10-08-2008 by redazione
Twenty km before Malindi, after Chumani and Matsangoni villages, you will find Mida creek, covered with forests of mangroves, plants whose roots grow in the salt water. At Mida extremely rare birds are present, like the african fish eagle, the yellow-billed stork and two special types of kingfisher, one of them malachite green coloured. It is possible to take part in organized bird watching walks or staying in an "Eco Camp".
On the opposite side of the state road, there is the entry of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve, the biggest endemic forest in Eastern Africa. It can be visited by car (off-road vehicles, of course) with or without a guiding ranger. This forest is extremely rich in birds (more than two hundred types) and butterflies, but there are also rare snakes besides the most common ones in Kenya like “puff adder” and “black mamba”, baboons, elephant shrews and, sometimes, some savanna animals which got lost. Because the northern part of this large forest borders on Tsavo savanna.
After Mida and the forest, you will reach Gede, famous for the ruins of one of the most ancient arab citadels on the coast, dating back to the 13th century. Today in Gede you can visit the remains of magnificent palaces and mosques, a real swahili fortress in the middle of the forest. Ancient splendours of a civilization swept away by the battle-trained somali tribes, the mysterious trades and Gede magnificence however strongly attract many tourists, not only for the ruins, rather to wonder how life was in a civilized and flourishing village a few km far from the sea.
From Gede crossroads, you can reach Watamu, the renowned tourist destination with its white beaches, stacks and sea recalling Seychelles.
Watamu was popular since the arrival of the first english colonizers who liked a stop there for deep-sea fishing in the village where, among other things, excellent sailors and dhow (the typical swahili boats) manufacturers lived. Even Ernest Hemingway stopped there during the Thirties and there is an english resort bearing his name.
To see: the wonderful bays, among which Blue Lagoon, really enchanting with its small islands and the variety of starfishes, shells and other sea amenities.
Today in Watamu there are many hotels but, owing to its extent and structure, many of them are partially hidden between sea and vegetation. There are also many villas, in addition to the first british owners, wonderful italian residences were built in the most recent times.
Watamu National Marine Park is famous for its fish varieties and turtles, offshore the homonymous bay. From Hemingways beach it is possible to organize deep-sea fishing excursions or windsurfing. Of course, it is possible to reach Mida creek by boat, for snorkelling among large fishes near Tewa caves (tewa means grouper in swahili).
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