Watamu Marine Park and Reserve Description
Watamu Marine Park and Reserve is part of marine and tidal habitats along the north coast but enclosed by Malindi Marine Park.
Habitats include intertidal rock, coral cliffs, sandy beaches, and the Mida Creek mangrove forest. Marine life attractions here include fish, turtles, dugongs, and crabs.
The Marine Park and Reserve are renowned worldwide for its natural beauty and boast a rich marine life from the visiting Whale Sharks and Manta Rays to three species of Sea Turtle.
Pristine white-sand beaches and reef-protected lagoons line the Watamu National Marine Park and Reserves, which are the oldest in East Africa and cover over 229 km. It is one of the best-kept secrets in the world with only the Great Barrier Reef itself having a bigger species list and that only in a far greater expanse!
The marine protected area in Watamu is also recognized internationally as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This means that the area is designated as a site of natural excellence, and should demonstrate how local people and the environment can coexist through careful stewardship of our natural marine resources and human assets.
The Marine Park and Reserve are renowned worldwide for its natural beauty and boast a rich marine life.
It is virtually impossible to snorkel without seeing at least a few dozen species inside the main reef; divers outside the fringe reef stand an excellent chance of viewing the magnificent whale shark and Manta Rays that are seasonal visitors. November is best for spotting these animals. The Park is also home to three species of a sea turtle who also nest on the Marine Park beaches.
The Park and its coral gardens are one of the main justifications for visiting Watamu. Some of the more commonly seen fish include of course the parrotfish, whose digestion of the coral reefs over the millennia, have produced the white sand beach itself. Angelfish, groupers, filefish, lionfish, and snappers are just a handful of the easily seen species within this superb, brightly colored underwater world.
One of the best routes for a snorkel exploration is a gentle swim to the Larder in Turtle Bay. Head out in between the two rocky islands directly south of the KWS Blue Bay HQ. As you swim over the eroded coral ledges there are numerous damselfish, young butterfly and angelfish, morays, groupers, and octopus. Through the seagrass pass, you’ll find blue spotted rays, mullet, and snappers. Once you get to the edge of the grass area, around 100metres out, turn right and follow the grass edge along its contour line. After about 100m you’ll find the Larder to your left; a series of 6 or so large coral heads which are the home of hundreds of sweetlips, snappers and drummer fish. You’ll also find lionfish and crocodile fish if you look closely. Another bonus here is the large barracuda which hang around near the seabed in large groups. They are nocturnal feeders and sleep during the day so are easy to approach.
There is an exceptional shoreline with Watamu voted one of the top ten beaches in the world; steeped in natural fauna and flora and with three stunning bays, Watamu, Blue Lagoon and Turtle Bay.
Watamu Marine Park and Reserve Contacts
Attraction Type: Beach & Marine
Category: Fishing, Coral Reef, Diving
City / Town: Malindi
Telephone: 254 42 233 2393
Entrance Fee: Yes
A Guide To Watamu Marine National Parks
Malindi – Watamu Marine National is convenient to treat both parks (Malindi and Watamu) as one unit as they are in the same reserve. Famous for their stretches of casuarina, fringed white sandy beaches, the coastal resorts of Malindi and Watamu are world renown.
Malindi Marine Park and Reserve are 118km from Mombasa and to the south of Malindi. The marine park is endowed with magnificent resources such as fringing reefs, coral gardens in the lagoons, seagrass beds, mangroves, mudflats and high fish diversity, marine mammals (dolphins), turtles and various species of shorebirds
Facts About Malindi – Watamu Marine National Parks
Altitude: sea level.
Area: the total area of 261 sq km comprises; Malindi Marine National Reserve 213 sq km; Watamu Marine National Reserve 32 sq km; Malindi Marine National Park 6 sq km; and Watamu Marine National Park 10 sq km.
Location: Kilifi District, Coast Province, 118 km north of Mombasa on Kenya’s north coast.
Gazetted: Watamu Marine National Reserve 1968.
Malindi Marine National Reserve 1976 (declared a UN Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1979).
Climate: hot and humid.
Vegetation: algae, microscopic marine plants, marine angiosperms, mangroves, palms and casuarinas.
Fauna: various crabs, corals, mollusks, cowries, and marine worms.
Birds: Whale Island is a nesting ground for roseate and bridled tern and there are numerous shorebirds.
the Watamu national parks are part of a complex marine and tidal habitat along the north coast. it is enclosed by the Malindi marine national reserve which also encloses Malindi marine national park.several turtles inhabit the reserved green, hawksbill, olive ridley, and loggerhead.
The park has more than 100 species of bird found and cultivated gardens, shambas, and bush. commonly seen overhead is the black kite, while the common bulbul, white-browed coucal and speckled mousebird can be seen in the undergrowth. Bright yellow canaries and golden palm weavers flash in the bush, while the lizard buzzard and the lilac-breasted roller perch on poles and wires.
Habitats include intertidal rock, sand and mud, fringing reefs and coral gardens, coral cliffs, sandy beaches, and the Mida Creek mangrove forest. The Mida Creek forest has a high diversity of mangrove species, including Ceriops tagal, Rhizophora mucronata, Bruguera gymnorrhiza, Avicennia marina and sonn eratia alba. These provide refuge to a variety of both resident and migrant bird species.
The major attractions are the green turtle, unique coral garden, the Mida creek, Kipepeo project, and the Gede ruins. There is no accommodation in the reserve though many options exist in the nearby Malindi town.
Glass-bottomed boat tours, coral gardens, boat rides, diving, snorkeling, ocean sports, under-water adventures, educational tours, picnic and island barbeques are the attractions that lure visitors. At present, the park does not operate on a smart card system and entry is by cash only – in Kenya shillings or US dollars.
What To See At Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve
- Magical Island
- Clean oceanic beach & warm water
- Sea turtles
- Benthic cover
What To See At Watamu Marine National Park & Reserve
- A haven of green turtle
- Unique coral garden
- Mida creek
- Kipepeo project
- Gede ruins
Accommodation and hotels in Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve,
KWS Self Catering
- Malindi Cottage
Campsites in Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve,
How to get to Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve
- By Road: Malindi Marine National Park is situated on Kenya’s magnificent Indian Ocean coastline, Malindi town, some 110 km North of Mombasa
- By Air: Malindi Airport is your arrival point
How to get to Watamu Marine National Park & Reserve
- By Road: Watamu is 120 km north of Mombasa and 28km south of Malindi. At Gede, which is on the main Mombasa Malindi Road, you turn towards the Indian Ocean. 11kms from the main road is Watamu itself.
- By Air: Malindi airport is your arrival point
Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve fees
Adults KSH: 150
Child KSH: 150
Adults KSH: 350
Child KSH: 200
Non – Resident
Child USD: 15
Watamu Marine National Park & Reserve fees
Adults KSH: 150
Child KSH: 150
Adults KSH: 350
Child KSH: 200
Non – Resident
Child USD: 15
Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve contacts
Email:email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Malindi Marine Park,
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