Watamu Kenya is an eco-tourism hub. Pristine white sandy beaches stretching as far as the eye can see and biodiversity of the waters. There is a spectrum of marine. Adrenaline thrashing options are limitless; kite and windsurfing, deep sea diving, skydiving, stand-up paddle boarding… the list is endless. How about swimming with the dolphins at the Marine Park? Riding on a dhow, scuba diving or listening to local stories of fishermen and life in the coastal islands? Seeing the dolphins and whales, up-close and personal is the unforgettable experience of a lifetime.
The Twin Migration
This epic twin migration happens parallel to the Wildebeests Migration at the Mara. The wildebeests movement from the Serengeti to the Mara in search of pasture is an annual ritual of nature. The 8th Wonder of the World. Only that this time, the viewing of these humongous mammals is at Watamu, in Kilifi County. Identified by the patterns of marks on their tails just like individual human fingerprints, the whales swim close to shore and can be seen from land using binoculars or from the waters while on a boat. The annual sighting in East Africa is from early June to October.
10 different species of whales and dolphins make up the ‘Marine Big Five’, redefining Kenyan tourism. The whales, just like we humans, migrate north from Antarctica, swimming over 4,000km to the warm tropical inner reefs for protection. This, in turn, enables them to breed and give birth to their calves. The calves then stay with their mothers for about two years for weaning.
Their return journey is from October, when they leave the Eastern Africa coastline, from Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa. Returning to the cold-rich foods in the Antarctica seas. About 15m in length, and 30 tonnes, their weight is about 5 times that of an elephant. They mostly feed on small fish, the sardines, and krill. There has been specials sighting of the Killer, Sperm and Bryde’s Whales.
Fact: The False Killers and Killer Whales are just larger dolphins of about 10m in length.
The humpbacks have the habit of breaching – the act of leaping out of the deep and slapping the surface with theirmassive fins and tails. This slapping of the water is actually a mode of communication. They leap out of the water, full body, showing off their long pectoral fins, either in pairs or larger groups of families; with their young calves too. It is an explicit natural view to behold, that is sure to take your breath away.
They are highly intelligent and live in social pods. The mothers care for their young similar to humans. All adults, a mother or a ‘nurse’, flank the young for protection. Watamu has over time become the choice location for female dolphins to reproduce. There are new calves every season. Ever dreamt of swimming with the dolphins? Well, here is your chance. They make for an epic sport, and no scene is as precious, tantalizing and enthralling as the Dolphins hitting the waters and making a splash in a show of beauty and elegance.
Additional Watamu Indulgence
An intricate feeling of intimacy is what you are served with if you visit Watamu. The location is rarely overcrowded, while the whale watching tours bring an extra income source for the local fishing communities. Learn about Watamu Marine Association, the Marine Big Five, the artists using beach debris to produce art pieces and consumer products, and the ever-present need for environmental protection.
Don’t to forget a visit to the Giriama Cultural Villages. It is an opportunity to meet the indigenous people, learn about their culture, their dances, traditions and even shop for souvenirs. But, you have not enjoyed this coastal town, without tasting the scrumptious Swahili dishes; pilau, mahamri, or kaimati. And the fresh fish or seafood right from the sea.
The fish types include Marlin, Shortbill, Spearfish, Broadbill, Swordfish, and the Sailfish. All mostly located between July and October.
Whether you are out to see the tropical marine flora or fauna, (the lionfish, sea turtles, eels, dolphins), the colorful coral reefs, the humpback whale migration, or pure sporting. This beautiful Kenyan Coastline has got something for everyone.
Pointer: The whale shark is referred to as ‘Papa Shilingi’ in Swahili, meaning the shark covered in shillings. a myth is behind this translation.
Njoo Twende Watamu. The sights and sounds in my motherland are equal to none.