Kitesurf at Watamu Beach

Tropical Kenyan Paradise

  • Overview
  • Good to know
  • Getting there

Overview

Watamu is a small and peaceful fishing village located on the Kenyan coast about 110 km north-east from Mombasa and 15 km south of Malindi. It is a designated UN area of outstanding natural beauty and protected natural reserves; coastline spreads across 5 kilometres of pristine white sand beaches and lush tropical forests. This small peninsula within the Mida Creek is surrounded with bays and lagoons separated with coral reefs and exposed sandbanks; constant trade winds provide a variety of water conditions that every kitesurfer will enjoy. The surrounding attractions and world-class game reserves set Kenya to be a unique all-around kitesurfing holiday destination and will provide ample of activities on lighter wind days. The Village has a few main supermarkets for groceries and plenty of local vendors offering fresh fruit and fish. There is a definite Italian influence in the area; therefore you will find many pizza restaurants and more contemporary dining options in most of the resorts. There also you can find many local bars and a few nightclubs if you would like a more active evening scene or enjoy a cocktail at sunset. The major attractions, in addition to the Marine National Park, are the Mangrove Park of Mida, the Ruins of Gede and the Arabuko Sokoke forest. Not far from Watamu you can also find the Marafa canyon and the Tsavo National Park.

Good to know

VISAS: Single entry visa costs US$50 upon arrival. Contact Kenyan embassy or consulate before travel for more details. CURRENCY: Kenya Shilling (KES) or USD and EUR Ave. PRICES: Beer 250 KES (€1.50- 3) Food: Lunch 300-1500 KES (€3- 10) Accommodation: €30-100 pp Kite Lessons: 6H €300 Kite Gear rental: €70 per day LANGUAGE: Swahili INTERNET: Offered in most accommodations, but the signal can be weak. We recommend getting a Local SIM card. TRAVEL ADVICE: Not many cash exchange points, recommended withdrawing KES at the cash machines at the airport. TEMPERATURE: Kenya enjoys a tropical climate. It is hot and humid at the coast; the air temperature can reach 36°C / 97°F and more in the summer months. The average water temperature range from 25-30°C / 77-86°F throughout the year. There is plenty of sunshine all year round, only summer clothes are necessary; neoprene wetsuits are not needed, but good protection from the sun is highly recommended.

Getting there

NEAREST TOWN: Watamu NEAREST CITY: Malindi NEAREST AIRPORT: Mombasa (MBA) 2.5H or Nairobi (NBO) 1H for International flights or Malindi (MYD) 30min for the flights from Kenya. Once at the airport, you will need to take a taxi, ask your accommodation provider to organise a reputable transfer (some are included in the travel package of the Hotel). Most accommodations are at the beachfront or walking distance to the beach. GETTING AROUND: Everything is easy to reach with local tuk-tuks for around 250KES, but for more exploring it would be easier to rent a car (ask your hotel or accommodation provider for a recommendation).

  • Beach
  • Wind
  • Rules/Hazards

Beach

Watamu area stretch across kilometres of white sand beaches providing crystal clear and warm water all year round. The reef surrounding the lagoon, 300-500 m away from the shore, forms excellent small kickers and when the summer swell is right - some waves (2-3m) at the reef; depending on the state of the tide you can expect flat to slightly choppy water conditions. All along the coast some large sandbars inside of this lagoon creates the flat water oasis for all level kitesurfers seeking to learn or improve their skills. Main kitesurfing spots can be found south of the Watamu Village where the kitesurfing schools are located, ideal for beginners or kitesurfers that need to rent their gear or want to be surrounded by other likeminded kitesurfers. If you are an independent rider and want to run away from the crowds (not that there are many as the lagoon is just enormous), you can find many accommodation providers North from the Village towards Malindi, where you can enjoy your kitesurfing paradise with no one else around. This location offers perfect onshore - cross-onshore winds all year round with only a few rainy months between the two windy seasons. In addition to that, some of the areas in the lagoon are much deeper providing ridable condition at any states of the tide (except for extreme spring-tide). AMENITIES: Kite School, Gear Rental, Beach Assistance, Gear Storage, Kite Shop, Cafe/Bar, Accommodation.

Wind

The windy season is split into two, providing trade winds from December to April (known as the Kaskazi), and Kuzi, which after the few rainy months starts from May and stays till September. On the day the wind tends to be lighter in the morning as and gradually increase till about mid-day and lasts till the evening. The Kaskhazi blows from the North/North East (cross-onshore from the left) at around 10-22 knots, most days between 14-20 knots, increasing in the afternoon with flat water and a little chop. Mostly used kites 15m-10m. The Kuzi blows from the South/Southeast (cross-onshore from the right) and with the stronger wind days can bring the heavy chop with swells, The Kuzi is the stronger of the two and blows most days between 12-28 knots but averages between 15-20 knots. Calmer in the morning and gets typically stronger after lunch, most used kites 14m-8m. WIND DIRECTIONS: N, NE, E, SE, S WINDIEST MONTHS: High Season: January, February, July, August. Mid Season - March, June, September, December.

Rules/Hazards

There are no such rules, just a common sense - the beach area is relatively large but very dependant on tides. In the high tide, there is not much beach to launch the kite as you get too close to the buildings, that can cause turbulent wind, and in the low tide, some parts of the lagoon can be quite shallow. Also, there is no safety boat or lifeguard at the spot so make sure you don't go too far from the beach if you are not comfortable with swimming for a long distance. Hazards - other beach users; fishing boats; seaweed farms with a base of sea urchin colonies. *If you need kite related service like kite repairs, lessons or beach assistance it is recommended to choose resorts that provide these services. ** We always recommend seeking additional knowledge about the spot from local kite school and qualified instructors.

Info

Rider Level:
beginner, intermediate, advanced
Discipline:
freeride, waveriding, foiling
Spot Type:
Flat to Choppy water; Lagoon; small wave (up to 1m)
Launch area:
Sand
Tidal:
yes
Windiest Months:
Jan, Feb, Mar, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Dec

How it measures up

RATED
8
Beginner Friendly
Wind quality
Non-kiting activities
Nightlife
COSTS

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    The reviews say it all

    spot reviews

    8

    Watamu

    Watamu Beach, Kenya

    Fantastic beach, long and uncrowded. (Note that i was there in dec 2018 though). If you’re there for the kiting and the quiet town life with a hint of real kenya, away from all-inclusive tourism areas like diani - it’s for you. Small primitive town but very charming. People are friendly, helpful and interested. No problem leaving stuff on the beach during session. Wind is not great in dec, come in jan says locals. Great sand beach, no sea urchiNs or coral bummels. Some rock bed at certain places, easily avOided. Just go further north or south of it. Some Seaweed in dec, but not too baD. I loved this place, will be back.

    9 months ago