Watamu Marine National Park is part of a complex marine and tidal habitats along Kenya’s north coast. It is enclosed by the Malindi Marine National Park and Reserve which also encloses Watamu Marine National Park and Reserve. Habitats include intertidal rock, sand, and mud, fringing reefs and coral gardens, coral cliffs, sandy beaches, and the Mida Creek mangrove forest. Marine life attractions include fish, turtles, dugongs, and crabs.

The Mida Creek forest has a high diversity of mangrove species including Ceriops tagalRhizophora mucronataBruguiera gymorrhizaAvicennia marina, and Sonneratia alba. These provide refuge to a variety of both resident and migrant bird species. Its extensive forests are gazetted as forest reserves and the extreme western tip of Mida Creek is part of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve. The park was established in 1968,  and it was one of Kenya’s first marine parks. Watamu Marine National Park and Reserve were designated as a Biosphere reserve in 1979.

Major Attractions and Activites

  • A haven of the Green turtle, Hawksbill and Olive Ridley turtles.
  • Unique coral garden – over 150 species of hard and soft corals, such as fan corals, brain corals, and sponges.
  • Over 500 species of fish in the main park and over 1000 in the reserve
  • Mida Creek
  • Kipepeo Project
  • Gede Ruins
  • Over 100 species of birds.

There are also whale sharks, manta rays, octopus and barracuda as some of the larger species in the park.

Mida Creek
Aerial View of Mida Creek, South of Malindi | Photo By Mwangi Kirubi

How to get there

Roads: Watamu is 118 km north of Mombasa and 28 km south of Malindi. At Gede, which is on the main Mombasa-Malindi Road, you turn towards the Indian Ocean. Watamu is 11 km away from the main road.

Air: You can access the marine park through Mombasa Airport or Malindi Airstrip.

Other Park Details

Park Size

10 sq. Km


The Coast is humid with mean annual temperatures ranging from 22-34 C. Rainfall is about 500mm pa.

What to take with you

  • Footwear, e.g. sandals or flip flops (to protect your feet from the reef)
  • T-shirts (to protect your body from sunburn)
  • Snorkel, mask, fins, all of which are available for hire
  • Camera, hat, sunscreen, insect repellant
  • Guide books
  • Plenty of drinking water

Park Fees

Go to KWS Website or contact tour operator.


There is currently no accommodation in the reserve, a wide range of options exists in nearby Malindi town.