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37 MIN READ TIME

Kenya with teens

Photographs by the writer
A hawksbill turtle on Watamu’s sandy shores, ready to return to the sea. The Local Ocean Trust is responsible for rescuing and rehabilitating these critically endangered creatures.

The mangroves begin to close in on us as our guide, Kahindi Chagawa, leads us towards a small inlet between the gnarled arches of Mida Creek’s network of village pathways. This elaborate and intricate ecosystem, made up of tangled forest roots, is our family’s playground for the morning. Our merry group of adults and teenagers prepare to wade through the tidal waters that flood the grounds twice a day. Kahindi rolls up the legs of his trousers and all of us follow suit as we form an orderly line and begin our three-hour walk towards the coastline.

As the Animal Welfare and Community Outreach & Awareness Programme Coordinator for NGO Local Ocean Trust, Kahindi is a non-stop source of information about every nook and cranny that we are exploring. “Look here,” he says, pointing into the mangroves. “See how these amazing roots dig deep into the muddy soil. That way they provide stability for the surrounding coastline and act as a protective home for small fish and a place of refuge for turtles and birds.” While the air might be stiflingly humid as the density of our surroundings blocks out any wind, the sheer beauty of this ecological treasure trove distracts us. The kids giggle as we stumble through the water, while Kahindi tells us about the 32km creek, which stretches from the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest to the coastal town of Watamu, where it meets the Indian Ocean.

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Travel Africa
April-June 2017 (78)
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