Watamu Town Guide
Watamu Town is a beach resort on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. Watamu lies on a small headland, between the Blue Lagoon and Watamu Bay. Watamu’s main industries are tourism and fishing. The nearest big town is Malindi to which it is connected by frequent matatu.
Watamu Town Climate and Geography
Watamu’s climate is classified as tropical. The winters are rainier than the summers in Watamu. The Köppen-Geiger climate classification is As. The average annual temperature is 26.0 °C in Watamu. About 1083 mm of precipitation falls annually.
Watamu lies on a small headland, between the Blue Lagoon and Watamu Bay. Watamu has a population of around 1900 and it is part of the Kilifi County.
Watamu Town History
Watamu Town is a small town 20 kilometres or so south of Malindi. The name translates into ‘sweet people’. It lies between Watamu Bay to the north and Blue Lagoon to the south. The stunning Turtle Bay extends south from Blue Lagoon where it meets Mida Creek.
Watamu town itself has grown from a small coastal village into a small ramshackle settlement of huts and buildings. The town has an accelarating growth rate due to the popularity of the area as a great holdiday destination with a growing economy and population.
Economic Activities in Watamu Town
Watamu’s main industries are tourism and fishing. it has banks, petrol stations, post office, lodges, nightclubs playing latest western and local music, restaurant serving local and exotic dishes, supermarkets, dry cleaners and lively markets places.
The name “Watamu” means “sweet people” in Swahili. The name came from the fact that Arab slave traders used to distribute sweets to entice the local population before taking them as slaves.
People of Watamu
Watamu is home to the Bajuni people; who trace their descend to the intermarriages between the local Giriama People and the Arab traders. As at now, various tribes from inland Kenya such as the Luo, Kisii, Kikuyu, Kamba, kalenjin, Luhyas have all immigrated to the area to work in the Hotel industry. this movement has led to an increase in the population of the Watamu as earlier stated.
Places To Visit and Things To Do While in Watamu Town
Attractions in Watamu Town
The shoreline in the area features white sand beaches and offshore coral formations arranged in three bays: Watamu Bay, Blue Lagoon and Turtle Bay. They are protected as part of the Malindi Watamu Marine National Park. The Marine Park is considered one of the best snorkelling and diving areas on the coast of East Africa. In order to assist the enforcing authorities namely Kenyan Wildlife Service, in protecting the Park, local community groups, the tourist sector and environmental groups have formed an unique organisation, Watamu Marine Association.
Accommodation and Hotels in Watamu
- Kobe Suit Resort
- Mawimbi Lodge Hotel
- Mawe Resort Watamu Boutique Hotel
- Medina Palm
- Seven Islands Resort
- Jumbo Watamu
- Watamu Tropical Resort
- Ocean Sports Resort
- Temple Point Resort
- Jacaranda Beach
- Barracuda Inn Resort
- Gecko Resort
Night Clubs and Nightlife in Watamu Town
Turtle Bay Beach Club
Villas Watamu Resort
African Sun Resort
Come Back Club Watamu
The Charming Lonno Lodge
Sun Palm Beach Resort
Watamu Palm Beach
Aquarius Club International Resort
Watamu Town- Photo
Watamu Town- Videos
Watamu Town News
Head to Watamu in Kenya for a novel beach experience
With the stuff of romance and magical exhilaration woven around seeing the Big-Five of the animal kingdom in the game reserves of Kenya, I’m not sure how I’ll feel to leave the Masai Mara for an encounter with the country’s coast.
But I needn’t have worried. The little coastal town of Watamu – a short flight from capital city Nairobi, and then a drive from either Mombasa or Malindi (depending on at which airport you chose to land), is charm personified. Its abundant marine life, rich history, and an intensely vibrant local scape (where the emphasis on conservation is growing), added to the fact that in this part of the world you can never be too far from richly diverse animallife, make it an essential part of the Kenya story.
