Discover the Beauty and Biodiversity of Kenya’s Watamu Marine Park
The Watamu Marine Park, spanning over 220 square kilometres, is a crucial protected area in the region for the conservation of the marine ecosystem. Its establishment in 1968 was a significant milestone in the effort to address the impact of human activities on the marine environment in Kenya. Managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service, the park is also recognized as part of the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, further emphasizing its importance in marine conservation.
Over the years, the conservation efforts of Watamu Marine Park have yielded significant results. Notably, the park’s turtle conservation program has been highly successful in boosting the population of green and hawksbill turtles in the area.
How To get to Watamu Marine Park
Watamu is located in Kilifi County 120 kilometres north of Mombasa and 28 kilometres south of Malindi. At Gede, which is on the main Mombasa-Malindi Road, visitors need to turn towards the Indian Ocean. Watamu is approximately 11 kilometres from the main road.
Activities and attractions
- Snorkelling and diving: One of the main attractions of Watamu Marine Park is its spectacular coral reefs and diverse marine life. Visitors can enjoy snorkelling and diving to explore the underwater world and discover a fascinating array of marine life, including dolphins, sea turtles, and colourful fish. The water temperature ranges from 20 degrees Celsius (June to November) to 30 degrees Celsius (December to May), making it ideal for diving and snorkelling all year round.
- Sea turtle conservation: Watamu Marine Park is also home to the Haven of Green Turtles, a protected breeding area for endangered green turtles. Visitors can observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat and learn about the conservation efforts that are being undertaken to protect them.
- Watamu Beach: The nearby Watamu Beach offers visitors the opportunity to relax on the sandy shores, enjoy the warm Indian Ocean waters, and soak up the sun. The beach is also an excellent spot for kite surfing and windsurfing.
Where to eat around Watamu Marine Park
There are several restaurants and eateries in and around Watamu Marine Park that offer a wide range of cuisines to suit different tastes and preferences. Here are a few recommendations:
- Ocean Sports Resort: Located within the marine park, this resort has a restaurant and bar that serves a variety of local and international dishes, including fresh seafood. The restaurant offers a stunning view of the Indian Ocean and is just a short walk from the beach.
- Crab Shack: This restaurant is located on the beach in Watamu and serves an array of seafood dishes, including crab, prawns, and lobster. It is about 4 km from the marine park.
- Blue Bay Beach Resort: This resort is located on the beach in Watamu and has a restaurant that serves a combination of local and international dishes. It is about 5 km from the marine park.
- Turtle Bay Beach Club: This beachfront resort is located in Watamu and has several restaurants that serve a variety of cuisines, including seafood, Italian, and Indian. It is about 3 km from the marine park.
What to take with you
- Footwear, such as sandals or flip flops.
- T-shirts and other protective clothing to shield your body from sunburn.
- Snorkelling gear, including a snorkel, mask, and fins
- Camera to capture memories of your trip.
- Hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent to protect against sunburn and bug bites.
- Plenty of drinking water to stay hydrated throughout the day.
- Something to wear on top of your swimwear, as it can get windy at times, depending on the time of year.
What’s the best time to visit Watamu marine park?
The best time to visit Watamu Marine Park is during the dry season, which runs from December to March and from June to September. During these months, the sea is calm and the weather is pleasant. However, it’s important to note that the park is open all year round, so you can visit at any time.
Hours: The park opens daily from 9:00 Am to 5:00 Pm
Guidelines for Visiting Watamu Marine Park
- Check local weather and sea conditions before entering the reserve.
- Some marine life is dangerous; do not touch anything underwater.
- Do not damage or remove the coral; it’s a living organism that takes many years to form and is host to many rare and endangered species.
- Do not remove shells, starfish, or any other sea Flora or Fauna. Not only is it illegal, but also it can seriously disrupt the ecosystem, and some marine life is dangerous. The areas outside the park and reserves are threatened by excessive shell collection. Empty shell provides a home for hermit crabs and some fish.
- Do not buy shells and other marine animal products as souvenirs, as this encourages further plundering of reefs.
- Never dispose of litter on the beach or in the sea. It is illegal and environmentally unfriendly. Marine turtles can confuse clear plastic waste with jellyfish and die if they eat it.
- Hand-feeding fish is discouraged. It disrupts standard feeding patterns.
- Hook and line fishing is allowed in marine reserves but prohibited.
- Support traditional coastal livelihoods and industries, and do not give money to children on the beach, as this can encourage them to stay away from school.
- Respect the cultural heritage of Kenya, never take pictures of the local people in their habitat without asking for their permission, respect the cultural traditions of Kenya, and always dress decently.
Admission fees for the Watamu Marine Park are as follows:
- Adults: 215 KSH
- Children: 125 KSH
- Adults: 215 KSH
- Children: 125 KSH
- Adults: 17 USD
- Children: 13 USD
For more information visit the official website at or the Kenya Wildlife Service website