For Families…What To Do With Kids, On Watamu Beach, Kenya

Get a head start with some local knowledge of all the tips, tricks, contacts, and activities on how to have the best family holiday in Watamu, Kenya.

How to Travel:

A taxi – We recommend Njaguna +254 (0) 722 895752 / 0716 06453 or ask your receptionist / manager to assist.

A tuktuk – A great way to travel around Watamu. It’s fun and memorable and kids love it. We recommend Peter +254 (0) 714886585 or ask your receptionist/manager to assist. Please get a rate first so you don’t have to keep haggling.

Camel on the beach – You’ll probably be overcharged .. but that’s what holidays are all about…

Walk on the beach – FOC!

Activities:

inland:

  • Bio Ken Snake Farm – A very simple, no-frills, award-winning organisation that does soooo much to save lives throughout Kenya (from snake-bites) … and further. It’s open from 10am -12 midday & 2pm to 5pm. We recommend visiting when they ‘milk’ the snakes i.e. getting the anti-venom. We recommend calling them on +254 (0) 707 577748  to check when this is. Child friendly to the extreme … in fact every child visiting Watamu should do this (even if us Mummy’s are nervous…).
  • The Gedi Ruins Not far from Watamu, near the junction with the main Mombasa-Malindi road, lie the Gedi Ruins, a National Museum site and a window into the mysterious past of this stretch of coastline. The town of Gedi was a Swahili settlement established in the 13th-century town and inhabited by sailors, traders, and settlers from Oman who plied the spice trade between the Middle East and Africa. Hmmmm … Child friendly? It may not be the best part of their holiday, but we feel its important!

Local Ocean Trust

This NGO works to rescue, rehabilitate and conserve the environment for turtles native to the Kenyan coastline. A visit to their premises to understand the work that they do and visit some of the fascinating patients in the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Centre is a great way to teach kids the importance of caring for our oceans and their inhabitants. Child friendly to the extreme!

  • Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve and National Park – This is the largest remaining coastal forest in Eastern Africa. The entire reserve covers 420km2 and is home to many different rare species of birds (more than 270 species), mammals, butterflies and plants. A small herd of elephants frequent a watering hole within the forest most evenings but what excites those in the know it that it is home to many endemic species. Child friendly? We’d definitely recommend you take them to see the elephants in the evening with a sundowner/kids supper.
A family walk around the Sokoke Forest
  • GolfWatamu is fortunate enough to have a small nine-hole golf course. This is a perfect family or friendly outing which lasts two and a half hours … or … if this is something you seriously enjoy, we’d thoroughly recommend you take a day trip (about an hour drive each way) to Vipingo Ridge Golf Course. Just past Kilifi, it’s beautiful and a lovely clubhouse ideal for lunch.  

On the Seas:

  • Deep-Sea Fishing – East Africa, especially Watamu is a Mecca for deep-sea fishermen, with many World and all-Africa records being held in Kenya. We recommend Unreel Fishing. Call/WhatsApp on +254 (0) 758987491 or +254 (0) 710350963. They offer ½ day, full day, night & day-night-day trips. Their policy is to tag and release all billfish and other designated endangered species such as Giant Trevally. There are six types of billfish, striped, blue and black marlin, sailfish, swordfish, sharks, wahoo, yellow fin tuna, and dorado. Boats typically depart in the early morning, trawl for bait and then head out to the deep water to wait for the big catch. The fishing season is August to March (billfish season from November to March). Not child friendly until they get the taste for fishing and then a perfect Dad & son day out!!
  • Glass Bottom Boat – Contact Mohammed +254 (0) 727 483849 / 719 315612 to book ‘a private boat’ in advance. The reef can get a bit over-populated in high season so make sure he takes you ½ an hour earlier than the ‘crowds’ and then ask him if you can leave when the crowds arrive. A very Kenyan 1-2 hour excursion in a shaded glass-bottom boat, which will take you out to the sandy reef to snorkel in the pools and have a walk around the reef. This boat is nothing fancy at all, but full of character and the kids will have a ball. Take water to drink. Child friendly to the extreme … in fact every child visiting Watamu who likes snorkeling should do this.
  • Whale Watching – Again we’d suggest you ask Mohammed to take you, again ½ hr earlier than the crowds! Whale sharks can be spotted between October and April, but are most common in November and December, and this is also the season for humpback whale sightings. Extremely child friendly… why not tie it in with the snorkeling?
  • Deep-Sea Diving – For complete beginners and experienced divers alike. It is also possible to do a ‘fun dive’ where no experience is required and a guide takes you down to 6 metres. Due to the Indo-Pacific current, the Indian Ocean boasts the same fish species as Australia: manta rays; reef, hammerhead, and whale sharks; turtles and multi-coloured reef fish in coral gardens as well as Octopus, Scorpionfish, Turtles, whales, sharks & much, much more …. We recommend Aqua Ventures at Ocean Sports & the Turtle Bay Dive Centre. They can both arrange a wide range of deep-sea diving excursions including certified PADI diving courses and wreck diving. Not child friendly… The minimum age is 10 years old.

