Watamu Marine Park, excellent place to watch rare fish and birds.


Watamu Marine Park.

Watamu Marine Park is located 14 miles south of Malindi, starting from the mouth of the Mida Creek at the southern end, continuing north to Turtle Bay. The water is fairly clear and shallow, with a sand-weed and coral bottom.

At Watamu Marine Park, the small coral gardens lie parallel to the shore, and are not exposed during low tide. The sea bed displays the brain coral which does not provide shelter for many of the small coral reef, that prefer to hide among the branches of the Madre pores, finger and stag horn. Sea anemones, which cover the top of the coral, and clown fish, are found in plenty here.


Another unique fish found at the park is the cleaner wrasse which makes its living by picking over the scales of other fishes. This is made possible because of other larger fishes that occur in small numbers. Also seen on the coral are shy octopuses. They quickly slither away when approached so one has to be careful to keep distance from it to see the best show.

Watamu Marine National Park and Reserve encompasses the forest roots that are rich in fish, crabs, prawns and oysters and are also excellent for bird watching. Tewa Caves, near the mouth of the creek, are partly underwater where Giant Groupers co-exist with many other tropical fish species. The low tide is best to make a trip. Floating slowly over the coral beds you get to see brilliantly coloured marine fishes of bizarre shapes, spiny fish urchins, brightly hued seas slugs, crabs and starfish.

Shore birds include; sander lings, curlew sandpipers, little stints, whimbrel and greenshanks and three species of plovers: grey, great sand and Mongolian sand. On-breeding visitors include terns and gulls. They are; swift, lesser crested and Saunders' little terns and the sooty or hemp Rich’s gull.

On the mainland you will see the Giant Monitor Lizards, dikdik, Antelope, mongoose and monkey species. The coral reefs are home to over 140 species of hard and soft corals. Their symbiotic relationship with the chlorophyll generating plants gives 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. There is also excellent accommodation along this stretch of the Kenya coast.

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