Let’s talk Marine…
When we talk of the coastal beauty and the pride of the coast, most of the times it’s the oceans and the lush white sandy beaches that cloud our mind. However, as you explore further, Marine parks teeming with aquatic life equally forms a major attraction in the Kenyan coast that you are sure to experience on your next trip! Adisa Hudson, shares of the special attractions that uniquely defines each Park and what to know before your next vacation to the coast.
Watamu Marine Park
Within the larger Arabuko Sokoke forests adjacent to the beautiful Watamu, exotic bird chirps is one of the biggest attractions beside the beautiful manicured beaches and high end hotels and cottages. With over 100 bird species housed in the expansive forest and bushes, dusk and dawn chirrups of the bird is something to look forward too. The Black Kite is one of the commonly seen overhead birds while the Common Bulbul, White-Browed Coucal and Speckled Mouse bird are mostly seen tussling in the undergrowth.
Located 28 KM South of Malindi town near Gede, Watamu, a Swahili translation that means sweet prides itself of beautiful tourist destinations, unique coral gardens, the Gede Ruins and the Watamu Marine National Park. This park boasts of Green turtles which are its unique trademark. The park is part of a multifaceted marine and sea faring habitats along Kenya’s north coast with rich and diverse bird life, fish, turtles and dugongs. Not only that but also, the park provides room for enjoying the white sandy beaches, and water games like snorkeling, water skiing, windsurfing and glass bottomed boat tours to enjoy the marine life at Mida Creek.
Malindi Marine Park
Here the marine life entails crabs, corals, sea urchins, jellyfish, sea stars, and sea cucumbers and varieties of coral species that sustain the marine inhabitants. Swimming with zebra fish and windsurfing is an example of fun activities in the park.
True to the park authority sentiments, Malindi Marine Park is a “beautiful slice of Kenya’s Indian Ocean coastline that provides the perfect getaway” not just for your children but offers a myriad of water games that adults will enjoy. The park is endowed with magnificent resources such as fringing reefs, coral gardens in the lagoons, sea grass beds, mangroves, mudflats, marine mammals, turtles and various species of shorebirds.
Ideal for glass bottom boat rides, snorkeling, camping and beach walks; a visit to the park will leave you with beautiful memories.
Mombasa Marine Park
Located between Mtwapa and Tudor Creeks, Mombasa Marine Park uniquely known for its blue waters is characterized by high coconut palms on white sandy beaches. Mombasa Marine Park is remarkable for wind surfing, skiing, snorkeling and diving. It boast as habitat for crabs, starfish, stone fish, cucumbers sea urchins, corals, turtles, sea grasses and interestingly migratory birds like crab plovers.
In case of more adventure, visitors staying the night can make use of the marine campsite available within the park premises.
Kiunga Marine Park
In the northern far end of the Indian Ocean Kenyan Coastline in the East of Lamu lies the striking Kiunga Marine. Approximately 150 Kms East of Lamu, Kiunga Marine Park is located in a rustic village hidden from civilization as we know it. The journey to the park is difficult but the discomfort is rewarding as one gets to enjoy the spectacular sight of the coral reefs, the sand dunes. A common attraction is also the Lamu Archipelago specifically at Kiwayu Island where one gets to enjoy the tidal pool view besides sea urchins, sea turtles and reef fish. It is an invitation to step into the mangrove extensive canopy which forms the major habitat for the turtles.
Kisite Marine Park
Located in Wasini Island and enveloped with coral reefs; Kisite Marine Park established to protect the scenic island which is special habitats for endangered marine life is your perfect spot as a dolphin lover.
The park is a tourist venture that Kwale County boasts of as a home for Dolphins. Being in a serene but remote setting 11kms from the mainland in Kwale County, the park is only accessible by a boat which gives it a different taste of adventure. Dolphins and whales are common sights here.
What to take with you
As you plan that visit and get acquainted with the brimming marine life in our beautiful country and the trip of a lifetime with the new Madaraka Express, remember to pack the few essentials in your travel pack.
- Footwear like the ordinary sandals or masaai sandals to protect your feet from the reefs
- T-shirts and shorts; light clothes is important because of the heat levels at the Coast
- If snorkeling is your kind of water game, be sure to hire a snorkel, mask, fin at the different parks
- Carry a good Camera for photography and capturing memories
- Have plenty of drinking water and of course
- Tag your friend along; the many you are, the merrier it gets!