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Going to Watamu? Spice things up on your next beach holiday!

23
Jun

Like it or not, it is a long standing Kenyan tradition to go on a beach vacation and do nothing but sun bathe, splash around in the pool and maybe venture into limited culinary experiences. We’d rather stick to our comfort zones than obey the quiet little voice inside that’s nudging us toward unchartered territory.Ticketsasa, however, would like to challenge you to explore your sense of adventure.Welcome to our series of things you can do on your next beach holiday to break the monotony that is; retreating to a different town just to do the same thing you'd do back home (we see you "destination drinkers").  

About Watamu

Watamu is located between Blue Lagoon and Watamu Bay, only 105 km north of the infamous Mombasa town, and was voted the second best beach in Africa in 2012 according to this CNN article. A hidden gem that's mostly appealing to non residents hoping to take advantage of its amiable climate, Watamu is vastly undiscovered by local tourists owing to it's quiet, serene ambience. Little do we know, however, that Watamu is a paradise within our reach if only we took the time to explore it. Try out a number of these activities during your next visit to Watamu.

 Glass Bottom Boat Tours

Watamu Boat Marine excursions run majority of the 15 boats in the area. Boat excursions are optimal for viewing marine life if you aren't gifted in the art of floating and self-propelling in water. October - March is the best time to view endangered mammals such as dolphins and whales. Boat operators are sensitive to conservation issues and ensure that they cause as little damage as possible to coral inhabitants. Make it your mission to cross " touching a dolphin's dorsal fin" or "sitting in the boat and giving people touching dolphins' dorsal fins disapproving looks" off your list by the end of this year!

Gede Ruins

Dating as far back at the 12th century are the Gede Ruins. Consisting of palaces, mosques and houses nestled within a 45 acre forest; the city thrived and supposedly fell in in the first half of the seventeenth century due to the Galla raids, the falling water table and the imminent threat of the Portuguese, just to name a few. The coral structures still stand tall and attest to the cosmopolitan nature of the settlers at the time. Brush up on your history lessons and peek around the eerie yet hauntingly beautiful town. You can read more about how "haunted" local inhabitants think this place is here  and here. Ghost buster, history enthusiast, relic hunter or just a curious passer by, this place is definitely worth the trip.

 

Diving

Upon conducting a brief census in the office, we were utterly shocked to find out (well, more disappointed than shocked) that majority are not in the least bit enthusiastic about water sports. We reckon Kenyans haven't really warmed up to the idea of  swimming with the sharks or poking about in coral reefs. We understand that with close to 700,000 species dwelling in our oceans, a general fear of the unknown is far from implausible but with the safe guidance from knowledgeable instructors, we don't see why you shouldn't embark on your very own underwater odyssey.Watamu Marine Park is the main attraction in a diving set up.Visibility is optimum from November to March. Parrot fish, surgeon fish, green sea turtles, nudibranch, angel fish, tang, barracudas, reef sharks (and thankfully not pirañas) are predominant here.

Experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a shoal of migratory whales from South Africa between the months on June and September. We would advise swimming in the lagoon since the reef hinders all large creatures from venturing therein. If jaws and sharknado never tickled your fancy, this sort of lagoon arrangement should be just the thing for you. The seasonal diving chart below should be of some use:

via diveinKenya.com

Picture courtesy of diveinkenya.com

Amateurs can start off with the pool before they can be entrusted with scuba gear. Scuba gear consists of a mask, breathing apparatus and a tank. Rather than the ambient 21% Oxygen, 78% Nitrogen and 1% rare gases, this breathing gas contains a little more oxygen and a little less Nitrogen to ensure the partial pressure of the whole set up is well balanced thus preventing decompression sickness( which is basically bubbles in your lungs). Calm down neurotics, scuba diving is a lot safer than it sounds. Discover Watamu's imaginary lost city of Atlantis, find Nemo, pet a turtle, do somersaults,dance with the sharks under water (yes this happened), or stumble upon buried treasure and land in Nairobi, resignation letter in hand due to your newly acquired income. All we're saying is, the possibilities are endless.

Kite Surfing

Voted one of the best kite surfing spots in the entire globe, Watamu is perfect for the sport because of its crystal clear waters and optimum winds such as the Kaskazi wind (November - March), the Kuzi wind (May - October). The coral reef, about half a kilometre off shore, and Mida Creek, provide excellent flat  and calm waters for the sport. Land face first and belly flop a few times before you master this rather involving sport. Sure you'll start out on the beach like a 5-year-old with a simple 3m kite but once you master this you'll be launching, landing, body dragging, re- launching and board controlling in no time!

Think we have exhausted all the activities? Wrong! We've just scratched the surface. Look out for the 2nd article on more fun activities that you can do during your next beach holiday in Watamu #tembeakenya.

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