Imagine a destination where the turquoise waters of the world-famous Indian Ocean meet white sandy shores. Welcome to Watamu, a beautiful and serene town on Kenya’s coast. Whether you are into relaxing on the beach or exploring the local culture, Watamu has something interesting for everyone.
While some tourists visiting the town choose to pass the time swimming with dolphins and exploring coral reefs, others laze on the beach all day long. Keep reading for details about the top things to do in Watamu, Kenya if you’re after a fun-filled holiday in the town.
1. Go snorkeling at Watamu Marine National Park & Reserve
The Watamu Marine National Park & Reserve is one of the main attractions in Watamu. Here, you can enjoy snorkeling and diving among the coral reefs and colorful fish.
The tourist attraction is home to some Marine Big Five species, namely whale sharks and dolphins. In fact, it hosts the humpback whale migration.
There’s also a wide variety of bird life to see, including seabirds, waders, and waterfowl.
2. Take a day trip from Mida Creek
Mida Creek is one of the most beautiful areas in Watamu and a great place to spend a day trip. The creek is a natural haven for a wide variety of marine life, including dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles. The tidal creek amongst mangroves is also an ideal location for bird watching along the Kenyan coast.
The best way to experience Mida Creek is by boat. You can hire a boat at the creek or take a guided tour. The guides are knowledgeable about the creek and its inhabitants, and they can help you spot the wildlife.
3. Bask in the sun at Watamu Beach
Lie on the beach and bask in the sun’s rays. Watamu Beach is a great place to do this, as it’s long and wide, with soft, white sand. Plus, there’s always something to look at, whether it’s the locals playing football or the fishermen coming back in with their catch.
4. Check out Gede Ruins
Another amazing thing you can do in Watamu is to check out the Gede Ruins. These ruins are an ancient Swahili settlement that is believed to have been abandoned in the mid-17th century.
The ruins include a fortress, mosques, tombs, and several villages, and they’re located within a beautiful tropical forest that is full of monkeys and other wildlife. There are also unique Swahili cultural artifacts within the ruins that you can explore and learn more about.
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you wander through the ancient city and get lost in history. Even if you’re not into historical sites, it’s worth checking out for its beauty alone. Plus, if you want to learn more about Swahili culture and heritage, there is no better place to explore than at Gede Ruins!
5. Get up close with snakes at Watamu Snake Farm
Are you a fan of snakes? Then drop by Watamu Snake Farm. This is a snake sanctuary, which serves an important purpose — to protect some of the most threatened and endangered species of snakes.
You get to meet and learn about these amazing creatures from the knowledgeable staff. They also have an educational center where you can learn about conservation and how to protect these fascinating creatures. You get to handle some of the snakes too, such as the beautifully marked Kenyan burrowing python. And if you’re brave enough, there are plenty of other reptiles and insects that you can observe and admire.
What we love most about Watamu Snake Farm is that it’s not just a snake farm; it’s also very much focused on conservation. Here, all animals are treated with love and respect. So if you’re looking for something a bit different to do during your stay in Watamu, this is definitely worth a visit.
6. Take a Safari in Arabuko Sokoke National Reserve
If you’re after a major adventure, then why not take a safari in Arabuko Sokoke National Reserve? Located near Watamu town and established in 1990, it’s home to many species of birds and mammals and serves as an invaluable source of conservation. Here, you get a chance to spot endangered species such as the Aders’ duiker and the golden-rumped elephant shrew.
The best part is that it’s only a 20 minutes drive from Watamu, so you can easily spend half a day exploring this unique and beautiful park. To ensure a seamless visit to the wildlife reserve, hire a tour guide and a driver that can show you around and track down local wildlife. And don’t forget your binoculars so you can get a closer look at the majestic birds.
7. Visit the Kipepeo Butterfly House
Kipepeo Butterfly House is a tourist site where the whole family can create new memories. Located close to Arabuko Sokoke National Reserve, this is one of the best places to get up close and personal with nature.
From Monarch butterflies to exotic moths and caterpillars, you’re sure to spot some amazing creatures in this oasis of blooming plants, nectar-filled flowers, and shady trees. Thanks to its open-air design, you can easily view their brilliant colors and graceful movements as they flutter around the garden.
The butterfly house is especially great for those who want to experience a little bit of magic while still keeping it budget-friendly — most of them charge a small fee for entrance which can be quite reasonable compared to other attractions around Watamu.
8. Learn about turtles at Local Ocean Conservation
Get up close to some of Watamu’s amazing wildlife at Local Ocean Conservation. It’s an inspiring place to learn about marine creatures living in and around the town. Here, you can learn more about turtles, which are a big part of Watamu culture, and why they need protection.
You’ll be able to observe the turtles in their natural habitat, help local scientists collect and sort data on them, and be part of the effort to protect these beautiful creatures from poachers. Not only is this an enriching educational experience, but it’s also a great way to connect with nature and make a difference in turtle conservation in Watamu.
9. Dine at Crab Shack Dabaso restaurant
Enjoy delicious seafood and take in gorgeous views of the ocean at Crab Shack Dabaso restaurant. Besides being perched on the shores of the Indian Ocean, it overlooks Kirepwe Island. Moreover, there is a boardwalk leading to this seafood restaurant that’s built through the mangroves.
The Crab Shack Dabaso restaurant is known for its delicious curries made from freshly caught seafood, as well as its wide selection of dishes from around the world. From crab to calamari to shrimp and fish filet, there’s something for everyone here. Plus, the staff is friendly and accommodating, making your meal even more pleasant!
10. Party the night away at Lichthaus bar
Round off your Watamu excursion with a night of fun at Lichthaus bar. Located right by the beach, this bar is hugely popular amongst both locals and tourists alike, who come to dance the night away to some awesome beats.
If you’re looking for a more chilled evening, then grab a cocktail and relax on their terrace or seaside hammocks. They have a wide selection of drinks available, from beers to cocktails and wines — so something for everyone.
On weekends, the bar often puts on live music shows as well as themed nights, so you can get your groove on all night long! Plus, it’s open daily from 12 pm, so you can keep partying till late in the night.
Watamu: a charming seaside town
Watamu beckons! It has plenty of goodies for travelers of all ages. From the list above of things to do in Watamu, you’re sure to find something interesting to keep you busy in the town.