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KENYA NATIONAL PARKS & GAME RESERVES

See also TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS

NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK

The 117 km2 Nairobi National Park is unique by being the only protected area in the world with a variety of animals and birds close to a major city. As expected, the park is a principal attraction for visitors to Nairobi. The park also serves many residents and citizens living in the city.

The park has a diversity of environments with characteristic fauna and flora. Open grass plains with scattered acacia bush predominant. The western side has a highland dry forest and a permanent river with a riverine forest. In addition, there are stretches of broken bush country and deep, rocky valleys and gorges with scrub and long grass. Man-made dams have also added a further habitat, favourable to certain species of birds and other aquatic biota. The dams also attract water dependent herbivores during the dry season.

npkThe park has diverse birdlife with 400 species recorded. However all species are not always present and much depends on season. Northern migrants pass through the park primarily during late March through April.

Nairobi National Park is one of the most successful of Kenya's rhino sanctuaries that is already generating a stock for reintroduction in the species former range. Due to this success, it is one of the few parks where a visitor can be certain of seeing a black rhino in its natural habitat.

To the south of the park is the Athi-Kapiti Plains and Kitengela Migration Corridor. These are vital areas for herbivores disperse over them during the rains and concentrate in the park in the dry season.

• Annual wildebeest and zebra migration in July/August
• Black rhinoceros
• Diverse birdlife
• Large predators
• Aggregations of large herbivores
• Ivory Burning Site Monument
• Walking trails.
• Nairobi Safari Walk & the Orphanage.

MOUNT KENYA NATIONAL PARK & RESERVE

Mt. Kenya is an imposing extinct volcano dominating the landscape of the Kenyan Highlands, East of the Rift. Mt. Kenya lies about 140 km North, North-East of Nairobi with its Northern flanks across the Equator. The mountain has two main peaks - Batian (5200m) and Nelion (5188m). The mountains slopes are cloaked in forest, bamboo, scrub and moorland giving way on the high central peaks to rock, ice and snow. Mt. Kenya is an important water catchment area, supplying the Tana and Northern Ewaso Ngiro systems.

The park includes a variety of habitats ranging from higher forest, bamboo, alpine moorlands, glaciers, tarns and glacial morains.

mt. kenyaThe park, which was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1997 ans is also a Biosphere Reserve, covers 715 km2, and includes the Peaks consisting of all the ground above 3200m with two small salients extending lower down to 2450m along the Sirimon and Naro Moru tracks. Surrounding the park is Mount Kenya National Reserve with an area of approximately 2095 km2.

Climate:
Climate, flora and fauna on Mt. Kenya varies with altitude.

Pristine wilderness, lakes, tarns, glaciers and peaks of great beauty, geological variety, forest, mineral springs, rare and endangered species of animals, High altitude adapted plains game, Unique montane and alpine vegetation with 11 species of endemic plants.

ABERDARE NATIONAL PARK

aberdareThe Aberdares are an isolated volcanic range that forms the eastern wall of the rift valley, running roughly 100km north south between Nairobi and Thomsons Falls. Soils are red and of volcanic origin, but rich in organic matter. There are two main peaks, Ol Donyo Lesatima (3,999m) and Kinangop (3,906m) separated by a long saddle of alpine moorland at over 3,000m. The topography is diverse with deep ravines that cut through the forested eastern and western slopes and there are many clear streams and waterfalls. The Aberdares are an important water catchment area providing water to the Tana and Athi rivers and part of Central Rift and Northern drainage basins.

The National Park lies mainly above the tree line running along the 10,000ft contour with some forest and scrub at lower altitude in the 'salient' area near Nyeri with the boundary running down to the 7000ft contour. The unusual vegetation, rugged terrain, streams and waterfalls combine to create an area of great scenic beauty in the National Park. The park is surrounded by a predominantly indigenous forest, whose management is under an MoU between KWS and the Forest Department.

