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Last updated on November 19, 2022
Kisite Marine Park, located at the far south of the Kenyan coast, is undoubtedly the most beautiful snorkeling spot in the country. Its reef drop-off, healthy and colorful, offers a great underwater spectacle. During your snorkeling, you may spot clownfish nestled in their sea anemone, a turtle sleeping in a hollow of the reef, a stingray lurking in the sand, or superb angelfish gliding between the corals.
Kisite National Marine Park is located about 50km south of Diani. You will find in Diani many tour operators offering day boat trips in the Marine Park, usually including snorkeling at Kisite, dolphin watching near the coast, as well as lunch on Wasini Island. Some tours, like the traditional dhow excursion offered by Pili Pipa, offer two snorkeling stops on the reef.
Tours include transfer by minibus between your hotel in Diani and Shimoni, from where the boats depart (approximately a 1-hour drive). Tours cost around 90 to 120 USD pp., all inclusive for the day.
You will enter the water from a boat. Your guide will tell you when and where to get in the water. Due to the light current on the reef, you will usually be dropped off at one location and picked up at another.
The snorkeling area you’ll be taken to is located near Kisite Island. It stretches all along the north face of the reef that edges the island. To the west, the reef ends near a sandbank that emerges only at low tide, and on which excursionists are sometimes dropped off.
Once in the water, you will snorkel along the reef following the direction of the current, generally barely perceptible. The flat, on which the water level varies from 1 to 10ft/0.5 to 3m, ends by falling abruptly on sandy bottoms (↕20-30ft/6-10m).
The coral is probably one of the richest and healthiest in Kenya. Hard and soft corals, in various shapes and colors, intermingle to form a magical underwater landscape.
Exploring the reef, you will alternately spot schools of hundreds of chromis, small groups of blackspotted rubberlips, huge groupers resting on the bottom, and sometimes an emperor angelfish or a goldtail angelfish wandering on the reef
In total, there are hundreds of species of reef fish that you could potentially encounter here, including ten species of wrasse, almost as many butterflyfish, and various damselfish.
On the sandy bottoms at the foot of the reef, look for small bluespotted stingrays, whose only eyes are generally visible. Your guide will certainly show them to you. Green sea turtles are quite common here, but they are not seen on every trip.
Here as elsewhere, the corals suffer from intense tourist frequentation. Do not touch them, and be careful not to break them with your fins.
Most tours include lunch at one of the Wasini Island restaurants. Inquire when you book.
These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
Quite possibly the best place to snorkel in Sub-Saharan Africa, what a gem! There’s definitely at least one species of Octopus that frequents the Marine Park and I saw three of them although you’ll probably have to lift up rocks to find them.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Shallow seagrass beds dotted with rocks and coral patches
Free shore access
Sand and seagrass plateau with small coral and fish
Free shore access
Shallow lagoon with many fish and echinoderms
Shallow coral beds with reef fish and sea stars
Fringing coral reef with colorful fish
Shallow reef flat with sea stars