Islands in the Stream
The park was established to protect the scenic islands and special habitats of a wide range of endemic marine animals and breeding migratory birds, lies in the coral gardens beginning about 1km South of Wasini Island. The trapezoid section of the Indian Ocean encompasses four small, arid coral islands, each with a considerable areas of fringing reef. Kisite Island features an exposed sand bar and the sorrounding pellucid water offer perhaps the most rewarding of snorneling sites.
Petrified Coral Gardens
Once below the waves, but now merely washed by the incoming tide, these rather surreal grey-white coral gardens lie directly behide wasini village. Run by the friendly "Wasini Women's Cooperative Boardwalk" (offering guided walks, cool drinks and a handicraft shop), the two and a half acres of petrified coral gardens and the mangrove swamps can be explored by means of a meandering timbered boardwalk leading in a circuit around the site.
The Kenyan barrier reef
The most outstanding feature of the the Kenyan coast, the pristine and well developed coral barrier reef extends all the way from Shimoni in the South to Malindi in the North, without significant break, except at the mouhts of the rivers.
Reefs, the rainforests of the sea
Coral reefs are one of the most fascinating ecosystems on earth, sheltering nearly one million types of marine life. Forming only in warm seas, reefs are built by battalions of tiny polyps (miniscule sea anemone-like creatures living together in colonies), some of which create a hard skeleton outside their bodies, which eventually forms into stony coral. Coral comes in many shapes, colours and sizes including plate-like pavona coral, the massively solid favia coral and convolted brain coral.
A selection of dhow and boat safaris depart from shimoni pier daily. Taking around half an hour to reach reach the park, most tours encompass the islets of Mpunguti ya Chini and Mpunguti ya Juu (lower and upper islands and Kisite Island, a coral encircled rock about 100m long which features an enlongated sand bar and a rocky bird nesting site. Boat safaris usually depart at 9am( and not later than 11am) and leave the park no later than 2:30pm (depending on the weather conditions).
Due to its warm shallow waters, exceptional clarity, pristine coral and extraordinary breadth of marine life, the park and the Reserve offer an excellent dive venue for beginners and professionals alike. Some eleven prime dive sites exist in and around the area, ranging from 5 - 30+ meters depth. Mako koke Reef(4km to the west) is also an interesting dive site being a fine example of a rejuvenating reef.
The warm clear waters, spectacular soft corals and kaleidoscopic marine life make this park one of the finest snorneling venues in Kenya, the most popular areas lying in the main coral garden towards the outer edge of the Kisite anchorage area. The best time to snorkel is two hours either side of low tide, when the greatest amount of marine life is revealed. Please avoid standing on or otherwise damaging the coral.
An enchanted realm of living coral gardens, sculpted islands, wheeling seabirds and sparkling clear seas, this world famous Marine Park promises an underwater world of unbelievable color, discovery and vibrancy.
What to see
The reef provides food and shelter for an entire community. A shifting rainbow of small fish, octopus and clams hide in the gaps between the rainbow coral; celestial-blue parrotfish use their hard beaks to chew off lumps of coral while a kaleidoscope of soup plate sized snappers, rubber fish, zebra fish, butterfly fish, angel fish and scorpion fish shimmer in the clear water. Hunting sharks, rays, turtles and starfish also prowl the reef in search of prey