Location:
Central highlands, west of Mount Kenya; Nyeri District; Central Province; 766km2

Climate:
Mist and rain occur throughout much of the year, with precipitation varying from around 1000mm yearly on the north western slopes to as much as 3000mm in the south east. Heavy rainfall occurs through most of the year.

Lesatima peak, Kinangop peak, waterfalls, walks in the moorlands, Twin hills, Elephant hills and Table mountains, Elephants, Second largest population of black rhinos in Salient and Northern Aberdares, Queen Elizabeth learned of her accession to the throne at Tree-tops, The Kimathi Hideout, Night viewing of wildlife at the Ark & Treetops.

MASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE

The Masai Mara lies in the Great Rift Valley, which is a fault line some 3,500 miles (5,600km) long, from Ethiopia's Red Sea through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and into Mozambique. Here the valley is wide and a towering escarpment can be seen in the hazy distance. Most of the game viewing activities occur on the valley floor. The animals are also at liberty to move outside the park into huge areas known as 'dispersal areas'. There can be as much wildlife roaming outside the park as inside. Many Masai villages are located in the 'dispersal areas' and they have, over centuries, developed a synergetic relationship with the wildlife.

· Wildebeest Migration
· Hot Air Ballooning
· Huge savannahs of golden grasslands
· Rift Valley escarpment

The plains are full of wildebeest, zebra, impala, topi, giraffe, Thomson's gazelle. Also regularly seen are leopards, lions, hyenas, cheetah, jackal and bat-eared foxes. Black rhino are a little shy and hard to spot but are often seen at a distance. Hippos are abundant in the Mara River as are very large Nile crocodiles, who lay in wait for a meal as the wildebeest cross on their annual quest to find new pastures. Every July (or sometimes August), the wildebeest travel over 600 miles (960km) from Tanzania's Serengeti plains, northwards to the Masai Mara and the Mara River is the final obstacle. In October or November, once they have feasted and the grass has all but gone, they turn around and go back the other way.

Birds, too, are prolific. Including migrants, well over 450 species have been recorded, among them, 57 species of birds of prey.

LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK

Lake Nakuru is a very shallow strongly alkaline lake 62 km2 in extent. It is set in a picturesque landscape of surrounding woodland and grassland next to Nakuru town. The landscape includes areas of marsh and grasslands alternating with rocky cliffs and outcrops, stretches of acacia woodland and rocky hillsides covered with a Euphorbia forest on the eastern perimeter.

The lake catchment is bounded by Menengai crater to the north, the Bahati hills to the north east, the lion hill ranges to the east, eburu crater to the south and the mau escarpment to the west. Three major rivers, the njoro, makalia and enderit drain into the lake, together with treated water from the town's sewage works and the outflow from several springs along the shore.

Lake Nakuru was first gazetted as a bird sanctuary in 1960 and upgraded to National Park status in 1968. A northern extension was added to the park in 1974 and the lake was designated as a Ramsar site in 1990. The foundation of the parks food chains is the cyanophyte spirulina platensis which can support huge numbers of lesser flamingo.

Location:
Central Kenya, 140km north-west of Nairobi, in Nakuru District of the Rift Valley Province. It covers an area of 188 km2.

Climate:
Ranges from Cold, Hot and Humid, Hot and Dry. Annual rainfall is 965mm

• Flamingo (Greater and Lesser) and other water birds including a variety of terrestrial birds numbering about 450 species in total.

• Mammals: 56 different species including white rhinos.
• View-points: Lion hill, Baboon cliff and out of Africa
• Hills: Enasoit, Honeymoon, Lion hill ridge etc.
• Waterfalls: Makalia
• Unique vegetation: About 550 different plant species including the unique and biggest euphorbia forest in Africa, Picturesque landscape and yellow acacia woodlands.

AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK

Amboseli lies immediately North West of Mt. Kilimanjaro, on the border with Tanzania. Amboseli was established as a reserve in 1968 and gazetted as a National Park in 1974. The Park covers 392 km2, and forms part of the much larger 3,000 Km2 Amboseli ecosystem. Large concentrations of wildlife occur here in the dry season, making Amboseli a popular tourist destination. It is surrounded by 6 communally owned group ranches. The National Park embodies 5 main wildlife habitats (open plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush country, swamps and marshland) and covers part of a pleistocene lake basin, now dry. Within this basin is a temporary lake, Lake Amboseli, that floods during years of heavy rainfall. Amboseli is famous for its big game and its great scenic beauty - the landscape is dominated by MT Kilimanjaro.

Location:
On the border with Tanzania, Kajiado District, South Kenya; Covers 392km2

Climate:
The climate is mainly hot and dry. Amboseli is in the rain shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The maximum average temperature of the warmest month is 33°C during the day, while that of the coldest is 27-28°C. An annual rainfall of 300mm per annum is distributed in two seasons: April/May and November/December. Recurrent droughts and potential evaporation of 2200mm per annum typifies the region (KWS, 1991).

• Mt. Kilimanjaro
• Mt. Meru
• Observation Hill which allows an overall view of the whole park especially the swamps and elephants,
• Contemporary Maasai culture and indigenous lifestyle

KAKAMEGA FOREST NATIONAL RESERVE

kakamegaThe Kakamega Forest Reserve covers an area of about 240 km2 and was established to protect the only mid altitude tropical rainforest in Kenya, a remnant and eastern limit of rainforests of Zaire and West Africa. Its West African affinities are unique in Kenya and the forest contains many species found nowhere else in the country.

The forest lies in the Lake Victoria catchment, about 40km north of Kisumu and just east of the Nandi Escarpment that forms the edge of the central highlands. It was first gazetted as a trust forest in 1933 and two small Nature Reserves, Yala and Isecheno were established within the forest reserve in 1967. In 1986 nearly 4,000ha of the northern portion of the forest together with the adjacent Kisere Forest were gazetted as Kakamega Forest National Reserve.

The forest is an important water catchment area with the Isiukhu and Yala rivers flowing through it. The terrain is undulating with often steep sided river valleys. The soils are well-drained, deep, heavily leached clay loams and clays of generally low fertility.

Location:

Kakamega district in Western Kenya and covers an area of 45km2.

Climate:

Annual rainfall over 2,000mm.Most of this rain falls between April and November with a short dry season from December to March. Rain falls mostly in the afternoons or early evenings and is often accompanied by heavy thunderstorms. Average temperatures remain similar between 15°C and 28°C.

Kenya 's only tropical rain forest with unique endemic and endangered species of mammals, birds, Butterflies, Snakes.

Activities:

Bird watching, Nature trails, Camping, Night game walks.

MARSABIT NATIONAL RESERVE

Marsabit National Reserve covers an area of 1500 km2 and consists of a forested mountain that rises like an oasis in the middle of the desert wilderness and is the only source of permanent surface water in the region.

The reserve has three spectacular crater lakes that provide habitat for a variety of birdlife. One of the lakes, Lake Paradise, is most scenic and famous from early films and writings of Martin Johnson and Vivien de Wattville.

Marsabit reserve is also known because of large elephants like the famous Ahmed, an elephant that was provided with a 24 hour protection by a presidential order. Ahmed, who boasted some of the biggest tusks ever recorded, died at age 55, and his body was preserved and is now on display in Nairobi National Museum.

Location:
Northern Kenya, 560km north of Nairobi in Marsabit District of Eastern Province.

