Things to do on land, right in Watamu (or not far)
From encountering wildlife to purely human pursuits, there is as much to do on dry land as there is in the water. Here is just a selection.
There is a new, well kept 9-hole "pitch & putt" golf course in north Watamu, about 7 minutes from Heavenly. Lessons are offered and there's a driving range, too.
Mida Creek Mangrove Board Walk & Bird Hide
At the far and of Mida Creek is the wonderful community project of the Mangrove Board Walk. Here you can meet up with well trained guides with vast knowledge on the trees, creatures and birds of the mangrove mud flats. The Bird Hide offers excellent viewing of shore birds. Enjoy a refreshing drink of coconut water straight from the coconut and maybe take a trip in a local dugout canoe.
A hit among kids and well respected among Kenyans country wide, this centre has pretty much every type of snake found in Kenya, from the most benign to the most deadly. Kids can hold the harmless ones and chamelions, too. The centre does excellent work in developing anti-venoms and is a fountain of information on everything snakey.
Watamu is blessed by hundreds of nesting turtles throughout the year. Fortunately they have an enormous team of humans offering support & protection by way of Watamu Turtle Watch. Go to the visitors' centre to learn about the turtles' journey & challenges, see injured turtles being nursed back to health, and discover where you might get to see hatchlings in action. The WTW Facebook page is updated often. And look at this amazing video of the first leatherback turtle known to lay eggs in Kenya, on our beach in Watamu! And these hatchlings from a different nest. Wow!
Arabuko Sokoke Forest Nature Preserve
Like going on a mini safari! The largest intact coastal forest in East Africa, the Arabuko Sokoke Forest contains 20% of Kenya's bird species and 30% of its butterfly species, not to mention elephants, monkeys, and a multitude of species found only here. A haven for birders, arborists and walkers.
Andrew McNaughton, beach artist
A passionate naturalist based in Watamu, Andrew McNaughton uses found, recycled or sustainable items such as flip flops, bottle tops, toothbrushes and natural materials to create a multitude of colorful sculptures. He welcomes visitors to his workshop, where he collaborates with a number of other artists to complete their creations.
Gede Ruins & Kipepeo Butterfly Project
A Swahili town that existed from the 13th or 14th to 17th centuries, Gedi was a thriving community along the jungle coast of East Africa. Although no written record exists of this town, the Muslim inhabitants traded with people from all over the world. Treasures found here included beads from Venice, coins and a Ming vase from China, an iron lamp from India, and scissors from Spain. The population was estimated to exceed at least 2500 people. Part of the National Museums of Kenya.
Also here is the Kipepeo butterfly project, where more than a dozen species are bred in support of local forest community conservation and livelihoods. The butterfly house abounds with fluttering friends, and an education centre to learn all that the butterflies contribute to the local economy.
A lovely way to see another side of the area, pedaling past quaint villages and farms. Aqua Ventures has Trek 4500 bikes, trail guies and backup vehicles to make an excursion effortless (well, except for the pedaling part). For more info click here, then click on "other activities".
The Crab Shack
There are many restaurants in Watamu, but none as unique as the Crab Shack, set overlooking the sunset on Mida Creek. Run by the Mida Creek Conservation Community, all seafood is locally and sustainably procured, and and all restaurant profits go back into conservation activities. Take a stroll through the mangroves along the 200 metre boardwalk to this secret gem. Open for breakfast, lunch & dinner.
The new Medina Palms resort, just a 5 minute drive from Heavenly, has a wonderful spa with body treatments, manicures, pedicures and more in an elegant setting. For more information, see its menu of services.