Watamu Beach, a superlative Synthesis of Kenya’s Coast
Kenya’s 434 km of coastline is a continuous metamorphosis of scenery. Long, white sand beaches are interrupted by inlets which give rise to immense expanses of mangroves, low cliffs, bays, small archepelagos and deep inlets.
Every tourist town in Kenya is characterised by one of these landscapes, but just Watamu beach with its 15 km of coastline, although it epitomises the very best of all this diversity which is further accentuated by the continuous succession of high and low tides.
If you love long, white sand beaches as much as we do, but find lengthly stays quite boring, you will love Watamu beach. You can walk across long, white sand beaches to then explore below cliffs or around the islands (Mapango in Swahili) in search of small colourful fish or other peculiar and extraordinary sea life that surface or remain hidden.
Only at Watamu can you go, in just a few minues, for a long walk across 6 km of white deserted beach on the north side to reach white bays free of water during low tide, and protected from the sea by a thin chain of islands about one km from the coast, reachable by foot during low tide. The islands stand guard over the corral reef, each one is different from the next, and each is decorated with strange statues formed by the long and slow process of water erosion on rock. The islands are inhabited by different bird species and conceal small sand bays.
You can walk on smooth and rocky sea floors, and on miniscule or wide banks made of coral dust surrounded by turquoise water, observing and photographing birds, mulloscs, wooden boats, fishermen and locals who are just hanging-out, waiting around on the beach for who knows what… and it doesn’t end here. The north side of Watamu beach begins with a large inlet, several hundred meters wide, that extends about 10 kilometers inland. Onboard minute local conoes, you can access small waterways that meander through mangroves inhabited by pink flamingos, ibis, and numerous other bird species.
Still not enough? You can also go to the south side, which the local “marketing” beach boys call “Sardinia two”: a very wide, milk white sand bank that emerges as if by magic during low tide and is surrounded by submerged corral. It is isolated, the perfect place to feel ‘in the middle of nowhere’ or for fishing.
Watamu beach is the most fascinating segment of Kenya’s coastline. We thought so 10 years ago during out first visit here, and it is still true today.