Dolphin Spotting

snorkeling with dolphins

The Dolphins of the Kisite Marine Park ​

The combination of sheltered area – lagoons, islands and coral reefs – and food rich upwelling areas in the Kisite Marine Park and Shimoni areas provides an excellent breeding and feeding habitats for whales and dolphins which may explain the large numbers of found in the area.

Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins

These lovely dolphins are present year round close to reefs, it has a ‘bottlenose’ beak and is grey on the back and whitish below with darker spots on the belly (which tells you it is not a common bottlenose dolphin) They also have a large, sickle-shaped dorsal fins. They love playing around the boats especially on the ride out to the Kisite Marine Park.

Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins

​The Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins are also present at Wasini, usually very close to shore or in the channel. They have a small dorsal fin that sits on a hump. They also have a characteristic surfacing pattern, where the long beak comes out of the water at a steep angle before the rest of the head. It is generally shy of boats.

​​Spinner Dolphins

They usually travel in very large groups of 50 to 200 animals. They are very active at the surface, including amazing acrobatic displays, often spinning as they leap. they have a slender body, a long thin beak and often a dark flipper to eye stripe. The dorsal fins in the adult males may tend to lean forward, so that it looks like it is sitting the wrong way round.​

Adapted from Whales & Dolphins – A field guide to Marine Mammals of East Africa by Per Berggren and Illustrations by Phil Coles.​


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Charlie Claws Dolphin Spotting Policy

​​Since we run our business in an eco-friendly manner in order to promote a more sustainable planet, we have adopted the following policies relating to our dolphin spotting activities. Please read the Dolphin Code of Conduct – but our dolphins know this & many times they join our guests above & under the water!

Responsible Wildlife Watching Code of Conduct​

  1. If dolphins are sighted, you should slow down gradually to no wake speed and maintain this speed until clear of the animals.
  2. Don’t chase the dolphins, circle them, or drive your boat directly towards them.
  3. If you wish to approach the dolphins, do it very slowly, keeping parallel to their course and avoid sudden changes of direction or speed which could confuse or disorient them.
  4. Do not drive through or between groups of dolphins.
  5. Move away slowly if you notice signs of disturbance from the dolphins, such as erratic changes in speed and direction or lengthy periods under water. Slapping of the tail and/or head of the surface of the water may be a sign of distress.
  6. Avoid dolphins with young and DO NOT make loud noises.
  7. Allow the animals to approach you. If they do approach and ‘bowride’ maintain steady speed and a steady course.
  8. If already in the water snorkeling, remain calm, do not get over excited, and let them approach you, instead of you approaching them.
  9. Try not to have more than 2 boats at one time at dolphin sightings and keep a distance of no less then 100m of the animals.
  10. Do not spent more than 20 minutes (at a time) with the animals (bear in mind the need of other boat operators who too want to offer their clients the viewing opportunity).
  11. Do not dispose of fuel or oil in the SEA/OCEAN and other contaminants. Dispose of all garbage in appropriate containers on board the boat or at your destination, not into the SEA/OCEAN.
  12. For safety reasons, we do not allow the passengers or crew on board to SWIM, FEED or TOUCH the dolphins and other marine animals.​​

This Code of Conduct is sponsored partially by:

Charlie Claw’s on Wasini Island in Kenya. The very best of the Swahili Coast all in one day, including Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Dhow Sailing, Dolphin Spotting, Sunset Cruises and exquisite seafood dining.