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Watamu

Written on: Tuesday December 11th, 2012

A journal entry from: Clea's Kenya

After Mombasa, we headed up the coast to Watamu because my parents very generously gave us a week of their timeshare at a resort there. The place was probably the most luxurious I've ever stayed in. It had three separate swimming pools, one just outside out room, as well as direct beach access. The week we spent here was very relaxing!

 

Watamu itself is kind of a strange place. Partly it is an actual Kenyan village and partly it is an Italian resort town. The unfortunate result of this is that there are large numbers of young Kenyan men ("beach boys") who have discovered that the easiest way to make money is to follow tourists around and hope for them to give them some, either for arranging tours, being guides, or acting as boyfriends. They are extremely persistent and made wandering along the beach virtually impossible. They also tend to speak better Italian than English.

 

The positive result of there being so many Italians is, of course, the food. I ate so many pizzas!

 

Watamu is also very close to probably the best Swahili ruins in Kenya. We managed to pry ourselves away from the beach one day to see them. Gede reached its peak in the 15th century, but was mysteriously abandoned in the 17th or 18th centuries. Theories for the abandonment include disease and famine, attacks by cannibals, or simply that the town ran out of water. In any case, it is very impressive and contains houses, a palace, tombs, and a couple of mosques. Made entirely from coral, they are remarkably well preserved, although the jungle is slowly taking over.

 

From Laura C on Jan 7th, 2013

Wow, what an amazing place to visit and spend a week! Too bad we won't get a chance to see the coast when we get there!