Of all the wonderful coastal destinations in Kenya, Watamu Beach town is the place I like best and it is not difficult to see why this town keeps drawing me back in. I first visited with Mark in October 2020 when most parts of the world were still closed off to visitors.

We had just moved to Kenya from Lagos and were looking forward to spending time outdoors. After some deliberation and suggestions from friends, we chose Watamu Beach as the ideal location to unwind after our safari at the Masai Mara.

Watamu sandbank

We spent 2 weeks on the beach and I loved it! I’ve returned twice since then and my love has not waivered. Hopefully, you will find all the information you need to plan the perfect beach holiday within this guide and maybe you will fall in love with Watamu Beach too!

Watamu Beach: Know Before You Go

Watamu Marine National Park Snorkelling

Know Before You Go!

Best Time to Visit Watamu Beach: Watamu is a year-round destination with April-June [usually] being the rainiest months.

Getting Around: The easiest way to get around Watamu Beach is via tuk-tuks and motorbikes. You can easily flag one down on the road or ask your hotel to call one for you.

Language: Swahili, English, Italian

Currency: Kenyan Shillings (KSH)

How to Get to Watamu Beach

The easiest and fastest way to get to Watamu Beach is to fly to Malindi, which has the closest airport. From Malindi International Airport, the town is a short 30-minute ride away by taxi or car rental.

If you’re not keen on flying, you can either drive down or take the 6-hour-long SGR train ride from Nairobi to Mombasa and then take a taxi from there to Watamu.

If you decide to go via this route, I recommend taking the intercounty (morning) train or spending one night in Mombasa before continuing the journey to Watamu as it takes another 2-3 hours to get there from Mombasa.

PS: If you need the number of a good driver to pick you up from Malindi International Airport or Mombasa Terminus to your hotel in Watamu Beach, leave me a comment below and I’ll share the number of the driver we used with you via email.

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Where to Stay in Watamu Beach

Choosing the right place to stay can elevate your experience in Watamu. Luckily, you will find accommodation options for every budget type in this town. During peak travel seasons and holidays, it is important to book in advance to secure your preferred accommodation.

Kobe Resort Watamu Beach Garoda

Regarding where exactly to base yourself, it all depends on your preference. Mine is to stay somewhere right on the beach, however, this often comes with a higher price tag.

That being said, the last time I visited Watamu with my sisters, we spent some of our time in a private Airbnb accommodation that was a 5-minute walk away from the beach and it was marvellous!

There's also another thing to consider when choosing your accommodation - which part of the town to stay in? A fork in the road splits Watamu into two parts. The left side has more restaurants, shops and activities going on, while the right is quieter, has the best beaches and is closer to the creek.

If you have a good amount of days to spend, it might be great to split your stay between the two parts to get a feel of both. However, commuting from one side to the other is so easy, that this might not be necessary if you find a place you love.

Now for my recommendations, here are some of the best places to stay in Watamu. I put a (*) in front of the places I've personally stayed at and I can easily recommend all of them.

Watamu Crystal Bay Resort

Best Accommodations in Watamu

Luxury: Hemingways Watamu

Mid-Range: Kobe Suite Resort* | Medina Palms | Visiwa Beach Resort* | Crystal Bay*

Budget: Watamu Beach Cottages | Bamba Kofi Tented Camp*

Airbnb and Unique Stays: Anita and Sofia's House* | Watamu Treehouse

Now, let's move on to the best part - what to do in Watamu Beach! Though it might seem like a sleepy town on the surface, there's an array of activities to do here. Here are some of my favourites…

Fun Things To Do in Watamu Beach

"Dolce far Niente"

The number one thing to do during a beach holiday is to relax. So when you visit Watamu Beach, be sure to take some time to indulge in the sweetness of doing nothing.

Enjoy long beach walks on the beach and the feeling of the powdery white sands against the soles of your feet; take dips in the ocean, relax by the pool, watch the sunrise and sunset and appreciate all the simple pleasures of life in Watamu.

