Watamu is a beach resort on the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 coast of Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

. It lies on a small headland
Headlands and bays
Headlands and bays are two related features of the coastal environment.- Geology and geography :Headlands and bays are often found on the same coastline. A bay is surrounded by land on three sides, whereas a headland is surrounded by water on three sides. Headlands are characterized by high,...

, between the Blue Lagoon and Watamu Bay. Its main industries are tourism
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

 and fishing
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

. The nearest big town is Malindi
Malindi is a town on Malindi Bay at the mouth of the Galana River, lying on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. It is 120 kilometres northeast of Mombasa. The population of Malindi is 117,735 . It is the capital of the Malindi District.Tourism is the major industry in Malindi. The city is...

 to which it is connected by frequent matatu
In Kenya and neighboring nations matatu are privately owned minibuses although pick-up trucks were in the past pressed into service as these East African share taxis. Often decorated, many matatu feature portraits of the famous or slogans and sayings, some religious.These minibuses ply set routes,...


The shoreline in the area features white sand beaches and offshore coral formations arranged in three bay
A bay is an area of water mostly surrounded by land. Bays generally have calmer waters than the surrounding sea, due to the surrounding land blocking some waves and often reducing winds. Bays also exist as an inlet in a lake or pond. A large bay may be called a gulf, a sea, a sound, or a bight...

s: Watamu Bay, Blue Lagoon and Turtle Bay. They are protected as part of the Watamu Marine National Park
Watamu Marine National Park
Watamu Marine National Park and Reserve is located in Kenya. Established in 1968, it was one of Kenya's first marine parks. It is located about north of Mombasa, Kenya's second largest city. Its coral gardens are merely from the shore and are home to approximately 600 species of fish, 110...

. The Marine Park
Marine Park
Marine Park is a neighborhood located in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, that lies between Mill Basin and Gerritsen Beach. The neighborhood is mostly squared off in area by Gerritsen Avenue, Flatbush Avenue, Avenue U and Kings Highway. It partly surrounds the eponymous park. The neighborhood...

 is considered one of the best snorkelling and diving
Diving is the sport of jumping or falling into water from a platform or springboard, sometimes while performing acrobatics. Diving is an internationally-recognized sport that is part of the Olympic Games. In addition, unstructured and non-competitive diving is a recreational pastime.Diving is one...

 areas on the coast of East Africa
East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

. In order to assist the managing authorities namely Kenyan Wildlife Service, in protecting the Park, local community groups, the tourist sector and environmental groups have formed a unique organisation,Watamu Marine Association

Watamu has a population of around 1900 http://www.ilri.cgiar.org/html/Urban%20Poverty%20all%20Kenya%20Province%20through%20Location%20Final.xls and it is part of the Malindi District
Malindi District
Malindi District is an administrative district in the Coast Province of Kenya. Its capital is the coastal town of Malindi. The district has a population of 544,303 . Malindi Town is increasingly becoming known as Kenya’s version of "Little Italy"...


The name "Watamu" means "sweet people" in Swahili
Swahili language
Swahili or Kiswahili is a Bantu language spoken by various ethnic groups that inhabit several large stretches of the Mozambique Channel coastline from northern Kenya to northern Mozambique, including the Comoro Islands. It is also spoken by ethnic minority groups in Somalia...

. The name came from the fact that Arab slave traders used to distribute sweets to entice the local population before taking them as slaves.

A newly discovered species of the largest spitting cobra in the world (Naja ashei
Naja ashei
Naja ashei is an African snake. It is the world's largest species of spitting cobra It is found in the dry lowlands of northern and eastern Kenya and similar habitats in northeastern Uganda, southern Ethiopia and southern Somalia.Its differences to other spitting cobras were realized in the 1960s,...

) was recently (2007) discovered in Watamu.
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