• We almost too often travel for adventure, where the prime thing is to relax and explore, but at the same time, we can do much in terms of conservation.
• Committing to things like animal adoption and planting nurseries allows us to get in touch with the environment at a personal level.
I am a sucker for adventure and while at it, I enjoy indulging in conservation activities.
However I can contribute to the environment, I am down for it.
One thing I realised in my numerous escapades is how easily we can play a part in conservation.
All this is related to ecotourism or, in other words, ‘nature tourism’.
This simply refers to all nature-based forms of tourism in which the main motivation of the tourists is the observation and appreciation of nature as well as the traditional cultures prevailing in natural areas.
The idea is to focus on uniting conservation, communities and sustainable development through travel and adventure.
Exploring the beauty of 'Tembea Kenya', in literal sense, offers us, local tourists, a chance to communicate and connect with nature by giving it what it needs.
I recently visited the Diani Turtle Watch (DTW) Marine Centre and Olive Ridley Project (ORP), where I interacted a lot with individuals who are big on sea turtle conservation.
They are determined to ensure that these creatures do not become extinct.
Usually, one in 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings makes it to adulthood, and you can probably guess why their conservation is crucial.
Their greatest threat is poaching, which is almost rendering them extinct.
While I was privileged to consume a lot of information on sea turtles, I learnt that I can contribute to DTW’s and ORP’s conservation work by adopting a turtle.
Although I enjoy the idea of soon becoming a cat mum, sea turtle adoption sounds really cool.
You can imagine adopting a juvenile sea turtle and always monitoring how it is faring.
It becomes your pet but it gets to be itself in its natural habitat.
These charismatic ocean wanderers make incredible migrations time and again in the ocean to feed, mature and lay eggs.
Apart from adopting a single turtle, it is very much possible to adopt an entire nest that carries 70-200 eggs.
Local tourism can change how we view and impact our environment.
It can also help us understand the contributions we are making and the impact, whether positive or negative.
I have a friend of a friend who had adopted a cheetah, but it unfortunately died last year.
The cheetah was housed at the Nairobi National Park, and she used to pay for its accommodation and food as well as contribute to its care.
Unfortunately, I never got a chance to meet the cheetah.
The Karura Forest has fun activities, such as bike riding, but at the same time, it is possible to buy a seedling and plant it in the forest.
At the Coast, it is important to enjoy and learn about mangroves, but you can contribute by buying seedlings and creating your own nurseries where they can flourish.
We almost too often travel for adventure, where the primary thing is to relax and explore. But at the same time, we can do much in terms of conservation.
I feel like committing to things like adoption and planting nurseries allows us to get in touch with the environment at a personal level.
It breeds the spirit of accountability and responsibility and helps us understand what and how advocacy for Mother Nature works, as well as its importance.
This is also a source of income because we believe the money we contribute is for environmental goodwill as we get to create jobs.
I plan on going back to the Coast in a few months to adopt my first turtle or nest, and it will only cost me Sh3,500.
This field isn’t just meant for conservationists and environmentalists who have papers.
Aside from making our résumés look good, volunteering gives us an opportunity to not only travel and enjoy ourselves but also be a change to our environment.
With a little bit of passed-down knowledge, sometimes teamwork makes the dream work.
It is time we leverage the opportunities presented to us to safeguard our environment through local tourism.
Go for the road trips, piga sherehe massive, but don't forget to ask how you can improve our environment while at it.