• Pristine forest
• Scenic landscape and wilderness
• Crater lakes
• Elephants and Greater Kudu
• Diverse birdlife
• Diverse local cultures

SHABA NATIONAL RESERVE

Shaba is part of three small adjoining savanna national reserves that lie on either side of the Northern Ewaso Ngiro River, 340km North, North East of Nairobi (Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba). They were established in 1948 as the Samburu Isiolo Game Reserve, part of the once extensive Marsabit National Reserve. Now they are managed by their respective county councils, Samburu and Isiolo. The reserve consists of a low lying, semi arid plain on the southern bank of the Northern Ewaso Ngiro river. It lies 9 km east of buffalo springs national reserve, from which it is separated by the main road from isiolo to marsabit. The reserve was gazetted in 1974 and is administered by the Isiolo CC. Its Northern section includes a 34km stretch of the Ewaso Ngiro river; here and elsewhere in the reserve are numerous springs and swampy areas, although some have bitter tasting water. The starkly beautiful landscape is dominated by Shaba hill to the south, at the foot of which is a rugged area with steep ravines. The sandy soils are volcanic in origin.

Climate:
The climate is hot and dry. Rainfall averages 250-300mm per year.

Scenic landscape and riverine forest, Permanent Springs. Shaba has 17 springs at which animals congregate during the dry season, Reticulated giraffe, Somalia ostrich, Grevy's zebra, Joy Adamson's monument .

Reptiles:
Crocodile, Python, Puff Adder, Gecko.

Insects/arthopods:
Grasshopper, Beetle, Buttefly, Scorpion.

Major Animals:
Baboon, Olive; Buffalo, African; BushBaby; Bushbuck; Caracal; Cheetah; Dik-dik, Kirk's; Duiker, Bush; Eland; Elephant, African; Gazelle, Grant's; Giraffe, Reticulated; Klipspringer; Leopard; Mongoose, Banded; Monkey, Sykes; Oryx, Beisa; Warthog; Waterbuck, Common; Zebra, Common; Zebra, Grevy's.

SHIMBA HILLS NATIONAL RESERVE

The Shimba Hills were gazetted as a National Forest in 1903, grassland areas were incorporated in 1924 and several subsequent extensions took place to bring the Reserve to its present size. In 1968 most of the Reserve was double gazetted as the Shimba Hills National Reserve. Two smaller areas to the west adjoining the reserve and almost entirely forested remain as Forest Reserves; Mkongani North and Mkongani West Forest Reserve. A fenced elephant corridor connects the Shimba Hills with Mwaluganje Forest Reserve to the North.

The Shimba hills are a dissected plateau that ascends steeply from the coastal plains, 30 km south west of Mombasa and just south of Kwale town. The surrounding escarpment rises from around 120m to 300m across the bulk of the plateau and as high as 450m at Marare and Pengo hills. The underlying rocks are the Triassic Shimba Grits and in the north central part near Kwale town Pliecone Magarini sands. Rivers flowing from the hills supply fresh water to Mombasa and the Diani/Ukunda area.

Location:
The reserve is approximately 33 km South of Mombasa, in Kwale district of Coast Province.

Climate:
The climate is hot and moist but is cooler than that at the coast with strong sea breezes and frequent mist and cloud in the early morning. Annual rainfall is 855mm-1682mm. Mean annual temperatures is 24.2 degrees Centigrade.

• Scenic landscape comprising of hills and valleys extending beyond the reserve boundaries

• Sheldricks Falls
• Sable antelope
• Coastal rainforest
• Potential for bird-shooting outside the Reserve

TSAVO EAST NATIONAL PARK

Tsavo East National Park covers an area of about 12,000 km2, 40% of Kenya's parks' total area. This vast park lies in low semi arid country at the eastern edge of the inland plateau, north of the main Mombasa-Nairobi road and railway. Much of the park is level, open country with scattered rocky ridges and outcrops. Due to its size, the park is one of the world's wildlife and biodiversity strongholds.

The Yatta plateau, a long, flat topped lava ridge, runs along the western boundary of the park. Beneath it flows the Athi river which joins the Tsavo river, just above the Lugard falls, to become the Galana river, a permanent river that cuts right across the park. The seasonal Tiva and Voi rivers are important features of the Northern and Southern sectors respectively. There are scattered seasonal pools, swamps and dams, but relatively few sources of permanent water.

