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Kenya's topography changes quite dramatically as you travel from the northern boarder to the south. The northern archipelago of islands including Lamu is surrounded by countless under water canyons, mountains and drop offs, also is the closest point to the North Kenya Bank (N.K.B.), a huge bank that runs south to its southern end forty miles straight off Malindi.

As you head south you will encounter the estuaries of the Tana and Galana river's. These areas are home to massive numbers of prawn and small bait fish that attract and hold a huge amount of sailfish. Further south the Malindi bank that runs round to Watamu with many drop offs, mountains, canyons and the Rips that run down to Kilifi.

From Kilifi south past Mombasa the deep water is close with a few isolated sea mounts before you get to Shimoni on the southern boarder where the sea is funnelled through a deep channel between the mainland and Pemba Island known as the Pemba Channel the striped marlin hot spot and then on down to Zanzibar and Tanzania.

  Back to Map     Lamu & Kiwayu     Hotels and Resorts

shela beach lamuLAMU -   is situated on the southern end of an archipelago of islands running north towards Somalia. The islands of the Lamu archipelago are what remains of a 1000-year-old civilization that developed between the 9th and 19th centuries. Lamu was for centuries a trading port for ivory, rhino horn, slaves and spice from Zanzibar to the Middle East.

Still reasonably unspoiled by commercialism the best way to access is by air or sea, although the road has improved in recent years. Lamu has become a Mecca for the jet set, with some stunning properties to choose from. 

Off Lamu the confluence of the East African coastal current and the nutrient rich Somali current make the region prolific in sea life and thriving reefs. These lightly fished waters can produce outstanding fishing for all billfish and one of the few places that the very big yellowfin tuna can be fought in reasonably shallow water. All the biggest day catches of sailfish have been set up off Lamu or Kiwayu, where the Tana River Delta belches its silt laden, nutrient rich water, attracting amazing numbers of fish. With the N.K.B. just a stones throw away many of the big marlin have been fought off this fascinating archipelago.

kiwayu dhowKiwayu  -  Hotels and Resorts 

A much smaller Island north of Lamu. The last bastion of civilization before Somalia, the area boasts two choices of accommodation in the Robinson Crusoe style. These virgin waters are rarely visited making fishing these areas a joy without other boats pushing the fish down as you can get in the more commercial areas.

  Back to Map     Malindi & Ras Ngomani     Hotels and Resorts

malindi fishing fleetMalindi - is the first major town as you head south. Again of Arab origin, it is the site where Vasco da Gama first landed back in the fourteen hundreds and the sailfish capital of Kenya. The old Arabic part of town is still as it has always been, while Malindi has grown considerably in the last 15 to 20 years with a huge Italian influence. The Italian community have definitely improved the restaurants available in town and brought some of their undoubted style.

Malindi is situated on the estuary of the Sabaki river, bringing the same benefits as the Tana does further north. The boats based in this area tend to roam (depending on the fishing) from Ras about about 15 miles north to Watamu 10 miles south, especially once the Kaskazi (northerly monsoon) starts to blow in December through to March, the main harbour becomes an unsafe anchorage due to the change in wave patterns.

Forty miles straight off Malindi is the southern tip of the N.K.B. that then runs in to a group of mountains and banks about twenty miles out known as the Rips, some of the most productive marlin fishing in the country. Closer in is the Malindi bank that runs round to Watamu, and along this ledge are some very interesting marks, leopard reef and a unusually rough area known as the boiling pot, where ledges and currents collide to form unusual up wellings and strong currents that can make the fishing seriously good for an amazing variety of species.

 Back to Map     Watamu     Hotels and Resorts

hemingways view of watamu harbourWatamu - is situated on one of the worlds greatest beaches, surrounded by three coral reefs running down south to the entrance to Mida Creek. Watamu's entire shore line is a Marine Park, run by Kenya Wildlife Service (K.W.S.) with wonderful snorkelling and scuba diving available. Watamu is the busiest harbour for big game fishing boats along the Kenyan coast (especially over the busy holiday seasons).

Straight out of the harbour you are immediately in to deep water, black marlin have been caught at the entrance. You are now entering some of the most productive fishing grounds in Kenya, not thousands of sailfish as further north, though there is no shortage, this is "live bait central", just to the north is the Watamu Banks, black marlin hot spot due to the huge amount of bait fish (frigate watamu beach sunsetmackerel, kawa kawa, skip jack and yellowfin tuna) that hold along its south facing ledge.

The ledge is also one of the best spots for wahoo, giant trevally, king, shark and yellowfin tuna (if conditions are right).

Off the top of the banks is the Canyon (many of the biggest marlin and shark have been caught, or lost here) and then the Inner and Outer mountains before you are again out on the Rips. Heading south towards Kilifi is deep water dispersed with a number of large sea mounts.

 Back to Map     Kilifi & Mombasa     Hotels and Resorts

killifi creekKilifi A very nice creek, with a perfect harbour for deep keeled Yachts and pleasure craft. The creek is a perfect place for water skiing and other water sports. Also a favourite haunt for holiday homes for upcountry residents.

As in Watamu the deep water is close to the harbour mouth, black marlin and sailfish are common along this drop off, particularly later in the season. About 13 miles off is an area where, although the bottom is featureless, rips appear and can hold serious numbers of billfish, of all types.

Further out the Rips come to an end with a couple of great mountains, Haggard's to the north and Vipingo to the south which has some of the most impressive sheer drop off's available. broadbill of decent size can congregate here to produce some amazing night fishing.

Mombasa & Diani Beach-   Mombasa is the main port for East Africa, big game boats and pleasure craft tend to be moored to the north or south of Mombasa itself. Diani is just over the ferry to the south of Mombasa and is the major beach holiday destination for the Kenyan coast.

Fishing opportunities are limited with the majority of boats fishing the inside drop off's and reefs for game fish. Most boats are small and powered by out board engines, due to the majority of this incredible stretch of coral reef protected beach, being high and dry at low tide.

Heading further south you will arrive at the Pemba Channel.

Back to Map     Shimoni     Hotels and Resorts

Shimoni -   Pemba Island lies about 21 miles to the SE of Shimoni the main fishing area is really in the northern entrance to the Pemba Channel. Pemba Channel is the most productive striped marlin fishery in Kenya with its deep blue water (1,000ft contour is within about 5 or 6 miles off the shore) producing a good chance of a blue marlin. The best marlin fishing grounds are to the NW of Pemba and in the many rips between there and Chale Point.

Along the Kenya mainland there is a very distinct drop off about 2 or 3 miles off shore along which many large pelagics are found including black marlin and sailfish. Just to the north of Shimoni is Funzi Bay in to which feeds the Ramisi River bringing its nutrient rich water to the sea and can be very good for Sailfish. The reefs off Msambweni further north and Chale Point likewise have deep drop-offs along their outer edge.

To the south of Shimoni there is a series of off-shore reefs, which are home to giant trevally, wahoo, kingfish etc. These reefs, Mwamba Kitugamwe and Mwamba Shundo are in fact within Tanzanian waters, most of the yellowfin tuna are down between these two reefs.

Approximately 55 nautical miles due east of Shimoni is undersea mountain that comes within 230 fathoms of the surface out of more than 500 fathoms. The mountain is only about 1 mile across at the summit but is on a ridge perpendicular to the current. Like all seamounts fishes best morning and evening producing both big eye and yellowfin tuna. The broadbill swordfish fishing has also been very productive in this area.