East Africa’s 13 Best Marine Parks

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No natural world can be more tranquil than the world under the sea. If you love underwater photography or the underwater flora and fauna excite you, you will love East Africa's underwater world.

With endless coral reefs in the crystalline waters of the Indian Ocean, there are plenty of places for a quintessential marine exploration trip in Kenya and Tanzania. Let's take a look at the best marine parks in the East African destinations.

Top Marine parks in Kenya

1. Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve, Kenya

Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve is located south of Malindi town. Fringing reefs, coral, seagrass, mangroves, mudflats, high fish diversity, marine mammals, turtles, and shorebirds are easily spotted in the park. The park features a wide range of activities such as swimming with zebrafish, windsurfing, glass bottom boat rides, camping, and beach walks in the beautiful coral garden.

Malindi Marine National Park

Malindi Marine National Park

2. Watamu Marine National Park & Reserve, Kenya

Watamu Marine National Park & Reserve is with rich and diverse bird life, fish, turtles, and dugongs. Tourists can enjoy the white sandy beaches, snorkelling, water skiing, windsurfing and glass-bottomed boat tours. Spot the endangered Green sea Turtle, octopus, and barracudas or take a round dive at the Canyon to find rays and reef sharks.

Watamu Marine

Watamu Marine National Park

3. Mombasa Marine National Park, Kenya

Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve is characterised by the warm azure ocean, swaying coconut palms on white sandy beaches. Mombasa is home to a colourful variety of marine life and interesting migratory birds. Lying between Mtwapa and Tudor Creeks in Kenya, its blue waters are ideal for windsurfing, water skiing, snorkelling, and diving.

Mombasa Marine National Park

Mombasa Marine National Park

4. Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park & Reserve, Kenya

Otherwise known as the home of Dolphins, Kisite Marine Park lies in the coral gardens south of Wasimi Island on the south Kenyan coast near the Tanzanian border. It encompasses three small coral rag forest islands (MpungutiyaJuu, MpungutiyaChini and Liwe la Jahazi). Kisite rewards its visitors with snorkelling, bird watching, diving and sunbathing.

Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park

Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park.By: Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park

5. Kiunga Marine National Reserve, Kenya

Stepping into Kiunga Marine National Reserve is stepping into a mangrove. Located further north along Kenya's Indian Ocean coast, Kiunga comprises of 50 offshore islands and coral reefs in the Lamu Archipelago. View the coral reefs, sea grass, mangroves, sea turtles, and dugongs. Enjoy windsurfing, diving, snorkelling, water skiing and sunbathing at this marine reserve.

Kiunga Marine National Reserve

IKiunga Marine National Reserve.By: KWS

Top Marine parks in Kenya

6. Chumbe Island Marine Sanctuary, Tanzania

Although coral reef diving is not permitted here, Chumbe Island Marine Sanctuary offers some of the most pristine reefs with more than 200 species of coral and over 400 species of colourful fish. This sanctuary is part of the greater Zanzibar Archipelago and one of the reasons why diving and snorkelling in this area is not to be missed.

Chumbe Island Marine Sanctuary

Chumbe Island Marine Sanctuary.By: Vladiprivate islands

7. Dar es Salaam Marine Reserves,Tanzania

FunguYasin, Mbudya, Bongoyo and Pangavin Islands make up for the marine reserves in Dar es Salaam. They have close proximity to the city and offer good scenic diving and snorkelling sites as well as marine birds and dolphin viewing.

8. Mafia Marine Park, Tanzania

Located around Mafia Island, south of Dar es Salaam, Mafia Marine Park is popularly known for its spectacular diving, colourful coral gardens, and coral life. Over 50 types of coral and 400 species of fish have been identified so far in the marine park.

Mafia Marine Park

Mafia Marine Park

9. Maziwe Island Marine reserve, Tanzania

Maziwe Island Marine Park is a perfect vacation spot to enjoy swimming, snorkelling, diving and sunbathing in Tanzania. You can spot over 350 fish species, 35 genera of coral and exceptional birdlife.

Maziwe Island Marine reserve

Maziwe Island Marine reserve

10. Menai Bay Conservation Area, Tanzania

Menai Bay Conservation Area is located in the south-west of Zanzibar Archipelago. It is a sea-turtle breeding area, which features coral reefs with an abundance of marine life and dense mangrove forests. Take the traditional boat trips for snorkelling on the reefs, picnic on the island and enjoy swimming with dolphin and whales.

Menai Bay Conservation Area

Menai Bay Conservation Area

11. Misali Island Conservation Area, Tanzania

Misali Island Park is home to endangered nestled turtles, green monkeys, Pemba flying fox, coconut crabs and various bird species. If you keep to the non-extraction zone, you can enjoy diving and snorkelling activities. the park is located west of Pemba Island and can easily be accessed via the Island.

Misali Island Conservation Area

Misali Island Conservation Area

12. Mnazi Bay Marine Park, Tanzania

Situated in southern Tanzania is the Mnazi Bay Marine Park known for its biodiversity of coral life which includes a large population of whales, dolphins, four species of turtle and numerous birds.

Mnazi Bay Marine Park

Mnazi Bay Marine Park

13. Mnembe Conservation Area, Tanzania

If you go to the north-eastern tip of Zanzibar Island and you spot turtles laying or hatching their eggs, then you most likely have stepped into the Mnembe Conservation Area. The area features excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities.

Mnembe Conservation Area

Mnembe Conservation Area

Where Will Your Next Marine Adventure Take You?

Whether you plan to dive, snorkel, kayak or take a boat ride through these Marine Parks you are sure to see some amazing sea-life! Pack your swimming gear and get going!

If you have anything to add to our list we'd love to hear from you! Tell us where you think the most beautiful Marine Park in East Africa is? Hit us up on social or pop us a line on social@tripindigo.com

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