Happy Friday my friends! 😀 Come along as we explore Malindi to Watamu and the experience of traveling in this Covid-19 era…
And if you’re looking for some handy budget travel tips, keep reading! 😉
But first, have you read our last post? 11 Things You Should Know About Air Travel In The New Normal.
All caught up? Great! Let’s get to it! 😀
Getting From Malindi to Watamu
It takes about 40 minutes to drive from Malindi to Watamu. You can choose to request a shuttle as part of your overall hotel deal or take a taxi, directly from the airport.
Our initial plan was to request an Uber to the hotel… Unfortunately, as we quickly learned, very few Ubers operate in Malindi and it would’ve been a long wait!
Thankfully, there’s plenty of taxis available at the Airport… Smartly dressed in uniform, all the drivers had their face-masks on.
As fate would have it, Swaleh, happened to be the next driver in line… He said a big hello with that warm Coastal vibrancy and distinct Swahili accent you can’t miss! And in that moment, our ‘new normal world’ felt human again. 😀
Swaleh offered to sanitize our hands from a huge bottle he keeps in his car and sanitized his own hands.
>>They have a set price-list with the fares to various destinations.
>> A taxi ride from Malindi to Watamu costs Kes, 2,800/- (about 28USD).
First things first… Ice Cream At Osteria Restaurant!
Our first stop was Osteria Restaurant for the best gelato in Malindi, while Swaleh went out for lunch & to attend to a client.
Osteria is an Italian restaurant about 20 minutes away from the Airport. They checked our temperature and showed us to a tap for handwashing. The waiters wore face-masks and with a few customers around, it was normal seating. I liked how their outdoor space felt airy and relaxed.
I went with the mango and vanilla, while Magu had the strawberry and passion flavors. Each spoonful tasted like a dream! Yum! 😀
Do you know that feeling at a restaurant when your neighbor’s food looks enticing, & you can’t help cheekily asking the waiter: ‘what are they having?’
Needless to say, we fell prey to that exact feeling! 😀
I went for the good ol’ chicken, while Magu who is more food-adventurous, ordered fried octopus with a side of french fries. 🙂
>>Their meals & ice cream cost about Kes. 1,300/- and Kes. 300/- respectively.
>>They currently offer free delivery in Malindi.
When Accommodation Dramas Come Knocking…
Before the trip, we’d spent time scouring Airbnb for accommodation… However, the Airbnb hosts weren’t responsive, in good time.
Next, we tried Booking.com where we found & reserved a place in Watamu. Still, I had a nagging feeling because their prices were quite cheap, yet the pictures on the site looked super ‘promising’!
So here we were on D-day, rocking up to ‘the place’, with high expectations… Except, that it wasn’t anything like what we’d seen online! 🙁
Apparently undergoing renovations, only a few rooms were available. And after checking out two stuffy rooms with a funny odor, we chose to leave…
Considering most places had been closed for months, they may not have been ready for guests just yet. And to be fair, they did check our temperature and sanitize our hands… Even so, that wasn’t enough to make us stay.
Tip: To be safe, when using booking.com, find places that allow you to reserve, & make a payment on arrival.
Enter Our Guardian Angel Swaleh & Villa Mapenzi
With a good grasp on our dilemma, Swaleh took up the challenge of finding us a place to stay with great optimism! 😀
Going from one hotel to another, we soon found out that most hotels in Watamu were yet to re-open…
Swaleh made a few calls and thanks to his connections, we found our way to Villa Mapenzi.
The Villa is a short drive from the main road, in a place that’s mostly surrounded by farms and residential homes.
From the moment we drove in, I felt peacefully at ease. 🙂
We were warmly received by Rahma and Safari who take care of the property.
The Villa is spacious with a pool, plenty of lounging spaces, two huge separate en-suite bedrooms and a kitchen.
Each of the bedrooms is furnished with two sizeable beds, a working table, closet and fridge.
