Kenya is one of the favourite places for tropical sea holidays. Everybody loves its beaches, its ocean landscapes. Many people come to just enjoy local seaside tourist villages. But if you love scuba diving, taking photos of seabeds, or just admire tropical marine fauna you really cannot miss the Kenyan shores. Its marine national parks are among the most beautiful in the world. Malindi Marine National Park is just a wonderful example of that. Do not be surprised if they call it “the Coral Garden”.
About Malindi Marine National Park
When Malindi Marine National Park was created, in 1968, there was no such thing in Kenya and very few others in Africa and in the world. This is a pioneer park in the protection of marine flora and fauna, this is why it is so precious. In 1979 it became UN World Heritage together with Watamu marine park. In 2019, the two marine parks became one and included also a part of land, the Arabuko Sokoke forest. Today it is known as “Malindi Watamu Arabuko Sokoke Biosphere Reserve“.
The park covers a 213 sq km surface from Malindi shores to the Indian Ocean. The marine part consists of intertidal rocks, mud, coral reef, coral gardens, seaweed beds, sandy beaches and islets. Coral is the most important element of the park: it is not just a tourist attraction but also a economic support for local people. Fishing and coral picking is forbidden in most part of the reserve, but near the shores there are specific points where fishermen – and only fishermen!- can work, under control.
What to do at Malindi Marine
Scuba diving is the main activity for tourists, at Malindi Marine National Park. Tour operators organize “underwater safaris“. So they let people admire the many particular coral species – Porites, Montipora, Turbinaria, Astaeopora, Millepora… – or the fish typical of this part of the Indian Ocean. On the islets and the shores you can also do birdwatching, especially admiring the passage of migratory waders. You will admire turtles, dolphins, incredible invertebrates and much more.
Other activities tourists can do at Malindi Marine and its surroundings: surf, windsurf, boat rides (on special glass bottom boats so to see underwater without diving). You can just enjoy sun and swimming, some shopping, some walks in the nature. There is the possibility of camping inside the territory of the park, on the beach, among the lovely wood of Casaurina. As a nice alternative, when you are tired of too much wonderful nature, you can take a bus or rent a car and go to visit the city of Malindi. It is only 10-minute drive from the Marine Park’s shores.
You cannot do
At Malindi Marine National Park you cannot: go fishing, swim too close to corals, pick corals, touch corals, hire local people in order to take corals or other elements of the seabeds for you. Respect this incredible paradise.
In order to enter and use the Marine Park’s service you shall pay 15 Dollars (10 Dollars for children).
To get to Malindi Marine National Park: drive along the coastline road connecting Mombasa to Malindi. Malindi Airport will be your reference if you arrive by airplane.