National Park – 28 sq km – Managed by Kenya Wildlife Services
At the southernmost point of Kenya’s 500kms coastline lie some of East Africa’s most colourful coral gardens. Located 4-8kms. Out to sea from Shimoni and next door Wasini Island, noted for its coral gardens, the Kisite Marine Park is beautiful and intact.
The entire Marine Park is in shallow water. It can be reached easily, by motor boat or traditional dhow from Shimoni. The Kisite coral reefs are estimated to be 3-4kms long running along the near and outer edges of the reefs from Mpunguti Island to the tiny coral island of Kisite itself. The reefs at Kisite and Mpunguti Marine National Park are scientifically important habitats, one of the most complex eco-systems on this plant.
A large number of coral varieties have so far been identified including: staghorn, brain, mushroom and pencil species which are easy to goggle over and deep enough to avoid damage from human contact. The sheer numbers of fish (over 250 species recorded) feeding around the coral is an amazing sight. Kisite is a feast of colour and movement with eye-catching coral fish including butterfly, parrot, rockcod, angel fish and rays.
Dolphin are common, as are big shoals of bonito and frigate mackerel. Nearby, Shimoni is home to many families of porpoises which cruise in and out of the Kisite Marine Park and are frequently seen in the channel between the mainland and Shimoni. Shimo means hole or cave in Swahili and historically these caves were used by smugglers and slavers. Some caves have freshwater springs flowing into the sea reputed to come from Kilimanjaro, 100 miles inland.