Imagine a marine park offering brilliant lagoons fringed with bright coral reefs, drawing in hundreds of fish, manta rays, and sea turtles. This is the paradise of Watamu Marine National Park, one of Kenya’s finest aquatic habitats and a haven for divers, snorkelers and sea lovers. In this protected marine setting, you can also enjoy a series of diamond white sand beaches, said to be amongst the ten best in the world.
Only 900 feet out from these golden shores in the Indian Ocean, you’ll come upon fields of coral gardens in splendid configurations. The hard and soft corals display in the shapes of fans, sponges and intricate designs – over 150 species along this coast, creating lagoons filled with sea life.
This abundant sea life is the key reason for visiting Watamu Marine Park, one of the first of its kind in Kenya. There are dozens of fish species to be seen inside the main reef such as parrotfish, angelfish, grouper, lionfish, snapper, and more, adding their rainbow hues to this underwater sanctuary.
Moving further outside the reef, visitors have a good chance of spotting whale sharks and manta rays. Other types to look for: moray, butterflyfish, blue-spotted ray, mullet, octopus, and barracuda. In all, over 600 species of fish are drawn to this undersea garden.
The park is also a haven for endangered sea turtles, including the green, hawksbill and olive ridley varieties. Its main beach has become an important nesting site for the turtles and a monitoring program has been devised to patrol and protect these fragile locations.
Protection of marine life has always been key at Watamu Park and it has been recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This designation indicates the site’s importance in safeguarding the sea life of this area. With the cooperation of the local population and careful consideration of the fragile environment, the park can continue to flourish and provide sanctuary to its colorful and valued sea life.
A visit to nearby Sudi Island can be added to your day at the marine park. Take a guided canoe tour around this very green, uninhabited place. You’ll glide through the mangrove forests that populate the shores of this unique island.
Climate: The temperature range in Watamu is from 24oC/76oF to 320C/900F. There are two rainy seasons – the long rains happen in March/April and the short rains November/December.
Location: The park is 144 km (90 mi) north of Mombasa and 28 km (17 mi) south of Malindi.
Getting there: You can book a tour with Natural World Kenya Safaris in Mombasa.
By air: Malindi Airport is the main aviation hub serving the area.
Snorkeling and Diving – The park is renowned for its spectacular sightings of sea life. Look for scores of colorful fish plus manta rays, octopus, whale shark and barracuda.
Sudi Island – Enjoy a canoe exploration through the mangroves populating the shores of this distinctive locale.
Gede Ruins – For over 400 years, a thriving coastal city, it was mysteriously abandoned in the 17th century. Explore the homes, mosques and other artifacts here that were left to history.
Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve – A coastal, tropical forest just minutes from Watamu’s beaches. You’ll find mongoose, owls, and elephants under this surprising but flowering forest canopy.
Watamu Park is part of a larger, aquatic ecosystem of protected shoreline and reefs that provide a haven to hundreds of marine species. The beaches here are spectacular as is the marine life and the coral gardens supporting it. Enjoy the best of the Kenya coast in this pristine national park.
Take a Natural World Kenya Safaris tour of Watamu Park for an unforgettable day of beaches, lagoons and dazzling coral reefs.
We have safaris departing from Watamu to this and other special Kenya Parks and attractions for your Africa holiday.
Natural World Kenya safaris is Member No.FA/440 - Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) bonding scheme. The scheme is insured to guarantee your holiday safari in the unlikely event that a bonded KATO member ceases operating.
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