Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve

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Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve | Kenya Wildlife Service |  Malindi Marine National Park the Indian Ocean | Things to Do in Malindi Marine Park | Malindi Marine Park Fees | Malindi Marine National Park Kenya Safari | Malindi Marine National Park Charges | Malindi Marine Boat Excursions | Malindi Marine National Park Accommodation | Where To Stay In Malindi Marine National Park | Safari Activities in Malindi Marine National Park | Malindi glass-bottom Boat Rides | Malindi Snorkeling | Malindi Camping | Malindi Marine National Park Coast of Kenya | Kenya National Parks Game Reserves

Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve

Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve is located in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Kenya. It is claimed to be the oldest marine park in Africa. The park lies at Malindi, about 118 km north of Mombasa, and is protected and administered by the Kenya Wildlife Service. The park borders the Arbuko Sokoke forest and Gede ruins. Closest Airstrip: Malindi Airport.

The park has a total area of 6 km2 and lies between Latitude 3o and 4o South. It is located south of Malindi town extending to Mida creek. It neighbors Gede ruins and Arabuko Sokoke forest. The park is enveloped by a national reserve and a 100 feet strip of coastal land starting from the Vasco-da-Gama pillar to Watamu.

The reserve covers 213 km2 and extends three and a half nautical miles out to seaward. Malindi Marine water was opened in the year of 1968 and declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1979. Together with the Watamu Marine National Park, Malindi Marine Park is enclosed by the Malindi Marine National Reserve and the park’s attractions include coral reefs, tropical fish, barracuda, zebra fish, turtles, and dolphins.

Malindi Marine Park is endowed with beautiful resources such as coral gardens in the lagoons, seagrass beds, fringing reefs, mudflats, mangroves, marine mammals, turtles, and numerous unique shorebird species. Turtles include Green, Hawksbill, Olive Ridley, loggerhead Green, and Hawksbill turtle.

Fishes: Over 300 species of fish have been recorded in the park with the most common groups including Angelfish, Barracuda, Butterflyfish, Goatfish, Fusiliers, Emperors, Groupers, Grunt/Sweetlips, Jacks, Parrotfish, Rabbitfish, Sharks, Snappers, Surgeonfish, Triggerfish, and Wrasses.

The Landscape in Malindi is predominantly plain as the climate is generally hot and humid throughout the year. The daily temperature is about 22º Celsius minimum and 30.5º Celsius maximum. There are short rains from October to November and long rains from April to July.

Malindi Marine park comprises magnificent resources such as fringing reefs, coral gardens in the lagoons, sea grass beds, mangroves, mudflats, marine mammals, turtles, and various species of shorebirds. The fringing reefs are so close to the shore and are exposed during low tide but drop gradually to a seagrass bed that descends precipitously to the deep Barracuda Channel.

Coral is the most important element of the park: it is not just a tourist attraction but also economic support for local people. Fishing and coral picking is forbidden in most parts of the reserve, but near the shores, there are specific points where fishermen – and only fishermen!- can work, under control.

The main activity in Malindi Marine National Park is Scuba diving. Tour operators organize “underwater safaris“. So they let people admire the many particular coral species – Porites, Montipora, Turbinaria, Astaeopora, and Millepora.

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 National Park & Reserve and its surroundings: surf, windsurf (in the reserve), and boat rides (on special glass bottom boats so to see underwater without diving).  You can also enjoy the sun and swimming in the warm ocean water, dhow rides, educational tour, Picnic and barbeque on Island, some shopping, and some walks in nature.

There is the possibility of camping inside the territory of the park, on the beach, among the lovely wood of  Casaurina.  Malindi is famously known as a tourist town with requite scenic beauty of its landscape, and clean white beaches.

This is a perfect place to cool over in a beautiful slice of Kenya’s Indian Ocean coastline that provides a perfect getaway experience in a lifetime. 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 a 10-minute drive from the Marine Park’s shores.

At Malindi Marine National Park you cannot: go fishing, swim too close to corals, pick corals, touch corals, and hire local people in order to take corals or other elements of the seabeds for you.

Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve Attractions

Malindi Marine National Park


Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve’s real draw is its turtle population, and those with an interest in turtles should consider a visit. The park runs a monitored turtle watch program that has helped ensure that the main beach remains a nesting site for endangered sea turtles.

Turtle species that visit or nest here include the Green turtle, the Hawksbill, the Leatherback,  loggerhead and the rare Olive Ridley. Green and Hawksbill turtle breeds in the park.

Fishes (Experience an amazing new world underwater!)

