Watamu is a great place for a holiday. Besides an amazing beach, Watamu has a protected marine park, a national forest, historic sites and more! You can go deep-sea fishing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, scuba diving ...or just relax and enjoy the view!
Snorkeling and SCUBA diving
Perhaps the biggest attraction is the Watamu Marine National Park. A protected area with beautiful coral heads within the lagoon and along the reef, it's a great place to snorkel or scuba dive. Glass bottom boats can be readily booked to take you out to the Coral Gardens, but there are even live coral heads in the water directly in front of Pa Salama.
Please remember that this is a protected area and the Kenyan Wildlife Service charges park entry fees. Swimming is not a problem, but they might expect you to pay park entry fees if they see you snorkeling around the coral. Glass bottom boat excursions will include park entry fees.
Watamu has an active sporting scene, and it's easily accessible from Pa Salama. Turtle Bay Beach Resort is nearly next door, and their water sports centre welcomes outsiders. You can easily rent a kayak or paddleboat or small sailboat, and windsurfing and scuba diving rentals and/or lessons can be organized from them.
There are kite surfing options in Watamu as well. Tribe Watersports is located at the nearby Medina Palms villas. Tribe can also organize Stand-up Paddleboarding, which is excellent in the lagoon at a calm low tide!
There is an active deep-sea fishing community, so if it's big-game fishing you're after you can easily organize it from one of the fishing boats moored in front of the nearby hotels (Hemingways or Ocean Sports). See this article for more information. There is also smaller-scale fishing in nearby Mida Creek.
Visit historic sites
A short drive from Watamu is the historic Gedi Ruins. Gedi was a settlement of the Swahili-Arabic peoples dating back to the 11th to the 14th centuries. It's a mysterious magical place, as not much is known for certain about when and how and why it was settled or when and why and how it was abandoned!
There is also a terrific butterfly park nearby, the Kipepeo Project. It's beautiful and well worth a visit! Besides offering visitors the chance to see many beautiful butterflies, it supports local area residents by paying them to harvest butterfly pupae (thereby encouraging them to protect the local forests and natural environment) for exporting to butterfly parks around the world.
Enjoy the natural world
Kenya is world-renowned for its wildlife and natural environment, and Watamu is no different!
The beaches of Watamu are home to several species of sea turtles, and the marine park is also a nesting zone. The Watamu Turtle Watch monitors the nests and protects them, as well as rescues injured turtles and releases them back to the ocean.
A short taxi rid from Watamu is the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, a managed and preserved coastal woodland which is home to elephants, buffalo, monkeys and many more animals including the endemic Sokoke Scops Owl (pictured). It's a great place for hiking and relaxing and enjoying the green, peaceful quiet. (Check out the tree platform!)
Nearby is Mida Creek, with mangrove forests and boardwalks for easy access to this coastal wetlands.
Besides the Kipepeo Butterfly Farm in Gede, there is also the Bio-Ken snake park in Watamu, where you can see and learn about various reptiles and hear about their anti-venom program.