In the southeast of Kenya, almost bordering Tanzania, you’ll find Wasini Island. The island is small, measuring 4,3 miles in length. It’s located in the Indian Ocean, almost 2 miles off the coast.
When you pass the island by boat you’ll notice the rocky edges, so don’t expect it to be a long white sandy beach. It’s everything from that. The beaches consist of coral and vanish with low tide. Even the footpaths consist of old coral or sometimes even sand. You won’t find any cars or bicycles.
Wasini is a lovely and popular place to visit. The main reason for this are the surrounding coral reefs and the diverse marine life. Snorkelers love to explore these reefs and even scuba divers are attracted.
Even though there are cottages and a resort in Wasini, most people pay a short visit in combination with a daily snorkel excursion. These excursions take snorkelers to the nearby “Kisite Mpunguti Marine National Park”, next to Ksite Island. Ideal for snorkeling! Since the excursion boats pass Wasini Island, they often stop here for lunch or even a short tour.
Kisite Mpunguti Marine National Park
Like we already mentioned, this park attracts a whole lot of snorkelers from all over the world. It consists of four little islands which are surrounded by a lovely coral reef. This reef attracts a diverse marine life, of which the following are included:
- Moral eels
When it comes to turtles, you can spot both the green sea turtle or the endangered Hawksbill turtle. Other bigger animals that seasonally live in the area are dolphins, Humpback whales and whale sharks.
You can only reach this National Park by boat. There are many tours available which we cover later in this article. On your way to the park there’s a chance of spotting some dolphins or even Humpback whales. Separate dolphin tours are available as well in case you’d prefer that.
These tours can be booked by joining a group, but you can just as well opt for a private boat. The crew will take you to the best snorkel locations and paying a visit to Wasini Island isn’t a problem either. They pass it anyways (here’s a link to Google Maps), so why not have lunch there?
Wasini Marine Conservation Area
This is a lovely snorkel spot within the area as well. As the name already suggests, it’s closer to Wasini Island. It’s just a little towards the north. Fishing and anchoring is forbidden since this location is protected, but snorkeling is allowed.
People usually book a private boat tour in order to snorkel at the Wasini Marine Conservation Area. Snorkeling at protected reefs often requires you to pay a certain fee. The fee for this location is usually much lower than for the Kisite area, Something to keep in mind and to inquire about prior to joining a trip.
Think of it as a good alternative in case you are on a budget. The marine life is still amazing, even though there are less larger fish species. Return to Wasini for a nice lunch and an island tour before heading back to the mainland.
Obviously, when you’re already in the area, most of us will opt for snorkeling at the Kisite Mpunguti Marine National Park. Not just because of the marine life, but the entire boat trip is amazing by itself. The scenery is absolutely beautiful. Besides that, you’re able to have a great view of Wasini Island since the boat needs to partially travel around it.
There are different tour operators and various excursions to consider. These days, more and more excursions are based around sustainable snorkeling. This means that people are educated about not causing any harm to the environment. If you want to play your part in this program, inquire about sustainability with the specific tour guide. Local businesses usually focus on this topic.
Tip: If you want to know more about sustainable snorkeling, together with some tips and tricks, feel free to read our article about snorkeling and the environment.
Here’s a video that covers the entire day. The boat trip, snorkeling, dolphins, a visit to Wasini for lunch, you get the idea. We really like the footage, especially the drone videos.
If you don’t want to watch the introduction and the travel to Shimoni (where the boat departures), skip to the 2 minute mark. That’s when the boat trip starts.
Besides watching Youtube videos, you can also read more on websites like TripAdvisor for example. Another website we often visit is called Get Your Guide. They offer two different day tours at the time of writing this article.
Tip: If you can, bring a camera. This location is worth a few awesome pictures or even videos. If you’re interested in photography, here’s a link to our giant guide for snorkeling with a GoPro.
The Climate In Wasini
The average temperature on the island is pretty comfortable all year round. January, February and March are typically the warmest months with an average temperature of around 84 °F. The maximum temperature in these three months is usually measured at around 90 °F (sometimes even up to 95 °F), whilst the lowest temperatures are somewhere around 79 °F.
From May until September the average temperature drops a little, but usually stays at around 77 °F. Maximum and minimum temperatures are somewhere between 82 °F and 70 °F.
Rain And Monsoons
March, April and May usually show the highest amount of rain, even though rain can fall throughout the whole year. If it helps, feel free to read our guide about snorkeling in the rain.
The East African monsoon winds visit the island on a regular basis, bringing wind and sometimes rain to the area. If you want to learn more, here’s an interesting article we found online. If you’d like to know more about the weather, the rain, wind speeds, humidity and sun hours, find all the necessary information from this website.
Snorkeling is not possible if the weather conditions don’t allow for it. Listen to your snorkel instructor as he knows the area best. Sometimes life vests are helpful, especially if people aren’t used to floating.
Wasini Island makes most of it’s money from tourism. Fishing takes the second place. Many tourists visit the area in order to snorkel or scuba dive. The nearby coral reefs and the popular Kisite Mpunguti Marine National Park are famous tourist attractions. People make a stop in Wasiki for a delicious meal (often fish) and enjoy a tour across the island.
For a number of reasons, the amount of visitors has declined over the past years. You can read more about that in this Wikipedia article (which we highly recommend if you ever go there). There are a couple of things that people fear, like terrorism or diseases. The population on the island is somewhere around 3000. Facilities are limited so please make sure to not leave any trash behind.
The coral reefs that surround Wasini Island are an amazing location for snorkeling. Exploring the marine life at Kisite Mpunguti Marine National Park is often combined with a visit to the island.
Many different fish species can be found in this snorkel location. You could even spot dolphins or a Humpback whale from the boat tour.
If you ever asked yourself “What is the point of snorkeling?“, well, the beautiful marine life that surrounds Wasini Island will probably answer that question.
Bringing a GoPro or any other camera can be worth it in this location. These days you can even attach them to some of the full face snorkel masks (link to our full review).
We’d say, if you ever get the chance to visit this exclusive snorkel location, enjoy it to it’s fullest! Do a little more research yourself and maybe even learn about the climate. Make sure you understand the risks and safety advises about Kenya and East Africa.