncompromising commitment to safety. The club is certiﬁed by the United
States Parachute Association (USPA)and has the full backing of the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority and other government departments - support which has been instrumental in creating the club of excellence and for which Skydive Diani is very grateful.
Yet more proof that the club is at the very top of its game is the fact that Skydive Diani trains the Kenya Defense Forces' parachute battalion. Having trained four oﬃcers to become instructors, Skydive Diani now has a key supervisory and advisory role and their very presence in Kenya is what has enabled the parachute battalion to continue in existence. Over a decade ago the battalion was trained by Armed Forces from other nations, but it's a real testament to the home-grown talent of Kenya and the critical support from government departments that they now have their own self-suﬃcient military parachute capability.
But Skydive Diani is about much more than skydiving and parachuting. Community is also at the heart of what they are about, and the club contributes to Diani life in several important ways.At company level, staﬀ development and training and community-based projects are key to the club's success. Skydive Diani has partnered with Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) and together they are making incredible diﬀerences to the local community and its economy. The ﬁnancial support oﬀered by the KAA has enabled the training of over 30 local staﬀ from scratch and these employees are now the proud owners of international qualiﬁcations. One team member has even become the ﬁrst ever qualiﬁed rigger in Kenya. Beyond capacity building its own dedicated team, the partnership of Skydive Diani and KAA engages with the wider community through schools and by supporting local charities.
However, it is Skydive Diani's impact on the local economy that is perhaps the club's most noticeable contribution, with the club putting Diani, and indeed Kenya, ﬁrmly on the map for a whole diﬀerent community of people. Pro skydivers generally come to Diani for a fortnight at a time to take part in organised meet-ups and spend money at local hotels, restaurants and tour operators during their time in Kenya. The addition of skydiving to Diani's tourist oﬀering is helping make Diani the beach destination of choice in East Africa.
At country level, Skydive Diani is also having many positive impacts. Again, there's the contribution to the national economyfrom skydivers coming to Kenya, but perhaps more importantly there's the prestige as a country for playing host to such a well-respected institution. Indeed, in addition to the club's amazing reviews and cult-like following, in December 2017 Diani played host to the biggest 'boogie' (skydive meet-up) of the year globally, with over 400 international skydivers descending upon Diani to enjoy what Kenya has to oﬀer. There are plans in the pipeline for an even bigger and better 'boogie' again this year.
Many of us will equate the term 'boogie' with a dance, but in the skydiving world it is synonymous with skydiving aﬁcionados coming together from all over the world to celebrate the sport through jumps, general camaraderie and maybe just a little partying. And the good news? There's a boogie just a few days away which oﬀers the perfect opportunity to hang out at the skydiving club, enjoy some good vibes and great music and watch the pros coming down from the sky and landing on the beach.
The 'Boogie's' opening party is on Saturday 18th August, with events and smaller gatherings taking place until 25th August. Organised in partnership with NRG radio and Diani Beach Festival, Saturday 18th August promises to be a great sporting and community event that's not be missed. Locals and tourists alike are encouraged to rock up at Skydive Diani to enjoy some refreshing drinks, great food, aerial spectacles and perhaps just
a little boogie of their own.