Holidays to Kenya seem to have one main thing people think off – beaches. There is however so much more to see and do than sun yourself in the tropical sun. For those with a little adventure the seemingly quiet resort of Watamu has plenty to keep even the most adventurous happy.
Arabuko-Sokoke Forest National Park
The Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is the largest indigenous forest in Eastern Africa. The forest has more than 400 square kilometres to explore either on foot or by car. The forest is also home the Sykes monkeys and the Yellow Baboons; as well as two rare species: the Ader’s Duiker (a tiny, shy antelope); and the Golden-Rumped Elephant Shrew, a creature that resembles a giant mouse. The forest also hosts huge frog populations during wet years. A glorious array of butterflies and rare birds makes this forest a pick and mix of all things to keep you happy.
When visiting the Forest first visit the Forest Visitor Centre which provides maps and a wealth of information needed to make your visit enjoyable. Guides are also available from the visitor centre, which can be used for normal tours, night walks and bird walks. There are also a few driving routes that are suitable for bikes and 4WD vehicles.
This thirteenth to seventeenth century Swahili town remained surprisingly secretive despite the large population centres around Malindi, thanks largely to the forest that engulfs it. Now reclaimed by the forest itself, the Baobabs and roots invade the ruins. It has its fair share of ghost stories and the locals are uneasy about visiting the place. A museum provides evidence of international trade, yet even this element of the towns past remains puzzling, as does its absence from historical literature. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a spine tingling experience Gedi is the place to go. If you are into the nature side of things, spend time to take in the natural beauty surrounding the ruins. If you look hard enough you may see the Golden-Rumped Elephant Shrew. You may also come across monkeys, bush babies, tiny antelope and if you are unlucky, a mystical sheep-like creature that follows you like a shadow!
Watamu and the Marine Nature Reserve.
Watamu is the place to be if you are into diving and other sea based activities. The Marine Park stretches along the Watamu coast giving prime snorkelling and diving territory. The Reef that straddles the coastline is in pristine condition and the water is clear. Whale sharks are regular visitors, as well as shoals of Coral Fish. Take a boat trip to the Coral Gardens, giant pillars of coral where spectacular sea life call their home. There are also glass bottom boat trips so everybody can enjoy this magical world. Snorkelling equipment is also provided on the boats, but it is usually best to bring your own.