Marine Park extols virtues of local community in conservation

Community involvement in conservation has been hailed for its impact in the expansive Mombasa marine park, a warden at the Kenya Wildlife Service has said. “They charge around Kshs 6500

(USD 65) for the boats that take people around something that instills a sense of ownership of the park and help us take care of it,” Julius Ngeti, the Tourism Warden at the park said.

The park also known as “Allure of Beauty” lies between the Mtwapa and Tudor Creeks and its blue waters are ideal for wind surfing, water skiing, snorkeling and diving.

“The coral reef here at the park also provide a home to a colourful variety of marine species including crabs, starfish, stone fish, cucumbers sea urchins, corals and turtles as well as sea grasses in addition to interesting migratory birds including crab plover,” he said.

While addressing participants at the Kenya Science Journalists Congress 2019 last week, Ngeti said that the Service has been working hand in hand with the local community to ensure that the park remained safeguarded and free of intruders.

Ngeti says KWS works closely with the local community to conserve the park by allowing locals to operate boats for ferrying tourists to generate income. This way, they become the guardians of the park because they accrue benefits from the resource.

Ngeti added that the park is well known for parties, picnics and weddings. Even as we seek to increase revenue collections from both local, regional and foreign tourists, we remain assured that our park’s marine life remains intact hence visitors get value for money.

Droves of people are expected to visit Mombasa town and its environs to spend the long holiday, with KWS now positioning the park as a must-visit destination.

He added that they expect that such visits to the park and to the nearby coral reef will boost the revenue collections.

“On such peak seasons, the Park collects around Kshs 1 million (USD10,000) in a month and we expect the same this season,” says Ngeti.

“Our rates are very affordable. Kenyan citizens only pay Kshs 130 (USD1.3) to visit the park while non-citizens pay Ksh 1,700 (USD17),” Ngeti noted.

He affirmed that the park is a no fishing zone and is under a 24-hour surveillance from KWS officers to deter poaching and improve security of visitors