Done with our Mombasa Marine Park experience, we started off to Malindi. Nightfall was already approaching and the nightlife on our way was just as vibrant as the day if not more. We could see the moon rising over the water. But Malindi was saving the real beauty for last because as soon as we got to the Malindi KWS camp beach, this is the sight that was waiting for us.
Breathtaking silhouette shot of Karue and I as we pose while taking in the view.
Thanks to our very skilled photographer John Alogo who managed to freeze this moment, I will never forget the sight. The moon was shining in all its glory, the calm waters bathed in the moonlight, the sounds of small waves gently crashing on the shore, the sand so soft i couldnt resist the urge to dump my sandals and walk barefoot...this is what romantic postcards and book covers are made of!
The beach is so clean, white and exclusive. So exclusive in fact that the opulent billionaires club is right next door to the KWS beach front. I could not get enough of the beach, ocean and everything that came with it but after a couple of hours relaxing on the beach, we had to turn in and call it a night.
Just like many other KWS camps, there is a choice of camping or renting their bandas/cottages. On the first night, there were no unoccupied bandas so we slept in tents. I cannot stress enough how important it is to carry with you alot of insect repellant. The mosquitos there are a force to be reckoned with.
We had sworn to wake up early to go watch the sunrise...well i guess we were all too exhausted because we did not experience the sunrise. When we finally got up, we rushed to the beach and the sight......
Amazing view of the Malindi Beach in the morning
So alluring was the water and the sun that we even delayed having our breakfast. Once done, we met with the warden who gave us an overview of the park. Malindi Marine Reserve is reputed to be Africa's oldest marine reserve and the home of the Zebra fish. People often assume that Malindi Marine Park and Watamu Marine Park are one and the same but while they are in the same reserve, they are entirely different parks. It was established in 1968 and designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1979.
This park is teeming with a diversity of marine life...with over 300 species of fish, you can encounter the barracudas (yikes again!), angelfish, goatfish, surgeon fish, sharks among many others. You will also find turtles, lobsters, clams, octopuses, sea cucumbers, dead coral, soft coral, sea urchins, sea stars, sea grass and so many more.
What caught my attention was the fact that we might get to see dolphins again! After the dolphin watching at Kisite...I was looking forward to seeing dolphins again. And one more thing, Malindi Marine Park also has magical islands. The sand bars that appear during low tide and disappear when the tide sets in. They usually make for the perfect beaches!!
The rates for the marine park are the same as Mombasa Marine Park. For the East African Citizens both adults and children get to pay 100Kshs, The East African Residents pay 300Kshs for the adults and 150Kshs for the children. Non Residents will pay 15 USD for the adults and 10 USD for the children. Snorkeling and diving equipment are available for hire.
Armed with information and excitement, we set off in a KWS boat..the coral reef starts only 300m away from the shore. So moments later we were being treated to amazing sights of the underwater life through the glass-bottomed boat. We could see the magical islands that had quite a number of visitors sunbathing and taking in the sights of the ocean. Due to tide timings, it was decided to forgo the islands for an experience in the coral garden.
Well the coral garden more than made up for the disappointment of not frolicking on the magical islands.
Who knew an anchor could look as good...
Incredible shot of the fishes...
Shot of the vibrant coral and coral fish!
Armed with our snorkeling gear...off we went. Now very confident in our snorkeling abilities and the assurance that we would not drown under any circumstances, we explored every nook and cranny. We looked under the boat, waved at the fishes...sometimes tried to out swim them..I tried following up on my ballerina fantasies...I would call it quite a productive trip :)
We did not see any dolphins but in the waters, i think we saw all the colors of the rainbow..from the colorful fishes swimming all around us to the vibrant coral reefs. Some soft and moving to the current others dead and still. On this coral garden, we spent more time than in any other marine parks we had visited. The underwater beauty unsurpassed, the marine life in abundance, the perfect place to interact with the other world. Yes, Malindi Marine Park had established itself as a gem...an old treasured gem.
It was time to head back and now that the excitement had cooled off...the boat was no longer filled with excited shouts or Ooohs and Ahhs. Now, there was a meditative mood...as we took it all in.
The tranquility of the ocean gave us great views.
The rush to visit all the marine parks was over..this was our last stop. We now had time to chill and enjoy the malindi air and beauty. As the sun was setting and dusk approaching, the view was absolutely spectacular...coming only a close second to the moonlight we had experienced the night before.
dusk in malindi.....
No trip would be complete without having a bonfire! But ofcourse that was not allowed on the beach so we settled on the lounges on the beach with drinks in our hands, watching the sun set and hoping, praying that the moon would give us a show like she did the previous night. Whether it was our impatience or the moon teasing us, we were ready to give up on her until....we saw the moon in all her fiery orange glory peek from beyond the waters.
The jubilation among the group was unbelievable...like we were cheering for a team who hope had been lost. I could have sworn there was a victory song playing in their minds. And so we sat...enjoying the show..as the moon escalated from peeking and teasing to baring it all. Ever so slowly..she rose, the orange glare giving way to that all familiar shade of silver grey. As if feeding off the compliments and awe of the audience...she shone brighter...illuminating the waters and the land. The view was once again nothing short of magical.
Sadly, we are not the best audience because as soon as we got used to the light and magic of the moon...we were attracted to the sky searchlights illuminating in the distance. Malindi town was happening! So off we went..headed to the town and danced the night away. I could not think of a better way to end this amazing experience.
We went, we saw, we spread the word. So now you have no reason not to visit these places and experience nature like never before.
Remember to leave behind only footprints and bubbles in the marine parks :)