The park is located in Kenya, North of the second largest city Mombasa, in the country. It lies at 120km from Mombasa and 28km from Malindi. It was established in 1968, covering over 10sqkms, and is one of the oldest marine parks in country together with Malindi Marine Park. The main reason for its establishment was to protect, marine life. It has over 600 species of fish, turtles, octopus, coral reefs, invertebrates, and sea birds. The park is a UNESCO world Heritage site for its biosphere reserve.
How to Access the park
The park can be accessed by road and air transport.
By air transport you can connect your flight to land in Malindi airstrip which is closest to the park.
With road transport, one can use private or public means of transport and use the Mombasa Malindi road. The Park is south of Malindi.
What to bring
What you should bring sometimes depends on the activities you will engage in. Although generally, you should bring long and short sleeved shirts, long and short trousers, a hat, sun glasses, sun screens, a camera, binoculars, hiking boots, sandals, snacks, bottled water, guide book, snorkeling equipment, diving equipment (these can also be hired ).
Things to do
The park has a lot activities that you will enjoy during your stay. Some of the breathtaking activities might seem new to you but there’s an opportunity for learning. The best activities to engage in while in the park are as follows:
Watching Marine Life
The park has a lot of unique marine life that will amaze you. There over 600 fish species, of different shapes, colors and very beautiful. It has sea turtles, of different species, the commonest being the green, octopus, and also the huge marine life can be sighted, not forgetting that it also has coral reefs that fish and turtles feed on. The views of all this while on a boat ride or snorkeling or diving will be so satisfying.
The park lies close to Tsavo National Parks, and Arabuko Sosoke National Park that has lots of birds. The marine park has lots of birds that have a home in the park, with also sea birds, on top of this, the park is also visited by migratory birds from other parks and other countries, in search for food and the cool weather. You will have nice views of these beautiful creatures that you will watch clearly with your binoculars and along the shores of the lake that bares their lunch or dinner.
This is one of the highlight activity of the park. It will need you to have equipment, which can be hired at the park, and also you have to be an expert in swimming. This activity is so enjoyable for it gives wonderful views of marine life and all that lies in the sea. You see these creatures in front of your face.
This is also another highlight although most practiced by the experts in diving. If you can’t dive, at least you will enjoy seeing them dive, and it’s also nice. You will also need equipment for this, which can be also hired. As you enjoy the warm waters on a sunny day, await to see marine life clearly and coral reefs. You we see a whole way of life of these creatures.
Take time and tour the whole area on foot under the moderate sun. Explore the shores of the sea where you will catch sight of birds, the beautiful different species of coral reefs, and you will enjoy marine life that you will be able to see for the waters are so clear.
Explore the sea while in the comfort of a boat as you enjoy your drink, along with your camera, as you capture all the beautiful things that will be in front of you. You can visit the Mida Creek, a water area surrounded by mangrove forests, and a paradise for birds. You will capture the beautiful scenery, birds playing by the shores, and marine life that will be visible, the cool atmosphere, and the coral reefs along the shores.
Visit ruins of Gedi
This is a stopping area for almost every tourist who happens to be within the same vicinity. The ruins are close to the park and its better if you plan to visit them for their uniqueness. It comprises of houses, mosques, hospitals, schools, among other features. It’s actually a whole town in a making that existed in the 15th century. It was protected to date. You will enjoy what you will see.
This will be enjoyable after a long walk safari, and relaxing to a lunch out along with your friends and family will be all you need.
When to Visit the Park
The park can be visited and enjoyed any time of the year in all conditions. The park experiences dry and wet seasons. The dry season is most preferred for it favors most of the activities in the park. During dry season, runs from July-October and December- February. The wet November- December and April-May. It barely rains all day, so activities can be done.
The best months for divers are from October to April, and the best months for turtles nestle are from April to July.
The park has amazing things that you will love to see. The best attractions that you shouldn’t miss out are as follows.
The sea creatures are the reason why the area was protected. If you have been used to seeing life on land, come and enjoy seeing life in the sea. There’s a lot that lies in the see that we don’t have an idea of since we don’t get opportunities to see them, This Park will give you an opportunity to see creatures in water. The water is clear and you will enjoy clear views of huge marine life like whale sharks, manta Rays, octopus, barracuda, and turtle species of green, hawksbill, Olive Ridely turtles, and angle fish. Sword fish, sailfish, marlin, spear fish, damsel fish, wrasse fish, drummer fish, crocodile fish, lion fish, and leather back turtles, among others will be seen during snorkeling, diving, on boat ride, or on a safari along the shores.
The park is endowed with bird species that have a home in the park. They are joined with migratory birds form other parks and from other countries. You will be amazed at the number of these creatures that you will be able to see best with binoculars. These normally concentrate on shores of the sea where they gather food. The likes of speckled mousebirds, lilac breasted rollers, lizard buzzards, yellow canaries, white browed coucal, golden palm weavers, black kites, common bulbul, lesser sand plovers, flamingoes, African pygmy kingfishers, osprey and many more will be seen.
The park has coral gardens with over 150 species of soft and hard coral reefs. These are considered as the best nutrients for fish, and at the same time, they provide shelter. They are beautiful with different bright colors that will catch your attention. The likes of brain corals, fan corals, and sponges among others will be seen along the shores of the sea, and on a dive or snorkeling activity.
Ruins of Gedi
The once beautiful and amazing town during the end of the 15th century, is now a tourist attraction. You will see buildings, hospitals, prayer centers, that weren’t destroyed but are protected for the history it holds. You will enjoy sights of architecture of that time.
Bio-Ken Snake Farm
This snake firm lies close to the park, and can be visited by tourists any time of year. The farm is a collection of snake species got from East African countries. It has a research center that is very active, producing antidotes for different snake bites. You will prepare to meets these unique species and also learn about them in detail.
Close by the park lies white sand beaches with clear waters that are so appealing and good relaxing grounds for a vacation or even honey moon.
There’s abundant accommodation close to the park, in categories and every visitor will be handled. These are mainly found in Watamu, a few meters from the park, most of which have access to water, that it will be a continued experience with water. These include:
Luxury Include: Temple Point Resort, Kobe Suit Resort, Hemingway Watamu Gecko Resort, among others.
Midrange include: Echo Villas Watamu, Turtle Bay Beach Club, Queen K Cottages, Merry Crab Cove Après Safari Beach Hotel, and many more.
Budget include: Ocean Sports Beach, Crystal Bay Resort, Acacia Cottage
Watamu Tree House, among others.
In conclusion, the park is one of the must visit places once on a safari in Kenya. You will enjoy all activities on water especially snorkeling, watch unique marine life, birds, and a wonderful relaxing time at the sight of the sea.