Diving Deeper into the Circle of Life in Kenya

Banana House, Lamu

Banana House, Lamu

A look at Deep Sea Fishing Off The Coast of Eastern Africa.

It’s no secret that many travel to Kenya every year with adventure in mind and, more often than not, this adventure takes the form of safari holidays. What is less-known, however, is that there is yet more excitement to be discovered on the coast of Kenya, where the deep sea fishing opportunities are plentiful. Kenya is a diverse country, whose appeal goes beyond the boundaries of game parks and up to the Indian Ocean. With a sea that teems with fish and a variety of exotic marine life all year, you would be hard-pressed to find a country that exhibits a wider cross-section of the circle of life than Kenya.

The fishing industry in Kenya is regulated meticulously by the authorities. Only licensed fishermen may lead any angling and fishing expedition and their vessels must satisfy the requirements set – ensuring that all fishing trips are under expert supervision – which is an important law for Kenya to adhere to as their coast has such an abundance of marine life. Kenya enjoys a booming fishing season from July through to April, when the warmer Kaskazi wind blows through the country. The sea is calm and warm at this time, creating near perfect conditions for fish to migrate to.

Perhaps the most famous place to take advantage of this Piscean bounty is in Kenya’s Watamu region, at Hemingways Fishing. This is a resort named after Ernest Hemingway, who frequented the area for some fishing at sea. The resort has since become a magnet for experienced fishermen and is now a prime location for anglers of all levels. What makes Watamu such a great place is that there are other attractions as well as fishing. Watamu Turtle Watch recruits volunteers to aid in the rescue of turtles and offers a close encounter with these endangered animals. Watamu Marine Association advocates a similar care for the sea and its ecology but with a broader focus; it is a centre of information on the sea and strives to maintain a clean and healthy environment for marine life. Both of these opportunities add to the overall fishing experience, particularly for first-timers.
Watamu is not the only place in Kenya with fishing opportunities that are indiscriminate of expertise. Indeed, most places in Kenya are just as accommodating; even as far out as the Pemba Channel – where the Pemba Channel Fishing Club holds multiple African deep sea fishing records and attracts many professionals. The Pemba Channel is a narrow corridor of sea off the coast of Kenya and neighbouring Tanzania and is a fisherman’s goldmine during the migration months from July through to April. As fish swim between the eastern coast of Africa and Pemba Island, there are more fish in less water; angling here is like aiming in the proverbial barrel.

Of course, you don’t need to sail on the edges of Kenya’s borders to cast your hook. Just north of the famous Mombasa, Mtwapa enjoys considerable tourism every year and a major factor for this popularity is its proximity to Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach, one of the more famous strips of beach in Africa and also the launchpad for many fishing voyages. After a day of hooking your bait, you can experience dinner while sailing on the Tamarind Dhow – an authentic, traditional Arab sailing boat that has been converted into a floating restaurant.
While much of Kenya’s fishing experience can be thoroughly enjoyed from above the surface, you would be well-advised to dive in to the waters at Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park. The park is on the south-eastern tip of Kenya, just north of Tanzania, and covers the area of four small islands that are surrounded by coral reefs. Diving to the coral reefs is a unique opportunity to observe one of the most fascinating ecosystems; from the lower echelons of the food chain, such as marlins and plant life, to the bigger fish like swordfish and sharks. This is also a good place to swim with dolphins.

To get the best of both worlds – above and below the surface – Malindi offers the sea, beach, and city all in close proximity to each other. In between fishing trips, you can go snorkelling, visit the old Hindu temples nearby, check out the natural wonder of Marafa or sunbathe on Diani Beach’s white sands.
What is impressive about the deep sea fishing adventures in Kenya is not only the ample and teeming wildlife but also the Kenyan approach towards tourism in this field. Kenya ensures that the tourist’s enjoyment does not come at the expense of either the fauna or the Kenyan locals, which is demonstrated by all the aforementioned locations. The deep sea fishing opportunities epitomise much of what is so special about Kenya.

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