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Kenya Gap Year Programme

Marine + Community + Safari

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Best for culture and contribution

If you're seeking a cultural hit combined with crystal clear Indian ocean, and the wildlife strewn dusty planes then this gritty programme in Kenya will deliver. Here you will find yourself living right on the edge of the Indian Ocean, near the hip little town of Kilifi. Picture the whitest of sand, warm tropical water, turtles, migrating humpback whales, dolphins and more than 500 species of tropical fish and corals on tap. Utterly stunning.

Our plan is for you to live the African dream whilst supporting a pioneering marine conservation project which needs your help to research and rebuild coral reefs, encourage the fishing families to stop over fishing, teach kids about conserving their environment, and help develop local housing and other income generating schemes.

At the same time, you will head off on safari, play volleyball on the beach, have many an African sundowner, and cruise along the river on a majestic dhow.

This is how it rolls...

Kenya's Programme Itinerary

Throughout your 5 weeks ( 4 weeks in July ) you will experience a mix of marine, environment and community development which are all interlinked to bring about positive change.

The following is a sample itinerary.

Weeks 1-5

Kuruwitu, north coast of Kenya

You’ll live beach side in our Leap house, north of Mombasa, close to the hip coastal town of Kilifi famous for kite surfing and the laid-back bar of Salties which will be your weekend go-to.

Picture the whitest of sand, warm tropical water, turtles, migrating humpback whales, dolphins, and more tropical fish than you can shake a stick at. Utterly stunning.

Through the marine project you will experience a fascinating mix of marine, environment, and community development projects, which are all interlinked to bring about positive changes in the most beautiful setting. Snorkelling, teaching kids, gardening and building kitchens all part of your average week.

Our aim is for you to return home having had a truly life-changing experience, fostering a passion and motivation to do more for conservation, responsible tourism, and environmental education. We also hope that by the end of your time with us you will share our love for the communities we work in and our projects both above and below the water.

Accommodation

The Leap house has lots of communal/hang out areas, small pool, with 2 or 3 bedroom bungalows with ensuite bathrooms, dotted around the pretty garden. It has that 'home from home' vibe.

Food

3 home cooked meals a day will be provided.

Kenya Gap Year Programme
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Marine Conservation Reef studies + coral gardening

Rising sea temperatures, over fishing, and lack of awareness threatens the reef, but help is at hand...through an award-winning marine initiative called Oceans Alive Trust (OAT).

OAT set up Kenya’s first locally managed marine area in response to rapidly declining fish stocks in the Kuruwitu Lagoon, and provide all-round community support to find alternative livelihoods, thus decreasing their reliance on fishing. Their success is now being replicated along the coast and fast becoming internationally recognised as best practice for marine conservation.

One of your jobs will be to survey and chart the species living within the lagoon (snorkels at the ready) whilst you help with the coral regeneration. Think underwater gardening and you are somewhere close. It is simple, yet genius – submerged in the protected area are metal structures onto which broken (yet alive) pieces of coral are fixed onto. Once they've grown to a resilient size, they are replanted out onto the coral reef inside. Whilst doing this you will of course encounter an underwater safari of octopuses, brightly coloured clams, sea anemones, and a large variety of corals. So pretty.

Turtle conservation - May to August, if you are lucky then you might get to help with the relocation of a nest or helping the baby turtles reach the sea safely.

Mangrove planting in season, Nov – March. Mangroves are vital for fish nurseries and for preventing coastal erosion. In season your team will help plant up to 1000 seedlings in a day.

Kenya Gap Year Programme
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Community Development Workshops + culture

Having assessed the marine problems, you will quickly see the need to stop over-fishing and damaging the coral in the process. However, when this is your sole income that's not going to happen overnight, but with your help...

Permaculture
Intertwined into your weeks will be time spent with the local communities, introducing the concept of permaculture, vertical gardening and recycling household waste. This form of gardening can be easily introduced into any household as it requires little space and most importantly has a higher output whilst reusing local waste (compost) and water. Many homes now have introduced this and sell their excess production, or trade with their neighbours.

Jiko stoves
Each team will build several life-changing jiko stoves, designed for efficiency and require the smallest amount of wood to create a high heat output which in turn creates a boiling and frying option. This frying option now means that fish can be fried – thus increasing its shelf life. Therefore, less fish is required, and fish stocks protected.

Beach clean ups
Beach clean-ups are vital to keep the beaches clean but also to inspire the local community to follow suit and respect their environment. Each team also helps the community come up with inspiring ways to reuse what they find. For example, the plastic bottles can be used in their gardens, flip flops chopped up to make mobiles, key rings... each team seems to come up with inventive ideas – so get thinking...

What everyone loves about this project is that you experience being right in the heart of a community, making a difference to those you meet.

Kenya Gap Year Programme
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Adventure and Exploration Safari and scuba

Adventure and exploration will be interwoven into your time in Kenya.

An optional safari and scuba course are the obvious big hitters but let’s not forget the simpler things – such as exploring the coastline, cruising along Kilifi Creek in a majestic dhow as the sun goes down, haggling in the local markets, horse riding, sundowners at Salties, pizza nights and golf at Vipingo Ridge...all to be experienced.

No two days are the same.

Safari
No trip to Kenya is complete without a safari in the famous Tsavo National Park, it would be wrong not to venture in to see the wildlife and landscape in all its glory. Delivering the full beach and bush experience.

Costs are a little fluid but budget close to 3 nights is £495, 4 nights £595, 5 nights £675 per person to include transfers, accommodation, all meals, and game drives.

