Just another day in Watamu..
As I slowly arose to a beautiful day with the sun peeking through my curtains, the light waves splashed delicately against the grand walls built at the edge of the iconic tropical Hemingways Resort located in Watamu; a small coastal town approximately 105 km north of Mombasa and about 15 km south of Malindi on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya.
Watamu is a beautiful and peaceful village on the Kenya Coast, nestled between pristine beaches and lush tropical forest. Since it was first settled as a remote Swahili outpost at Gedi, this area has remained a haven of peace and tranquillity and is still one of the coast’s most undeveloped and natural areas.
For one who frequents the seas and lakes for the love of aqua-nature joined my bae, Sharon who had joined me on this last-minute trip, we set the tone for the day by starting off on a cup or two of some mild freshly brewed Kenyan Arabica coffee also referred to as ‘kahawa’ within the Swahili culture of Kenya, followed by a delicious Swahili breakfast spread.
In the quest to start our exploration, we started with a quick pool dip to keep us cool as we walked along the pristine beach shore under the 35°C scorching sun that hovered over our heads. Uncertain of our destination, we never fell short of the breath-taking scenery that captivated our sensory step by step.
Popular for its diversity of birds amongst birders and ornithologists with over 450 species recorded within 30 km of Watamu, the colourful seabirds flapped their large lightweight wings gliding down gradually to capture their prey in the ocean.
Stepping on further to explore the wonders of Watamu, one footprint left behind the other only to be washed away by the gigantic waves when the tides got higher, we had already hit 10,000 steps still unaware of our final destination. Luckily, we had a great balance from the the cool breeze that blew gently brushing through our brown skin that we protected well from the harsh sunshine rays using our Neutrogena SPF 110. It was these same rays that glistened over the sparkling undulations of the grand ocean creating magic.
Besides the sandy isolated beaches, coral gardens, seabirds and hawksbill turtles, another Watamu spectacle is the coral reef; one of Kenya’s Indian Ocean attractions. I enjoy snorkelling for the simple reason that it has become my only window to experience the marine underworld.
After hours of soaking up as much as we could, we finally jumped into a tuk-tuk get to Lichthaus , a highly recommended sunset bar in Watamu boasting a splendid unspoiled sunset view. God knows we literally got lost in raw and rustic calm ambience in October and will be back to experience more in November.
According to archaeological findings, Watamu has been inhabited from the 13th Century and is home to the Bajuni people who trace their descendants to intermarriage between the local Giriama People.
There is no doubt that Diani beach is my favourite along the coast of Kenya, however there is so much to explore along the coast moving north or south along the Indian Ocean including Watamu which has been my latest exploration.
The Watamu shoreline features white sand beaches and offshore coral formations arranged in different bays and beaches including Garoda Beach, Turtle Bay, Blue Lagoon Bay, Watamu Bay, Ocean breeze, and Kanani reef and Jacaranda beach. They are all protected as part of the Watamu Marine National Park which is considered one of the best snorkelling and diving areas on the coast of East Africa and rated the third-best beach in Africa, for its crystal clear water and silver sand beaches.
If and when you visit Watamu soon, I would advise that you find time to visit the Gedi Ruins, the Kipepeo Butterfly Project and the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve, home to elephants, monkeys and rare birdlife.
Things may be different today as we adapt into new ways of living reigned by new terms and dynamics. However, the world is not over yet. If you can’t fly across the world yet, look within your neighbourhood, region, country or whatever is closest to you and explore it. It could be a walk around your neighbourhood, or an hour drive to experience a different life element not too far from your home, or it could be a flight away. Either way, life is too short. Yesterday is gone, today is here and tomorrow is not promised; all we have is NOW!
Enjoy Watamu when you finally get there.
Multidisplinary Creative Entrepreneur,
Liz Ogumbo – Regisford