Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park & Reserve Kenya

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Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park & Reserve Kenya

Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park is situated on the southern coast of Kenya near Shimoni and south of Wasini Island in Kwale District near the Tanzanian border. Kisite park covers 11 km2 (4.2 sq mi) while Mpunguti reserve covers 28 km2 (11 sq mi) total of 39 km². Kisite Marine Park and Reserve have been designated a Blue Park and are the “home of the dolphins”. 

Kisite Marine National Park is the second most famous marine park in the world, after the Australian Marine Park. The park is Kenya’s largest marine protected area, and a popular tourist destination.

The park with its magnificent coral reefs and colorful marine life, 6 km off the Kenyan coast, is managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service. Kisite Mpunguti is 120 km (75 mi) from Mombasa, 605 km (375mi) from Nairobi and 50km south of Diani.

Kisite Marine Park was established to protect the scenic islands and special habitats of a wide range of endemic marine animals and breed migratory birds. It’s an ideal breeding area for roseate and sooty terns (July to September) and great habitat for pelagic feeders.

It is home to some of the most diverse and plentiful marine life seen in the region. The warm, clear water with pristine corals and a myriad of fish make scuba diving and snorkeling here something for beginners and professionals alike. It is best to snorkel for two hours on either side of the low tide when more marine life is active. However, the best time to visit is early morning when the sea is calm.

Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park & Reserve Kenya has over 250 recorded fish species, 70 resident dolphins (spinner, humpback, and bottlenose), 56 genera of corals, 10 species of mangroves, and dozens of sea turtles, whales, seabirds, gastropods, and endemic crustaceans such as the coconut crab.

The fringing and patch reefs, channels, seagrass meadows, and mangroves in the Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Park & Reserve provide critical habitat to many ecologically and economically important species, which fuels the prominent, yet sustainable, tourism and small-scale, the local fishing economy in the region.

Kisite is one of the most rewarding snorkeling locations on the coast. Visitors can also enjoy viewing marine life, fishing, bird watching, diving, swimming, sailing, boat ride, and of course, sunbathing. Tours to Kisite Mpunguti Marine National Park and Wasini Island are offered where tourists have plenty of time to watch the pods of resident dolphins, for snorkeling in the coral reef, or to even make a scuba dive.

We offer day trips by dhow for dolphin-spotting, snorkeling, and diving. Some guests choose to remain in the boat or paddle off the sandbar at low tide. Our tours offer lunch on Wasini Island. Accommodation is available.

Kisite Mpunguti Marine National Park Coral Reefs and Colorful Marine Life

Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park & Reserve Kenya

Majestic Coral Reefs

The most outstanding feature of the Kenyan coast, the pristine and well-developed coral barrier reef extends all the way from Shimoni in the South to Malindi in the North, without a significant break, except at the mouths of the rivers.

Coral reefs act as homes for millions of sea life. From microscopic plankton to the larger starfish and octopus. The coral reef barrier present at Kisite is so vast; that it spreads all the way to Malindi unbroken. You will therefore get to witness one of the most extraordinary features of the sea.

Divers and Snorkellers Paradise

Due to its warm shallow waters, exceptional clarity, pristine coral, and extraordinary breadth of marine life, the Park and the Reserve offer excellent dive sites for beginners and professionals. The warm clear waters, spectacular soft corals, and kaleidoscopic marine life make this Park one of the finest snorkeling sites in East Africa. The most popular areas lying in the main coral garden towards the outer edge of the Kisite anchorage area are clearly marked with mooring buoys

Mysterious Sea Birds

The tree-less rock cliffs present at Kisite Mpunguti are the occasional breeding and nesting grounds for hundreds of sea birds. Unlike other aviary, sea birds do not like or live on trees or other plants. They love the bare rocks, which allow them the free space they are accustomed to in the ocean. As a result, Kisite is listed as an IBA (Important Bird Area). Visiting anytime between July and September will guarantee you a peek into this wonder.

The intriguing underwater world

Do you enjoy snorkeling or diving? Then Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park is one of the most ideal places for this. The clear and clean waters boast of thousands of sea life that have been referred to as a rainbow. Snorkeling here will allow you to see beautifully colored fish of all sizes, shapes, and forms, an experience not many can boast of.

Among the common fish found at the park, including parrotfish, rubber fish, scorpionfish, different-sized sharks, and stingrays. There are also a number of molluscs including crabs, sea cucumbers, and starfishes. Turtle Territory: The Park is famous for its population of turtles: Green and Hawksbill turtles are normally spotted in their hangout, Kijamba cha Kasa.

Dolphins and whales

Perhaps the most enticing part of visiting Kisite Mpunguti is the chance to swim with dolphins in their natural habitat. The reef offers sanctuary to over 200 dolphins (spinner, humpback, and bottle-nosed), which can be encountered as single individuals or mostly in pods of 2-25 individuals breaking above the waves.

If you are fortunate enough to visit between July and December, you’ll have a chance to spot Humpback whales, which raise their calves in our warm waters, and migratory Whale sharks (the world’s largest fish). These friendly mammals love playing in the water, and when they feel comfortable, enough can come within inches of you.

2022 Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park & Reserve Entrance Fees

Citizen/ Resident Rate Per Person Per Day

Non-Resident Rate Per Person Per Day

Adult 200 Kenya Shillings 15 US Dollars
Child 125 Kenya Shillings 10 US Dollars


* Child refers to persons from three years but below 11 years
* Resident refers to persons of other nationalities residing in Kenya with valid documentation from the Kenyan government
* Citizen – A native or inhabitant of East Africa Countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and SouthSudan) with valid identification documents or passport
* Daily – Fee paid for a single entry to a national park, national reserve, or sanctuary and which shall be valid for no longer than twenty-four hours

Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park & Reserve Activities | Attractions

Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park & Reserve Kenya

Viewing Marine Life

Unspoiled, beautiful, and sun-kissed, the Kisite Marine Park was established to protect the scenic islands and special habitats of a wide range of endemic marine animals and breed migratory birds. It lies in the coral gardens south of Wasini Island and encompasses three small coral rag forest islands, each with considerable areas of fringing reef.

