Watamu & Malindi Marine Park

Watamu Marine Park

Where is Watamu?

Malindi is a small seaside town north of Mombasa on the Indian Ocean coast. Off-shore is a scattering of idyllic tropical islands including Lamu. A little south of Malindi is the sleepy village of Watamu and its perfect white-sand beach, and marine national park.


Dhow: the traditional craft of the Indian Ocean

How big is the park?
Tiny! About 10 Km²

Access to the park
Couldn’t be easier. It’s a 45 min drive north of Mombasa, and 15 mins south of Malindi.

Habitats of Watamu

The beach is protected, which is a turtle nesting site; the tidal habitat is important for wading birds and the off-shore coral gardens are crucial for fish (over 1,000 species!) turtles and dugongs.

Animals of  Watamu

The headline-grabbers are the turtle species (Green, Hawksbill and Olive Ridley which nest here). Leatherbacks pass through, but don’t nest. The biggest fish is the whale-shark. Dugongs are huge mammals, similar to manatee that occur Central America. They are slow-moving, air-breathing herbivors that like the shallows. Sadly that leaves them vulnerable to propeller-strike and fishing nets.


Black-winged stilt

Accommodation in Watamu

Spoilt for choice. There is something for all budgets.

Park note

Watamu is a diver’s and snorkellers paradise.

Northwest of Watamu is the spectacular Marafa Depression, locally known as Nyari where the extensive sandstone gorges and sheer gullies create an otherworldly landscape. The thick forest of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve hide conceal the Gedi ruins which are a deserted Swahili trading  town hidden deep in the forest. The winding passages and crumbling walls tell of a long and mysterious past.