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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

WATAMU / Sardegna 2 - Kenya

Spiaggia di Watamu, Kenya

After a very hard year, we couldn't wait to leave everything behind, take a plane and go to a warm place where we can relax and turn off our heads, so, in October we went to the travel agency to choose a destination that was right for us. I usually do everything on my own online, studying the destination, taking advantage of friends' advices, and booking everything from home, but this time I wanted everything ready, so we left it to someone else. When the agency offered us Kenya I was a little hesitant, I must admit, I don't know why but I wasn't super convinced of it. But I had to change my mind, Kenya was a magnificent discovery and without doubt one of the most beautiful trips of my life.

Departure from Milan Malpensa with Neos, direct flight to Mombasa during the night, then we arrived in Kenya early in the morning. I love traveling to exotic places in winter, leaving the Italian cold behind me and I was certainly not disappointed: 35 ° c, a real dream.

Spiaggia di Watamu, Kenya

From Mombasa to Watamu, the resort where we stayed, it's about 3h by bus: actually it is only 110km but unfortunately the roads are what they are, so we rested and enjoyed the view.

Spiaggia bianca di Watamu, Sardegna 2, Kenya

Watamu is located on the Kenyan coast, washed by the Indian Ocean, just south of Malindi, and is a very popular place for Italian tourists.

Seaside and beaches in Watamu

The beaches are truly fantastic, with fine white sand.

Characteristic of this place is tides, which change every day with intervals of 6 hours, alternating the chance of taking wonderful baths in crystal clear waters with long walks to the coral reef, giving you the opportunity to meet colorful starfish, anemones and fish ball along the way. Uou must bring with you sea shoes for walks, otherwise you risk injuring yourself with the sea urchins hidden among the coral reef.

Along the beaches, outside the confines of the resorts, you will find the beach boys, local people who will persevere in trying to sell you anything: from souvenirs to excursions. They are very good guys, always very kind and smiling and they insist with a lot of sympathy, but it takes a while to learn how to manage them.

Jacaranda Beach Resort ****

Jacaranda Beach Resort, Watamu, Kenya

The Jacaranda Beach Resort covers an area of ​​almost 25,000 square meters on the beach and consists of 130 rooms distributed along the seafront of over 160 meters and in the tropical garden. African-style buildings with characteristic makuti roofs alternating with Arabian constructions will immerse you in the African climate. The main services are strategically placed in the resort.

Jacaranda Beach Resort, Kenya, Watamu

There are three swimming pools with sea water, two large jacuzzis, large spaces with sun loungers both around the pools and on the private beach, a panoramic restaurant with Italian, international and local cuisine with buffet service, show cooking and open grill, a main bar and a beach bar where you can enjoy free snacks and excellent drinks (with soft and all-inclusive formulas). Also a massage, beauty and hairdresser center (upon reservation for a fee), a safari and excursion office where Gledis will always be available to organize your your activities in a personalized way, free wifi in common areas, a 24-hour reception / concierge with TV room and library and finally a boutique, the local art gallery, and the minimarket.

Jacaranda Beach Resort, Watamu, Kenya
Jacaranda Beach Resort, Watamu, Kenya

Accomodations: from Classic to the most exclusive Privilege, to family rooms, to apartments, to the Ocean Suite. Our room was located in the Sultan Area, near the reception and overlooked one of the swimming pools. Large spaces and furniture of the local artisan tradition, with air conditioning and ceiling fan, safe, very large bathroom with shower and hairdryer (not very powerful, if you plan to use it it is better to bring it from home, even if we have never dried our hair, it is always very hot), furnished veranda and balcony, a huge king size bed in Lamu style with mosquito net (which is always better to use given the many insects that come out in the evening) and mini fridge equipped daily with free mineral water-

Jacaranda Beach Resort, Watamu, Kenya

Restaurant: it is managed by an Italian chef, and you can enjoy fresh and organic products from the land and sea of ​​Kenya: vegetables, fish, meat and of course the splendid local fruit (my favorites were pineapple and passion fruit, but be careful not to overdo it especially at the beginning, leave your intestine time to get used to it). The choice is wide, you can taste Italian cuisine (of good quality, contrary to what you might think), international recipes and to local cuisine.

Jacaranda Beach Resort, Watamu, Kenya

The Kuku Restaurant is the Jacaranda's main restaurant with buffet service, show cooking and grill, while for breakfast you can enjoy an excellent intercontental breakfast, all with a splendid panoramic view of the sea and the main pool. Upon reservation, you can dine barefoot on the beach in a relaxing and romantic atmosphere, choosing from extensive menus that offer the best of the Indian Ocean with lobsters, shrimps and giant crabs, land products and even crocodile.

Jacaranda Beach Resort, spettacolo serale

Entertainment: the team is made up of local guys who speak also Italian, who offer the most varied activities in a discreet way without ever becoming intrusive. You can try morning yoga by the pool followed by an aqua-gym session or participate in beach volleyball tournaments, learn Swhaili in the afternoon, participate in dance competitions or win a drink every day with aperitif games. The same team offers an evening program every day that ranges from cabaret to dance competitions or shows such as Sunday night with the Football Team, local kids who will entertain you with spectacular acrobatic performances.

Spettacolo Masai, Watamu, Kenya

Friday is the day dedicated to Africa and will allow you to immerse yourself in the culture of the place from the afternoon with a local cuisine competition, followed by a typical dinner, where you can taste a lot of local dishes: we tasted everything and we were pleasantly hit by the flavors of Kenya. After dinner we strolled among the Masai stalls, where we bought some handmade souvenirs from the most famous tribe of the place, who then entertained us with a show making us immerse ourselves in their world, explaining culture and traditions and showing us some of their dances.

