Malindi Watamu Marine National Park

National Park – 261sq km – Managed by Kenya Wildlife Services

It is famous for its vast stretches of sandy beaches and the reserve includes several coral islets and is a combination of complex tidal and marine habitats surrounded by the Mida Creek mangrove forests. It is situated south of Malindi and 88kms north of Mombasa, the Malindi-Watamu Marine National Park can be reached either through road or the Malindi airport. It has a hot and humid climate.

Marine life includes the Giant Groupers, fish urchins, sea slugs, crabs and starfishes and parrot fishes among others. Also birds like whimbrel, sanderlings, greenshanks, curlew sandpipers little stints and plovers can be seen. Antelopes, Giant monitor lizards, mongoose and a variety of monkey species roam around on the mainland.

The coral reefs are home to over 140 species of hard and soft corals. Their symbiotic relationship with the chlorophyll generating plants give the corals their spectacular night-time phosphorescent colours. The reef plays a diverse role. As well as bio-diversity strongholds, they are breeding grounds for fish and other marine life, a vital barrier against the force of the sea, protecting marine organisms and tourist recreation, they keep out dangerous sharks common to the deeper waters, and their colour and the exotic coral fish they support provides a major attraction for tourists. The historic Gede Ruins in Watamu offer an interesting excursion.

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