Seeing as we sprung our visit up on them, they didn’t have any specific Covid-19 measures in place as yet. Hence in such a scenario, it helps to have your own hand sanitizer and to stay vigilant…
Swaleh left for Malindi after ensuring that we were settled in; bless his heart! 🙂
>> A stay at Villa Mapenzi is about Kes. 6,000/- (60USD) per room, per night on bed & breakfast.
>> From experience, I’d suggest skipping their breakfast & requesting the ‘bed only option’.
Life is always awesome at the Beach!
For months, I’d been craving the feel of sandy water washing over my feet and to drink in the spectacular views of the ocean!
Rahma connected us with Samuel, an amazing Tuktuk driver with a kind spirit, to take us to the beach!
The day’s events melted away the moment we stepped on Garoda beach! With the sun setting behind us, the ocean looked delightful! 🙂
It was quite deserted, except for a few residents walking their dogs on the beach, so you won’t need to worry about crowds & health exposure…
Visiwa Beach Resort: the Second Time’s a charm!
Without any specific dinner plans, we requested Samuel to suggest a place… It so happened that only two places were operating at the time: Visiwa Beach Resort & Hosteria Romana.
Feeling fatigued, we chose to stop by Visiwa for a quick takeaway… Its cozy ambience genuinely caught us by surprise! The restaurant has a charming feel, illuminated by the blue pool water and the soft night lights…
As expected, they checked our temperature then sanitized our hands…
We both ordered the Chicken curry, still feeling full from lunch. Back at the Villa our meal turned out to be a little bland, unlike the fiery curry we’d expected.
Still, their lovely ambiance was enough to pull us back there, on the last night for a sit-in dinner… I can attest that on the second visit, we had a much better experience with the food! 🙂
>>Meals cost about Kes. 1,500/-
Lunching At Hosteria Romana
The next day, our morning plans were cut short by rain… And as Magu caught up with work in his room, I basked in the sweet quietness of the villa. 🙂
Later on, we ventured to Hosteria Romana, an Italian Restaurant at the heart of Watamu village… The usually vibrant area felt like a ghost town, with but a few shops open.
Hosteria’s provided a small water tank, plus soap for clients to wash their hands & they conduct temperature checks as well.
Kenga, our helpful waiter kept his mask on, all through.
This time we went for the real Italian pizza experience, and boy did they deliver!! 😀
I ordered the Pizza Al Pallo (chicken), while Magu went for a Pizza Al Pesce (seafood). And as Magu says: ‘once you go Italian Pizza, you can’t go back!’ It may just be the best pizza either of us has ever tasted! 😀
>>Besides their Italian food menu, you can also try their gelato (ice cream). 🙂
>>Pizza cost about Kes. 1,200/-
A perfect ending…
Our last beach visit was truly memorable… 🙂
It was a windy day, and Kite surfers had shown up to play! We gleefully watched them riding the waves in a synergy of masterful grace and pure adrenaline, rising and falling like the perfect symphony!
We really couldn’t have asked for a better ending! 🙂
This trip served to remind me of the beauty of travel… Some things may not go according to plan, but when you go with the flow, it’s always a good time! 🙂
Travel Safety Tips:
You might travel to a place where the sensitivity to Covid-19 is not as high as you are used to… Do your best to still observe the safety measures… Safety starts with you and me.
- The easiest, most affordable way to get around Watamu is with Tuktuks. Try to stick to one operator for your safety.
- Carry your own hand sanitizer, as it may be a strain on Tuktuk drivers to provide this.
- Stay alert as it’s easy to start feeling ‘safe’ around people after some time.
- Before booking your hotel: find out what Covid-19 measures are in place.
- For Malindi to Watamu taxi services (Swaleh: +254 702 720497 or Samuel: +254 702368756)
Thank you for reading; I hope you enjoyed this post our Malindi to Watamu escapades! 😀
I’d love you hear from you: leave a comment down below with your questions and/or feedback!
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