Watamu, Kenya


IMG_3512From the Great Rift Valley to the eastern shoreline, our Kenyan landscape changed dramatically once again.  We spent 5 nights in the tropical haven of Watamu, Kenya, a small town north of Mombassa by about 60 miles.  Flying into the teeny tiny airport of nearby Malindi, we were immediately struck by the hot and humid weather when we disembarked from the plane, a far cry from the mild temperatures of high-altitude Nairobi and the dryer heat in the valley.

We spent our time in Watamu in a fabulous rental home tucked along the white sand beaches and turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.  It felt like paradise to the girls (to all of us, really), between the pool and the beach, snorkeling along the reefs and exploring the tide pools!  We selected fresh fish from the local fishermen every morning, eating our fill of seafood and curry for lunch and dinner.  Rooftop sunsets completed each day and the open-air concept of the home made for some cooler breezy evenings, a welcome relief from the heat of the day.

For this post, we think the pictures will speak for themselves.  The girls will chime in toward the bottom with their highlights.

ON OUR WAY….

Boarding our flight to Malindi

Boarding our flight to Malindi

Off we go!

Off we go!

Arriving in hot and humid Malindi

Arriving in hot and humid Malindi

HOME LIFE:

Catch of the day, served fresh for lunch and dinner

Catch of the day, served fresh for lunch and dinner

Relaxing poolside at our house

Relaxing poolside at our house

Surprised by a booby-trap - crab under my napkin!

Surprised by a booby-trap – crab under my napkin!

Heading in for a swim

Heading in for a swim

View of the pool from our roof

View of the pool from our roof

Our extended family while staying in Watamu

Our extended family while staying in Watamu

 ZOE:   One of my favorite memories from Watamu will always be exploring our little beach with Dad, looking for shells and other sea creatures. There are so many different kinds of shells here compared with our beach in New Hampshire.  We started a little collection to put on my dresser in my bedroom at home.  Once, while snorkeling off our beach, we found a HUGE, bright blue starfish that was just beautiful.  

SNORKELING

Twice while in Watamu we took a small, glass bottom boat out to a coral reef nearby for some snorkeling. The girls had been practicing with their masks and snorkels in the pool at the house, and were little experts by the time they jumped off the boat.  Of course, there was still a lot of (muffled) screeching and yelling through their snorkels at all the fish sightings! Our trips to the reef in Watamu are hopefully preparing us for our time in Australia at the Great Barrier Reef! 

SCHUYLER: My favorite activity in Watamu was definitely snorkeling. It was such an amazing experience to be able to explore the coral reefs. We dove down under water and peeked into caves, and saw so many brilliantly colored fish. I couldn’t possibly count all the different species we encountered! Two of the most unusual sights were a lion fish and a sea snake.  One of my favorite species was the Moorish Idol fish, which has black and yellow stripes and a long fin or tentacle coming up from its head. Luckily we didn’t run into any dangerous sea creatures!  One highlight was when our snorkeling guide, Mohammed, found an octopus that was able to camouflage itself perfectly to whatever it rested on.  Mohammed went down deep and wrestled with the octopus to bring it to the surface so that we could get a closer look at it.  Also, in Watamu, some parts of the ocean were the most beautiful aqua marine color because there was only white sand at the bottom, while other patches were darker blue because of the coral underneath.  At first, I only wanted to swim in the aqua marine water, but then I learned that the coral reefs are much more interesting and fun to swim around.  Overall, Watamu was relaxing and invigorating at the same time! 

Getting ready to board the glass bottom boat

Getting ready to board the glass bottom boat

We got to ride on top!

We got to ride on top!

Getting ready to snorkel

Getting ready to snorkel

Surrounded by zebra fish

Surrounded by zebra fish

Check out the octopus!

Check out the octopus!

Mohammed brings up an octopus

Mohammed brings up an octopus

Jeff and Jamal performing antics off the roof of the boat

Jeff and Jamal performing antics off the roof of the boat

Jamal's antics were a tad more impressive

Jamal’s antics were a tad more impressive

Looking through the glass bottom

Looking through the glass bottom

Zoe peeking UP through the glass bottom

Zoe peeking UP through the glass bottom

On a sand bar in the middle of the ocean, just after sighting a small shark in the same place!

On a sand bar in the middle of the ocean, just after sighting a small shark in the same place!

Sharks beware!

Sharks beware!

Post snorkeling bliss

Post snorkeling bliss

WATAMU TOWN

To get into the small town of Watamu, we took little three-wheeled cars called “tuk tuks.”  The girls thought this was just about the most fabulous way to travel thus far! In town, we frequented a real Italian gelato store, stocked up on food, and shopped for some Kenyan beach wear (sarongs and lightweight skirts and pants). Here are some photos of the town, and a video clip from a tuk tuk ride.

Tuk Tuk Parking

Tuk Tuk Parking

Typical shop selling a variety of wares

Typical shop selling a variety of wares

Run out of shelf space? Use the trees!

Run out of shelf space? Use the trees!

Jeff enjoying a seafood meal in town

Jeff enjoying a seafood meal in town

Gelato in Watamu!

Gelato in Watamu!

Cozy in the back of a tuk yuk

Cozy in the back of a tuk yuk

THAYER: We had some really cozy pants made out of Indian fabric – they are so soft! We call them parachute pants (because they remind Mom and Dad of the 80’s).  It was SO fun to go on a tuk yuk.  At first I kept calling it a “dik dik” which is not an automobile, it’s an African animal that we saw at Sanctuary Farm.  It was so fun to see all the tiny shops. I really liked it in town!

Watamu was difficult to leave behind as we boarded our flight back to Nairobi.  With 2 nights to go in Kenya, we will squeeze in another visit to the elephant orphanage, and perhaps some giraffe feeding as well.  After our next post on Kenya (which will be the last, we promise!), we head to South Africa for a different African experience altogether.  As always, thanks for reading!

Categories: AFRICA, Watamu, Kenya

5 comments

  1. Love, love, love. From the Elephants to the “dik,dik” and parachute pants, this blog brings me such joy. It also makes me miss you guys terribly!!

  2. It is phenomenal to follow and get a glimpse into your experiences! You will have such fond memories as a family. For this, we are most grateful. ( need to have you in more pics Blair)
    Love and kisses, Mem and Pep

  3. We went in tuk tuks when we were in Guatemala. I miss you guys so much. Have fun!

  4. First of all, Blair you look gorgeous in that post-snorkeling pic! Second, this makes me miss you guys a lot! Wish we were there with you! Looks like so much fun!

  5. Hello Jeff and Blair

    How nice it is to view your global trip!!! Diane and Ron were gracious to have us over to your home in Portsmouth recently. Although we did not see your home before the renovations, we love what you have done….great interior design….so inviting and warm!
    Jean and I are enjoying all your photos and blogs. Your daughters are beautiful! We wish you happy and safe travels as you journey along.

    Love,
    Francine and Jean

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