Kisite Mpuguti Marine National Park
Kisite Mpuguti Marine National Park is located on the southern coast of Kenya near the Tanzania border. This national park covers four small islands surrounded by a coral reef which include Mpunguti ya Juu, Mpunguti ya Chini, Liwe ya Jahazi.
This national park which is managed by Kenya Wildlife Services was established to protect the scenic islands, special habitats of a wide range of endemic marine animals and breeding migratory birds. Kisite Mpuguti Marine national park is home to the amazing dolphins.
The three islands lie closer to Wasini island and are characterized by scrub and largely covered by dense forest. However, they do not support any significant wildlife species or bird species. There are magnificent coral reefs and a variety of marine life which can be seen in Kisite Mpuguti Marine national park which is managed by Kenya Wildlife Services.
The best time to visit Kisite Mpuguti Marine national park is during the morning hours when the tide is low and the marine species can be easily sighted along with the incredible natural formations, colorful habitats and a variety of sea creatures.
Kisite Mpuguti marine national park is strategically located making trips to other nearby coastal destinations easier such as Diani beach and Mombasa. This marine national park is located on the shallow Indian ocean waters of southern Kenya.
Fishing is not allowed in the marine park but sea fishing lovers can opt for the Pemba channel to catch different kinds of fish such as the large barracuda, marlin, sailfish, kingfish and many other fish species.
Access to Kisite Mpuguti marine national park can be by boat on a traditional dhow in the company of the locals who provide entertainment as you cruise along the sea.
Kisite Mpunguti marine national park is best visited during the months from October to January for a satisfying coastal experience.
Attractions Kisite Mpuguti Marine National Park
Attractions that tourists view during a tour of Kisite Mpuguti marine national park include the following;
- Dolphins can be sighted swimming alongside the boats in the warm crystalline waters. The dolphins can be encountered in schools or singly below or above the waves. Whale sharks are easily sighted around the Mpunguti islands.
- Sea birds which can be seen along the sandy beaches and the rock outcrop of Kisite Mpuguti marine national park also described as the realm of seabirds. A variety of birds can be seen including the migratory and native birds.
- Barrier reef covers part of the distance along the coast which is habitat for the countless marine life and also food to some of the water creatures. Kisite Mpunguti marine national park has one of the finest coral reefs in the world with an incredible variety of colorful fish and corals. The barrier reef provides a form of protection to the coast against waves, storms, and floods which lead to erosion. The barrier reef extends all the way from Shimoni in the south to Malindi in the north and is one of the greatest ecosystems in the world providing shelter to a variety of marine life.
- Marine species that can be sighted in this national park include a variety of fish species and turtles like the leatherback turtle. Some of the fish species include grouper, pufferfish, blue lined snapper, butterflyfish, triggerfish and many others. Other species that can be sighted during exploration of Kisite Mpuguti marine national park include octopus, clams, sea cucumbers, reef sharks and many others. During some times of the year, humpback raises their calves in these waters and can also be spotted as well as migratory whale sharks between August and October.
- Kisite island covers about 11 sq. km and it features an exposed sand bar with clear waters offering the most rewarding site for snorkeling in this marine national park. This island is also a realm of sea birds with a rock outcrop which stands out from the rest of the generally flat and treeless nature of the island which is a habitat for a variety of sea birds such as the pelagic feeding birds and many others.
- Shimoni caves located not far from the Shimoni pier are a reminder of the struggles of African slaves during the slavery periods. The caves were formed as a result of erosion caused by the changes in the tide. The walls of these caves are lined with chains which were used by the slave masters to hold the slaves captive and to avoid the slaves from escaping and to control the slaves. The slaves would later be taken by dhow to Zanzibar which was the slave market before shipping the slaves to Europe and other destinations. These caves also served as “kayas” or places of worship and sanctuary for the local community. The local community is in charge of these caves which are run as a community project.
Activities in Kisite Mpuguti marine park
Activities for tourists to engage in during a tour in Kisite Mpuguti marine national park are of a variety ranging from relaxing along the beach to enjoying a dip in the water and they include the following;
- Snorkeling engages the tourists in floating close to the colorful coral reef while watching as the fish and other water creatures dart behind and under different hiding places. Snorkeling is the closest experience to diving and it is a way of introducing tourists to the unique experience underwater. The guide is always present during the snorkeling and diving experience to ensure that the tourists are comfortable and safe. Briefing is done before participating in snorkeling where the different hand signals for safety are explained to the tourists. The equipment used during the snorkeling experience can be provided from the beach by one of the dhow tours and alternatively a tourist can bring his/her own equipment that fits well. Fins are discouraged during snorkeling because they damage the corals.
- Diving is best done in the months between October and March when the water is clearer and calm. There are different spots for diving for both beginners and well-experienced divers providing maximum satisfaction to the tourists in Kisite Mpuguti marine national park. Different aquatic life can be seen during the diving experience such as butterflyfish, turtle starfish, angelfish, blackfin barracuda, grouper, pilot fish and many other species. This experience offers a close encounter with the aquatic life in their hiding places and in the ocean cloves.
- Swimming with the magnificent sea creatures is a unique experience for tourists in Kisite Mpuguti marine national park offering a break from the heat of the sun. This marine park offers great chances for tourists to relax along the beach as they engage in different water-based activities like swimming, snorkeling, and diving and watch the dolphins playing in the Indian ocean waters. The dhows provide the necessary safety gear for swimmers such as floaters, safety jackets to ensure that the less experienced swimmers also enjoy their marine experience and are not in harm’s way.
- Bird watching is done along the Kisite island where a number of pelagic feeding birds can be sighted. Other bird species that can be sighted include the rare roseate terns among others.
Accommodation can be found near Kisite Mpunguti marine national park and not within the national park itself. The accommodation facilities are classified into luxury accommodation, midrange accommodation and budget accommodation and they include the following;
- Luxury accommodation; the sands at Chale island, the villa luxury suites.
- Midrange accommodation; Shimoni reef lodge, hill park hotel Tiwi beach,
- Budget accommodation; Tiwi villas, Fish eagle point.
Camping option is also available for tourists with campsites such as Shimoni cottages, Betty’s camp, Wasini island guest house, Mpunguti campsite.
Experience the rich aquatic life in the underwater paradise of Kisite Mpuguti Marine national park and create memories with your loved ones.