Malindi Marine Park and Reserve was the first marine protected area in Kenya, established in 1968 and designated as a Biosphere Reserve under the Man & Biosphere Reserve programme of UNESCO in 1979. It is Africa’s Oldest Marine Park. The park has a total area of 6 square km. It is located south of Malindi town extending to Mida creek. It neighbors Gede ruins and Arabuko Sokoke forest. The park is enveloped by a national reserve and a 100 ft strip of coastal land starting from Vasco-da-Gama pillar to Watamu. The reserve covers 213 square km and extends three and a half nautical miles out to seaward.
The Park and Reserve has features such as being easily accessible by road and air, hosting rich and relatively unaffected marine biodiversity, beautiful beach and warm water safe for swimming among other factors to achieve the objectives outlined above.
Malindi marine Park and Reserve is endowed with magnificent resources such as fringing reefs, coral gardens in the lagoons, sea grass beds, mangroves, mudflats, high fish diversity, marine mammals (e.g. dolphins), Turtles and Shorebirds. The main biotopes of Malindi Marine Park include fringing and patch reefs distributed on the seaward edge of barracuda channel. The structure of these reefs is influenced by the prevailing physical conditions, especially wind, and sediments from Sabaki River which runs north of Malindi. The fringing reef is close to shore, 150m or less in some areas, and exposed during low tide, but drops gradually to a sea grass bed that descends precipitously to a deep channel, barracuda channel. A small submerged patch reef with the top covered by algae and sides dominated by large heads of Goniastrea retiformis, occurs on the eastern edge of this channel. A large patch reef, north reef, has developed further offshore and this reef is the main focus of much of the tourism activity in the park.
The reefs of Malindi are seasonally inundated by silty waters from the Sabaki River. Maximum river discharges occurs during the long (April – July) and short (October – December) rainy seasons at the coast. The waters of Malindi bay are colored red at this time and depending on when the winds switch from the Northeast monsoon to the Southeast monsoons, the sediment plume may reach as far as Malindi Marine Park. This sometimes decreases visibility and the aesthetic quality of the reefs in park.
Malindi marine Park and Reserve by road, is 118 Kilometers tarmac road from Mombasa to Malindi town. Malindi Airport is also available.
Green, Olive Ridley, loggerhead and Hawksbill turtles breeds in the park.
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