HEMINGWAYS HOSTS 2018 HUMPBACK WHALE WATCHING EXCURSION
(Posted 06th September 2018)
Luxury hotel operator Hemingways Collection has welcomed the albeit belated launch of the Twin Migration Campaign by the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife. The campaign, under which ‘official Kenya’ finally recognizes this natural spectacle, seeks to promote the annual migration of humpback whales along Watamu beach, a unique wildlife phenomenon in the sea occurring between July and September annually.
Humpback whales, the giant marine mammals, travel annually in their hundreds from the Southern Ocean along the East African coast travelling in tropical waters where it is safe to breed. This event has already been monitored in Watamu since 2011 with numbers of whales passing through Kenya varying. In the boom years of 2013 and 2017 whale numbers reported stood at 550 and 390 respectively.
The whale migration has this year received a boost from the government with the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife eventually launching a promotional drive through the Kenya Tourism Board which is marketing the migration to attract visitors to the Mara and Watamu during peak tourism season.
Hemingways Collection Operations Director, Ross Evans, said they support the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Watamu Marine Association which have been studying dolphins and whales since 2011.
“In 2012, we became the first hotel in Kenya to offer whale watching excursions in addition to our ongoing support for marine research and conservation with Watamu Marine Association who have been promoting whale watching as an emerging eco-tourism activity on the coast since 2012,” said Evans, showing how the private sector often takes the lead with the public sector taking years to catch on to such attractions.
“This year we have launched the Watamu Bucket List campaign to promote Watamu as a tourist destination that offers unique and diverse activities and experiences. The humpback whale migration is a star attraction in this campaign and we are extremely pleased that the government, through the tourism ministry, has recognized and supported the uniqueness of Watamu beach and the variety of experiences on offer‘ he added.
“We also take pride in the work we do with the local community in Masai Mara to promote conservation in the world famous Greater Mara” Mr Evans said, in reference to a partnership between Hemingways Ol Seki Mara, a luxury tented camp and the Naboisho Conservancy, a ground breaking project of tourism benefiting conservation and community.
Through its exclusive selection of luxury properties, Hemingways Collection is able to offer inspired travelers a seamless and totally unique experience of the Twin Migration from the beach to the savannah, with layovers at the 5-star Hemingways Nairobi.
The Watamu Bucket List campaign has listed 10 must-do activities for visitors to Watamu. Aside from watching the humpback whales and stand up paddle-boarding with dolphins, other activities include big game fishing, exploring the ancient ruins of Gede, sighting the rare elephant shrew at the Arabuko Sokoke Forest, exploring the mangroves of Mida Creek on a traditional dhow, visiting the Watamu Marine Park and learning how the local community manages conservation efforts.
The list contains activities that are available any time of the year and some that follow calendar seasons.
Hemingways Watamu only reopened earlier this year following a massive transformation of the property to reclaim its five star status as one of Kenya’s greatest beach resorts.
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