One of the great spectacles of the park is the Mudanda rock between Voi and Manyani. This 1 1/2 km long outcrop is a water catchment area which supplies a natural dam at its base. In the dry season, hundreds of elephants come to drink and bathe here.

Location:
Southeast Kenya, inland from Mombasa; Taita District of Coast Province.

Climate:
The weather in Tsavo is pleasant most of the year. There are two rain seasons. The long rains generally come in March - May and the short rains from October - December.

• Large herds of elephants and other wildlife.
• Popular legend of Tsavo "The man-eaters of Tsavo".
• Yatta plateau - it is about 290 Km long and is one of the worlds longest lava flows.
• Lugards Falls on the Galana river - This is not a true falls but a series of rapids. Visitors can walk down to the river to view the rapids.
• Mudanda rock - This is a long rock outcrop that is about 1.6Km long. There is a dam at the base. Animals can be seen drinking. Visitors can walk along the rock and enjoy a cool breeze as well as view wildlife at the base.
• Aruba Dam - was built in 1952 across the Voi river. The dam attracts many animals and water birds can be seen at this dam.
• Tsavo/Athi rivers confluence - when the two rivers join they form the Galana river.

 

TSAVO WEST NATIONAL PARK

LEOPARDTsavo West national park covers 9000 km2, approximately 30% of Kenya's area under parks, and contains a diversity of habitats, wildlife and a mountainous scenic landscape. The park is a vast expanse of savanna stretching from the Athi river, North of the Mombasa-Nairobi road and south to the Tanzanian border. The North Eastern boundary along the Athi adjoins Tsavo East National Park, but Tsavo West has a more varied topography and a more diverse array of habitats than its neighbour.

The park's habitats include open plains alternating with Savannah bush and semi desert scrub, acacia woodlands; rocky ridges and outcrops and more extensive ranges and isolated hills; belts of rivernie vegetation; palm thickets and on the Chyulu hills, mountain forest. There are numerous rocky outcrops and ridges and part of the park, towards the Chyulu Hills, is of recent volcanic origin with lava flows and ash cones including the Shaitani lava flow, an example of a recent volacano.

In the far south western corner on the Kenya Tanzania border is Lake Jipe, part of which is in the park. This very attractive lake is fed by runoff from Mt. Kilimanjaro and the North Pare mountains.

At Mzima Springs, in the North of the park, water that has filtered underground from the Chyulu Hills gushes from below a lava ridge into a series of clear pools.

Location:
South Eastern Kenya, inland from Mombasa, and the altitude ranges between 200 - 100m.

Climate:
Temperature ranges from 20 - 30 oc and rainfall from 200mm - 700mm. Two ran seasons: Long rains - March/April & Short rains- Nov/December.

Recent volcanoes, lava flows and caves with potential for geological and cave exploration, and hiking. Mzima Springs & underwater hippo watching, Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary, Lake Jipe, Mt. Kilimanjaro, elephant and rhino.

 

MARINE NATIONAL PARKS AND RESERVES

Marine parks and reserves, the white sandy beaches, historical monuments, contemporary culture and the warm climate give the Kenya Coast a unique tourist product. Almost 47% of Kenya's tourism occurs here. Nationally about 52% of the total hotel beds are at the coast, and 95% of the visitors to Kenya use the coast as a base for inland safaris.

The marine and coastal environments include Indian Ocean territorial waters and the immediate hinterland areas that border the ocean. Another feature of the coastline is the fringing coral reef which runs between 0.5 km and 2 km off-shore with occasional gaps at the mouths of rivers and the isolated areas facing the creeks. The shoreline is dominated in most areas by beaches, cliffs or mangrove forests. The coral-reef system and mangrove swamps serve the most important ecological role and the former is a major tourist attraction next to the sun, sea and sand.

