Things to do in Watamu, Kenya
Laid-back little Watamu looks out over the Indian Ocean and enjoys a blinding white-sand beach and a soft breeze coming off the water. It's a gorgeous slice of coastline and one that includes its own marine national park. As well as its natural endowments, great dining scene and relaxed village vibe, Watamu makes an excellent base, here are our top things to do in Watamu.
Crab Shack- A unique community dining experience
Built on stilts in the mangrove forest, the Crab Shack Restaurant is community project where you get to enjoy the freshest fish and seafood from Mida Creek. All the proceeds go to helping the surrounding community flourish. Sunset is the best time to go and watch the sunset over the water with a cold drink. Book a water-edge table.
As the great saying goes, when was the last time you did something for the first time? In Watamu’s prime kite conditions, take this opportunity to try something completely new and exciting with a three day beginner kite-surf course.
Turtle Watch and Local Ocean Trust
Started by local residents in 1997, this not for profit organisation uses practical conservation, community involvement and development, education, research and campaigning to protect Kenya’s marine environment. They rehabilitate turtles on site and if you’re lucky you may be able to help them release one back into the ocean – a truly special experience.
The largest and most intact coastal forest in East Africa, Arabuko-Sokoke stretches 420 km2 along the East coast. With 20% of Kenya's bird species, 30% butterfly species and at least 24 rare and endemic birds, mammals and butterfly species, the forest is really a glorious natural space. Take an early morning or late evening trip for a walk in the forest, including birds and wildlife - many elephants!
From the 13th century, Gede Ruins is an ancient town surrounded by tropical forest located between Watamu and Malindi. It was once a developed, cosmopolitan area with archaeological evidence of artifacts from around the world such as Ming Chinese vases and Venetian glass, and researchers are still baffled as to why Gede was abandoned all those centuries ago.
Bio-Ken Snake Farm
One of the most interesting activities in Watamu is the incredible research centre and snake farm that houses the largest collection of snakes in East Africa. Bio-Ken is open to the public with an entrance fee of 1000/- for a fascinating guided tour of the 100+ species including snakes, tortoises, lizards and a chameleon.
Dhow Trips on Mida Creek
Watch the sunset with a cocktail (or mocktail) in hand from the comfort of a majestic dhow as you sail through Mida Creek. Trips are run at sunset and include a sailing trip down the creek with drinks and bitings - or even a full meal.
Shop at Shakir's
Beautiful patterns and silky smooth fabrics made into clothes fill the shelves of Shakir’s boutique shop in Watamu village. From toddler sizes to XXL, from smart men’s shirts to harem pants, flowing women’s dresses and bathrobes, Shakir’s has a great collection with which to spoil yourself or your loved ones back home.
Day Trip to Che Shale
One may think that once you’ve seen one Kenyan beach you’ve seen them all; that would be a rather unfortunate assumption. About an hour and a half drive north of Watamu lies the untouched beaches of Che Shale, featuring completely unique landscapes, kite-surfing and a seafood restaurant featuring soft-shell crab.
Take a Trip to Malindi
Malindi is Watamu’s Northern neighbouring town, dating back to the 13th century. Much bigger than Watamu, Malindi has many shops and restaurants, as well as bars and night clubs. Malindi also has a museum, historical monuments and a number of surfing spots.
Golf at Vipingo Ridge
One of Kenya’s top courses, Vipingo Ridge lies between the coastline and the rolling inland hills. It is the only PGA accredited course in East Africa and boasts gorgeous views, fine Bermuda grass and a computerized irrigation system that maintains those lush, emerald-green hues.