It’s always been a dream of mine to explore all corners of Kenya and Watamu was one of the many I hadn’t visited. It’s fantastic, especially in the low season. No crowds, peaceful beach walks and just about the best bargains you could get.
Watamu is located 108km from Mombasa and about 30 minutes from Malindi. It is named after the people of watamu and means ‘sweet people’. There’s quite a number of places to visit when you’re here to live up the Watamu experience.
The ruins date back to the 12th century rich in the culture and history of the Swahili people who came to be from intermarriages between the Arabs and the Bantus. For history junkies this is an amazing space where you get to learn that western civilization is a rather flawed concept in the sense that it nullified existence of cultures dating back centuries. You get to see that for instance self-contained houses aren’t ‘borrowed’ from the west but had been there in towns such as Gedi. When here get a tour guide, it makes the experience richer and you learn so much in a 45 minute walk. Entrance fee is only Ksh. 100 for Kenyan residents.
2. Kipepeo Butterfly House
Its located just next to the ruins and here you get to learn about conservation of butterflies and how they are used as foreign exchange earners when exported. Throughout the cycle of the butterfly, its seemingly a resourceful creature though it pans out for a very short life span. Their conservation and utilization even when dead is very interesting to learn on. Give the place a visit for only Ksh. 100 for Kenyan residents.
3. Mida Creek Boardwalk
I am not the biggest fan of boardwalks. I find the torture unnecessary. I mean why walk on a wooden bridge that is unstable and would have you fall in the creek waters with mangrove trees and God know which other creatures?
I don’t know how I did this but somehow, I’m glad I did, partly because my gut thought I’d either fall in the water or give up and go back when the going got tough.
I wouldn’t say I recommend it, but since it’s on your way to the canoe ride, why not? You’ll definitely feel like you completed an episode of The Amazing Race and why not gas yourself up. Besides, if I did it, it’s a walk in the park for you and just at 100 bob.
4 Mida Creek Canoe ride
This is a must have on you bucket list. You can ignore all others and just go for this ride. Preferably in the afternoon to catch some very romantic sunsets with your boo and just before the waves set it. Moving from one point of the creek to the other seems like a 10 minute affair but take over an hour in the canoe. You get to bird watch some exotic species, see islands with populations of only 350 Kenyans and the most beautiful sunset on this side of the earth with palm trees on the horizon.
It’s a breathtaking experience that even pictures don’t justify. Damage is only 1000 bob per person however, this is dependent on your bargaining power, so make sure you get a local to ensure you aren’t being overcharged.
5. Crab Shack
After the canoe ride you dock at a renown restaurant know as crab shack infamous for selling crabs as the name suggests and other sea foods. The restaurant is largely founded on mangrove pools with a wonderful view of the creek and a boardwalk into it. (A more steady this time round).
When here do try some sea food whether crabs, calamari or even octopus. I see you frowning, its alright, I did too. Want a safe option? Definitely calamari with fries, want a once in a lifetime choice? Go for the crab na wali wa nazi (coconut rice). Whole crab goes for 1500 bob while Calamari goes for only 1000 bob. Try it, it’s your country for the taking!
6. Safina Beach
This is the most glorious beach I’ve been to. It’s clean, carries the blue and green lush of the ocean and bring it to your footsteps. It’s a therapeutic beach to walk into and will make you dread the city life. Make sure you visit it in the morning while the tide is low for an even greater experience.
That’s all for Watamu, see you in the next travel destination as we tembea Kenya.