Many tourists join a group originating from the area of Diani/ Tiwi/ Ukunda. They offer packages including transport, snorkeling or diving at Kisite Reef, and lunch on Wasini Island. Such groups include Salama Marine Safaris (http://salamamarinesafaris.info), Coral Spirit (http://coralspirit.com), Charlie Claw’s (http://wasini.com), Paradise Divers, Wasini Dolphin Tours (http://wasinidolphintours.com), Pillipipa (http://pillipipa.com) and Blue Whale (htpp://wasini.net).
There is also a local boat operators’ cooperative, Kisite Community Boat Operators, which aims to help keep money within the local community. Phone 0723 219 568 (Mohamed Shibwana, akas Boom) for this group. They offer the following services and prices:
||40 euros or 4000/- per dive
||4000/- per person full board, 2500/- per person half board
||3500/- per person full board
|1 day hire of large dhow
||15000/- for the whole dhow for up to 15 people, but add 500/- per person above 15 people; you may be able to join a dhow on a per person basis
|1 day hire of smaller dhow
||10000/- for the whole dhow; you may be able to join a dhow on a per person basis
|mangroves, crocodiles, bird-watching
||65 euros or 6,500/-
|sundowner/ dhow dinner cruise
||130 euros per person, including transport from DIani, 160 euros from North Coast
|Pemba trips, fishing and sports
||$US100 per person (with big dhows). The dhow trip to Pemba is only legal for Kenyan or Tanzanian citizens.
If you are wanting to visit us from Watamu/ Malindi you might try Beach and Bush Adventures (http://beachandbushadventures.com).
Be wary of the beach touts in areas like Diani who will promise you the earth (large dhow, guaranteed swimming with the dolphins, a 20 minute ride to the reef, snorkeling gear for children) and then deliver none of the above. Overland safari operators like Gametrackers Safaris will sometimes add a day at the Kisite Reef and overnight camping in Shimoni at the request of travelers.
Snorkeling at Kisite Reef: You cannot swim out to the Kisite Reef from Shimoni. It involves a trip of approximately 12 kms around Wasini Island, a trip which normally takes about an hour each way, allowing for time for dolphin spotting too. Most of the regular excursions only allow about one hour to two hours for snorkeling, sometimes less. Much time is spent in traveling to and from the reef and on Wasini Island. So… What is a keen snorkeler to do? If you ask your tour operator or boat captain, you may be able to take a packed lunch and snorkel in the channel near Wasini Island when others go for lunch on the island. But be aware that snorkeling here is very variable, depending on tides, currents and visibility from day to day. Otherwise, find a group of similarly passionate snorkelers and hire a dhow just for yourselves. You can then choose how long you stay and whether you take a packed lunch or visit the island for a shorter period of time. For independent travelers with time to do something different, there is a little snorkeling out from the mangroves on a damaged reef in front of the KWS HQ in Shimoni.
Scuba diving: Due to its warm, shallow water, normally calm conditions, good
visibility and an amazing variety and number of corals, fish and other marine life,
Kisite-Mpunguti is suitable for all levels of scuba, from the person wanting to do a
“fun dive” for the first time to the experienced professional. There are some eleven prime dive sites in the area,
ranging from 5 metres to about 30 metres in depth.
Mako Koke Reef, some 4 kms to the west, is a good example of a rejuvenating reef.
If you plan to stay locally you can choose to dive with any of the operators at the top of this page or Pemba Channel Lodge
Attention regarding the Mombasa/ Likoni Ferry Crossing
: Recently the ferry crossing has been taking up to 1 hour each way, including the ferry queue and crossing time. Please allow for this if you are coming from Mombasa or the north coast and hoping to get a 9am dhow from Shimoni wharf to Kisite Reef, or you may literally miss your boat. (You also need to allow about 30 minutes to buy your Marine Park ticket.) This shouldn’t be a problem if you have booked a private excursion, but if you plan to join a group excursion you need to allow plenty of time or consider one of the accommodation options
on the next page.
The Best Seasons: for visibility for snorkeling/ diving- March and April, September to December
: for dolphin spotting- most of the year there is a high possibility of sightings as we have resident pods
: for the chance to spot humpback whales- July through September
: for the chance to spot whale sharks- March through May
How can you help the community?
We’ll be honest. The poverty of many families will jump out at you. Many tour operators (and sellers at the jetty) will suggest that tourists should buy candy, pencils and exercise books for the children of Wasini. This can lead to near riots as well as tooth decay. The best way to help may be something less obvious like exercise books and fruit for the deaf school near Shimoni, basic medicines for the under-stocked Shimoni clinic, or soap for washing hands at any of the schools (not just at Wasini or Shimoni but along the road from the highway to Shimoni). Basic medicines can be bought in larger pharmacies around Mombasa or Nairobi, often very cheaply if bought in a container of 500 or 1000 tablets. Medicines like paracetamol, metoclopramide, amoxicillin, eye drops, tinidazole, ibuprofen, hydrocortisone creams, cotrimoxazole and mebendazole/ albendazole will always be appreciated by the clinic staff. Families with sick children often need to go almost to Mombasa to fill prescriptions and cannot afford to do it.
Disclaimer: The management and staff of KWS Kisite-Mpunguti take no responsibility for your choice of any of these excursion options. We are simply presenting these links to facilitate your holiday research. A link’s presence here does not constitute our recommendation. Please do your homework with websites like TripAdvisor! And of course it goes without saying that we cannot guarantee you sunshine, calm seas, cool breezes, good visibility, hundreds of dolphins, a handful of turtles and whales, and a camera battery that doesn’t go flat… but please ENJOY Kisite-Mpunguti!!