Down south coast are four “neighbours”, Wasini Island, Mpunguti ya Juu,Mupunguti ya Chini and Kisite Islands. These four unique islands are the most outstanding feature of the Kenyan south coast.
They are found in Msambweni District of Kwale County about forty kilometres from Ukunda town. Among the four islands, only Wasini is inhabited. The other three islands form the famous Kisite Mpunguti National Marine Park.
Wasini Island is fascinating. Essentially unspoiled – there are no roads or cars on the island – and entirely different in terms of culture and landscape from the mainland, this peaceful island invites exploration.
It features a picturesquely sculptured rocky coastline, low rag-coral forest cover, numerous venerable baobab tees and two small Muslim villages, the most frequently visited being Wasini Village, whose friendly and welcoming villagers inhabit a settlement believed to have been founded by Chinese and Arab traders some four- hundred-years ago; and which still features the ruins of those civilizations. The other village is Mkwiro, it is quiet and rarely active.
Visitors who dare set foot in Wasini Islands always wish to make another tour some other days due to its attraction; starting from the welcoming faces to the garden of coral reefs.
Once below the waves, but now merely washed by the incoming tide, these rather surreal grey-white coral gardens lie directly behind Wasini Village.Run by the friendly ‘Wasini Women’s Cooperative Boardwalk’ (offering guided walks, cool drinks and a handicraft shop), the two-and-a-half acres of petrified coral gardens and mangrove swamps can be explored by means of a meandering timbered boardwalk leading in a circuit around the site.
A selection of dhow and boat safaris departs from Shimoni Pier daily. It takes around ten minutes to reach Wasini Village on the Island from the Shimoni Pier. Those who choose to start their tour with the Marine Park take about forty minutes to reach Park. Most tours encompass the islets of Mpunguti Ya Chini and Mpunguti Ya Juu (upper and lower islands) and Kisite Island, a coral-encircled rocks about 100 m long which features an elongated sand bar and a rocky bird-nesting site.
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 3-4kms long running along the near and outer edges of the reefs from Mpunguti Island 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 on this plant.
The warm clear waters, spectacular soft corals and kaleidoscopic marine life make this Park one of the finest snorkelling venues in Kenya, the most popular areas lying in the main coral garden towards the outer edge of the Kisite anchorage area.
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 both local and foreign visitors alike.