Tramonto a Watamu, Kenya

On Sunday afternoon you can also attend the gospel Mass; a Beach Party is also organized weekly for the most revelers, and there is also the possibility of going to Malindi in a famous beach club with the entertainers to dance until late at night barefoot on the beach (15eur each) While exploring the resort we came across the game room with pool tables, ping pong, foosball, and darts.

Safaris and Excursions: Gledis will always be ready to help you in choosing your activities, adapting them to your needs and offering you the most varied alternatives. We booked the Safari with her, which I will tell you about in a dedicated post.


Other activities you can try when in Watamu:

Spiaggia di Watamu, Kenya

Watamu beach itself is a destination for excursions, however there is a lot to do and see within a short distance. Kenya is not just a beach, it's so much more and appreciating the different scenarios, the colors, the people, makes the holiday richer and more authentic. Several excursion opportunities to choose from, in the sea or the land. You can organize them directly through the resort office, or if you prefer they will also be offered to you by the Beach Boys at lower prices but with less quality. - Jacaranda Bay beach is the ideal place for kiting, thanks to its very windy position especially in the afternoon: 300 meters from Jacaranda Beach Resort there is a club that organizes courses and rents equipment.

- For SCUBA DIVING lovers, the staff of a Watamu school periodically visits the hotel where lessons are held for beginners and open water outings are organized for the more experienced. The best season for diving is from mid-November to the end of March and the presence of the marine park allows you to go out with a diving managed by Italians. For the lucky ones in August there is the passage of whales, while in November and December they are home to whale sharks and manta rays.

Pesce Palla, Watamu, Kenya

This time I did not dive, since Federica does not have a certification and I did not want to leave her alone, but also because of the tides which allowed me to walk directly to the coral reef.

- Blue Safari: the Watamu Marine Park and the mangroves of Mida Creek are the protagonists of this full day excursion, aboard glass bottom boats to observe the underwater flora and fauna of the park. There is time for snorkeling and a swim in front of the Island of Love. Included in the price you can enjoy lunch on the beach with lobsters and prawns. Price proposed by the resort: 65€ per person, discounted if combined with other excursions, and bookable every day.

- Che Shale and Marafa: the golden beach of Che Shale, located on a stretch of sea not protected by the barrier. Cross the mangrove lagoon, eat the famous Lamu crabs, admire the pink flamingos. Separately or on the same day, it is possible to explore the Marafa canyon: a scenario of extraordinary and wonderful geological conformation, known by the nickname of Hell's Kitchen. - The ruins of Gede: an authentic ghost town with stone buildings and a 600-year history. The ruins of Gede, the lost city of merchants, are just a few minutes' drive from Watamu; it is a magical place full of legends in the middle of the forest, where you will make friends with the monkeys, very soft and kind monkeys, eager for cuddles and above all for seeds or bananas.


Spiaggia di Watamu, Sardegna 2, Kenya


- by booking with the travel agency we spent € 1250 each, with the soft inclusive formula and transfers included; - Two days and one night safari at Tsavo East 280 € each; - € 50 or $ 40 airport tax only upon entry, no longer required for Italian citizens to exit; - Souvenirs purchased at the beach stalls or in the resort can be paid in Euros, US Dollars or Kenyan Shillings. Do not be duped by the beach boys who will always start rising, if you are good in the art of bargaining you will get excellent super affordable prices.


Don’t Forget:

Local Currency: The Kenyan Shilling is the official currency of Kenya and is made up of 100 cents. 100 Shillings correspond to 1 Euro, and you can exchange them both at the airport and in the resort, although they accept both Euros and Dollars everywhere. When to go: the best time is from December to March. Between April and June there is the "season of long rains", with a peak in May of about 300 millimeters; in the months of October and November there is that of "short rains", less intense but which can still pose a risk if tanning is your priority. We have always had wonderful weather, with an average of 30 ° C, just a few clouds in the morning until about 11 (which we were always very grateful for) and then sun sun sun until evening, which you can tolerate thanks to the pleasant wind always present.

Visa: as regards the visa, if you are planning a do-it-yourself trip, I recommend that you rely on an agency that will take care of all this paperwork for you and allow you to save time .. The agency provides online travel documents such as visas for entry to countries around the world (but also health declaration forms, embassy documents, passport photos, passport renewals, tourist cards and other documents travel). The site is safe and secure, the service is fast and efficient, and the team is experienced and available 24 hours a day for any need. Relying on will allow you to fully concentrate on your journey without wasting time and struggling with bureaucracy, as well as allowing you to leave with confidence that there will be no hitches once you reach your destination. Click here to go directly to the page to apply for visas and travel documents.

Safety: the situation is not the quietest in the main Kenyote cities, but in Watamu you will be very safe, the local population is very kind and the opportunity to interact is constant and aided by the fact that everyone speaks English, many also Italian. We only left the village for the Safari and the walks along the beach. Health situation: there are no compulsory vaccinations; antimalarial prophylaxis is now done by very few people, not recommended unless you arrive during the rainy season. For food, a minimum of attention is needed only outside the resorts, where it is best to drink bottled drinks; no problem inside the hotels: we binge on fresh fruit, raw vegetables and every dish on offer. Time zone: in Kenya it is GMT +3, which is two hours ahead of Italy, only one during summer time: no jet lag.

Have a nice holiday, Jambo!

Tramonto a Watamu, Kenya

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