By E Makena
Towering palm trees line the edges of the road leading to Watamu village in North Coast. They sway lazily at the gentle nudge of the wind, releasing a breeze that fans away the morning coastal heat. At sunrise, I make my way into Turtle Bay Beach Club located within the village. Here, I am met by an inviting atmosphere of white immaculate buildings nestled in a colorful tropical garden. The garden made of a cocktail of trees forms a beautiful canopy above the meticulously trimmed grass and the meandering pavements.
Captivating yellow weaverbirds can be seen jumping from tree to another with utmost care free attitude. Just below them are calm waters of a fish pond glistening at the touch of the sun rays. Except for the chirping of the birds and the lulling sounds of the waves of the ocean just beside the resort, the surrounding is quiet. A walk through the garden as I inhale the faintly delicious scent of the blooming flowers is therapeutic especially after an overnight bus travel from Nairobi.
The resort set on a 20 acre piece of land with rooms that host up-to 350 guests on full capacity ushers one to the beautiful Kenyan Coastline. The pristine white sandy beaches are a short walking distance from the resort. Located inside the beautiful Watamu Marine National park, the resort’s surroundings are richly lined with enthralling corals and endowed with rich marine life. The Watamu Marine Park which is 300 M, from the shores comprises of coral gardens, numerous species of fish and sea creatures.
The park also hosts dolphins. Dolphin watching is one of the activities that was on my bucket list during my trip to Watamu. However, dolphins can only be sighted between the months of November to March when the ocean is calmer and the visibility is enhanced. Watching dolphins do their graceful jumps in the water is an activity I hope to tick off my list very soon.
The 147 rooms within the facility are designed to suit the different needs of the visitors. Club and Lamu rooms are in a quieter area for visitors looking for more tranquility. Ocean front rooms on the other hand offer an amazing view of the ocean from the balcony. The interior of the huge cozy rooms is a perfect blend of white and blue hues with ultimate relaxing effects. Subtle Swahili architectural designs further add to the aesthetics of the rooms.
The resort’s all inclusive rates cover accommodation, meals and drinks from its three restaurants, access to swimming from three swimming pools and wifi. I take my lunch at the buffet restaurant overlooking the azure waters of a huge pool. From the rear side of the makuti thatched restaurant one gets an inviting view of the Indian Ocean.
Pizza lovers are taken care of as well. They can indulge from a wide variety of pizzas offered in the pizzeria within the resort at no extra cost.
After a savory meal of pasta served with grilled pork, it’s time to explore the magical Watamu. It only takes 20 minutes of a tuk tuk ride before I get to the scenic Mida Creek located in Watamu. A canoe tour reveals blossoming thick mangrove forests surrounding the tidal creek. The air around the creek is refreshingly clean and invigorating. Watching the vast skies emit radiant amber glow of sunset from the decks in the forest is one major attraction of the creek.
Turtle bay Beach Resort is known for its conservation efforts especially in regard to the sea turtle. The nests of turtles found on its bay are well protected until they hatch and are finally released to the ocean. Its efforts geared towards sustainable tourism that earned it a World Responsible Tourism award in 2015.
On day two of my visit, I am eager to sample more of the surrounding tourist attractions. Tumu Gunda, excursions manager at Turtle Bay recommends visiting Arubuko Sokoke forest which is a walking distance from the resort. Arabuko Sokoke is the largest coastal forest in East Africa and is home to a variety of bird species, butterflies and mammals. It also hosts the national museum site Gedi ruins that holds a rich history of the abandoned town. I opt for a guided tour around Gedi where I get interesting insights of the mediaeval Swahili and Arab 13th century settlements.
A Visit to a butterfly farm and a snake rescue centre within Gedi ruins wraps up my tour of the coast. With a wide variety of activities to offer to visitors such watersports, snorkeling, fishing and bird-watching and tour excursions of Watamu, Turtle bay is a perfect holiday get -away. I left the resort rejuvenated and yearning for more of the exciting activities they had to offer.