Explore the wonders of Kenya while helping those less fortunate than yourselves. This two-week journey gives you a wonderful introduction to the famous safari country whilst also providing you with the opportunity to help some of the abandoned children of the area.CHILDREN OF THE RISING SUN HOME
On this trip, you will spend your mornings working at the nearby Children's Home, The Children of the Rising Sun home (CRS). CRS is a children's home located near Malindi, Kenya, currently housing thirty-one abandoned boys and girls, ranging from five to sixteen years old. The children live in dormitories, furnished with small wooden beds. They have access to drop toilets, water and basic showers. There is limited clothing, medical supplies and no school transport.
This permanent home was built in January 1997 on eleven acres of land donated by a generous Kenyan hotelier. Two acres of the land have been used for the facilities which include one dormitory for boys, one dormitory for girls and arts and crafts, one kitchen/store/dining verandah, three showers and four drop toilets.
The remaining land is used as a fruit and vegetable farm. The CRS committee needs help with their plans to add a vocational training center, including a commercial farm and wood carving shop, for the home and local community.WATAMU
When you're not helping CRS, you'll stay in a clean, but basic hotel in the Watamu village. Your meals are of western standard; your rooms will have air conditioning and running hot and cold water. Located directly on the Indian Ocean beach, there is also a lovely swimming pool and friendly staff to help you to enjoy your stay.
Your afternoons are spent exploring the wonders of the Watamu area, which has been named a United Nations biosphere. Watamu itself is a small village located on the coast of Kenya, approximately 120 km north of Mombasa and 25 km south of Malindi. The area has developed an international reputation for its white-sand, reef-protected beaches, which line the Watamu National Marine Park.
Established in 1968, this Marine Park is the oldest in Kenya and has developed into one of the best snorkeling and dive spots of the world. The Marine Park boasts over 600 species of fish in just 10 square km, although the reserve area itself spreads out over more than 32 square km in total. It is virtually impossible to snorkel without seeing a least a few dozen species inside the main reef and divers outside the fringe reef stand an excellent chance of viewing the magnificent whale shark and Manta Rays that are seasonal visitors.
If underwater exploring is not your style, not to worry! From windsurfing to dolphin watching boat trips, gentle walks to explore the rock pools or simply lying on the beach getting tan, the Watamu beach offers something for everyone.
In addition to the Marine Park itself, Watamu is within 10 km of two other special natural reserves, Mida Creek and Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, and one fascinating site of archeological interest, Gede Ruins.
The Mida Creek reserve is formed of extensive mangrove forests, warm shallow waters and large areas of mud flats at low tide. This area hosts not only many local birds, such as Greater Flamingo, Yellow-billed Stork, Great White Egret and Malachite Kingfisher, but is also the winter home of many migrants such as the Crab Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Whimbrel and Sanderling. The Osprey and African Fish Eagle are often overhead. A bird-lovers paradise, Mida Creek is also the spot to watch the spectacular African sunsets whilst supping an icy cold drink at the end of an active day.
The Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is the largest remaining area (420 square km.) of indigenous coastal forest in East Africa. The forest contains six species of globally threatened bird, including the Clarke's Weaver, which is found nowhere else in the world. Rare mammals are also present, including the Golden Rumped Elephant Shrew, Bushy-tailed Mongoose and Ader's Duiker. Rarely seen but also found in the forest are elephant, buffalo, leopard and hyena. The forest is also home to over 260 species of butterflies. With several picnic spots and shady walking paths, which meander through the trees, the forest is a favorite spot for many.
Gede Ruins, an archeologists delight, was one of the ancient Arab towns, which dotted the East African Coast. It dates from the late 13th or early 14th Century and was finally abandoned in the early 17th Century. Excavated since 1927, many areas have been revealed, including the Great Mosque, the Palace, several residential houses and pillar tombs. Surrounded by tall shady trees, a walk through Gede is a must for anyone interested in Kenya's history.WEEKEND EXCURSIONS
You'll enjoy excursions to all of these areas when not working at CRS, as well as flying to the island of Lamu for a night on your first weekend and experiencing a two-night safari in the famous Masai Mara on the second weekend.
Lamu is a step back in time to the old Arabic trader days. The island has no vehicles. All your exploring is done on foot or by using the donkeys, which are the local taxis! Explore the winding streets with the tall, narrow houses whose carved wooden doors open into hidden courtyard gardens. Taste the locally made halva, a traditional sweetmeat and visit the old museum. You'll stay in the delightful, small, family run hotel of Peponi, with its superb seafood restaurant and lovely views of the sea.
