Engage in Conservation Education Excursions in Forests and Community Conserved Areas
Some African communities considered beads as spiritual charms and our ecotours beaded safaris safeguard and conserve the environment by embracing responsible tourism practices. Our Beaded Ecotours are primarily excursions to Forests, Conservancies and Conservation Educational Centres. We consider an ecotour to be a trip that causes minimal impact to the environment and local people. Our ecotours focus on environmental education, conservation, wildlife and habitat protection that offer interpretive experiences in-line with our principles and ethos and responsible tourism guidelines. We will help you connect with nature and immerse with the natural habitat that will bring lasting experiences and memories.
The site is usually culturally and biologically diverse and attracts tourists who have a common interest in nature, wildlife and culture. A fundamental element of an ecotour is the education of environmental issues such as, the protection of natural resources or endangered species, usually relevant to the destination. This may be conducted through lectures, involvement in conservation projects or simply by learning from a knowledgeable tour guide.
Oloolua Nature Trail: Hidden away in the up market suburb of Karen is 250 hectares of the indigenous tropical dry Oloolua forest that is home to the Institute of Primate Research (IPR). The National Museums of Kenya, the institution that runs this bio-medical research facility, established the 5km long Oloolua Nature Trail in part of this forest, providing an oasis of tranquility for city residents looking to escape the city hustle and bustle. The Oloolua Nature Trail is a favourite with visitors coming to do a short hike, to jog along the trail, to walk their dogs, or just for a relaxing picnic in this serene setting. Organized groups also come to learn about environmental conservation through guided tours in the forest. The Oloolua nature trail meanders through thick forest vines and undergrowth below giant indigenous trees and bushes, in some places following the course of the Mbagathi River that cuts through the forest. Giant riverside bamboo stands beckon you to descend some rickety stairs to the river and rest on benches built under the bamboo. Trickling water and chirping birds, the only sounds you hear as you rest, lull you into a reflective mood.
Kaya Muhaka is a sacred forest situated just outside Muhaka village, on the slopes of Shimba Hills in Kwale county. The members of this village came together to form the Kaya Muhaka Forest Conservation Organisation, in order to educate visitors on the need to maintain this forests sanctity and its value to biodiversity. Kaya Muhaka is home to a variety of wildlife – vervet monkeys, sykes monkeys, bushbabies, yellow baboons, suni antelopes, and endangered species such as Angolan black and white colobus monkeys and golden rumped elephant shrews.
Kaya Kinondo is one of few makaya (sacred forests along the Kenyan coast) that visitors are allowed to enter. This 30-hectare forest located in Diani beach, just south of Mombasa, is the seniormost forest for the Digo community. The forest is maintained by the Kaya Kinondo Ecotourism Project. Visitors to Kaya Kinondo enjoy a guided walk into the forest during which the community shares information on the Kaya and other aspects of the local culture. They also get the opportunity to visit Kinondo village and interact with members of the local community, including the medicine man. Other activities that are available here include: performances, sale of handicrafts and visits to the local school. Additionally, Kaya Kinondo Ecotourism Project carries out a wide range of environmental conservation efforts to preserve the forest. These include: afforestation and raising awareness on the Kaya’s importance. The community uses a set of rules both to safeguard the Kaya’s sanctity and to protect their culture. For instance, entry into the Kaya is allowed only on certain days, according to a traditional calendar. Visitors are not supposed to litter, smoke or take anything away from the Kaya. Moreover, there are still some sections of the Kaya that one is not allowed to venture into. Kaya Kinondo is reported to harbour 52 bird species and 192 plant species. The current pristine status of many Kayas demonstrates the important role that social taboos have played in biodiversity conservation over time; these forests have remained intact due to taboos that prohibited tree felling, livestock grazing and extraction of forest products.
Mida Creek is a large tidal area including three islands and an extensive and diverse mangrove forest that is home to eight of the nine different species of mangrove trees. Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and Mida Creek actually form one large ecosystem that exchanges, among other things, fresh and salt water to support the significant plant & animal biodiversity, especially birdlife, in the area. The creek has a number of distinct habitats comprising mangrove forest, sand flats, rock outcrops, sea grass beds, coral growths, and deep water. This means the area serves as an important stopover point for hundreds of bird species migrating between Europe, Asia & the Middle East. Especially at low tide, when the seawater retreats to the Indian Ocean, the expansive mudflats are exposed and birds come to feed on the little crabs and other animals left out in the open.
Ngangao, Mwambirwa & Chawia Forests
The forests’ uniqueness is attributed to the geological processes, which isolated them from other tropical forests and resulted in the formation of a chain of mountains known as the Eastern Arc Mountains. The isolation of Taita hills from others led to solitary evolution resulting in a rich and unique diversity of more than 2,000 species oft of which 30% are endemic including African violet (Saintpaula ionantha taitensis) and 9 species of animals, not to mention birds, butterflies and snake species endemic to the forest.
Ngare Ndare Forest
Ngare Ndare is Maa for ‘goats water’. Ngare Ndare is a gazetted forest used to promote peace and co-existence among the different communities in the area – the Meru, Maasai, Borana and Kikuyu. The forest is maintained primarily by the local communities as the Ngare Ndare Forest Trust, under the supervision of Kenya Forest Service (KFS).
Ngare Ndare forest has several attractions which can be of interest to visitors of diverse interests. First, being an extension of the Mt. Kenya forest it has a variety of indigenous plants, some of which have herbal remedies. The dominant tree species are the Juniperus procera and Olea africana. Second, the forest is also a migratory corridor for elephants and other wild animals to and from Mt. Kenya and the Northern Rangelands. Third, it is also favoured as a sanctuary by animals such as the elephant, rhino and buffalo, where they reside to give birth, nurse their injuries, recuperate or die. It is home to several other wild animals, bird and insect species.
Ngare Ndare forest has numerous beautiful and tranquil physical features such as sundowner sites, permanent springs, waterfalls, rapids and rock outcrops. The Ngare Ndare Forest Trust uses these spots for activities such as picnics, swimming, diving and rock climbing. The forest is well-known for its maintenance of a 500m-long canopy walkway situated in the middle of the forest, where visitors can view wildlife below.