The breathtaking marine life of kenya : Kisite mpunguti marine Park and reserve also referred as the home of the dolphins is in Kwale county ,Coast province Kenya.It is lies just 11 kilometers off the Kenyan coast at Shimoni and 8 kilometers North of the Tanzania border.It is 90 kilometers from Mombasa and 574 kilometers from Nairobi Kenya.
Kisite mpunguti marine Park and reserve is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Kenya especially being at the Kenyan coastal area a region well known globally for its tourism.It covers an estimated area of 39 km² ,Kisite Park covers 11Km while Mpunguti reserve covers 28km².The coast of Kenya is humid with a mean annual temperature ranging from 22 -34 C with its altitude being about 5 m above sea level.
Kisite mpunguti marine Park and reserve has coral barrier reefs extending all the way from shimoni in the South of Malindi in the North. It one of the major tourist attractions in kenya coast sometimes considered to as the rainforest of the sea is one of the fascinating ecosystems of the world,home to over one million marine life.
Kisite mpunguti features over 252 species of reef fish,about 56 genera of hard corals ,2 common species of sea grass and numerous sponges. The coral reefs provide food and shelter for the entire marine life.It has enchanted realm of living coral gardens, sculpted islands ,wheeling seabirds and sparkling clear waters.This marine Park promises an underwater world of unbelievable color and vibrancy. It has a shifting rainbow of small fish,Octopus and clams hide in the gaps between rainbow corals; celestial – blue parrot, use their hard beaks chew off lumps of coral,while kaleidoscope of soup plate sized snappers,rubber fish,sergent major fish,butterfly fish,angel fish and scorpion fish shimmer in the sunlight of the clear waters.Hunting rays ,turtles 1 M long reef sharks and starfish also prowl the reefs in search of prey,while moray eels hide in holes alongside small crabs and wrasses, sea cucumbers ,bristtle stars and numerous species of mollusc feed on algae of the warm coastal waters.
Kisite mpunguti marine Park and reserve is also most famous tourist destination in Kenyan coast for its population of turtles,Green and Hawksbill turtles are normally spotted in their hang out.Kijamba cha kasa.The reef offers sanctuary to over 200 dolphins like spinner,humpback and bottle-nosed mostly spotted as single individuals or mostly in podsof 2 – 25 individuals breaking above the waves is one of the spectacular sights and a Kenyas heritage site. During the months between July and December, there is great chance to spot Humpback whales raising their young calves in the warm waters and the world’s largest fish the migratory sharks.
Due to its warm and shallow waters ,exceptional clarity prestine coral and extraordinary breadth of marine life ,the park and reserve offer an excellent dive sites for beginners and professional divers.The warm clear waters ,spectacular soft corals and kaleidoscope marine life makes this park one of the finest snorkeling sites in East Africa. The most popular areas lying in the main coral garden towards the outer edge of the kisite anchorage area are clearly marked with moorings buoys.
There is also one of the kenyas historical site , the shimoni slave caves only 5 min walk from Shimoni pier. The ancient coral caves of shimoni are vast and some portions are filled with fruit and insect-feeding bat’s. Shimoni caves are believed to extend 5km inland connecting to the other 3 sister caves.It is also rich in Kenyan culture, for the caves served as “kayas” for the mijikenda people as their sacred site of worship and sanctuary. The “kayas” are referred by UNESCO as the world heritage sites.During the 18th and 19th century, the caves are believed to have served as the holding areas for the thousands of captured slaves who were on transit to the Arabian market of Zanzibar. The caves which are which are run as community projects are open from 08:30am to 18:00 pm charge small entrance fee . The money is used to pay local teachers in primary school and secondary for the needy children, The breathtaking marine life of kenya
What is the best time to visit Kisite mpunguti marine Park and reserve
-The park is open and accessible all year round. The best time to snorkel is 2 hrs either side of low tide ,when the greatest amount of Marine life is revealed. Snorkeling is good throughout the year but the sea gets rough between April and July during the South East monsoon winds and it is advisable to visit the park as from 0800hrs when the sea is calm.
How to get to Kisite mpunguti marine Park and reserve
The park can only be reached by boat
Citizen ksh 200 kshs 125
Residents ksh 200 kshs 125
Non residents 15 USD 10 US
Activities to be done at kisite mpunguti marine Park and reserve
- Bird watching – A hobby in which individuals enjoy the challenge of bird study, listing, or other general activities involving bird life.
- Camping -outdoor activity that involves staying the night/more than one night in a protective shelter out in nature.
- Diving – is the practice of descending below the water’s surface to interact with the environment.
- Scenic – providing or relating to views of impressive or beautiful natural scenery of Kisite mpunguti marine Park.
- Sun bathing – is the act of sitting or lying in the sun, sometimes with the intent to tan, may have some health benefits if done properly.
- Snorkeling – is swimming near the water’s surface with the use of a mask and a breathing tube, called a snorkel
Accommodation facilities available around the park
There are plenty of options to choose for accommodation at the park ranging from budget ,Camping to the most luxurious lodges and hotels. Some of them are the Shimoni cottages, the sands at Chale Island, fish Eagle point, pinewood beach resort and spa, Neptune palm beach boutique resort and spa,Almanara luxury villas etc, The breathtaking marine life of kenya
The camping site are Chlombus campsite and Mpunguti campsite.
There has been a steady growth of Kenya safari tours/ kenya drive guides in the coastal region of Kenya since covid 19 pandemic emerged in 2020.Covid was one of the greatest challenges ever faced by tourism and transport ministries in Kenya and the world.This called for a research commissioned by the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife of Kenya to investigate the impact of Covid 19 on tourism, measures to be taken and recovery pathways. The study collected data from CEOs of Tourism, state Corporations, CEOs of Tourism Associations, officers of County Executive Committees (CECs)and key tourism stakeholders from accommodation sector, attractions, destination management organizations, exhibition centers, travel agents, tour operators, event organizers, restaurateurs and airline operators. Since then the tourism industry has really recovered and kenya coast is now one of the best honeymoon destinations in Kenya.