Virtually unchanged for centuries, the fishermen here still fish using wooden dhows that sail up and down the Kenya coast with the monsoon winds. Wood craftsmen make furniture by hand and the traditional Lamu chairs are particularly popular with visitors.
The Masai Mara of course needs no introduction. This, the most famous of Kenya's game parks, is the epitome of the classic African savanna landscape with its gently rolling plains, flat topped acacia trees and abundant wildlife. Lion, leopard, cheetah, buffalo, elephant, eland, wildebeest and untold other animals all populate this rich eco-system which will be your final stop on this safari.
You'll stay in one of the classic tented safari camps, spending the nights under canvas, with the sounds of the African bush all around. Your game drives will be done with local, expert guides who will fill you in on the local flora and fauna as well as the cultural traditions of the Masai tribe itself.
Heading home after thirteen nights in Kenya, you'll have gained an insight into the culture of the local tribes, spotted wildlife, snorkeled in the Indian Ocean and helped the children towards a better life. You'll have memories to cherish for a lifetime!
Please note, that dependant upon the tides and the weather, the order and timing of some excursions may change.
Day One Arrive into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi Kenya. Met and transferred to the domestic airport for your flight to Malindi. At Malindi met and taken to the Barracuda Inn, Watamu. Overnight at Barracuda Hotel.
Day Two After breakfast, your driver and the CRS Director will take you to the home, introduce you to the children and the staff and give you a guided tour. The ongoing projects with which you will help, such as farming, building, cooking, home repairs, sewing and just spending time with the children, will be explained and chores designated to each volunteer. You'll return to the hotel in time for a late lunch. The afternoon is at leisure to ensure you are fully recovered from jetlag and can acclimatize to the heat. Overnight at Barracuda.
Day Three After breakfast, it's back to the Home for the start of your projects. You'll work until lunchtime at which point you'll return to the hotel for a quick shower before climbing aboard your glass bottom boat for a guided snorkel trip in the Marine Park with a marine expert who has studied the park for over 20 years. The evening is at leisure. Overnight at Barracuda.
Day Four Once again the morning is spent at the Home on the various projects. A picnic lunch is taken with you today though, as on your way back to Watamu we'll stop off at the Gede Ruins for an afternoon guided tour through this mysteriously abandoned town. Dinner and overnight at Barracuda.
Day SixDay Five Back once again to the children for the morning before a return to the hotel at 2pm. The afternoon is at leisure before we collect you at 6.00pm and take you to the village home of Nelson Bashora for an introduction into the local Sanye tribe's culture and a traditional African meal. Overnight at Barracuda.
This morning you'll head off to the Malindi airport for your morning flight to the island of Lamu. Upon arrival, you'll be collected and taken to your hotel to check-in before heading out to explore the wonders of the island. Dinner and overnight at Peponi's Hotel.
Day Seven At your leisure, exploring the island, relaxing on the beach or lazing around the pool. Your afternoon flight returns to Malindi and Watamu where you'll dine and overnight back at the Barracuda Inn.
Day Eight Continue your volunteer work at the Home. Lunch is at the hotel where you have a few hours rest before heading to the Sokoke Forest for a nature walk with one of the local guides. Keep an eye out for the Sokoke Six - six birds that are found nowhere else in the world! Dinner and overnight at Barracuda.
Day Nine This morning you jump aboard a boat as you set out beyond the outer reef to search for the dolphin pods in the area. Your guide will ensure you learn about these playful, intelligent mammals as your boat travels gently along beside them. Lunch at the hotel before returning to the Home to finish up those projects.
Day Ten It's the last working day today. The morning will be spent in a frenzy of activity no doubt as the last minute final touches are put to your projects. The afternoon is spent at leisure, shopping, relaxing or snorkeling in the park.
Day Eleven The morning is spent at the home with the children having a small celebration and saying your goodbyes. Lunch is at the hotel before you head to Mida Creek for a sunset dhow cruise and return to the hotel for your last night in Watamu.
Day Twelve You'll fly to the Masai Mara, via Nairobi, this morning and game drive enroute to the camp. Spend the rest of the day exploring Mara. Dinner and overnight at the camp.
Day Thirteen This whole day is spent in your safari vehicles game driving though the Mara in search of the animals, birds, plants and insects that make up this fascinating eco-system. All meals and overnight at the camp.
Day Fourteen After breakfast, enjoy a game drive enroute to the airstrip where you catch your flight back to Nairobi and your onward international connection.
Includes: All meals, transport, driver/guide, camping crew includes cook and helper, water when camping and in vehicle, all accommodation, all activities, park fees and local taxes. (Clients must bring own sleeping bag and towel for the camping portion)
Excludes: Drinks, personal purchases, tips, visas and international flights