Located only a thirty-minute drive from Malindi and a two-hour drive North of Mombasa, the picturesque town of Watamu is a top destination for visitors to the Indian Ocean. Below are the top ten activities you would enjoy until you no longer want to leave Watamu. Shallow bays with sand bars, reef-protected lagoons, sandy coves and white sand bars characterized Watamu Beach.
The vast choice of ecotourism friendly activities, the warm climate and the long list of tourist attraction sites around Watamu add essence to a visit to the top destination. Whether you want to visit the famous Gedi Ruins and the Arabuko Sokoke Forest or you want to dance with the Giriama traditional dancers, there is something for every visitor to enjoy. Below are the top-rated activities which would define a typical yet perfect holiday at Watamu Beach.
1. Cruise On A Traditional Dhow At Sunset On Mida Creek
This is a 32 km stretch of inland tidal creek. The expanse of water starts from the Indian Ocean and finds its way into the Arabuko Sokoke Forest. It is surrounded by palms and mangroves. Apart from the many seabirds commonplace with the Mida Creek, turtles also find habitat in the protected area.
During sunsets at Watamu, the creek area turns orange and is so appealing to the eyes. Many use the traditional dhow cruises, which operate throughout the day, to cruise along the creek. It’s an amazing infusion of nature with beauty and fun.
2. Kite Surf And Scuba Dive At Watamu National Marine Park
Scuba diving and Kite surfing are some of the unforgettable experiences you would enjoy at
Watamu National Marine Park. Located only 7.9 kilometers from Watamu town, the national marine park and reserve is part of the marine and tidal habitats along the northern coast of Kenya.
The marine park is renowned for its natural beauty. It boasts a rich marine life and a diverse bird life, dugongs, three species of sea turtles and fish, including some Whale Sharks which visit at times.
3. Visit Arabuko Sokoke Forest
This is a coastal forest, a shaded retreat area of its own kind and one of the twenty-five biodiversity hot spots available on earth. It serves as a conservation point for different birds, animals and plant life.
It is known as the largest remnant of coastal forests in East Africa. Endemic mammals, birds and plant life can be witnessed here. The forest is a conglomerate of three forest types: Brachystegia, Cynometra and mixed forest, with each being habitat to it’s own kind of animal and plant life.
4. Visit The Gedi Ruins
This is a Swahili village of the 12th century which was abandoned about 600 years ago by the Arabs. The place stayed undisturbed, hidden from human knowledge for centuries, until the 19th century. It appears that, as history would tell, the inhabitants of the Gede settlement left hurriedly, leaving behind their valuables and other items such as cooking implements.
The town, which was not without a kingdom, sits on 45 acres of land and is now forested, burying the ancient building inside the forest. There is evidence of both a mosque and a palace. It is the most beautiful experience you would have inside the forested and atmospheric ruins while searching for the buildings and catching sight of the monkeys as they enjoy the ancient town, too.
5. Take A Leisurely Stroll On Watamu Beach
If you are not willing to enjoy it under the waves, the long Watamu Beach is also a point of stretching out your body by taking leisure walks while catching sight of the kingfishers hunting for fish, the turtles, the flamingos, the many migratory bird species around and the warm climate.
Unlike any other beach, Watamu Beach is the only place you would see tropical fish while walking on the shores.
6. Visit The Snake Farms At Watamu
Everyone would like to see a snake, especially if the reptile is harmless. The BioKen Snake Farm in Watamu is the best place to have a moment with the snakes. The facility has a staggering 127 snake species, the largest collection in East Africa. Doubling as a zoo for snakes and a research facility for the same, you would learn about venomous and non-venomous snakes.
If a stray snake bites you anywhere around Watamu, this would also be the nearest place for medical attention. In an effort to spare snakes for posterity, you may also enjoy taking part in a Save the Snake Campaign which happens at the BioKen snake zoo.
7. Visit Sabaki River Estuary
This serves as an important bird area and ecotourism site. Located only 5 kilometers from Malindi town, the Sabaki River’s mouth is where the great Athi-Sabaki-Galana river empties into the Indian Ocean. On the Sabaki bridge, an amazingly long bridge, the dazzling waters below are thrilling.
A staggering 68 bird species, including pelicans, terns and waders, are common here, occupying an area of six square kilometers and a day or half-a-day’s tour is the best way to reveal the beauty of the estuary. The estuary is also punctuated by mud-banks, dunes, permanent and semi-permanent freshwater pools, scrubs, sand-dunes and mangroves. It’s an ecologically rich area worth exploring.
8. Dance With The Randu Gede Giriama Traditional Dancers
At Watamu, the dance is different from the others and mind-blowing. It is usually the welcome mat into the Gedi Ruins and one of the kay tourist attractions at the coast. The veteran dancers are just near the entrance to the Gedi Ruins and you can always join the dance.
Dancing with the veteran Gede Giriama traditional dancers has always been an unforgettable experience. You will not have to forgive yourself for the famous Mwanzele Giriama dance!
9. Go To Ancient Hotel Crab Shack For Amazing Food And Sunset Watching
Watamu is significantly Italian influenced, with the restaurants herein serving gelato, pizza and other Italian menu as well as the unbeatable African meals, dotting your trip with sweetness and comfort. The nearby Mida Creek is full of crabs, which provide the famous and divine food served at the ancient Crab Shack Hotel.
While enjoying the crabs here and the sweet ocean meals commonplace with this hotel, watching the beautiful sun going down over the Mida Creek is mind-blowing. The two experiences under one roof are the best returns from your visit.
10. Visit The Local Ocean Trust Organization
Having enjoyed the beauty of Watamu Beach this much, you would be only but willing to visit the Local Ocean Trust (LOT) Organization and support their wonderful work. LOT is a non-profit organization seeking to protect and conserve endangered species and special marine areas along the coastal region. You would be informed of how to conserve nature and coastal valuables through campaigns, education and empowerment.
In all aspects, visiting Watamu Beach is a multi-faceted experience which would open your doors into learning more about the surrounding areas and apart from enjoying the warm waters, you would also snatch the beauty of animal and plant life, birds, fish as well as the beautiful sceneries around.