In Between the Seas & the Land:

  • Enjoy Mida Creek – Stretching inland from the sea into Arabuko Sokoke Forest is one of Watamu’s true hidden treasures. Mida Creek, a broadwater tidal creek surrounded by extensive mangroves and lined with palms… we suggest visiting one of the restaurants along the creek and watching the sun going down with a dawa in hand!
  • Sundowners on a Dhow – In our opinion, no trip to Watamu is complete without a sundowner trip on a dhow. Either take on the whole dhow with friends or book a couple of seats. For a change of pace, sip at your dawa and snack on your bitings as you enjoy a moveable heavenly experience. Drifting through the stunning backdrop of Mida Creek, see the incredible birdlife and even the occasional turtle popping up for a breath… as the sun goes down in the background. We suggest you book either the Mida Dhow or Turtle Bay Dhow.

Shopping:

  • Blue Marmalade – The most exciting mini-supermarket in Kenya!!! As well as fresh fish and homegrown salads, herbs & vegetables, they sell Kenya’s best brands such as The Well Hung Butcher, Highlands Castle Farm, Browns Cheese, Delia’s, and Salmon from Smokey Oakeys. They have incredible imported sauces, drinks, cheeses & hams, as well as toiletries … mmmm.
  • Shakir – Indian cotton heaven! Go here to buy Kikoy, Kanga, or anything made from Indian cotton i.e. sari pants and Indian cotton tunics. 
  • Sooz Joolz – Is a fabulous one-man band that crafts the most beautiful ocean-inspired be-gemmed jewelry and sells it from a shop in her home (and WhatsApp). Predominantly silver, but she does gold also … this pretty reasonable jewelry is a ‘must’ for friends back at home, perfect for teens, and pretty perfect for that present drawer! Call or WhatsApp her on+254 722 709257 and arrange a visit.
  • Coast & Shabby – Is also a great place to visit. They sell beautiful coastal clothes, trinkets as well as furniture and luxury goods, art & décor.
  • Turtle Bay Gift Shop – Is ideal for kids’ pool toys, beach clothes & cossies, adult beach cossies, and gifts to take back home. There is also a beautiful jeweler here.
  • Watamu’s Mitumba – The main street of sleepy Watamu village is laden with second-hand ‘Mitumba’ stalls full of hidden gems.

Recommended Restaurants in Watamu:

Please book or ask us to book for you to avoid disappointment (and please advise us if it is for a special occasion).

