Watamu means home of the sweet people in Swahili

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A small village on the Kenyan coast, the shoreline of Watamu features pristine white sand beaches and offshore coral formations arranged in different bays and sheltered by a reef which sits 200m from the shore.

The area is protected as part of the Watamu Marina National Park and is considered one of the best snorkeling and diving areas on the coast of East Africa. Kenya’s marine protected areas are internationally recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere reserve which means the area is designated as a site of natural excellence and should demonstrate how local communities and the environment can co-exist through careful management of resources. The Marine Park is renowned worldwide for its natural beauty and boasts a diverse marine life from the visiting whale sharks and manta rays to three species of sea turtle. Between June and October, the coast of Watamu is also becoming the home of the other East African “Great Migration” – the annual pilgrimage of humpback whales north from Antarctica in search of warmer tropical inner reefs for breeding.

Hemingways Residences sits just off Turtle Bay Road outside Watamu village. Watamu itself lies approximately 120 kms north of Mombasa and 25 kms south of Malindi. The nearest airport is in Malindi which is 30 minutes by road whilst the nearest international airport is Moi International in Mombasa.

The Swahili culture of the coast is an exotic mix of Omani, Portuguese and Bantu influences. Built on trade, the coastal town of Watamu was once an outpost for ivory, slaves, spices and shells.

Local people are predominantly fishermen and farmers and the coast is rich in exotic fruit and sisal plantations. There is a languid pace to life here, quite different to the hectic rush of Nairobi.

Middle Eastern influences are more apparent at the coast in the architecture and religion. Nearby Malindi has a distinctly Italian influence and just down the road in Watamu village you may be surprised to find pizzerias and gelaterias offering delicious homemade Italian cuisine.

Climate
& weather

The low-lying coast of Kenya creates a tropical climate with wonderful sea breezes. It is at its hottest in March but cools off in July with temperatures ranging between 26C and 32C throughout the year.

The monsoons bring two distinct seasons – when the warm air moves south in March, the longer rains follow in April and May. It moves north again in September bringing the shorter rains of October and November. The southeast wind, called Kusi, blows from mid March to November, cooling the waters. The northeast breeze, called Kaskazi, brings warmer, calm seas throughout the months of December, January and February.

Marine Park

The Marine Park is renowned worldwide for its natural beauty and boasts a diverse marine life from the visiting whale sharks and manta rays to three species of sea turtle. Further offshore, the waters of the Kenyan coast are considered some of the finest deep sea fishing grounds in the world. 

Between June and October, the coast of Watamu is also becoming the home of the other East African “Great Migration” – the annual pilgrimage of humpback whales north from Antarctica in search of warmer tropical inner reefs for breeding.

Kenya’s marine protected areas are internationally recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere reserve which means the area is designated as a site of natural excellence and should demonstrate how local communities and the environment can co-exist through careful management of resources.

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