Mida Creek is a tidal inlet of about 32 square kilometres in size. It’s opening into the Indian Ocean is about
half a kilometre wide. The creek consists of a deep channel surrounded by large sand-flats, which are
flooded at high tide. Seven of the nine species of mangroves are found here and it is described as the most
productive mangrove forest in the world.
Mida Creek is of great ecological importance and described as one of the high priority areas in the whole of
Africa needing protection. Apart from the importance it plays in the lives of coastal – and forest birds, it also
is the breeding ground for crabs, shrimps, fish, corals, mollusks and the Hawksbill- and Green Turtle.
- The Creek is since 1968 part of the Watamu National Marine Park.
- Mida Creek is one of Kenya’s five IBA’s (Important Bird Area) of international importance.
- Mida’s direct neighbour is the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest. It once stretched from Somalia to Mozambique.
Today the largest remnant of the forest is right here, on Kenya’s coast. It is home to six globally
threatened bird species such as Clark's Weaver Bird. 90% of the World population of the Golden
Rumped Elephant Shrew live in the Forest. It also houses over 230 species of bird, 260 species of
butterfly, mongoose, leopard, hyena and 80-100 resident elephants.
- Mida Creek together with the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest were announced a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
But what about the people living in Mida Creek? The community here is extremely poor and most
of them feel conservation means more restrictions in their already restricted lives.
- Locals are not allowed to go into the forest to get wood for their huts. They are still poaching wood,
facing penalties should they get caught. A poll showed that the largest proportion of people would like
to further cut down the forest to use the wood for building and the land for agriculture.
- Most fishermen use illegal nets as they cannot afford the roughly £100 for a proper net. The gaps in
their nets are too small and fish don’t stand a chance of growing or breeding. Hence the creek is over-
fished and at times the fishermen return empty-handed for days on end.
Mr Kafulo, previous mayor of the nearest city Malindi and a great lover of Mida Creek, stated ‘The people
here have lost hope since they are not allowed to go into the forest any more and the numbers of fish have
Mida Ecocamp wants to set the balance between conservation and the well-being of the locals in
the direct affected areas right. Mida Ecocamp is giving people work, a market for their goods,
education and the understanding that tourists arrive to stay within their beautiful surroundings.
The camp's intention is to help the community as much as possible without spoiling it. The camp is the
community's property and registered as a CBO (Community Based Organisation) in Kenya. I (Felicity) am a
member of the CBO and our decisions are made together. My work is on a voluntary basis.
A specially formed elders committee for Mida Ecocamp meets once a month and the progress is discussed. It
is also the elders responsibility to inform where help in the village is most needed and how this help should
be applied. The entire profit from the camp is destined for further community projects.
We are trying to involve as many community members as possible. Here who will profit:
- the direct employees of Mida Ecocamp, which will be there all year round
- In high season we will require at least double the skeleton staff
- locals, who are selling us vegetables, fruit, fish, milk and charcoal
- the Giriama Dancers and Drummers
- fishermen, who we would like to help with replacing the too small nets
- the whole community from the new projects
AND...not to forget the Giriama tradition that is being kept alive and the environment that gains protection.
The mangrove channels of Mida Creek
The sea-grass and sand-flats in the creek
CONSERVATION & PEOPLE
Some of our regular employees.
Julius, a child with future
A Great White Pelican
weigh up to
200 kg. This
caught in a
into the Creek