When someone talks of Mombasa Marine National Park, you should expect to experience a warm azure ocean, a memorable paradise of tropical sun, see swaying Coconut Palms, safe Ocean adventure and explore pristine white sandy beaches. It is one of the highly utilized Marine Protected Areas in the country established in 1986 to preserve/protect the coral reefs and the native marine life extending throughout the area.
This Park is situated within the Mombasa District in the Coastal Province, offshore of Mombasa Town and extends for only 10 square kilometers (4 square miles) while the Marine National Reserve stretches for 200 square kilometers (80 square miles) thus totaling to over 210 square kilometers of both the entire Protected Area.
Mombasa Marine National Park is one of the few places in the World that protect/preserve the fragile coral reefs on the Kenyan Coast that extends for over 230 kilometers (143 miles) along the shoreline. Interestingly, the Coral reefs play a significant role in the Ecosystem of the Ocean by offering food and safety to more than one million species of marine life.
Climate and Vegetation within Mombasa Marine National Park
Mombasa Marine Park experiences both hot and humid climate while its vegetation is mainly comprised of seaweeds, mangrove and sea grasses.
What to see within Mombasa Marine National Park
The Coral reefs attract a wide range of fish species most of which are iridescent in color and are remarkably marked. The beautiful species not to miss include the striped zebra fish, the celestial blue and jade-green parrotfish, stonefish, lionfish with its mane of sharp spikes jellyfish, starfish, zebra fish, damselfish, the soup-plate-sized butterfly fish and the multi-colored angelfish among others.
The larger marine life such as hawksbill, Ridley, loggerheads, hunting sharks, leatherbacks and green sea turtles are some of the spectacular ones that will take your breath away. Dolphins are regular visitors to the area while the bottle-nosed, humpback and spinner are commonly spotted singly or within schools. Other remarkable marine species you are likely to encounter include coral species (such as Porites, Acropora and Turbinaria among others), sea stars, sea cucumbers, marine algae, Octopuses, sea urchins, sea grasses and beautiful migratory bird species including the Crab plovers and roseate terns among others.
If you are a beach lover, then you will regret missing any of Mombasa Marine National Park’s finest white sandy beaches. Additionally, you can easily access the nearby ones such as Kenyatta Public Beach, Nyali, Shanzu (known for the numerous sea turtles that always visit the area to lay their eggs) and Bamburi beaches.
Tourist Activities within Mombasa Marine National Park
Mombasa Marine National Park is the home to numerous water sports hence tourists who visit it can engage in a number of activities that include;
Boat trips within this Park are done aboard dive speedboats as well as glass-bottomed boats. There are a number of local agents that offer boats to get into the Marine National Park, on top of good companies spread along the beach also providing other water sports facilities.
Due to the abundant marine life, magnificent coral reefs and beautiful blue waters, Mombasa Marine National Park is the perfect destination for snorkelers. It is said that the greatest number of marine life come out two hours either side of the low tide thus making it the ideal time for this adventurous activity over the reef.
Scuba diving is another invigorating activity for adventure enthusiasts who visit Mombasa Marine National Park and offers opportunities of sighting the wonderful marine life and other attractions of interest. Surprisingly, Kenya’s coastal waters are generally warm all year round hence even without a wet suit, diving is worthwhile and the country’s reefs are recognized as one of the World’s top three diving sites in the World by experienced divers with the other two being the Red Sea Reef as well as the Great Barrier Reef within Australia.
With the average temperature of 21 to 33 Celsius degrees and relatively high humidity levels, diving lets you cool in the middle of the extremely warm day. Not only that, the south-east monsoon winds that blow from April to October and north-east winds from November to March can affect diving conditions
Mombasa Marine National Park is a haven to numerous shorebirds in large colonies and migratory species such as Crab plovers thus bird watching can be enjoyed by tourists who visit the destination.
Sunbathing and relaxation
On top of exploring the magnificent coral reef gardens, you can actually just sunbathe along the pristine white sandy beaches or just unwind as you relish what nature offers.
Other exhilarating adventure activities to enjoy within Mombasa Marine National Park include Windsurfing, Water skiing and Swimming among others.
What to carry/Pack when visiting Mombasa Marine National Park
If you are planning to visit this phenomenal Marine destination, there are some items that should never miss on your packing list and these include pair/s of shorts, t-shirts, sleeveless tops/shirts, footwear especially flip-flops or sandals to protect your feet from the coral reef, enough drinking water (preferably bottled water), camera, snorkel fins and masks (which you can actually hire from within the destination), backpack, sunscreen, sunglasses, binoculars, hat, insect repellant, guidebooks (for marine life especially fish, birds and others), snacks and most importantly come with a friend for additional fun and excitement.
Where to Stay within Mombasa Marine National Park
There are a number of exquisite up-market and culturally rich Safari Lodges, Resorts and Hotels within or at the close proximity of Mombasa Marine National Park that offer comfortable accommodation to tourists so as to have memorable safaris. Some of the common places of stay include Serena Beach Resort and Spa, Mombasa Beach Hotel, Voyager Beach Resort, Glory Holiday Resort (along Mombasa beach, 1.7 kilometers from the National Park), Moffat Court Hotel, Nyali Parkside Resort (off Malindi road, at approximately 1.9 kilometers from the Park), Rickseaside Villas (1.9 kilometers from the site and found along Nyali Beach), Bliss Resort, Reef Hotel Mombasa, Mei Place Apartments, Sunrise Resort Apartment and Spa, Pride Inn Villas Mombasa Nyali, Tulia House and many others.
Best Time to visit Mombasa Marine National Park
The good news is that you don’t have to wait for a particular time of the year to explore the beauty of Mombasa Marine National Park because it’s an all year round destination. Interestingly, the wonderful Kenyan Coastal weather makes snorkeling perfect throughout the year.
How to Access Mombasa Marine National Park
This beautiful Park is found within Mombasa City at approximately 485 kilometers south-east of Nairobi City (Kenya’s Capital) and can be accessed by both road and air transport and has several access points (entrances) that include Nyali gate that leads to the Park Headquarters, Voyager gate within the Voyager water sports area and Serena, Travelers gate found within the Beach of Travelers Hotel and Severin gate within the beach of Severin Hotel.
For more information and bookings, you can contact the tourism officer or Senior Warden through telephone on +254 (0) 412 312744 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Therefore, Mombasa Marine National Park is one of the exceptional Marine destinations in the World offering a variety of Marine life in form of coral reef species, different fish species such as the striped zebra fish, the celestial blue and jade-green parrotfish, stonefish, lionfish with its mane of sharp spikes jellyfish, starfish, zebra fish, damselfish and larger species such as dolphins, loggerheads, hunting sharks, leatherbacks and green sea turtles and many others.