Taking Watamu to The World

  • 26 January 2016 | By Wonders of Watamu

Stand Up Paddling with Dolphins

The Wonders of Watamu have been made the face of Kenya in the latest campaign to promote the destination via a global online broadcast called #KenyaLive – Thousands of viewers from around the globe experienced Watamu as the live broadcast showed them the incredible variety of attractions and experiences that we have to offer.

The Wonders of Watamu group caught the attention of the Make It Kenya and Magical Kenya campaigns and was selected to represent the destination as part of #KenyaLive which took an online audience on a safari across Kenya from the conservancies of the Mara to Watamu- showing the amazing diversity of landscapes, wildlife and cultures that a traveller to Kenya can experience.

A Medina Palms Welcome

Using the Periscope platform with content shot and shared by HerdTracker , viewers could join the safari via their SMART phones in realtime and interact, engage and ask questions along the way. And over 10,000 people did just that, including Richard Branson and the US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec who paid a visit to Watamu and prompted viewers to join #KenyaLive as he released a turtle with Local Ocean Trust- a preview of one of the highlights of the safari.

When #KenyaLive arrived in Watamu after a week in the Mara they were ready for that great blend of relaxation and adventure that Watamu offers- and we certainly delivered. Their 4 days in Watamu were a nonstop showcase of our natural, cultural and and active wonders. They captured stunning sunsets and sumptuous meals at the luxurious Medina Palms and a poolside brunch at Turtle Bay Beach Club- but also had a lot of adventures on land and sea.

A Naturally Wild Encounter

They joined Tribe Watersports on a morning Stand Up Paddle Boarding trip during which they encountered our resident wild dolphins for a special natural close encounter for which Watamu has become famous. They then snorkeled and dived on our reef using incredible new technology to broadcast live from underwater and then experienced Watamu's world class Kite Surfing.

They introduced viewers to the concept of renting private beach houses and villas with Watamu Property Services and sailed into Mida Creek aboard the Turtle Bay Dhow to take in a spectacular sunset. They visited Bioken Snake Farm and learned more about rare reptiles, introducing the world to one of our most beautiful locals- the harmless Blue Bush Snake.

At dawn they joined a yoga class at Watamu Treehouse as the sun rose out of the sea and the broadcast a live mediation session on the beach that allowed viewers around the world to take part.

The broadcasts perfectly captured the Watamu Way of Life, including one from the legendary bar of Ocean Sports.

The Minister Arrives in Watamu

The real finale of the campaign however came when a very special guest arrived to join them in Watamu. Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala arrived not in the way you would expect a Government Minister to pay an official visit. He joined Kenya Skydivers who were operating in Watamu and tandem skydived over the stunning azure Indian Ocean, soaring along our stunning stretch of beach before touching down on the white sands to meet the locals.

Then came the most remarkable broadcast of all. Over the 4 days the crew from Herdtracker had been working with local researchers from Local Ocean Trust, capturing their work rescuing turtles that have been caught in fishermans nets and releasing them into the wild.

After the Minister visited the Local Ocean Turtle rescue and rehab centre he joined the team to release a rare Olive Ridley turtle into the sea, stressing the critical role of conservation in sustainable tourism.

The Incredible Turtlecam in Action

The crew were the ready for their biggest challenge as they attempted a broadcast never done before- attaching a lightweight removable camera to a rescue green turtle as it was released back into the ocean. Cameras like this are usually used by researchers to learn more about turtle behaviour, but also to be able to identify and prove where turtles feed to ensure these areas are protected.

By adding a live stream to this camera, viewers around the world were afforded and incredible opportunity to see the underwater world of Watamu through the eyes of a turtle, and the stunning results prompted a wave of positive response, questions and encouragement from around the world. The Full HD video of this incredible experience will be released very soon.

The Marine Scouts join the broadcast

Also watching were the Marine Scouts, a group of local children who are a part of the Local Ocean Trust’s educational program. By joining the live broadcasts they were able to share the marine life they play a role in protecting with the world, and engaged with international viewers including turtle experts and conservationists from as far afield as Australia.

KenyaLive was stunning success for the destination and for everyone around the world who loves Kenya or would one day love to visit. We were thrilled to be a part of this exciting campaign and bring Watamu to the world and the world to Watamu.

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