Kisite Mpunguti: The home of the Dolphins

Kisite MpungutiEntrance to the Kisite Mpunguti National park and Game researve

The unspoiled Kisite Mpunguti in the Kenyan coast is a place where visitors both local and foreign have a rare opportunity of swimming with dolphins. It is an opportunity that pull a good number of visitors especially during weekends.

Welcome to Kisite Mpunguti National Marine Park. This unique national park is made up of small islands, Kisite and Mpunguti.

It is located in Msambweni sub county within the larger County of Kwale. It is found south of Wasini Island 85 kilometers from Mombasa via Ukunda.

Kisite Mpunguti National Park is under the management of the Kenya Wildlife Services. Before being allowed to make a tour, one has to clear with the Kenya wildlife Services at their offices which is just adjacent to the Shimoni Habour.

One can only access the Kisite Mpunguti National Park by motor boat or local dhows from the Simoni Habour where tour operators arrange for such tours. Normally such tours start at around nine thirty and end a little past one.  

Also Read: Here are Kenya’s best beaches

The tour involves boarding a motor boat or dhow from shimoni habour. These vessels are on hire. Visitors may hire as a group or individuals. The voyage is wonderful as you leave Wasini Island behind you heading towards the deep seas.

Dhow at Kisite Mpunguti
Dhow ride at the Kisite Mpunguti

Immediately, south east of Wasini Island is the Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park which covers 40 square kilometres , and contains three small islands: Mpunguti ya Juu, Mpunguti ya Chini and Liwe la Jahazi, and the slightly larger Kisite Island.

Kisite, which is the outermost island among them lies about eight kilometers from the coastline.

The stunning sandy beach is good for environmentally friendly recreational activities. Visitors yearn for the moment they bask on these soft warm sand.

The star attractions during this tour include dolphins, coral gardens, fabulous snorkeling, diving and bird watching.

Kisite Mpunguti Dolphins

Most visitors agree that this is one of the best marine areas to see dolphins. Due to its warm shallow waters, exceptional clarity, pristine coral and extraordinary breadth of marine life, the Park and Reserve offer an excellent dive venue for beginners and professionals alike.

Cropped Dolphins at Kisite Mpunguti
The cropped Dolphins at Kisite Mpunguti. Photo/KWS

The warm clear waters, spectacular soft corals and kaleidoscopic marine life make this Park one of the finest snorkeling venues in Kenya, the most popular areas lying in the main coral garden towards the outer edge of the Kisite anchorage area.

Dolphins seem to be much used to the presence of visitors and are very friendly. They just come out in large numbers and do their appearance in a manner that leaves many to want more and more.

Dolphins at Kisite Mpunguti
Indian Ocean Bottlenose Dolphin group, Kisite Mpunguti Photo | KWS

Visitors have a chance to take photos and videos of these water animals as they summersault in the air to the amusement of the visitors.

After the tour, most guests break at Wasini Island where they have lunch and find their way back to their respective places of accommodation.

Statistics from KWS

The reef offers sanctuary to over 200 dolphins (spinner, humpback and bottle-nosed), which can be encountered as single individuals or mostly in pods of 2-25 individuals breaking above the waves. If you are fortunate enough to visit between July and December, you’ll have a chance to spot Humpback whales, which raise their calves in our warm waters, and migratory Whale sharks (the world’s largest fish).

Comprises about 250 recorded fish species, 70 resident dolphins and over 140 catalogued individuals, sea turtles, whales, 56 genera of corals, sea grass and gastropods. Many seabirds in large nesting colonies and internationally significant numbers of roseate terns and crab-plover.

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