Watamu Turtle Watch
How to get there
From the main Malindi Road, turn into road leading down into Watamu. At the end of this road turn right towards Turtle Bay and Hemingways. Drive along this road , past the lake on the right until you reach a blue sign on the right hand side that says 203, Local Ocean Trust, Watamu Turtle Watch Rehabilitation Centre.
There is also a centre at the Watamu shopping centre but this is going to close and relocate soon.
Latitude / Longitude: -3.35000, 40.01667
Our Locals' Tip: Although Watamu is a popular holiday destination on the north coast of Kenya, many people don’t know that this is on offer to anyone who has an interest in conservation and ecology.
Located in Watamu, this conservation trust offers a wonderful experience to many visitors; A close encounter with one, or more rescued turtles, who are then released back into the ocean. On an almost daily basis, visitors are allowed to accompany the Turtle Watch staff to help collect rescued turtles from local fishermen. Volunteers then assist in releasing these endangered and wonderful creatures back to the ocean to the safety of the Watamu Marine Park.
The Local Ocean Trust is a non profit organisation who strive to preserve the wildlife, flora and fauna which relies on the unspoilt beaches in the Watamu area. The Local Ocean Trust help in many ways, as follows:
ADOPT A WATAMU SEA TURTLE:
The Turtle Watch program saves hundreds of turtles each year from being killed for their meat, oil or their shells. There is a sea turtle hospital and rehabilitation centre, which nurtures injured and sick turtles back to good health before being released back into the wild.
WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
If it were not the amazing cooperation of the local fishing communities, the Turtle Watch program would not be able to do the work it does. Local fishermen have been encouraged to rescue turtles which get caught in their fishing nets. In return, a small cash reward is offered to compensate them for their damaged nets and loss of earnings. By raising awareness within the local communities, an amazingly close working relationship has been created in order for everyone in the area to benefit from the rich colourful reef systems and the wildlife who depend on it.
TAGGING & RELEASING THE TURTLES
After the rescued turtles have been measured and the data recorded (where the turtle was found, which fisherman found it, the turtles weight, species, distinguishing features etc), the turtle is then tagged and then released back into the protected Watamu Marine Park and Reserve.
PROTECTION OF NESTING SITES
Every year on Watamu beach, sea turtles come ashore as they have for past millennia, to lay their eggs. One of the problems that the turtles currently face, is illegal or uncaring development in the area. Development too close to the high water mark endangers and encroaches on the nesting sites of the turtles in the area. The Trust works hard to educate and promote awareness of the need to retaining the pristine beaches, which still act as safe havens for the Watamu turtles and marine eco-systems which depend on it. Watamu has been voted as one of the best beaches in the world, and so by enjoying it's beauty and helping the Local Ocean Trust, you are helping a very worthwhile cause.
The Trust encourages regular patrols along certain sections of the 5km beach. These patrols serve several functions:
-to search for nesting activity
-to search for evidence of nests hatching
-to check of nests already laid
-to search for stranded turtles – whether sick or dead
-to monitor illegal activities within the Marine Park
-to collect biological data from nesting turtles
There are many other ways that volunteers can help the centre. For more information, visit their website which has a wealth of information and ways that you can become involved.
Week days and Saturday mornings 9.30-12.00hrs - 14.30-16.00hrs
Other Turtle Watch Centres along the coast are:
Bofa Beach Turtle Watch (Kilifi) Tel: +254 733 767 028
Bureni Turtle Watch (Vipingo) email:marine @vipingovillagefund.org
Tel: +254 733 296 525 or 729 627 820
Best For Whom:
- Families With Children
- Families With Teenagers
Best For What:
- Off The Beaten Path
- The Local Experience
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