At the southernmost point of Kenya's 500-km coastline lie some of East Africa's most colorful coral gardens. Located 4-8 km. out of the sea from Shimoni and next to Wasini Island, noted for its coral gardens, the Kisite Marine National Park is beautiful and intact.
The entire Marine Park is in shallow water. It can be reached easily by motor boat or traditional dhow, from Shimoni.
The Kisite coral reefs are estimated to be 3-4 km long running along the inner and outer edges of the reefs from Mpunguti Islands to the tiny coral island of Kisite itself.
The reefs at Kisite and Mpunguti Marine National Park are scientifically important habitats, one of the most complex eco-systems in the world.
Fourty-five varieties of coral have so far been identified. They include staghorn, brain, mushroom and pencil species of live coral which are easy to goggle over but deep enough to avoid damage from human contact. The sheer numbers of fish (more than 250 species recorded) feeding around the coral is an amazing sight.
Kisite is a feast of colour and movement with eye-catching coral fish including butterfly, parrot, rockcod, angel fish and rays.
Dolphins are common, as are big shoals of bonito and frigate mackerel.
Nearby Shimoni is the home of families of fresh water porpoises which cruise in and out of the Kisite Marine Park and are frequently seen in the channel between the mainland and Shimoni. "Shimo" means hole or cave in Kiswahili. Historically, these caves were used by smugglers and slavers. Some caves have freshwater springs flowing into the sea reputed to come from Kilimanjaro, 100 miles inland.