Watamu Marine National park is located about 90 miles (140 km) north of Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city, the park is first Kenya’s marine park it was established in 1968. Its gardens are merely 300 meters (980 ft.) from the shore, the park in situated in Malindi Mombasa in Kilifi county.
The park is a home to approximately 600 species of fish, 110 species of the stony, the park habitat consists of the marine and tidal habitats and the amazing Green turtles, coral reefs gardens and the white sandy beach, thus the carol reefs are the support of this habitat, there are over 150 species of hard and coral reefs and provide abundant food for fish. The water temperature of the Watamu Marine national park varies from 20 degrees Celsius (June to November) and then 30 degrees Celsius (December to May). Watamu Marine National park is under the protection of the Kenya Wildlife Service. The park was designed as a biosphere reserve in 1979.
Attractions in Watamu Marine national park.
The park has got various attractions which makes the park so amazing and on the other hand increases the tourists.
The coral Gardens entails a 100 meters stretch of coral heads at the end of the lagoon where at least 250 species of fish are found, the coral gardens are the most popular area for the boat based snorkelling activities in the park.
These are some of the best dive spots with various species of fish, turtle reefs are also protected for the divers when wind makes it unpleasant to explore beyond the reef. Some of the unique sea animals found here include the star-fish, Parrot- fish, Lobsters, Anemones, Moray Eels, Wrasses, Sea- urchins and among others.
Kipepeo Butterfly Project.
This a community based enterprise that supports the livelihoods of people living around Arabuko Sokoke forest in coastal Kenya. It markets for butterflies and moth pupa and other live insects as well as honey and silk cloth produced by the community.
The park is a perfect breeding ground for turtles. This treasure is well protected by the programs that include patrolling of the beaches. One of the programs is an incentive scheme that requests fishermen to net back the turtles that are accidentally caught, other programs are Rehabilitation Centre and the Nest Monitoring for the injured or sick turtles and the Community Education System Program. The area is mainly a sanctuary for nesting Green turtles, other kinds of the turtles like the Hawksbill Turtles and the olive Ridley are increasing in numbers in the area.
Mida Creek Mangrove Forest.
It is one of the most beneficial mangroove ecosystem worldwide and also recognized as a birding area with the local and migratory birds from Asia and Europe. Mida Creek is a tidal inlet that has a different habitats influenced by tide, the open areas act like breeding and feeding area for many species of fish including snappers, rabbit fish, jacks, Barracuda and Emoerors. The aquatic flora of Mida Creek varies in number and distribution, 333 seaweed species and 11 species of sea grass are found here. Both mangrove and the sea grasses trap sediments that benefit the corals and provide a perfect habitat.
It is a set of corals in the North where boats can moor, the larder is known for huge fish shoals.
White Sandy beach.
Watamu National park has a beautiful white sand beach with a variety of precious and coloured fish which attracts the tourists, with coconut palm trees, soft white sand, soothing warm water. White Sandy beach is a perfect place to wind down after a safari adventure.
Variety of fish species.
The park has got a variety of marine from small fish to bigger as they are included, whale sharks, green sea turtles, angle fish, sword fish, spear fish, sailfish, Marlin, damsel fish, batfish, porcupine fish, wrasse fish, lion fish, Octopus, drummer fish and among more.
Watamu Marine national park has got endowed with over bird species and some of the examples include common bulbul, white brown coucal, speckled mouse bird, black kite, bright yellow canaries, lilac breasted roller, lizard buzzard, Ospreygolden palm Weaver’s and Kingfishers and among the rest.
Gede Ruins is a 12th century Swahili village that was mysteriously abandoned some 600 years ago, but is now a National museum to the experienced, the ruins are heavily overgrown with beautiful indigenous forest trees, baobabs and tamarind, leaving room for the mind to imagine the grandeur of the village in its zenith.
Activities done in Watamu Marine National park.
It is without any doubt that the Carol reefs and the sea gardens are the greatest features in Watamu Marine National park, over 150 species of soft and hard corals can be seen, you cannot miss the spot fan corals, sponges and brain corals which all attract over 1000 species of fish, the clear water offer excellent visibility to snickers, for scuba divers there are more than 20 prime dive sites to explore and dive in; these diving sites are just 30 minutes offshore.
Big- game Fishing.
The protected waters are a perfect breeding ground for many fish species and this causes excitement among fishers, these protected waters of watamu are amongst the best spots for game fishing along the African coastline and fish like Sailfish, Marlin, Spearfish and Swordfish can be found here, there are deep- sea charter companies to choose from the setting is perfect for beginners and seasoned fishermen, fishing competitions are held from December to March which is the prime fishing season.
Watamu Marine national park has four strategic bird areas to watch from, they include the Whale Island, Mida Creek, Dakatcha Woodland and Sabaki River Mouth, the interest is on water birds and the myriad Egrets, Plovers, Sandpipers and Terns are seen here, others include the migrant birds such as Warblers, Flycatchers, Shrikes, Sunbirds and Orioles specifically for Birding Safaris.
The diving reefs are dominated by the soft corals with lots of fish to see and nudibranchs relatively common, diving is seasonal due to ocean conditions with the best diving from November to April.
Glass bottom boat rides.
This allows you to spot coral gardens and some of the park’s hundreds of species of fish without getting wet great schools of bright fish dart throughout the thriving coral, and the park is a home to pods of dolphins a sea turtles which can be viewed.
Experience of marine life.
Watamu marine national park has got a variety of marine life ranging from small fish to bigger and some includes the whale sharks, green sea turtles, angle fish, swordfish, Marlin crocodile fish, Octopus and among others.
This is also done in Watamu Marine National park on the shores of the marine, in the sports, athlete, usually referred to as a surfer starts off at a certain distance away from the shore, and moves towards the shore standing on the surfboard using the waves for propulsion.
This activity also done in Watamu Marine National park, it is the sport of planning and jumping on the water skis. Also picnicking activity is also done in the park.
Watamu Marine National Park entrance fees.
Best Time to Visit Watamu Marine national park.
Watamu’s closeness to the equator makes it warm all year round. October to April are the best months for diving, snorkelling and fishing, while turtle nesting and hatching is an all year round activity.
Where to stay in Watamu Marine National park.
Watamu Marine national park has got various accommodation in where the guests can stay during their safari and these include the Budget, Mid- range and the Luxury accommodation. These include Mapacha Village, Villas Watamu Resort, Kobe Suite Resort, Garoda Resort, Temple Point Resort and among many.
How to get to Watamu Marine national park
The Watamu Marine national park can be accessed by both flight and the air means of transport.
By Road means.
Watamu Marine national park is about 130 km North of Mombasa, it is about 28k from Malindi, you can use the Mombasa Malindi Road and get to Gede which is on the main road. Watamu is 11km from Gede as you turn towards the Indian ocean.
By Air means.
You can use the Malindi airport then to Watamu Marine national park.
Watamu Marine National park is a haven of the Green Turtle, unique coral gardens, the Gede ruins and it reserve it all without forgetting the park’s complex of marine and tidal habitats along the Kenya’s north coast with rich and diverse birdlife, fish, turtles and dugongs.