It is one of Kenya’s first marine parks located about 140 km north of Mombasa (Kenya’s second largest city). Its coral gardens are merely 300 meters (980 ft) from the shore and are home to approximately 600 species of fish, 110 species of stony coral and countless invertebrates, crustaceans and Molluscs.
Water temperature varies from 20 degrees Celsius (June to November) to 30 degrees Celsius (December to May). The park’s coral reefs form the physical and biological backbone of the area with over 150 species of hard and soft corals such as brain corals, fan corals and sponges, it provides for abundant nutrients for fish.
The main park has over 500 species of fish and the reserve over 1000. There are also whale sharks, manta rays, octopus and barracuda as some of the larger species in the park.
Watamu also consists of different and various species of turtles and a turtle watch program which has managed to secure the main park’s beach as a 99% viable sea turtle nesting site for endangered sea turtles of which the beach is patrolled and monitored vigorously.
The turtles nesting in Watamu include the Green, Hawksbill and Olive Ridley turtles. The Olive Ridley species is rare but occasionally comes to the nesting site.
Leatherback turtles do not nest in Watamu or Malindi but they pass by through the nearby waters during their migration.