Malindi Marine National Park

Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve                                        
Malindi Marine Park and Reserve was the first marine protected area in Kenya, established in 1968 and designated as a Biosphere Reserve under the Man & Biosphere Reserve programme of UNESCO in 1979. The park has a total area of 6 km2 and lie between Lat. 3 degree and 4 degree 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 ft strip of coastal land starting from Vasco-da-Gama pillar to Watamu. The reserve covers 213 km2 and extends three and a half nautical miles out to seaward.

Malindi Marine Park and Reserve was established for the following objectives:
1. Encourage public education, understanding, appreciation, recreation and enjoyment of marine natural resources.
2. To conserve and maintain representative areas of the marine ecosystem.
3. To promote research of marine ecosystem.
4. To provide opportunities for generation of economic benefits.
The Park and Reserve has features such as being easily accessible by road and air, hosting rich and relatively unaffected marine biodiversity, beautiful beach and warm water safe for swimming among other factors to achieve the objectives outlined above.

Slide Show
More Information

Malindi Marine National Park                                      
"Africa’s Oldest Marine Park, Magic Islands, Zebra fish"
Malindi Marine Park and Reserve is endowed with magnificent resources such as fringing reefs, coral gardens in the lagoons, sea grass beds, mangroves, mudflats, high fish diversity, marine mammals (e.g. dolphins), Turtles and Shorebirds. The main biotopes of Malindi Marine Park include fringing and patch reefs distributed on the seaward edge of barracuda channel. The structure of these reefs is influenced by the prevailing physical conditions, especially wind, and sediments from Sabaki River which runs north of Malindi. The fringing reef is close to shore, 150 m or less in some areas, and exposed during low tide, but drops gradually to a sea grass bed that descends precipitously to a deep channel, barracuda channel. A small submerged patch reef with the top covered by algae and sides dominated by large heads of Goniastrea retiformis, occurs on the eastern edge of this channel. A large patch reef, north reef, has developed further offshore and this reef is the main focus of much of the tourism activity in the park.
North reef has a shallow (5m at high tide) lagoon with an extensive sea grass bed where green turtles are often encountered feeding in the lush Thalassia beds. In the center of the lagoon, scattered patches of hard coral dominated by branching and massive forms of Porites, Platygyra and Goniastrea are found. The lagoon edges are dominated by branching Porites, Acropora, encrusting Montipora and the colorful Galaxea clavus. Many coral reef fish, including large schools of sweetlips, surgeonfish and parrotfish can be observed here. Many species of butterflyfish and damsels have also been recorded foraging and maintaining algal lawns amongst the corals. The rare olive shell Ovula ovum is sometimes seen feeding on soft coral and other gastropods including tiger cowries, cone shells and helmet shells also occur here. The leeward side of north reef has low coral cover and slopes down to a soft bottom at 8 to 10 m depth. Large coral heads of Goniastea retiformis and Porites lutea rise up from the bottom. The wind ward side of north reef slopes down to a sandy bottom at 18 to 20 m depth. The reef has a high coral cover dominated by Galaxia, Montipora and Porites. Several species of large sea cucumbers including the commercial Holothuria nobilis and Thelonata ananas are scattered along the bottom where they feed on the substrate. Large schools of Barracuda and the occasional reef shark are also commonly encountered as well as large rays that feed on the bottom. The northern end of North reef is characterized by very large and old massive Porites heads up to 3 to 5 m in height. Studies of cores taken from these corals have indicated an age of ~400 to 600 years and a climate record showing increasing sediment loads in the waters of these reefs.
Tewa reef is a smaller submerged patch reef found to the south east of North reef. Surrounded by a sea grass bed, the reef has a high coral cover and very high visibility due to its distance from shore. Large schools of predatory fish including Barracuda are common here. On the eastern side of North reef lies a shallow rubble reef, Leopard reef, in the Malindi Marine Reserve. Much of the artisanal fishery in the reserve in this area is concentrated on this reef.
The reefs of Malindi are seasonally inundated by silty waters from the Sabaki River. Maximum river discharges occurs during the long (April - July) and short (October - December) rainy seasons at the coast. The waters of Malindi bay are colored red at this time and depending on when the winds switch from the Northeast monsoon to the Southeast monsoons, the sediment plume may reach as far as Malindi Marine Park. This sometimes decreases visibility and the aesthetic quality of the reefs in park

-  By Road: Malindi Marine National Park is situated on Kenya’s magnificent Indian Ocean coastline, Malindi town, some 110 km North of Mombasa.
-  By Air: Malindi Airport is your arrival point.

Size and Location
South Eastern Kenya

-  Tempepature ranges from 20-30 °C and rainfall from 200 mm – 700 mm.
-  Two rain seasons: Long rains – March & April & short rains – Nov/ December.

Safari Card Required
Smart card required: at present the park does not operate on smart card system. Entry is by cash only (KSH or US$).

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 of water.
-  A friend(s).

-  Fishes
-  Inverterbrates
-  Benthic cover
-  Corals
-  Dolphins

Marine Life
Prolific marine life includes crabs, corals, sea urchins, jellyfish, sea stars, and sea cucumbers. Different varieties of coral species comprise of Acropora), Turbinaria and Porites.

Marine Animals and Plants

Turtles: Green, Hawksbill, Olive Ridley, Loggerhead. Green and Hawksbill turtle breeds in the park
Fishes: (Experience an amazing new world under water!) Over 300 species of fish have been recorded in the park with most common groups including: Angelfish, Barracuda, Butterfly fish, Goatfish, Fusiliers, Emperors, Groupers, Grunt/Sweetlips, Jacks, Parrotfish, Rabbit fish, Sharks, Snappers, Surgeon fish, Triggerfish and Wrasses.
Invertebrates: Atleast 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 anemone, Sea cucumber, 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, Algal Turf.
Corals: (come in many colors, shapes and sizes!) Boulder coral, Organ pipe Coral, Sea grass, Stag Horn Coral.
Birds: Variety of migrant shore and terrestrial birds.
Plants: 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, wasps.
Mammals: (Splendid and spectacular adventures you can’t afford to miss!), The Dolphins.

-  Swimming in the warm ocean water.
-  Boat Excursion rides.
-  Visits to the coral gardens  to see tropical fish in their habitats.
-  Trips to Manyugu, a tidal Island, where you can have fresh food.
-  Glass bottom boat rides.
-  Conferencing: A resource centre with audio visual equipment with a capacity of 50 and a library.
-  An education centre with audio visual equipment




Park Contacts
Phone:       +254-42-31554/20845
Email:  or
Postal Address: Malindi Marine Park, The Warden, Box 109, Malindi, Kenya.