On the Beach

  • Ocean Sports – The old favourite … it has a beachfront location and bohemian vibe that makes you want to spend the entire day on their sunny deck drinking chilled rose & eating sushi. It’s the go-to place for Watamu’s residents & visitors alike … day & night, special occasions, televised sports events or just to party all night. Ocean Sports is also a great place for the kids as there’s a great playground, it’s next to the beach so they can play here and their pizzas … according to our kids are the best in the world. Call/WhatsApp to book in the evenings +254 (0) 724 389 732. Child friendly – very.
  • Kobe Beach Restaurant – A white-washed chillaxed/trendy beach restaurant. Located on the beach under shaded trees that offers a huge selection of food, from sea fish to a tonne of vegetarian dishes to burgers … something for everyone! You could happily sit here for hours sipping at chilled Rose, putting the world to right.  Call/WhatsApp to book +254 (0) 700 951 951.
  • Amici Miei / Visiwa Beach resort – Located opposite Blue Marmalade, overlooking the sea, this wonderful little ‘restaurant & rooms’ is a Watamu highlight. Owned & managed by a charming Italian family, it offers all the seafood you desire, with an Italian slant. The swimming pool is ‘right there’ so kids can swim whilst you have a lovely lunch! Call to book +254 (0)795 577110. Child friendly – very.
  • Papa Remo – A beach bar/café/restaurant right on the beach. On Papa Remo beach, there is freshly caught fish daily from which they create amazing pasta dishes, authentic Italian pizza, and incredible cocktails .. enjoy them with your toes in the sand! Call to book +254 41 2009174. Child friendly – there is sand all around and the sea, but not a pool.
  • Rock & Sea Panoramic Restaurant – A rustic restaurant perched on top of a hill overlooking the sea all around. They serve great seafood and delicious cocktails .. the perfect place to while away your day with the breeze in your hair. You’ll need to book in advance(Call/Whatsapp +254 799 670253) for many reasons, but partly because you’ll need to hop on a boat for 5 minutes to get here. Not great for teeny kids or toddlers, but fun for adventurous kids of all other ages.

In the Creek:

  • The Crab Shack A rustic place with incredible views across Mida Creek and a feeling of peacefulness and serenity. The sun sets in the west and Mida Creek is one of the only places in Watamu where you can see it. Run by the Dabasco Creek Conservation group, this hidden gem is perched above the creek on a series of raised platforms. It’s famed for its mouthwatering crab samosas but it offers a full seafood menu, try grilled lobster and crab, veggie curries, fresh salads, and their Mnaazi drink. Call to book +254 (0) 725 315562. Not great for teeny kids or toddlers, but fun for adventurous kids of all other ages.
  • Lichthaus – Ideal for the Euro-cool, for those looking to chill, have fun & be cool. You can laze on hammocks hanging over the creek or by night the music is turned up and the best-dressed dudes in town come to dance by the light of the silvery moon. Lichthaus is part of the Temple Point hotel, the best part (in our opinion). The menu is simple: kebabs (chicken, fish, king prawn, or halloumi) served on a massive plate of salad and chapati and a bunch of cocktails and wine. Call to book +254 (0) 722 204 131 / 774 283444. Not great for teeny kids or toddlers, but fun for adventurous kids of all other ages.
  • PiliPan Restaurant – A relaxed open-air restaurant overlooking Prawn Lake and the mangroves beyond.  The cuisine is Asian Fusion, with a specialty in fantastic Indian curries and naan bread.  In addition, there are some fabulous dishes not to be missed including coriander and feta samosas, and lovely sticky spare ribs.  The cocktails are pretty darn special too! Call to book +254 (0) 713 993776. Not great for teeny kids or toddlers, but fun for adventurous kids of all other ages.

Off the beach:

  • Amandina – Is the signature restaurant at Medina Palms, a large but elegant complex with stylishly designed apartments. Amandina offers a good dining experience set high above the treetops cooled by the ocean breeze, the open-sided restaurant offers an elegant environment, though we feel the food isn’t amazing 🙁
  • NON SOLO GELATO – By Anna is the best place to go for Gelati or Italian breakfasts or lunches mmmmm… but sadly it’s seasonal, so you’ll need to ask your hotel first if it’s open?
  • Bahati Gelateria Italiana Andrea – Otherwise known as ‘Andreas’, is a great place to go to enjoy Gelati… and some lunch if you fancy! Nb. Closed on Tuesdays.

Playgrounds in Watamu:

  • Turtle Bay – Not only do they have a great playground (in the shade), but they offer a great kids club to boot!
  • Ocean Sports – Also a great playground for little kids, close-ish to your lunch table…

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