‘Watamu Patamu’ is a popular Kenyan phrase coined for this top beach destination. ‘Tamu’ is a Swahili word meaning ‘delicious’, so the phrase loosely translates to ‘Watamu the pleasant place’- and for good reason. Watamu is a blue paradise offering just the right amount of calm and adventure mixed in with endearing Swahili culture and hospitality. Covered in fine white sandy beaches and beautiful palm trees, this is a haven on Kenya’s North Coast that we’d recommend to anyone looking to visit.
The easiest way to get to Watamu is by flight. Kenya Airways, Jambo Jet, AirKenya and Fly560 all offer daily flights to Malindi Airport from where Watamu is about a 30-minute drive away. Cabs should cost you between 2,000-3,000 shillings.
Things to Do
1. Sail the Dew of the Sea
Take a sundowner ride along Mida Creek on Dew of the Sea. Sail the traditional Swahili dhow and enjoy delicious Swahili meals right on the boat. You can also rent the dhow for a day trip to see the dolphins earlier on in the day and enjoy brunch on the boat.
2. Gedi Ruins
Gedi Ruins is a 12th Century Swahili village that was mysteriously abandoned about 600 years ago. The ruins are beautifully overgrown with indigenous forest trees such as baobabs and tamarind. The site is a relic of the Arab-African settlements found along the East African coast and now a National Museum which you can explore.
Tribe Watersports is the number one destination for watersports in Watamu. Take your pick from kitesurfing, stand up paddle boarding, water skiing and wakeboarding. For visitors looking to kitesurf in particular, Tribe is ranked a world class training centre. With 18 years of experience teaching Kitesurfing, the team at Tribe are always on hand to guide you in your best route of progression. From first timers to individuals that have tried once or twice in the past, there is always an option to ensure you get the most effective lesson for you.
4. Sailing Cassandraville
Sail on a catamaran on Mida Creek with Cassandraville as the sun sets against the calm waters. Cassandraville owner, Bill and his team will make you feel right at home as you sail and swim with them. You’re welcome to bring your own refreshments and they’ll make a pitstop at Crab Shack at the end of your trip for fresh crab samosas!
This floating bar is perfectly situated at the end of a dock overlooking the Indian Ocean at sunset. Mesh hammocks hang off the side of the bar for guests to relax on. The bar is well stocked with all the sundowner essentials and has plenty of bar food available. The playlist, is also always on point with lo-fi beats and the occasional tropical house to enhance that ‘on holiday’ mood.
Be sure to book your table in advance (particularly the hammocked ones) as this spot gets busy.
6. Visit Garoda Beach
This public beach is the perfect place to spend the day. When the tide permits, you can walk along the pristine white beach and wade into the azure ocean. Here, the waves are less aggressive and you can swim leisurely. There are also daybeds available as well as lots of refreshments at a small fee.
7. Yoga at Watamu Treehouse
Watamu Treehouse was built with yoga groups and personal retreats in mind. Owners Paul, Aja and Vera are passionate yogis who placed their collective know-how into the structure of the stay, making it the perfect wellness getaway. In true biophilic style the Treehouse is set right next to a lush mangrove forest with an ambience set up to clear the mind and relax the body.
2 dedicated studios also offer daily asana and meditation sessions. In case you’re feeling peckish, nourishing meals made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients are also readily available.
Places to Eat
The Crab Shack
Crab Shack is a staple in Watamu. The 200-meter boardwalk through the mangroves opens up to a wooden stilt hut, Crab Shack, with a panoramic view of Mida Creek. The restaurant is run by Dabaso Creek Conservation Group that works on conservation projects within the local community. Our recommendation? The crab of course! Alongside their other great options of freshly caught seafood.
Amici Miei is a little slice of Italy in Watamu. Come here for fresh pastries an strong espresso as you sit and watch the town buzz by over catch ups with a friends or a solo date. The cafe is also a great place to enjoy breakfast, brunch, or an afternoon tea.
Watamu enjoys tropical weather throughout the year with average annual temperatures around 26-30 degrees Celsius during the day and lower 21-24 degrees Celsius at night. January to March are the warmest months, with daytime temperatures at 32 degrees celsius while July and August are typically the coolest with average temperatures around 27 degrees Celsius.
Best Time to Go
While the region experiences pleasant weather throughout the year, July through October is considered the best time to visit Watamu. Weather during this period is fairly cool with clear, sunny skies.