Go Explore Watamu, Kenya
When a destination occupies the better part of one’s thoughts, a trip seems the only distraction to the developing solitude. As a wanderer, you start creating imaginary mental pictures of the place. And a rather distorted setting begins to take shape. You give the place dimensions, distances, and even physical features. You imagine its temperatures, the lay of the land, water bodies, roads, hotels, and even how the residents dress and dance! For all this information, the brain relies upon déjà vu, media – TV, social platforms, websites, newspapers – and fragments of tales from the past. In Kenya, no other destination calls for such a mental adventure as Watamu.
Watamu is a lively mini-town in Kilifi County along the Kenyan Coast. It is approved for its name ‘Sweet People’ and desired by many for its magical shoreline, flora, and fauna.
From geographical maps on Google, the boundaries of Watamu looks like a parked submarine. Better still, its shape seems like what most young school children would deliver on the first attempt if asked to draw a whale or a Dolphin.
Her cartographers chose to draw straight lines for the inland boundaries and only play with some wiggles along the coastline. This second part was inevitable due to the presence of the three bays for which the town is famous. Watamu and Turtle Bays are the most visited due to their sandy beaches and close proximity to the best hotels and shopping centers. Blue Lagoons bay is also a jewel.
Besides the white sandy beaches and tropical blue waters, the coastal town is home to diverse marine life such as sea turtles, dolphins, and humpback whales. Also, If you’re into water sports, you can indulge in kite surfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling before relaxing at one of the many beach hotels in the town.
A call to Adventure
My short trip to Watamu could not fit in one article. This destination has a mix of almost everything out there for a wanderlust. But one has to go outdoors – to detach from the lazy vacation mode of mini bars and swimming costumes.
And as some travelers look with pure admiration at the lion enjoying its prey or deep purple flowers of jacaranda falling in October, I am an admirer of Nature, old locomotives, dense woods, and my country people. Their way of life, drums, fireplaces, wattle-walled huts, tribal dressing, folklores, and ancient stories – these things are sources of joy and kicks to my few passions.
There is no railway in Watamu. Palm trees cannot match the woods in Mt. Kenya National Park. But relaxing at the beach, exploring the mangrove forests of Mida Creek, watching birds at the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, or walking along village paths reassures the mind. At the end of the trip, you make a note in your head. A personal promise to return and experience the bits that nothing else can describe.
How to Get There
Assuming you are in Nairobi, Watamu is accessed either by flight, train, or bus.
- Take the Madaraka Express Train to Mombasa and then experience a 2-hour drive to Watamu.
- Board a direct long-distance bus (Modern Coast or Tahmeed Coach) from Nairobi CBD to Kilifi town and then a short drive.
- Fly to Malindi Airport using major airlines like Kenya Airways or cheaper local flights such as Fly 540, AirKenya, and Jambojet. From Malindi, take a Taxi to Watamu.
Things to Do
- Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
- Dolphins and Humpback Whale Watching
- Bird Watching
- Kite Surfing
Places to Visit
- Mangrove forests at Mida Creek
- Beaches – Garoda, Turtle Bay, Jacaranda, and Watamu Bay.
- Watamu Marine National Park
- Arabuko Sokoke National park
- Kipepeo butterfly project
- Ruins of Gedi
- Bio-Ken Snake Farm
- Kirepwe and Sudi Islands
Where to Stay
Watamu has a wide range of accommodation options that cater to every traveler, whether luxury or on a budget. Medina Palms and Hemingways Watamu are the best options for luxury. Located right at the beach, Turtle Bay Resort is great for the standard traveler. And, if you want to experience luxury on a budget, stay at Watamu Tree House or Mvivu B&B.
Where to Shop
For all your shopping needs, Blue Marmalade is the best store. They have everything you need, from groceries to drinks. And they accept payment in Cash, Mpesa, Mastercard, and Visa.
Featured Image: Watamu Beach by Trek Beyond Adventures.