Over the entire reserve, there is said to be more than 1000 fish species, as well as whale sharks, octopus, and barracuda. Visitors can snorkel and dive on the reef, provided that they don’t disturb any of the marine life, and an afternoon of taking in its vibrant colors, sights, and sounds is not to be missed. (All fishing within the Park is forbidden).

You can see Technicolor Fish of impossible shapes and various sizes such as Flute Mouths, Half Beaks, Hawk Fishes, Lizard Fish, Parrot-Fish, Porcupine Fish, Puffers, Thorn Heads, Trigger Fishes, Zebra Fish, Angelfish, Barracuda, Butterflyfish, Goatfish, Fusiliers, Emperors, Groupers, Grunt/ Sweetlips, Jacks, Parrotfish, Rabbitfish, Sharks, Snappers, Surgeonfish, Triggerfish, Wrasses and hundreds of others.


At least 135 species of gastropods and 12 species of echinoids have been identified in the park and reserve. The common invertebrates within the park include Clams, Crown of thorns, Lobsters, Octopus, Sea anemones, Sea cucumbers, Sea stars, Sea urchins, crabs, and Shells.

Benthic cover

200 species of algae have been identified. A total of 55 genera and 145 species of hard coral have been recorded on the north reef. Generally, the substrate is covered by Coralline algae, Halimeda, Dead Coral, Soft Coral, Fleshy algae, Sand, Hard Coral, Rubble, and Algal Turf.

Corals (Come in many colors, shapes, and sizes!)

There is a tantalizing variety of superb coral to be seen below the waters of Malindi National Park. Just to give you an idea, 145 species of hard coral have been recorded on the North Reef alone! Expect to see beautiful examples of Boulder Coral, Organ Pipe Coral, Seagrass, and Staghorn Coral, among many others.


Marine Birds in the park include Roseate and Bridled Terns, which nest on Whale Island, and a variety of migrant shore and terrestrial birds. Just 20km south of Malindi. Mida creek is a large salt-water lagoon, merging with a huge Mangrove forest which provides habitats for many endemic and migratory bird species, as well as a breeding ground for endangered Turtles.

The Mida Creek forest attracts a variety of birdlife, with over 100 species to be found there. Birds to keep your eyes peeled for include the Black Kite, Speckled Mousebird, Yellow Canary, and the Lizard Buzzard. The Boardwalk tour (guided) will take you along a 260mt suspended boardwalk to a rustic hide where you can spend some time watching a wide variety of marine birds.  Canoe excursions over the mud flats are also available.


Generally, a wide variety of terrestrial plants are found on the shore surrounding the Marine Park. Some of the species include; Suregada zanzibariensi, Turraea wakefieldii, Cainthium glaucitin, Flueggea virosa, Turraea nilotica, Casuarinas equisetifolia, Delonix regia, Azadirachta indica.

On some of these plants, you will find insects of different kinds such as butterflies, moths, bees, ants, and wasps.

Mammals (Splendid and spectacular adventures you can’t afford to miss!)

The Dolphins, algae-eating Whale Shark, and migrating Humpback Whales.

Malindi Marine National Park Activities

Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve

Diving and Snorkeling:

Visitors can enjoy a fabulous marine adventure by getting a boat to the off-shore coral formation. The best time for snorkeling is two hours on the low tide. Wearing only your swimsuit, snorkel, and mask, you watch varied fishes like zebra, angel, snapper, butterfly, scorpion, rubber, puffer, damsel, and too many other species to name!

The fish dart about so quickly that you may have difficulty discerning between the various species, and occasionally a slow-moving form may catch your eye. Perhaps it is a grouper, ray, or another large under life creature. 

Glass Bottom Boats:

Whether you prefer swimming or snorkeling or just viewing the biodiversity of the coral reef from a boat, the marine boat operator offers the following services:
* Boat excursion rides throughout the Marine Park and reserve
* Trips to Mayungu, a tidal sand island, where you can have fresh seafood

* Visits the coral gardens to see the tropical fish in their natural environment


Camping along the beach is possible as long as you bring all supplies such as food, water, and anything you may need. The campsite has 2 BBQ and cooking areas, 2 toilets with running water, pit latrines, and security lights for the night. It is a cool way to spend a Kenya beach safari, with beats of the waves on the shores to mark the night.

Sunbathing on Magic Island

This is a rather unique experience for tourists who are not accustomed to water activities, they can just relax and enjoy the sun setting on the beach and the cool breeze of the Indian ocean.

The island, which is situated inside the Marine Park, is so-called because it appears and disappears magically with the tides. At low tide the sandbank pops out of the ocean and makes the perfect place for sunbathing, surrounded by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

Water spots:

There is a good variety of water sports to be enjoyed off the Malindi Beach, including water-skiing, jet-skiing, para-sailing, surfing, wind-surfing, and even kite-surfing.

