This region supports some of Africa’s rarest wildlife and plants. Following the trails through the forest at dawn you have a good chance of spotting the rare golden-rumped elephant shrew in search of insects. If you are lucky and use a skilled guide, you may find the Sokoke scops owl, Africa’s smallest owl, roosting on a branch. In the tree canopy, Syke’s monkeys search for fruit. Hundreds of colorful butterflies frequent the flowers and the varied bird life is breathtaking, especially during the European winter when migrating birds flock to the area in droves. You will not want to miss the flamingos, pelicans and other shorebirds.
ASSETS, “Arabuko-Sokoke Schools and Ecotourism Scheme,” offers overnight lodging at the Mwamba Field Study Centre. The Mwamba Centre is a guest house located on beautiful beach- front property. The accommodations are reasonably-priced, simple, pleasant and friendly and houses up to 15 guests. For accommodations at the Centre and other options in the area, please visit the following website: http://www.watamu.biz/watamu-business.php?cid=49
The interpretive displays and resources at the Gede Forest Station Visitors Center make it the ideal place to start your journey. The Elephant Trail Tree House is located 2 kilometers from the Visitors Center and offers views into the forest canopy. One can enjoy a picnic lunch, sunset drink or even spend the night in the tree house, lulled to sleep by the sounds of insects, frogs and nightjars. Additional observation points are located in the depths of the forest or at the Nyari Cliffs. Next, hike through the mangrove forest. The mangrove walkway is an impressive structure, a series of 17 suspension bridges leading 260 meters through the mangrove canopy. The walkway leads out to an elevated bird blind (or “hide”) on Mida Creek. The blind offers a superb vantage point to watch the birds, best experienced on high tides as they roost after feeding on the rich, muddy sandflats. (Other activities in the area for you to investigate include snorkeling along coral reefs, beachcombing, visits to the Gede ruins, etc).
Watamu is quite easily reached by road and/or air. Watamu is 120 kms north of Mombasa and 28km south of Malindi. Buses and matatus (local taxis) from Mombasa and/or Malindi all stop at Gede, where it is easy to get a matatu to Watamu itself. Malindi Airport is your arrival point from the air. All the Kenyan domestic airlines fly to Malindi, including Kenya Airways, Air Kenya, Fly540.com, and a couple of minor charter companies.
Making a Difference
ASSETS, a project of A Rocha Kenya, bridges the gap between threatened wildlife and threatened human livelihoods by promoting child education and alleviating poverty, while encouraging community involvement in nature conservation.
ASSETS distributes funds generated by ecotourism to provide scholarships for secondary school children who would otherwise be unable to afford the school fees. ASSETS encourages the local people to value the forest and creek by equally distributing the benefits from ecotourism throughout the local communities. In addition, children receiving scholarships are involved various conservation activities.
ASSETS is promoting ecotourism by providing facilities which allow visitors a more in-depth experience of the sites. All the proceeds from tourist fees go directly into the ASSETS scholarship fund. Alternatively, you do not have to wait to travel to Kenya. You can sponsor a child for only US$25 per month. (In Kenya, school age children must pay fees to attend elementary through high school). Contact ASSETS Kenya for more information on child sponsorship.
ASSETS Coordinator | PO Box 383 | Watamu 80202 Kenya firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit this website for an informative 20-minute video on how ASSETS works. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2504470503567224119