Watamu is the place where the Italian and the African cultures meet to prove that they can coexist. In the past Watamu was fishing village, now it attracts with beautiful beaches and the islands, which resurface during high tide. Then the old fishing boats turn into tourist limousines for traveling between the islands and snorkeling. The shore is most pleasant in the afternoon when the locals take their kids to the beach and the sound of the waves is complimented by children’s laughter. We found ourselves a friend on the beach, more precisely she found us and decided to stay.
|Football match at sunset|
|It’s starting to get crowded|
The presence of Italians in these parts has several important effects. Firstly, the Italian is the official language. Secondly, eating delicious pizza and pasta is easily achieved, but eating anything else – a difficult task.
We managed to stumble accidentally into a neighborhood untouched by foreigners – it wasn’t the most welcoming of places but nothing bad happen to us. The many obscure stalls and shops turned out to be sewing workshops. They made on their own clothes and flip-flops, which are sold all over the world. The cool feeling of wearing something made in Kenya without seeing the tag… not to mention the prices. Despite the fact that everything is handmade they are even lower than those of the Asian production. For example, you choose two beach scarves with cool Kenyan patterns and within 2 hours you have two trousers made according to your measurements. The whole thing cost about 26 BGN (14 USD). We don’t have a single photo of the authentic neighborhood because we thought it wise not to show our cameras. Only the result of the shopping flip-flops with beads.
We navigated Watamu mostly by a map that was hand drawn especially for us by our hostess (Italian, of course).
The most distant beach was 300 shillings away and it was a significant part of the Watamu and Malindi Marine National Parks. Here we played chicken with the water. We waited for it to raise enough without wetting us and our luggage. Also, we haggled for some souvenirs at the improvised beach mall.
We had fun with the transportation. Apart from traveling on foot, we used taxi-tuktuk and moto-taxi. The important part is feeling the wind. Then the heat doesn’t bother you. It is important to note that it is best to go haggle for the fee for longer distances yourself, instead of relying on the helpful Italians who feel like the local slavers.
The last evening we ate Swahili delicacies prepared by a Kenyan chef, who had been taught by English master chefs. We combined the meal with the delight of white South African wine. To cap it all, the prices were very good, the place was secluded, the music was great and the sky was full of stars. We wish we’d found it sooner. We even checked the lodgings. The prices and the rooms were better than those of our old Italian hosts.
This article was brought to you in English by Marta Petrova.
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