MALINDI MARINE NATIONAL PARK

beachThe Malindi Marine National Reserve encloses Watamu and Malindi Marine National Parks. The area also includes several coral islets, notably Whale island at the entrance to Mida Creek in the Watamu Marine National Park. The reserve is 213 km2 forming a complex of marine and tidal habitats on Kenyas North Coast. It extends 5 km into the sea and stretches 30 km along the coast from Malindi town to beyond the entrance to Mida creek. Habitats include intertidal rock, sand and mud; fringing reefs and coral gardens; beds of sea grass; coral cliffs, platforms and islets; sandy beaches and mangrove forests. Mida creek is a large, almost land locked expanse of saline water, mangrove forest and intertidal mud protected in the Watamu Marine Reserve. Its extensive forests are gazetted as forest reserves and the extreme western tip of Mida Creek is part of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve.

Malindi Marine Parks' unique historical features include Vasco da Gama pillar build slightly over 500 years ago.

Roads: 118 kms from Mombasa ( Malindi Town)

Airstrips: Via Malindi Airport.

Facilities: KWS Bandas.

Activities: Snorkelling, diving.

Reptiles/fish: It is a key spawning ground for many fish species. Turtles, Parrot fish, Several species of coral fish

Insects/arthropods: Butterfly, Mosquito

Vegetation: Mida Creek has important mangrove forests with a high diversity of species including ceriops tagal, rhizophora mucronata, bruguiera gymnorrhiza, avicennia marina and sonneratia alba.

Coral reefs are among the richest, diverse and biologically productive ecosystems, with more organisms per square meter than any other type of ecosystem in the world. A total of 140 species of hard and soft corals have been recorded along the Kenya coast. These corals live in symbiosis with chlorophyll generating animals, which give corals their spectacular colours.

 

WATAMU MARINE NATIONAL PARK

Watamu National Park is part of a complex of marine and tidal habitats on Kenyas North coast stretching from Malindi town to beyond the entrance to Mida creek. It is enclosed by the Malindi Marine National Reserve which also encloses Malindi Marine National Park. Habitats include intertidal rock, sand and mud; fringing reefs and coral gardens; beds of sea grass; coral cliffs, platforms and islets; sandy beaches and Mida Creek mangrove forest. The park was designated as a Biosphere reserve in 1979.

Mida creek is a large, almost land locked expanse of saline water, mangrove and intertidal mud. Its extensive forests are gazetted as forest reserves and the extreme western tip of Mida Creek is part of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve.

Roads: Access is via tarmac road from Mombasa or Malindi.

Airstrips: Mombasa or Malindi Airports.

Reptiles/fish: Fish, Turtles.

Insects/arthropods: Crabs

Vegetation: Mida creek has important mangrove forests with a high diversity of species including ceriops tagal, rhizophora mucronata, bruguiera gymnorrhiza, avicennia marina and sonneratia alba.

MOMBASA MARINE NATIONAL PARK & RESERVE

The park is 10 km2 while the reserve is 200 km2. Both the park and reserve are the most highly utilised among marine protected areas . Their coastline is heavily developed with tourist facilities.

There are various agents who offer for hire boats to get into the Marine Park. There are quite a good number of companies offering water sports facilities. These firms are spread along the beach. The place is ideal for diving. Diving gears are easily available from water sports desks.

Mombasa itself is a mix of traditional and modern culture. The 17th Century Fort Jesus, which was used as a Fort by the Portuguese against Sultan invasion after which they (Portuguese) were eventually evicted after a two year siege, is within the Island which is a few minutes drive from the marine park. Mombasa Old Town is highly dominated by swahili culture especialy architecture.

Major Attractions: Beach, Coral gardens

Insects/arthropods: Crabs, Corals, Shells, Sea urchins, Sea cucumbers, Sea Stars, Jelly fish.

