Watamu Bay, Kenya – EcoVisitor Sea Turtle Experience
Local Ocean Conservation (LOC) provides people the opportunity to witness the sea turtle conservation work up close through their EcoVisitor programme. The EcoVisitors have a unique “behind-the-scenes” experience of the various marine conservation programmes that LOC runs and see how the education work and community outreach is making a difference in the communities in the greater Watamu area in Kenya.
Watamu Bay, Kenya
WHO IS THIS FOR
Travellers looking for a unique insight into a ground breaking conservation operation
Tailored packages available including accommodation
WHY WE LOVE THIS
Local Ocean Conservation (LOC) provide a unique experience for visitors to truly connect with their conservation initiatives to make a difference to marine species, whilst enjoying the breathtaking marine landscape of the Watamu area of Kenya.
Local Ocean Conservation (LOC) provides visitors with a unique experience to actively become involved in this conservation and community work for sea turtles. There are many activities that EcoVisitors can become involved in and there are always unique projects happening. Some of the details around the specific daily operations include: A team of nest monitors goes out on patrols every day to look for nesting turtles and to keep the sea turtles safe while they are laying their eggs. Nests that have been laid are checked daily to monitor signs of hatching or predation but also to answer questions that people have about sea turtles. It’s all about getting people to realise the precarious state of sea turtle populations and how dependent they are on the last remaining stretches of natural beach. Other members of the LOC team are out all day rescuing turtles that become trapped or caught in fishing gear. There are many turtles in the Watamu area and there are many fishermen, so it happens all the time that turtles swim into a net or even swallow a baited fishing hook. LOC works closely with hundreds of fishermen who alert us when they have found a turtle in their gear and the team goes to rescue the turtle. If it is healthy, it will be released back into the ocean. If it is injured or sick, the turtle will be admitted to the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre (TRC). Once in the TRC, the turtle needs to be fed and closely monitored. Observations about its behaviour and physical condition are all noted down. The eight different turtle tanks need cleaning every day and seagrass needs to be picked for hungry green turtles. LOC also conducts mangrove restoration work in Mida Creek and patrols the mangroves looking for signs of destructive fishing practices and logging. Mangroves propagules are collected and placed in the on-site mangrove nursery. After they have sprouted and have grown a little bit, they are planted in the most impacted areas. Apart from the marine conservation efforts, LOC strives to educate as many people as possible about the fragility of the oceans and make them aware how they can make a difference in keeping the oceans healthy. Thousands of local school children visit LOC every year to learn about sea turtles, coral reefs, mangroves and other marine related topics. By working with local community groups and fishermen, LOC strives to bring about sustainable economic development that will ensure that Kenya’s future generations will have a place that they can be proud to call home. Together with the groups, sources of income other fishing are developed and LOC guides these groups to manage these projects. The EcoVisits are not just for people who are passionate about conservation! There is always room for more creative improvement and the Marine Green Garden has some fantastic examples of art pieces made with trash collected from the beach. With an EcoVisit to Local Ocean Conservation, people make a real difference to the organisation’s work and thereby to the marine environment and the wider community in Watamu.
Local Ocean Trust is a private, not for profit organisation committed to the protection of Kenya's marine environment. We love our local ocean and we use practical conservation, community involvement and development, education, research and campaigning to promote the sustainable use of Kenya's marine resources. Watamu Turtle Watch is our flagship programme. It was started by local residents in 1997 to protect nesting sea turtles. Now it consists of our Nest Monitoring and Protection programme, By Catch Net Release Programme, and specialist Rehabilitation Centre for sick and injured sea turtles. The combination of these programmes enables us to make a real difference in ensuring the future of endangered sea turtles.
Eco Visitors stay at Lallie's House, situated within the Local Ocean Trust compound. There are four lovely rooms with two beds in each room and each with its own en-suite shower room with a toilet, sink and large shower area. All the beds have mosquito nets, and there are mosquito screens in the windows. We will provide bed linen and towels. Each of the rooms at Lallie's house opens out onto a beautiful, sunny courtyard where there are two large shaded seating and dining areas and a plunge pool to cool off after a busy day. There is a shared kitchen for preparing your own breakfast and dinner. We will provide lunch on working days. We have a great local cook who prepares traditional African dishes using locally produced ingredients.