Kenya: Watamu Beach Rugby Festival makes a grand return after seven years


The Watamu Beach Rugby Festival is making a triumphant return to the scenic shores of Watamu after a seven-year hiatus, promising to bring back the vibrant spirit of beach rugby to Kenya’s coastline.

Scheduled for the 8th and 9th of June, 2024, at Aquarius Beach, the festival marks a significant moment in the region’s sports calendar, highlighting the ongoing efforts of Tajiriba Sports to rejuvenate beach rugby in the area.

This comes on the heels of tshe successful revival of the Malindi Beach Rugby Festival last year, which also ended a nine-year break, showcasing the growing enthusiasm and commitment to the sport in Kilifi County.

Brian Mwenje in action during the Malindi Beach festival last year. PHOTO: Courtesy

Watamu, renowned for its crystal-clear waters, white sand beaches, and rich marine biodiversity, offers a picturesque backdrop for the event.

Rated as the third-best beach in Africa, it serves as a perfect location for such a vibrant sports event, combining the beauty of sports with the charm of coastal Kenya.

The festival not only aims to provide an exhilarating experience for participants and spectators but also to promote Watamu as a top destination for sports tourism.

Beach rugby is an engaging variation of rugby union, tailored for the sandy beaches. The Watamu Beach Rugby Festival features a social 5-aside touch rugby tournament encompassing men’s, women’s, and mixed teams, creating a diverse and inclusive environment.

Action during the Malindi Beach festival last year. PHOTO: Courtesy

This year, the event promises to bring more excitement with teams coming from various parts of East Africa, including Swans Sports Club from Uganda, which has confirmed their participation with three teams. Other teams from Nairobi and Mombasa are also expected to grace the event, making it a competitive and entertaining spectacle.

Adding to the festivities, an electrifying beach party is set to light up the Saturday night, ensuring that the festival offers a blend of competitive sports and vibrant entertainment.

Event Director Mr. Sammy Khabiri expressed his enthusiasm, inviting all beach rugby fans to what is anticipated to be a memorable weekend in Watamu.

Brian Mwenje in action during the Malindi Beach festival last year. PHOTO: Courtesy

Leon Lubang’a, the CEO of Tajiriba Sports and Event Chairman, emphasized the unique appeal of beach rugby on the Kenyan coast. His vision is not only to revive the sport but to elevate it to an international event, enhancing its role in boosting sports tourism.

The inclusion of Watamu Beach Rugby Festival as part of a two-leg beach rugby series, culminating with the Malindi Beach Rugby Festival in October, underscores the ambition to establish a continuous celebration of beach rugby in Kenya.

As the community gears up for this exciting event, the Watamu Beach Rugby Festival stands as a testament to the resilience and passion of the beach rugby community. It not only revitalizes the sport but also contributes significantly to the local economy and the promotion of Kenya as a prime destination for sports and leisure.

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