Watamu, The Little Italian Town In Kenya

Garoda Beach

Let’s first describe Watamu.

Watamu is a small beautiful town that lies along the Kenyan Coastal strip. It is 557.4 km away from Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya and 108.1 north of Mombasa. Neighboring it is the rich tropical rainforest, Arabuko Sokoke National Park. This forest is exceptional as it supports a number of endemic and endangered animals.

Spider in Arabuko Sokoke

Crab found in Watamu island mangrooves

Watamu is a place with beautiful white sandy beaches. Every day, there are boats that leave the shore at 10 am for a day trip to the surrounding islands. At lunch hour, they stop by one of the islands where fresh seafood is served. The heavy meal typically includes; lobster tails, shrimps, calamari, crab, prawns and a delicious plate of Swahili coconut rice. Also, you get to ride a canoe through the mangroves in the islands.

Watamu Day trip

Islands in Watamu

Island lunch in Watamu

Lobster tail in Watamu

Canoe Ride

Mangrooves in Mida Creek

Price:   Citizens pay 25 USD while Non-Citizens pay 50 USD

The Garoda beach takes the price for the most beautiful beach in Watamu with its calm and crystal clear waters. This is as a result of the colorful coral reef that fringes the coastline.

Garoda Beach


Little Italy in Watamu

What mesmerizes me about Watamu is how the locals can speak fluent Italian, even the little children. Italian is taught as a compulsory subject in most schools. This is due to the large Italian population that lives there as well as the huge number of Italian tourists that visit Watamu each year.

The area is heavily influenced by Italians. While walking down Watamu village, you will see a couple of Italian-owned businesses, ice cream shops, and restaurants.

I was curious as to why there was such a huge population of Italians in this small town. Luckily, I had made a local friend who explained to me that after the end of World War II, the Italians were given land in Watamu as a form of compensation.

Italian tanks

On the Tunisian front, Italian tanks on the march.

Consequently, they settled with their families in Watamu and begun their own businesses for a source of livelihood. Most of the beach-front houses in this area are owned by the Italians.


Watamu is a great place to enjoy the sun and white sand. It has a relaxed and laid-back way of life. There is rich culture and history to explore coupled with many water sports such as scuba diving and kite surfing.

Where I stayed while in Watamu:

I stayed in Mida Creek Eco Camp which is a 15 minutes bus ride to Watamu village. The camp is a community project that was opened to assist the people in the area to meet their basic needs such as food and education.

The hosts are very cordial and have very delicious Giriama food.


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