Malindi Marine National Park in Kenya is a true tropical paradise, endowed with glass-like waters and palm-lined beaches. This protected marine park hugs a stretch of 213 kilometres of coastline north of Mombasa and provides an idyllic tropical paradise fringing warm Indian Ocean waters.
Malindi Marine National Park is believed to be the oldest in Africa and boasts an underwater world home to rare coral gardens, sea turtles, dolphins and bold colour fish. The beaches are not the only areas worthy of exploring – there are mangrove swamps, dense coastal forests and lagoons connected to this stretch of coast.
The park is a stretch of raw and wild beach paradise, ideal for relaxing romantic holidays and activity-based marine adventures. Watersports, snorkelling, nature walks and birdwatching are the predominant activities in the surrounding area.
Peppered along the coastline on the outskirts of the national park, visitors will find reed huts and thatched structures offering a rustic beach bar feel, and restaurants serving Swahili dishes. Endless stretches of sugar-white sand provide the perfect place for lengthy birdwatching walks, while the rich underwater world appeals to water babies.
The small town of Malindi is located 120 kilometres from Mombasa, the main town on Kenya’s coast. The closest international airport is Moi International Airport in Mombasa, where visitors can connect to Malindi Airport.
This protected marine park hugs a stretch of 213 kilometres of coastline north of Mombasa and provides an idyllic tropical paradise fringing warm Indian Ocean waters.
Popular shorebirds to spot include the sanderling, lesser sand plover and curlew sandpiper. Birds close to the mangroves and estuaries include the western reef heron and lesser crested tern. There are over 450 species of bird within the coastal area and adjacent forests.
The untouched areas of the marine park look like a real-life aquarium. Beneath the surface of the tropical waters, divers and snorkelers can expect to find prolific marine life that includes sea urchins, starfish, tropical fish, barracuda, green sea turtles, beds of coral species, nine coral fish families, whale sharks, and dolphins.
Shorebirds are in abundance, particularly in the mudflats. Popular shorebirds to spot are the sanderling, lesser sand plover, and curlew sandpiper. Birds close to the mangroves and estuaries include the western reef heron and lesser crested tern. There are over 450 species of bird within the coastal area and adjacent forests.
Malindi Marine National Park enjoys hot temperatures year-round and is quite a humid region. However, there is a distinct wet and dry season. June to September and January to March are the ideal times to visit, as this is the dry season. Short rains occur in October and November, but they do offer respite from the searing temperatures.
April to June and October to December are the wet moths, where there are long rains.
Marine and bird life govern the wildlife sightings in Malindi. All activities centre around showcasing the underwater spectacle of the Kenyan coast. There is also significant birdlife in the region. The reserve ranks as one of the top destinations in Kenya for scuba divers.
In the reserve, visitors can enjoy recreational snorkelling and scuba diving expeditions to find green sea turtles, mako sharks, and whale sharks. Beds of seagrass and organ-pipe coral cover the ocean floor, providing a habitat ideal for a variety of marine life.
Guided birding walks into the forests fringing the coast can be arranged. Beach strolls to mudflats and estuaries are recommended for birders. Glass-bottom boats introduce visitors to the rich world beneath the surface of this marine national park. Water-skiing, windsurfing and other adventurous activities take place just outside of the protected area.
Inside the park, there is no accommodation. The outskirts of the protected area have a range of beach resorts, B&Bs and seaside self-catering villas. Neighbouring Malindi caters for a range of budgets and offers a variety of accommodation types, generally within 7 kilometres of the marine national park.