Watamu: one of the world’s most beautiful beaches
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Watamu beguiles. It abounds in rocky coves backed only by baobab trees, and shimmering lagoons fronted by great sweeps of silver sand. Protected by Kenya’s coral reef, the water is sapphire-clear and bathwater-warm all year round. Watamu has it all: there’s action if you want it and the Robinson-Crusoe-life if you don’t.
Watamu at a glance
Watamu epitomize tropical paradise: picture-perfect beaches, clear ocean waters, and the space to do as much or as little as you please. And there’s no shortage of activities on offer.
The Watamu National Marine Park and Reserve offer kitesurfing, paddleboarding, boogie-boarding, snorkeling, and sailing. It also boasts a glorious coral reef with 1000 species of reef fish and sightings of manta rays, grouper, and barracuda. A world-renowned diving destination, Watamu offers year-round clear water and an impressive selection of world-class dive profiles including cliffs, dropoffs, night dives, and wreck dives.
Watamu is also known as the game fishing capital of East Africa, boasting record-breaking marlin, wahoo, and sailfish.
Watamu village is a unique mix of enchanting Swahili culture and modern facilities. There are Italian coffee shops, gelato bars, wine shops, delicatessens, and bakeries. Restaurants range from gourmet to authentic local cuisine, and in the evening there’s a great selection of bars, discos, and clubs.
The beaches of Watamu are a favourite nesting site for green, hawksbill, olive ridley, and leatherback turtles. Watamu is also famous for its dolphins and you can enjoy the rare treat of snorkeling or stand up paddle boarding alongside them.
Have a whale of a time
Migratory pods of humpback whales pass by Watamu between July and September and often ‘breach’ right off the headland – so close, you can see them from your bar stool. Between September and December, you can snorkel among the gentle whale sharks, the planet’s largest fish.
Haunted cities and ancient forests
Watamu lies just 7 km from the ruins of the 12th-century Swahili city of Gedi with its Sultan’s temples, market places, and city streets. It also lies just a few kilometers from the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve where you might encounter forest elephants or the even more rare golden rumped elephant shrew. The tidal inlet Mida Creek runs into the forest allowing you to explore by canoe.
Location: 105 km north of Mombasa and about 15 km south of Malindi.
Accommodation: 5-star resorts, family resorts, eco-resorts, apartments, simple guesthouses, and safe and secure camping.
How to get there: It’s a scenic 95 km drive from Mombasa or a short flight from Nairobi to nearby Malindi Airport. Alternatively, you can take a taxi or hire a car from Mombasa. There is also the option of the stunning new Single Gauge Railway, which runs from Nairobi to Mombasa.
The Kaya Forests of the Mijikenda: a walk in a sacred grove
A visit to a sacred Kaya – or sacred grove – is part nature walk, part historical insight and part cultural experience. But it’s a very special and privileged experience. The nine tribes of the Mijikenda Traditionally, to enter a Kaya, you would have required ritual knowledge to proceed through the concentric circles of sacredness…
Originally occupied in the late 11th or early 12th century, the ruins of the Swahili city of Gedi are located just 7 km north of Watamu. Ideal for an early morning or late afternoon visit, when you fancy a break from the beach, Gedi is deliciously cool and offers a fascinating insight into local history…
Helping save the sea turtle
Kenya’s beautiful sea turtles are threatened and Watamu’s Local Ocean Conservation is committed to their protection. So when visiting the Kenyan coast, be sure to find time to meet our sea turtles, which return to our beaches again and again just to lay their eggs on Kenyan sand. Home of the sea turtle Kenya’s Swahili…
A visit to the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve
Just a short drive from Watamu Beach is one of Kenya’s ecological gems, the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve. Here you can wander the cool of this ancient forest and spot such rarities as the Sokoke Scops-owl, Sokoke bushy-tailed mongoose, the Ader’s duiker, the blotched genet cat and the caracal. You might also see bushbabies, Sykes’…
What to do in Watamu
Escapist, enchanting, and with an indefinable air of having time-warped itself back to gentler days, Watamu is one of Kenya’s most popular beach destinations. Sheltered by the nurturing curve of Mida Creek, it abounds in rocky coves backed only by baobab trees; and shimmering lagoons fronted by great sweeps of silver sand. As well as…
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