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A Rocha Kenya Revisited

Photos and word by Richard Noble
14 June 2024

I had the absolute delight of a third visit to A Rocha Kenya’s Mwamba Field Study Centre at Watamu on the Indian Ocean Coast in October-November 2023.

It was wonderful to re-connect with familiar faces and meet new ones for an all-too-brief week of the wonderful Mwamba hospitality. During my stay at Mwamba this time I focused on picking up the Kiswahili language studies I had begun on my previous visit in 2020. My days were centred around morning and afternoon lessons with my tutor. For this reason, I didn’t join in any of the many conservation activities undertaken by the Mwamba team, as I had done on my previous two visits when I had taken part in a tree census in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and a bird-count at the Mida Creek with Mwamba director Colin Jackson.

But I did have the humble privilege of accompanying team member Mzee (= kaumatua) Michael to worship at Mdzongoloni Baptist Church and after the service to visit his family compound nearby. And I managed a dinner out at the renowned (and community-owned) Crabshack Restaurant overlooking the Mida Creek mangrove swamp followed by a morning’s paddle-boarding in Mida Creek the day of my departure.

I deeply love Kenya and its people and would recommend a visit if you have the opportunity and means. Africa may seem a long way from Aotearoa but in fact it’s no further than Europe and definitely ‘do-able’. Karibu Kenya!

The Indian Ocean beach at Mwamba.
Mdzongoloni Baptist Church, Kilifi
Mwamba staff member Michael Hare at his family home, Kilifi.
Delicious dinner at Mwamba.
An English guest joining in the weekly bird-ringing session at Mwamba.
Dinner at The Crabshack overlooking Mida Creek.
A lovely lizard.


Freshly squeezed tamarind juice.
Richard Noble has been an active supporter of A Rocha Aotearoa NZ since 2007. During that time he has regularly joined in the restoration project at Ōwhiro Stream in Wellington, the regional A Rocha project at Swampy Gully in Battle Hill Farm Forest Park, and the annual eco-retreat at Our Lady of the Southern Star Monastery at Kopua in Hawke’s Bay. Richard has also had the privilege of visiting the A Rocha field centres in Kenya (three times), Portugal, and France, an experience he would highly recommend to others.