Watamu is a beach resort on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. The nearest big city is Malindi. From Nairobi we flew with AIRKENYA to Malindi via Lamu. It was a direct flight with one stop. This was the first time I've been flying in such a small plane.
This is how Watamu town looks. Actually it is very popular with Italians. Shops' sighns, newspapers and magazines are frequently in Italian language. Locals most likely to welcome you in Italian at first, then shift to English. There are plenty of imported products from Italy, for foreign tourists. Prices in the shops were more or less the same as in Nairobi shops and malls.
There are a few hotels on Watamu beach. But we rented a big 3-bedroom house for our group of 7. This beach house was very big even for seven people. It had a big garden and direct access to the beach.
When you rent a house in Kenya, you will also get the service of a free cook, which is very convinient. So all we had to do was just to go to the town once and buy some products for our cook to prepare meals for us.
Watamu main industries are tourism and fishing. So if you go to this place, you should try fish, crabs, shrimps... Prices for muzungus (Swahili name of "foreigners") are, of course, higher than you may expect, and than for locals. Anyway, sometimes the houses' houselords have albums with different kinds of fish, with prices. So you choose and fish will be brought to your place.
We hadn't such a list, so we negotiated a lot with fish sellers. And this is how it was.
In the evening of the first day we went to Ocean Sports restaurant which was situated just 3-4 minutes from our house. We liked that place, the food and prices. Dissapointing thing was that they stop making pizza at 9 o'cklock, so we couldn't make a second order.
But anyway the atmosphere was very relaxic and romantic.
Wandering on the beach we reached Turtle Bay Beach Club, which is one of the famous Watamu resorts, and made a small tour in the resort. It was really lovely. And I noticed that this resort was really entertaining its guests. On the reception and all over the hotel one could notice different offers to dive, snorkell, save turtles, visit local museums and so on.
Watamu beach is very long, sand is like flour when you touch it, it is very soft so playing on it, running and liying was a pleasure. There were a few souvenir sellers, a guy with a camel. Also if you walk on the beach a guy or two will come to you and offer you a snorkelling or/and diving tours.
We have done snorkelling in Watamu Marine National Park and were completely satisfied. The Marine Park is considered one of the best snorkelling and diving areas on the coast of East Africa. We went really early. at 8.00, and we left 3 more boats came, so my advice - come as early as you can. Because in the morning your boat will be most likely the only one in the area which means more fish and space for swimming and snorkelling.
The rising tide and the low-tide really differ in Watamu. During the low-tide we found a lot of ocean residents, and among them tons of crabs, fishes, sea urchins, and even muraenas. Actually muraenas are very dangerous fishes. Those we found were only small kids, but their parents could reach 5 feet (150 cm). They live in in rocky parts or on coral reefs. It attacks persons who approach its places of concealment in shallow water, and is feared by fishermen. Most divers lost fingers while trying to feed muraenas, so never try to do this. And be careful exploring places around rocks in Watamu during the low-tide.
If you ever decide to go to Watamu, I would definitely recommend you to do so.