Scuba Diving

Keen scuba divers can look forward to exploring various very rewarding dive sites, including a wreck that lies in fairly shallow waters and has become a home for several shoals of fish. The most popular dive sites are all located about 15 to 25min by boat from the shore.

Coral Garden, Marine Park, and Tewa sites all have a maximum depth of 11 Meters, making them suitable for beginners. At Turtle Point and Papa Point you can drop down to around 16mt, and The Channel has a maximum depth of 23mt.

All equipment is available for hire from several Scuba Diving centers, and lessons are available.


Snorkeling is by far the most popular activity at Malindi – all you need is your snorkel and some fins (available for rental) and you can set off to enjoy an amazing and safe marine adventure. There are some spectacular coral formations in the fairly shallow waters of the Coral Garden, which are just 300 meters offshore and are accessed by boat.


Fishing is very limited on the island but can be done at the reserve, Malindi was once recognized as a gaming destination in 1934 by Hemingway. Fishing gears are available and the ocean is rich with various fish species.

Sardegna Island (Picnic and barbeque on Island)

Sardegna can be accessed through the Malindi Marine Park with a boat.  You can take a full day glass bottom boat and enjoy Sardegna, lunch on the boat, and snorkeling.

Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve

Just a short distance from Malindi National Park you will find the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve, which contains a somewhat unique stretch of coastal forest. Arabuko is great for hiking and bird watching, and you may come across some of the rare endemic animals that live there. 

The Gedi Ruins and the Kipepeo Butterfly Farm

Both of these attractions can be visited on an interesting half-day tour. Walk through the extensive ruins of what was obviously a thriving coastal Swahili city, dating from about the 13th century, which appears to have been abandoned in the 17th or 18th century.

Surprisingly advanced architectural techniques are evident in the many well-preserved relics of palaces, mosques, wells, and houses. The Butterfly Farm is a cooperative initiative between the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Arabuko Sokoke community and is well worth a visit. You can also buy some great silk products to take home.

Malindi Marine National Park Accommodation | Hotels

Diamonds Dream of Africa Malindi

The Accommodation Malindi Marine National Park is available at the campsite in the park and its name is Casuarina where it has comfortable and relaxing accommodation. The campsite has a cool shade of indigenous trees which provides a scenic and serene environment with a marked nature trail.

Your stay here will bring back memories of unspoiled splendor because nature is precisely as it was intended to be. Equipped with 2 erected barbeque and cooking areas, working security lights, 2 flush toilets, 2 pit latrines, and 5 showers.

You could also stay at the Malindi Banda’s: 3 single beds and 6 twin beds self-contained cottages. Comfortable and cost-effective with a spacious dining hall. The kitchen can be hired for self-catering services, or with the service of a cook.

There are several hotels, resorts, and guest houses close to Malindi Marine Park and Reserve such as Diamonds Dream of Africa, Driftwood Beach Club, Marine Holiday House, Villa Fortuna Malindi, Hotel Villa Malindi, Eden House Cottages, Swordfish Villas, Malindi White Elephant Sea and Art lodge, Ocean beach resort, White Nyumba, Bella Azzura villa, and Kilili Baharini Resort & Spa.

Malindi Marine Park and Reserve Location | Best Time to Vist | Park Entrance Fees

Malindi Marine National Reserve is pleasant to visit year-round, with an average temperature of around 22º Celsius minimum and 30, 5º Celsius maximum. The Landscape in Malindi is predominantly plain; the climate is generally hot and humid throughout the year.

There are short rains from October to November and long rains from April to July. The best time to visit is during the dry season, in which June – September, and  January – March are the dry months, but the key rainy seasons are between April – June, and October – December.

Getting to Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve

Malindi Watumu is 120km north of Mombasa and 28km south of Malindi. Driving along the main Mombasa –  Malindi road, turn towards the Indian Ocean and the park sits 11km from the main road. The nearest town to the park is Malindi, a seaside town set along a strip of tropical beaches that are popular with holidaymakers in search of the sun.

Malindi tropical beaches offer the visitor a range of world-class Resorts and quiet relaxing hideaways. Malindi is where Ernest Hemingway came in the 1930s in search of Sarlin, sailfish, and Wahoo. There are excellent and relatively inexpensive facilities for fishing.

By Air: If you’re wishing to fly into the area, the nearest airport is also located in Malindi. Malindi airport has daily scheduled flights to Mombasa, Nairobi, and Lamu. The airport also serves Private Charters

2022 Malindi Marine Park And 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

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