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The waters of the Marine National Park are perfect to spot dolphins. Photo: Mail Today
WATAMU MARINE NATIONAL PARK
The best reason for getting out of the boat, your clothes and yourself are the coral reefs and abundant fish, which characterise the marine life of Watamu. Hire a glass-bottomed boat (at least for the sake of the person on board – who wants to simply peer at the wonder of the ocean, without moving a muscle). But abandoning the safe ship of paradise, generates the most reward.
Watch the sunset from the dhow or catch a glimpse of East African birds. Photo: Mail Today
Snorkelling in these waters, I’m just kissing distance away from a litany of brain, fan and sponge coral, which provide the required nutrition and shelter for a plethora of fish life. In the distance, pods of dolphin frolic. Close at hand, a stingray glances at me, as I admire the variety of fish – parrotfish and starfish, angelfish and moray eels – dancing around me in playful abandon.
GEDE RUINS AND MUSEUM
Mysterious and beguiling are adjectives frequently bandied about, when describing this ancient site of medieval Swahili-Arab settlement. Not least because, many of the stories of this vast complex of crumbling coral-brick houses, palaces and mosques – are still unknown.
The guide points out the differences in living conditions between the elite and the lower echelons – in terms of the material used in building construction (stone versus mud), for starters. Gede was clearly an advanced city – evidenced in the layout of the streets, the facilities of running water and drainage. Archeological finds of Chinese vases and Venetian glass and even an Indian lamp, throw light on its robust trade relations.
The surrounding National Park houses a museum – which has a permanent display on Swahili Culture. While the artifacts on display inside are illuminating, it’s the call of the hornbill and the desire to spot the goldenrump elephant shrew that makes me want to linger.
GEDE SNAKE PARK
There is distinct pleasure in sharing an experience of wildlife, with people who know a great deal more about it than you do. And Mr Shadrack who manages the Snake Park within the precinct of the Gede ruins clearly inhabits that spirit.
Shadrack says he doesn’t use gloves while handling the snakes, because he wants to be as gentle with them as possible. Under his watchful gaze he let’s me handle one of the non-poisonous. In this controlled environment, it’s easy to want more time with these sinuous creatures, understand how their milk is used to make anti-venom for local communities, and the importance of preservation of snake-habitats.
KIPEPEO BUTTERFLY PROJECT
In Watamu, where it’s common to find an institution dedicated to the care of turtles, or a man passionate about snakes, it comes as no surprise that just a few paces from the snake farm, is the Kipepeo Butterfly Project.
Here as elsewhere, are signs on the wall – signaling the need to establish a link between conservation and livelihood. With the zeal of an evangelist, the guide talks us through a series of carefully-curated exhibits (with butterflies fluttering overhead) on how forests can provide local communities with unexpected sources of income. This local community for instance produces nature-based products of silk cloth and honey. The Orange Dog Butterflies locked in passionate embrace in the garden, seem to be acknowledging this sentiment.
DHOW CRUISE ON MIDA CREEK
Mida Creek has earned its stripes as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. This 32-sq km tidal estuary, lined with mangroves and beaches, is as pretty as an ornamental placemat. A good way to experience the mangroves – is to travel down Mida Creek on a traditional Arab Dhow.
Medina Palms, a good stay option while you’re in Watamu, not just for its plush accommodation that includes sea-facing villas, but also for the activities it helps organise – everything from golf to turtle-sanctuary visits – organises a Sunset dhow cruise. The cocktails and canapÃ©s are so abundant that chances are you’ll end up skipping dinner. If you’re not peering through the binoculars on board, marvelling at the not-sohard-to-see brigade of colourful East African birds or admiring the sky fade into sunset colours, you’re simply reclining on deck, cocktail in hand, letting the serene beauty seep in.
Fly from Nairobi to the coastal city of Mombasa. From Mombasa International Airport you can drive around 90 minutes to Watamu, which is a scenic journey along the coast passing through sisal plantations and crossing beautiful Kilifi creek. A taxi from there will cost around 6,000-8,000 Kenya Shillings (around Rs 5,000). You can also take 45-minute flight from Nairaobi to Malindi airport on coast. Watamu is just 30 minutes from the airport and a taxi from Malindi to Watamu will cost between 2,000-3,000 Kenya Shillings (around Rs 3,000).