Tip: Temperatures on the coast can be high; pack a good sunscreen and book accommodation with AC and a pool!

Go on a Snorkelling or Diving Trip

A fun activity to do while in Watamu is to go snorkelling or scuba diving in Watamu Marine National Park & Reserve.

Watamu Marine National Park Snorkelling

There are several boat operators that organize this outing, you can simply ask your hotel for a recommendation. Also, if you travel during the right season, you can go whale and dolphin watching in this marine park as well.

Go Kayaking or Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

Another fun activity to do in Watamu is to go kayaking or paddle boarding on Mida Creek. This tour takes you on a beautiful journey through the mangroves and culminates with epic sunset views over the creek.

You can organize this tour via Watamu Treehouse or leave me a comment below to request the number to book this activity directly with the operator.

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PS: Watamu Treehouse has an array of activities they organize as well, including yoga classes and an award winning tidal float experience, which I am looking forward to trying out soon! You can visit their website here for more information.

Sail on a Dhow on Mida Creek

A dhow ride on Mida Creek is one of my favourite things to do in Watamu. It is such a relaxing and serene activity and one that I absolutely recommend for you to include in your itinerary.

There are several operators that organize this activity. We've gone with three different operators and they were all excellent but I only have contact details for one, which is Captain Sammy Dhow Boat. You can book this experience via their Whatsapp number.

Schedule a Spa Day

Every beach holiday deserves an allocation for a day at the spa and in Watamu Beach, the place to go is Sakina Ocean Spa in Medina Palms.

Spa Day in Watamu Medina Palms

You can make a half a day trip out of this outing by booking a full spa session and wrapping up your time with dinner at the resort's restaurant.

Go Golfing

If you're looking to indulge in some sporting activities while in Watamu Beach, then why not try golfing at the Watamu Pitch & Putt golf course near Crystal Bay Resort.

Watamu Crystal Bay Golf

They have golf clubs for rent, so you do not need to bring your set.

Learn how to Kitesurf

Speaking of sporting activities, here's another one to try out - Kitesurfing! If you've always wanted to learn how to kitesurf, you can take some lessons in Watamu.

Take a Day Trip

I could spend weeks in Watamu without feeling the need to go anywhere else, but if you grow restless and want to see more of the area, you can take a day trip to visit places like Hell's Kitchen Marafa, Gede Ruins, Arabuko Sokoke forest and even Tsavo East National Park.

Red Elephants of Tsavo SGR Sightings

Now, let's talk about the food - which is another good reason to visit.

Where to Eat in Watamu Beach

I have written a blogpost dedicated to some of the restaurants we dined at in Watamu. You can check it out for the full list and my reviews of each place.

Where to eat in Watamu

Don't miss dining out in Watamu. Skip the full board option and enjoy some of the wonderful restaurants the town has to offer.

If you book a self-catering accommodation, then you can shop for food and groceries at the local stands or the more accessible but pricier supermarket in the town - Blue Marmalade.

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Kobe Suite Resort Restaurant

As you can see, there's a lot to love about Watamu Beach! This place has all the elements in place to make a perfect beach holiday. I love that it has the ocean as well as the creek, giving visitors a diverse array of activities to do while in the town.

I hope that you have found this guide helpful in planning your trip to Watamu. Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below. And if you have visited in that past, I would love to hear about your experience too!

I love to hear from you, Leave a comment here!


  1. It looks beautiful!

  2. Such dreamy images from Watamu Beach ands its surrounds. As I type this from grey, chilly Tbilisi I just want to dive into these photos. While I think I’d be happy enough just watching the kitesurfing (with a cocktail in hand), I’d definitely be up for some snorkelling. The accommodation looks wonderful and the backyard pool reminds me a little of our digs in Siem Reap.

    • I’m right there with you holding a cocktail and watching the kite surfers do their thing! I do remember your Siem Reap posts, most notably, the one about the accommodation with the snake climbing the tree!!

  3. Looks like my kind of place! Kitesurfing definitely looks intriguing too. I’d give it a try