Common Vegetation: Mangroves, Sea grasses, Sea weeds

 

KIUNGA MARINE NATIONAL RESERVE

Kiunga Marine National Reserve incorporates a chain of about 50 calcareous offshore islands and coral reefs in the Lamu Archipelago, running for some 60km parallel to the coastline off the northern most coast of Kenya and adjacent to Dodori and Boni National Reserves on the mainland. Composed of old, eroded coral, the islands mainly lie inland around 2km offshore and inshore of the fringing reef. They vary in size from a few hundred sq m to 100ha or more. Their walls rise sheer from the surrounding seabed and are usually deeply undercut on the landward side. The larger islands and the more sheltered inner islands are covered with low, tangled thorny vegetation including grass, aloes and creepers. The small outer islands provide nest sites for migratory seabirds. The reserve conserves valuable coral reefs, sea grass meadows and extensive mangrove forests, with their attendant biodiversity and is also a refuge for sea turtles and dugongs.

Climate: The climate is hot and humid with rainfall around 500mm per year.

Roads: By boat from Lamu or by road from Lamu

Airstrips: One at Dodori N. Reserve

Major Attractions: Coral reefs, Sand dune, Kiwayu Island

Activities: Wind surfing, Snorkeling, Water skiing, Sunbathing, Diving

Reptiles/fish: Sea Turtles, Olive Ridley, Leatherback, Turtles, Reef fish

Insects/arthropods: Lobsters, Sea urchins, Sea star, Crabs, Mosquito

Common Vegetation: The islands consist of bare sharp edged spikes and ridges of coral on the seaward side with a little straggling vegetation such as saliconria and the succulent sanseveria.

On the landward side there is more vegetation including stunted thorny bushes of commiphora and salvadora persica. The coast itself has sandy beaches, some with mangrove swamps and a great variation of marine flora.

Microscopic marine plants are absent from the upper part of the intertidal zone except for areas of Bostrychia bindelia. In the intertidal sand and mud, the finer sediments below water, which are subject to less wave action, have become fixed by growth of marine angiosperms and there are extensive areas of dugong grass (green algae) and Zostera spp.

Dwarf shrub thickets of salt-tolerant plants (halophytes) typical of the Indo-Pacific beach littoral zone are common on the mainland, and species include Ipomoea pes-caprae, Cyperus maritimus, Suaeda, and Tephrosia. Mangrove swamps dominated by Rhizophora mucronata occur in the sheltered tidal waters between Mwanzi and Mkokoni.

KISITE MARINE PARK & MPUNGUTI RESERVE

Kisite and Mpunguti Marine Parks are located on the south coast off Shimoni and south of Wasini Island in Kwale District on the south Kenyan coast near the Tanzanian border. Kisite park covers 11km2 while Mpunguti reserve covers 28 Km2. The complex covers a marine area with four small islands surrounded by coral-reef. Kisite island is a small waterless coral island, 8 km offshore in the Marine Park. Coral platforms around the raised central portion are exposed at low tide. The three other coral islets in the park (Mpunguti ya Juu, Mpunguti ya Chini and Liwe la Jahazi) lie closer to the larger Wasini Island, are scrub covered and support no significant wildlife or birds. The surrounding waters have well developed coral gardens and a large variety of fish.

Roads: 40 kms from Mombasa via Diani & Kwale

Major Attractions: Coral Gardens

Activities: Snorkelling, Diving, Bird watching

Common Vegetation: Kiisite is flat and treeless, covered in low grass and herbs while Mpunguti Islands have dense coastal equatorial forest. Sea grasses Cymodocea serrulata and Syringodium isoetifolium cover a large area of the sub-littoral zone of the reef. Marine algae include Padina commersonii, Dictyota bartayresiana, Bostrychia binderi, Ulva lactuca, Dictyosphaora sp., Udotea indica, and Halimeda opuntia.

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