Top things to do in Watamu in 48 hours
What you need to know:
Whether it's a family holiday, a romantic getaway or a wild coastal adventure, you'll never forget the great wonders of Watamu
Have you been to Watamu?
I highly recommend you add it to your bucket list.
Reason? It is a beautiful and peaceful destination on the Kenya Coast, nestled between pristine beaches and lush tropical forests. Known for its unique, relaxed and laid-back way of life, Watamu welcomes visitors seeking to chill out, explore and enjoy its wonders.
I recently had an impromptu 48-hour visit to Watamu, and was stunned. First, the area is easily accessible by road if you are not flying in through Malindi International Airport. It took us roughly two hours from Bamburi in Mombasa, and the charges were Sh350 per person. On arrival, our next task was to get a reliable Tuk Tuk guy to take us to the places we had listed. Below are some of the places you should visit.
Discover ancient history at Gedi National Monument and Snake Parks
Run by the National Museums of Kenya, this 13th-century archaeological site is a three-in-one stopover. It has ruins, a snake park, and a butterfly sanctuary. The crumbling ruins indicate that a palace, mosques, several houses, and stone-pillar tombs existed in the area but there is no trace of the former inhabitants. It is a ghost town but a great chance to gain insight into a forgotten piece of history. The butterflies from the Kipepeo project and some of the special breeds that are found at Arabuko Sokoke are bred here and then send to live displays all over the world.
Snakes at Gede are normally brought/rescued by locals in the villages and kept for educational purposes before being released to Arabuko Sokoke Forest. For an extensive experience, Watamu Snake Farm formerly known as Bioken Snake Farm offers a guided tour of their farm where you can see East Africa’s largest collection of snakes. They charge Sh1,000 per person.
Watamu Marine National Park & Reserve
Best visited early in the morning, Watamu Marine National Park is the United Nations Biosphere Reserve and one of the oldest and best snorkeling areas on the coast. It is 4.2km from Watamu town. With over 600 fish species, the clear waters make spotting them stress-free and there are higher chances of spotting dolphins with ease as compared to Wasini in Diani. On some rare occasions, whale sharks have also been spotted in the area. The entry fee is Sh 200 per adult and Sh125 per child but you can negotiate the boat ride prices with the vendors.
Mida Creek and Lichthaus by Temple Point
The main reason why we wanted to visit Watamu was to experience the famous nets/ hammocks at Litchaus – the bar where the sun drops into Mida Creek. The place is quite popular and we had to make prior reservations so that the hammocks can be reserved for us. The beauty in this place is unsurpassed and true to the reviews, it got quite packed as the sunset approached. I still can’t believe I dived into the ocean and swam along Mida Creek – a mangrove forest that is home to several species of fish and sea turtles, and a refuge for birdlife. I recommend an evening dhow cruise at Mida Creek which can be organised by the hotel.
Seven Island Resort and Papa Remo Beach
Located on the shores of the Indian Ocean overlooking the majestic and famous seven Islands of Watamu, this luxury residential complex is one of the best places I have been to. The resort is named after the seven islands that create Crystal Bay and it is well known for the epic beach parties that they host every Saturday. Walk-in guests are allowed to join the party and the gate charges are Sh250 for the ladies and Sh500 for the gents. The beach is exquisite and dreamy, and I haven’t stepped on softer sand. I wish I had more time to explore.
One thing that is taking me back to Watamu is the crab samosas from Crabshack Dabaso restaurant that I didn’t have a chance to try out and a visit to the picturesque Watamu Treehouse. Arabuko Sokoke National Park is also a great spot to add to the bucket list so that I can see the Golden-Rumped Elephant Shrew.