Wasini Island lies in southeast Kenya 3 kilometres off the coast of the Indian Ocean, 75 kilometres south of Mombasa, and 3 kilometres opposite the harbour of the village Shimoni. It is approximately 7 kilometres long and 3 kilometres across.
For those who have visited Kenya before, Wasini might sound like Lamu island’s little sister, however Wasini is more a unique haven that is full of peace and tranquillity. The hustle and bustle of Kenya’s coastal beaches seem a thousand miles away.
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Why visit Wasini Island
There are plenty of great things to do in Kenya and Wasini Island is no exception. Known by many visitors as “paradise on earth”, is located at the southern end of Kenya’s coast, and close to the small town of Shimoni on the mainland.
A public ferry transports visitors to the island within a few short minutes, and yet it’s still one of the hidden gems of Kenya. The island’s 2,000 inhabitants still welcome guests with a true Swahili-style “Karibu sana”.
Essentially unspoiled (there are no roads or cars on the island) and entirely different in terms of culture and landscape from the mainland, this peaceful island invites exploration.
Off the south coast of Wasini lies a beautiful marine park, which also incorporates the Mpunguti Marine National Reserve and the two tiny Penguti islands, one of the best in Kenya.
On boat tours in the vicinity of Wasini Island, visitors can spot turtles, marine tortoise, coral reefs and different types of colourful marine fishes as well as three notable species of marine mammals: Bottlenose dolphin, Humpback dolphin and the Humpback whale who favour the warm and temperate seas.
Bottlenose dolphins live in groups typically of 10–30 members called pods, but group size varies from single individuals up to more than 1,000. Their diets consist mainly of forage fish and they are known to work as a team to harvest fish schools but also hunt individually.
Dolphins search for prey primarily using echolocation, which is similar to sonar. They emit clicking sounds and listen for the return echoes to determine the location and shape of nearby items, including potential prey, fascinating for visiting tourists.
The park covers 28 sq km of pristine coral reefs and offers colourful diving and snorkelling, with frequent dolphin and turtle sightings.
Many seabirds in large nesting colonies and migratory birds in significant numbers can be found including crab-plovers and roseate terns.
Other activities at Wasini Island
Here are some other activities which visitors can consider during their visit:
- Kisite Mpunguti Marine National Park: Considered to be the most magnificent of all of Kenya’s marine parks, it covers an area of 39 square km and you will be hard pressed to find anywhere that can compete with the variety of beautiful fish species that can be found and green sea turtles, frequently spotted by snorkelers.
- Visit the Coral Garden: Made up of mesmerising fossilised coral structures, some of which reach about three metres in height. A boardwalk allows for easy access to the “garden”, even when the area is flooded at high tide.
- Sightseeing: Visitors can also tour Kisite Marine Park and traverse Wasini Island on a Dhow tour or visit the mangrove forests on the island.
Visitors often enjoy combining their safari adventure with some quiet downtime on Kenya’s best beaches, a perfect end to their African adventure.
How to get to Wasini Island?
Taxi and Ferry
From Mombasa/Diani Beach, taxi rides from the Mombasa bus stops (Nairobi/Malinidi buses) or Moi International Airport take 2 – 3 hours.
From Diani Beach, a taxi can drop visitors to Shimoni’s old boat jetty where you will be ferried over to Wasini Island.
Wasini Island lies in southeast Kenya 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) off the coast of the Indian Ocean, 75 kilometres (47 mi) south of Mombasa, and 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) opposite the harbour of the village Shimoni.
The marine park on the island is accessible by Dhow tour from Diani Beach or private boat hired in Wasini.
Visitors must respect the rules of the park including the flora and fauna.
Accommodation at Wasini Island
Wasini Island has a number of accommodation options to choose from including cottages and lodges. Carrying a small amount of Kenyan currency, the Kenya Shilling (KES) is recommended to pay for groceries and smaller items where credit cards aren’t accepted.
Several traditional cottages are spread out in a wild garden along Wasini’s coast line. Consider staying at the “Blue Monkey Beach Cottages“, where you’ll fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing.
The German owners cook delicious Swahili seafood dishes served on a tree-top terrace with great views of the sea and will guide you on private boat trips or walks around the island.
Alternative accommodation options include the Shimoni Reef Lodge and Funzi Cove Ecolodge.
KWS Shimoni Cottages (Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park) provide basic campsite provisions, ideal for families and group camping.
Bars/restaurants/amenities: Lodges will typically have all meals and drinks included in the lodge package.
Located 85km south of Mombasa on the east coast of Kenya, guests often combine trips to Wasini Island with the nearby Lamu Island and safari trips to Masai Mara.
Wasini has a tropical climate with the winters rainier than the summers and average temperatures of 26C | 78F.
Best time to visit
Understanding the best time to visit Kenya is important as this will impact accommodation, flight prices, availability and the weather that visitors can expect on their safari vacation.
When combined with a wildlife safari, the two dry seasons from July through October and January until February are the best times to visit Wasini Island as the sky has few, if any, clouds, and sunshine is abundant.
Travel through malaria areas may be required in order to reach Wasini Island. Visitors are advised to seek medical advice from their doctor and consider antimalarial medication. Visitors can find further information on Kenya vaccine details here.
How do I get to Wasini Island?
From Mombasa/Diani Beach, taxi rides from the Mombasa bus stops (Nairobi/Malinidi buses) or Moi International Airport take 2 – 3 hours. From Diani Beach, a taxi can drop visitors to Shimoni’s old boat jetty where you will be ferried over to Wasini Island.
What is the best time to visit Wasini Island?
The best time to visit Wasini Island at the beach is from July through October and January until February as the sky has few, if any, clouds, and sunshine is abundant.