Kenya is becoming increasingly popular as a dive destination. Kenya has
another great wilderness area hid beneath the surface of the Indian
Ocean, a wilderness just as rich, diverse and ripe for exploration as
any of our game parks.
Kenya was for a long time not widely known as a dive destination- but
it certainly should be. The calm turquoise waters of our beaches lie in
the protective shelter of reef after reef, home to a myriad bounty of
sealife. Plunge below the surface and you will discover a new kind of safari- the world’s finest scuba safari.
diversity and spectacle of Kenya’s wildlife doesn’t end at our shores.
Just as our plains are a sanctuary for vast herds of plains game, our
reefs are home to huge shoals of many species of fish, stalked by
undersea predators as fascinating as our lions and leopards. For
those seeking out Kenya’s giant species- our elephant herds are matched
by the migratory pods of whales that pass by our outer reefs.
in Kenya is generally good all year round, although visibility lessens
during July and August due to silting and high seas. The weather is
consistently warm and sunny, with excellent balmy water temperature
that makes for ideal dive conditions.
The coast North of
Mombasa has several world class dive sites. Some of the best sites are
in the Watamu Marine National Park- a well protected and managed area.
The reef here is close to shore, meaning easily accessible shallow
coral gardens that are ideal for learners and snorkellers.
The outer reef has some fine drop offs, with sheer walls, and large brain corals attracting consistently abundant sea life. Dives
on the central Turtle Reef average at around 10-15 metres, with high
spiking coral heads attracting large shoals of colourful parrot and
surgeon fish. You will occasionally sight a few white-tip reef sharks
that are in residence on the reef.
This area is an important
egg laying site for the endangered Green sea Turtle, which lay on the
beaches at Watamu several times a year, and they are often seen around
this reef. Nearby Moray Reef has a breathtaking overhang
dropping 28 metres to a sandy bottom. The coral here is a refuge for
octopus and eel, and a massive semi-tame moray. The sharp reef edge has
plenty of nudibranch, angel fish, tang, and the occasional grouper or
An excellent all round dive site is the Canyon, a
long sandy channel at 28m, bordered on each side by deep drop-offs.
There is an impressive arch covered with soft corals, and the reef
walls are always alive with trevalies and snapper.
the channel itself is a good way to find rays and reef sharks. Whale
Sharks pass through this year each year from October- February, with
good sightings reported each day. Migratory pods of Whales
from Southern Africa pass through this area during the months of June-
September, and are often seen breaching in deep water beyond the reefs.
A little further South towards Kilifi, there are good sites at
Mtwapa and Barracuda Reef. The outer edges here have large shoals of
angel and butterfly fish, and there have been occasional sighting of
the world’s largest shark- the spectacular Whale Shark- in these
adventurous diver will not want to miss dive, the Vuma Caves near
Kilifi Creek. The caves are about 20 metres beneath the surface on the
face of some seaside cliffs. The open sea around the entrance
is a good place to spot dolphins, while the interior of the caves is a
refuge for eels, some very large grouper and barracuda. After exploring
the caves, divers exit through a 10 metre chimney to emerge through a
hole in the reef above.
South of Mombasa, there are dive sites
ranged along the coast from Tiwi south to Shimoni. Some of the best
sites are centred around Kisiite Mpunguti Marine Reserve. This area is
your best chance to sight some of the largest Manta Rays on the East
For experienced divers, the best option here is
Nyulli Reef. This is a good deep dive with strong tidal currents which
allow drifts through spectacular coral, snapper, barracuda, rare zebra
sharks and massive Napoleon wrasse.
A much easier dive is
Kisiite Point. There is plenty of large, tame shoals to be found here,
with average dive depth of around 12 metres. Divers at Kisiite often
encounter hawksbill turtles and bottlenose dolphins.
excursion for both diving and snorkelling is a day dhow trip to Wasini
Island, within the reserve- easily arranged from Diani or Shimoni. This
usually includes snorkelling and/or diving, and a seafood lunch on the
This is makes for a relaxing day trip, with dolphins
often accompanying the dhow through the reserve, and the interior of
the island itself well worth exploring. In the island
archipelagos of Northern Kenya, around Lamu and Manda, new dive sites
are currently being explored and made accessible, opening a new
frontier for the underwater adventurer.
From unexplored sites
to easily accessible undersea gardens of coral, schools of sharks to
breaching whales, friendly dolphins to endangered turtles, incredible
caves to mysterious wrecks, a Kenyan scuba safari gives you the whole
wild world- underwater.