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First time to Watamu, Kenya. General info needed!!

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First time to Watamu, Kenya. General info needed!!

My fiancee and i are travelling to kenya for our honeymoon, staying at the TBBC Watamu on March 16th for 2weeks with Thomson and cant wait! i have read many questions on these forums since i booked, but i am still no closer to the info i require due to many conflicting answers!! If somebody could help me with my questions i would really appreciate it.

Firstly currency. Can i use travellers cheques in Watamu? Should i take us dollars or english pound to pay for the Safari and other trips or is local currency ok?

Secondly visa. Do i need to do anything before i travel or is it sorted out on the plane or when we arrive?

Safaris. I have emailed a few different safari companies who have all replied with quite different prices for the ideas i have proposed to them. Can i haggle to try and get a better price? Should i book before i travel or leave it till i arrive and book then?

Lastly, i am looking to charter a 'big game' fishing boat whilst i am there, so if anybody is there at the same time and would b willing to share the cost, you are more than welcome!

As you all can probably tell we are complete novice travellers! As a young couple we only have a handful of 'party island' holidays between us and the odd trip to las vegas, and are new to Africa. Kenya has always been somewhere i have wanted to visit as my grand parents lived there in the 60s, and i have been brought up on stories of its beauty. I Look forward to your answers, if you havnt all fell asleep reading this!!

Cheers Mark

Telford, Shropshire
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1. Re: First time to Watamu, Kenya. General info needed!!

zzzzzzzzzz = only joking!!

Hi Mark

Firstly, welcome to the wonderful world known as the Kenya forum!! Here we have advice by the bucket load, lots of opinions (not always shared) but lots of fun!

I'll give you some pointers, but you should also look at the frequently asked questions as we have put a huge amount of information in there for people like yourself.

So, first of all, you've picked a good hotel in a good place. It's a very beautiful area. Regarding your money, nobody ever takes travellers cheques to Kenya anymore, a lot of places just won't use/change them. Instead, take your normal ATM debit card with you and withdraw cash whilst there, there's plenty of places to use so don't worry. Don't forget to tell your bank before you go - also, you'll get a far better exchange rate whilst in country.

Visas - you can certainly do a lot of the work here before you go. Go to the site linked below, print off the form and complete it. Then when you get there, assuming you're buying on landing, just join the queue, hand over the cash, passport and forms and they'll stamp you in. If you want to, you can send your passport away to the Kenya Embassy before you go and get it that way, but most people only do this if it's for a multiple entry.

Safaris - you've already started off well. Now you definitely need to haggle with them and get the best prices. Remember though, the best prices is not always the best deal. We'll need more info (itinerary, prices and companies you've contacted) to be able to give more advice on this.

Big Fish - you'd be better off letting people in your hotel know your intentions as soon as you arrive if you want to share costs. Ask around and don't forget, the local boat hire place will know who's going on which day so you could end up joining a boat that already has bookings.

Hope that helps for now.

Edited: forgot the link: kenyahighcommission.net/khccontent/images/pd…

Also, ask the safari company which currency they would prefer, most of them take dollars/

Min xx

Edited: 29 October 2011, 20:33
Mtwapa, Kenya
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2. Re: First time to Watamu, Kenya. General info needed!!

Hi,

Don't take Travellers cheques, virtually impossible to change in Kenya.

For day to day expenses use Kenyan shillings (take pounds and exchange them at a forex, you'll get afar better rate than you would in the UK, just don't change them at your hotel the rate will be as bad or worse than a UK rate). Or just take your debit card and take money out of an ATM as and when you need it. Its not as good a deal as using a good forex, but even with the charges its better than buying shillings in the UK. Just tell your bank you will be using the card in Kenya otherwise they may suspect fraud and stop the card.

There is no point taking dollars if you can avoid it as you would have to pay to get them, most tour operators will prefer foreign currency as the shilling has depreciated so much. ask them for a dollar and a sterling price and see if if paying in sterling is cheaper than having to buy dollars. It will depend on what exchange rate they use.

For safari, if you have done all the research at home why not book at home, will save you having to waste part of your holiday doing it.

Nairobi, Kenya
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3. Re: First time to Watamu, Kenya. General info needed!!

Safari - i recommend "Tunda Safaris" in Watamu, they are quite good as many tourists use them. http://www.tundatourssafaris.com/

As for Big Game Fishing, Malindi is a very popular destination to do that.

Malindi is a 30 min drive north of Watamu.

Stef

Edited: 30 October 2011, 08:25
Manchester, United...
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4. Re: First time to Watamu, Kenya. General info needed!!

Correct me if I am wrong but I don't think you have to travel up to Malindi to do Deep Sea Fishing, there are boats moored infront of Ocean Sports and in the bay where you can go Sea Fishing?

Mtwapa, Kenya
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5. Re: First time to Watamu, Kenya. General info needed!!

My thought as well Mary,

why go to Malindi when Watamu is famous for its deep sea fishing?

For example Hemingway's is world famous

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6. Re: First time to Watamu, Kenya. General info needed!!

Absolutely right.

Watamu has over 20 big game boats permanently moored there, and the Malindi "fleet" moves down there during high season.

So absolutely no need to get a taxi to Malindi at 6.00am ready to set off at 6.30-7.00

When you can walk down to the waterline and out to your boat in a couple of minutes at a slightly more civilised hour.

If you're looking to boat share, I would sggest that you contact all 3 outlets (TBBC, Hemingways & Ocean Sports.) and give them your dates.

Mar 16th may be just after the official end of the season, but the fish don't know that! LOL

I'm surprised that Steph hasn't seen the boats moored at Watamu (even visible on Google earth) or am i ? Hehe

London UK
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7. Re: First time to Watamu, Kenya. General info needed!!

We are planning a safari + holiday at TBBC early 2013. The brochure states that we stay 1 night at the hotel followed by a 6 night safari then back to the hotel for the remaining 8 nights. Are the safaris arranged to fit in with our arrival times and will our luggage be safe when we have to check out for the safari. I'm very unclear as to how it works and would be grateful for info from anybody who has done the Magic of Savannah tour ...

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8. Re: First time to Watamu, Kenya. General info needed!!

Hemingways arranged a boat share for my hubby, all worked very well. Suggest sending email and follow up just as you are leaving to confirm to the company you choose. Go and see them as soon as you arrive. This way you will have the best opportunity to share the cost.

Enjoy........

Edited: 30 October 2011, 17:20
Leigh-on Sea...
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9. Re: First time to Watamu, Kenya. General info needed!!

when staying in Malindi in 2008, we used Somak for the safari in the Tsavo. They also organised flights to Lamu , we were very happy with their service and the safari guide was excellant.

Nairobi, Kenya
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10. Re: First time to Watamu, Kenya. General info needed!!

Yes - Deep Sea Fishing can also be done at Watamu from Ocean Sports & Hemingways.

http://www.oceansports.net/deepsea.htm

Also have a look at "Kingfisher" - a family run business in Malindi for over 40 years. http://www.kenyasportfishing.net/