Kisite is one of the most rewarding snorkeling locations on the coast. Visitors can also enjoy bird watching, diving, and of course, sunbathing. The Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park is a protected sanctuary of coral reefs and small islands, home to dolphins, turtles, innumerable fish, and sea birds.

The under-waters of the marine park are of unbelievable color and vibrance. The marine is home to a rainbow of small fish, octopus, and clams. Marine life is in abundance, including triggerfish, moray eels, angelfish, butterflyfish, groupers, parrotfish, wrasses, scorpionfish, pufferfish, damselfish, rays, snappers, green sea turtles, hawksbill turtles, and dolphins. Humpback whales and whale sharks are seasonal.

Comprises about 250 recorded fish species, 70 resident dolphins, and over 140 cataloged individuals, sea turtles, whales, 56 genera of corals, seagrass, and gastropods. Many seabirds in large nesting colonies and internationally significant numbers of roseate terns and crab-plover. It’s an ideal breeding area for roseate and sooty terns (July to September) and great habitat for pelagic feeders.


Birding at Kisite Mpunguti national park is more impressive during rainy seasons when migratory birds from North Africa and Europe are present while the residential birds are breeding and aquatic birds can be seen around during this season.


Enjoy Kenya’s most popular snorkeling and diving boat safari to the famous Kisite Marine Park, just 55km from Diani Beach. Kisite Marine Park, located on the far south of the Kenyan coast, is undoubtedly the most beautiful snorkeling spot in the country.

Its reef drop-off, healthy and colorful, offers a great underwater spectacle. During your snorkeling, you may spot clownfish nestled in their sea anemone, a turtle sleeping in a hollow of the reef, a stingray lurking in the sand, or superb angelfish gliding between the corals.


Mpunguti marine national park is blessed with over 200 fish species of which deep-sea fishing can be conducted and the fishing equipment can be hired at the park.


Here sunbath experience is amazing which can be done at the sun worshipped beaches of the mag coastal area with panoramic views of the ocean shores.


The park has got very many diving sites available and diving lessons are provided for those who would love to learn how to do it at the park.


Travelers get a chance to swim back and forth to the reefs. There dhows anchors at the edge of the reefs, between 4 and 8 meters deep. It is done with protective jackets that make it safe for even first-time swimmers. It is quite amazing to see these reefs.

Guided walks

This is an interesting activity as a tourist can be able to walk along the beach shores and come across beautiful Marine life like turtles.


The best time for sailing in the park is in the dry seasons when the waters are more clear for better gainful views of Marine life and snorkeling.

Boat ride

For more enjoyment of experiencing the ocean, travelers can go for boat riding along marine waters with a packed lunch box as you will be sailing on a water vessel while getting amazed with great views of marine life which gives lots of excitement.

Shimoni Caves

Five minutes’ walk away from Shimoni Pier is the ancient coral caves of Shimoni. These vast caves have a healthy population of fruit and insect-feeding bats calling them home. Shimoni Caves are reputed to extend 5 Km inland connecting to 3 sister caves. For centuries these caves were used by the local population as a site of worship and sanctuary.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, they are reputed to be used as holding areas for the unfortunate captured slaves who were in transit to the slave markets in Zanzibar. The caves are run as a community project and are open from 8:30 am until 6:00 pm (a small entrance fee is payable at the gate and the proceeds pay local school teachers and school fees for the needy children).

Best Time to Visit 

Kisite Mpunguti marine national park is best visited during the dry season from June to October and December to Mid-March. During this period of the year ‘’dry season, the waters are very clear and travelers can enjoy views of the marine life clearly. Still a good temperature to do diving, snorkeling, boat drives, and swimming can be perfect.

Whales can be greatly viewed between August and October. Yet wet seasons that occur from November to Mid-December and March to May, it can be a challenging time to enjoy the park’s activities.

How to reach Kisite Marine National Park

Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Park & Reserve is located in Kwale District, Coast Province. The Marine Park lies 11 km off the Kenyan Coast (at Shimoni) and 8 km north of the Tanzanian border. The distance from Nairobi is 574 km and from Mombasa is 90 km. The Park can only be reached by boat.

Kisite National Marine Park is located about 50km south of Diani. We offer daily boat trips to the Marine Park, from Diani to Kisite for snorkeling and dolphin watching as well as lunch on Wasini Island.

The tours include transfer by minibus from hotels in Diani and Shimoni, from where the boats depart (approximately a 1-hour drive). You will enter the water from a boat.

Hotels in and around the Kisite Marine National Park

Shimoni Reef Lodge Kenya

Accommodation in and around Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park & Reserve Kenya. There are no hotels/ lodges or camps inside the park but nice accommodation facilities can be found outside the park.

These include; Shimon reef lodge, Villa Moja, Kinondo Poa, Betty’s Camp, The Cove Retreat, The Manta Resort, Diani Breeze Villas, Kinondo Shwari Cottages, Msambweni Beach House, Swali House at Msambweni, Kigomasha Eco Beach Resort, Hill park hotel Tiwi beach, Sand at Island, the Villa Luxury Suites, Fish Eagle Point, etc.

Check on our list for South coast hotels on this link: Mombasa South Coast Hotels Accommodation. There are campsites available, such as Betty’s camp, Shimon cottages, Wasindi Island guest house, Chlobus Campsite, and Mpunguti campsite.

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