Watamu – ‘sweet people’ in Swahili – is in Kenya, about 110 kilometres from Mombasa international airport and 15 kilometres from Malindi.
The whole coast of Kenya is defined by long white beaches, creeks and mangroves. Watamu sums all this elements up and reshuffles them with the suitable amount of peace and adventure. The small town became famous following the rise of Malindi, but offers an even more uncontaminated sea.
In the past, Watamu was a small fishermen village. Nowadays it is still far less chaotic than Malindi. Endless horizons where sea and sky melt together, stunning colours and a lively sea life are the main features of this corner of Kenya.
A long beach stretching for kilometres, white sand, palm trees in any possible shape and size, coconuts floating on the water, children playing in the crystal clear ocean, women wrapped in their colourful kanga and crabs running at light speed in their lairs. A different reality.
The low tides allow to reach the atolls in the middle of the ocean by feet. Here the bottom of the ocean and the cliffs are shaped by water and wind into surprising figures. It’s enough to have a look around to feel the charm of the surrounding environment: small wooden boats, the seagulls fishing over the ocean’s surface, colourful birds, the quite movements of the fishermen.
But there also a touristic side in Watamu. It’s called Sardinia 2 and the visitors can reach it on boats with the bottom made of glass. Here the meals are served on the beach: sea food, rice and fresh fruit in the middle of the ocean, until the high tide returns.
For the most adventurous travellers there are many trips to the nearby sites: neighbouring towns, inland villages, the Gede ruins, safaris to Tsavo Est or Masai Mara, everything can be booked right here without having to worry about the agencies’ reliability.
Gede is an Arab town founded in 13th century, surrounded by lush vegetation and wild animals. There are to be seen ancient mosques, the sultan’s palace and the typical buildings of a ghost town which once hosted more than 2500 people.
Another unmissable experience is sunset from Marafa Canyon, a striking gorge also called ‘the devil’s kitchen’ because of the high temperature.
Robinson Island is on the way to Lamu, after the outlet where the Sabaki river flows into the sea of Malindi. Here you will have to park the car and take a canoe the reach the other side, where you can have lunch in a small restaurant covered with makuti, the typical dried palm leaves.
Meda Creek Bay is the world’s largest mangrove ecosystem. You get through the bridge made of ropes and planks, and then come the canoes used to challenge the small rivers and spot the many birds and coloured crabs.
The golden beach in Che Shale – reachable only by 4X4 – offers another stunning sight: the name is due to the golden mineral particles mixed with the sand which reflects the sun rays, while in the background there are palms, the tropical forest and dunes.
In the Arabuko forest there are over 200 different kinds of birds and butterflies, beside the famous elephant shrew which has here in all the world his only habitat.