Haven for Green Turtle, Unique Coral Garden and Mida Creek
Watamu is an amazing paradise of sun and sand with an international reputation for its reef protected beaches, offering safe sunbathing at both high and low tides all the year round.
The natural feature most obvious to the visitors is of course the marine park. The park was created in 1968 and is park of the far larger Malindi-Watamu marine Reserve, which includes the Mida Creek. The Marine Park extends from the Blue Lagoon in the North to Whale Island in the South and is mainly a lagoon habitat with depths in the central channel up to 6 meters, and some isolated holes by the Turtle Reef up to 12 meters. Fishing is totally banned in the park.
Most of the hard coral species occurring in the Kenyan coast have been identified with a healthy reef system, most easily recognizable corals are the Porites Hump Corals, which are slow-growing corals and may be up to 4 meters in diameter.
The most spectacular areas for snorkeling are around the coral gardens and adjacent Richard Burnett reef, where vast array of tropical fish can be seen. These includes the surgeon fish, snappers, parrot fish,angel fish, puffer fish, butterfly fish, trigger fish and many others that offer an awesome spectacle of variety and color.
Rays can also be seen swimming through the water in a graceful flying motion, while, on occassion, you might see some young reef sharks in the shallows. No need to worry; they are harmless and are usually just lazing around.
With an ornithologist's paradise at Mida Creek, wide variety of tropical reef fish in the adjacent waters of Watamu Marine Park and endemic flora and fauna in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest.
In addition to snorkeling there is an assortment of other water sports, ranging from surfing to deep sea fishing, which is rated among the best in East Africa.
What to see
Butterfly Pavillion, Kipepeo ProjectThe Kipepeo project is a small community based butterfly farm that exports pupae to Europe and United States for use in live butterfly exhibits. It started in 1994 and is based near the entrance of the Gede Ruins. The 150 community butterfly farmers are made up of local families that live adjacent to the Eastern border of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest.
The project is open to the public, where they can see the rearing procedure, as well as a visitor centre with displays and information clearly illustrated. There is a large flight cage to wander through and see at close range a selection of Arabuko Sokoke butterflies.
Abundant Bird Life
Over 100 species of bird are found int the cultivated gardens, shamba and bush. Commonly seen and overheard is the Black Kite, whilst the common Bulbul, White-Browed Coucal and Speckled Mousebird can be seen scufffling in the undergrowth. Bright Yellow Canaries and the Golden Palm Weavers flash in the bush, whislt the lizard Buzzard and the Lilac Breasted Roller are often seen perched on poles and wires.