Watamu Marine Park And Reserve
Come and visit watamu Marine Park and reserve for your memorable vacation in Kenya. The watamu marine park and reserve was founded in 1968 and became the first marine park in Kenya. The park is located 140 Km North of Mombasa. It is characterized by coral gardens of about 200 meters from the shore and it is the home of over 600 fish species. The watamu Marine Park and reserve is the host of more than one hundred and ten stony coral species and other countless number of invertebrates, mollusks and crustaceans.
The water temperature at Marine Park and reserve varies depending on the climatic condition from 20 degree Celsius during the months of June to November and 30 degrees Celsius from December to May. In 1079 the watamu marine park and reserve was designated as a Biosphere. The park and reserve tighter with the Malinda Marine National Park were established by the Kenyan government in 1968 and currently is recognized by the United Nations as Biosphere Reserve in the World.
The watamu Marine Park and reserve coral reefs form the biological and physical backbone of the area. It has over 150 species of soft and hard coral such as the sponges, fan corals and brain corals. All these types of corals provide nutrients for the fish living in watamu marine park and reserve. The watamu marine park has more that five hundred fish species and 1000 of them are being preserved. The park also has manta rays, whale sharks, barracuda and octopus which are the larger species living in this park.
The Marine Park and reserve has also a wide variety of turtle species. Visitors coming to this place will be amazed by the turtle nesting sites that have been preserved under the turtle watch program. These nesting sites are located in the watamu marine park and reserve beach to conserve the endangered sea turtles. This beach is vigorously monitored and patrolled. The title nesting in watamu Marine Park and reserve are the Olive Ridley turtles, Hawksbill and green turtles. The reared ones are the Olive Ridley which only occasionally visits the nesting site at watamu marine park and reserve. The leather turtles do not nest Malinda reserve or in watamu Marine Park and reserve but in some occasion pass through these parks as they migrate to other places.
In 1997 and 1998, the watamu marine park and reserve was badly affected by bleaching of water leading to a high level of mortality in watamu's and malindi’s coral reefs. Since then the watamu Marine Park and reserve has become a marine protected area. The conservers have made significant efforts to return the watamu marine park and reserve to the situation it was before the damage. This recovery process has however been too slow.
The damage is attributed to coastal development and urbanization especially from agricultural and tourism sectors as the factors which contributed to the degradation of the marine environment in watamu marine park and reserve. It is crucial for such area to be protected because they are the natural beauties that will attract tourism and to maintain our national heritage in managing to conserve our habitat.