PADI Scuba Diving Course
There is the option to complete an open water or advanced qualification whilst in Kenya so you can venture outside the reef to see the marine life. This is entirely optional and weather dependent, but it is an amazing skill to acquire and a stunning place to learn.

The full course costs $575 and is paid in country and covers all equipment, training, and administration.

Both are entirely optional, decide when you get there, and paid direct in Kenya.

Kenya Gap Year Programme
Kenya Gap Year Programme

Add on Independent Travel

Onward travel has never been so easy

Book a programme with us and you will receive a complimentary 12 month subscription to our Backpacking Advice Hub. This Hub is your one stop shop for all things travel advice, itineraries, handy insider hints and tips to really get the most from your travels. It is a must-have resource for independent travel post-Leap.

Our teams often add on a phase of independent travel, post programme, with their new found friends. Kenya is perfectly placed to add a phase to Tanzania and Uganda. Call us and chat through your ideas.

Giraffes in the wild in Kenya.
Marine conservation in Kenya where they are encouraging coral growth.
Safari vehicle in Tsavo National Park Kenya.
Mangrove planting in Kenya.
An example of the accomodation in Kenya at camp.

Kenya Programme Details & Costs

Really easy to travel on after the programme around Africa, which we can help with.

Options and costs

Whats included?

Community Contribution

Fully immerse yourself into a local community and provide the manpower to contribute to life changing projects

Nurturing Team

Mid-size teams generally between 8-16 like-minded gappers who are just as keen to make a difference as you are.

Home Away From Home

Only unpack your bag once and settle into life at the Leap Camp, right on the beautiful Kuruwitu lagoon.

The Bigger Picture

Be part of this dynamic marine conservation project, and work directly with leading marine scientists.

Working Hours and Time Out

Each day the itinerary will be different but expect to carry out projects every week day for about 5 - 8 hours.

Project hours: 8-12am and 2-5pm, but this may vary from time to time depending on the activity.

Weekends are left entirely free, so you have time to explore this fascinating part of the world. You are welcome to stay and chill at the Leap house, relax at the beach club, go to the nearby resort Vipingo Ridge to play golf, ride bikes or go on an arranged trip to nearby towns. Alternatively, you can just relax, enjoy a meal at the beach bar, snorkel or play volleyball.

Kenya Gap Year Programme

Join an award winning initiative

Here we are working with Oceans Alive who are an award-winning community initiative, created to facilitate positive environmental, economic and socio-cultural change in the area. You'll be working directly with Tilda, one of the founders of this amazing project, so you'll massively benefit from her enthusiasm and experience.

They set up Kenya’s first Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) in response to rapidly declining fish stocks in the Kuruwitu Lagoon and provide all-round community support to find alternative livelihoods, thus decreasing their reliance on fishing.

Through Oceans Alive you will become involved in a fascinating mix of marine, environment, and community development which are all interlinked to bring about the most positive changes in the most beautiful setting.

Kenya Gap Year Programme

Watch our videos

Kenya Gap Year Programme

Safari Phase

Kenya Gap Year Programme

Marine Conservation Phase

Kenya Gap Year Programme

Community Phase

"The Leap is doing a great job"

The organisation and the briefing on the entire trip was great by "the leap". I felt very well prepared and ready to start my adventure. The people in the office are very friendly and always ready to answer your questions or problems. They take care all over the trip of you and they make everything to give you the perfect time in a beautiful new world.

- Johann Plato

"Hand on my heart it's been the experience of a life time"

I've just been having THE best time here! It's gone so quickly, but I feel like I've been here forever at the same time.

We've done a lot of work already, so I feel like we've made a big difference. Through this work we've all learnt a lot, but it's mostly given us a good sense of liberation and generally put a lot of things in perspective. And of course, we now understand how difficult it is for these communities to get just essential amenities!

But the main thing is that I am very happy with the programme, and I can put my hand on my heart when I say it's been the experience of a life time, and I can't wait to continue for the 2nd half of it!

- Peter Blake

"Your support is very much appreciated"

We knew in choosing The Leap she was travelling with your ‘safety blanket’ and so it proved. Rachel at Trailfinders is also just the best. Very best wishes for continued success in such a challenging environment. The Leapers who are able to travel this year owe you and your team lots of gratitude for getting them away (and back!!).


- Anne ( mum )

"How on earth you have managed to pull this off I don't know!"

But you have all been absolutely incredible. I never could have imagined Charlie being able to take part in such a fantastic project in this, the strangest of years! I have huge admiration in your professionalism and ability to deliver in the toughest of times. Thank you so much, I'm sure the presence of the team will do wonders for the project and wonders for the Team Members... what a fantastic opportunity for them all!!

- Andrew Fairs

"The best experience of my life!"

Thanks to everyone involved as they have managed to make the trip a once and a life experience! I have learnt so much about the local community which will stay with me forever, this has shown that at home we are so privileged in every aspect of life and that anything we have done for the community has and could change lives. Also helping the fish community and restoring the ocean has opened my eyes.

- Niamh Anderson

"Grown in confidence"

I have grown in confidence from meeting new people and I have realised how much of an impact everyone could make with everyday things

- Louisa

"So grateful"

I feel more socially able with new people and feel more grateful for what I have back in the UK

- Sam

"Helped my confidence so much"

Its helped so much with my confidence and I feel like I know myself better as a person. I’m leaving the trip in such a better place than when I arrived and I’m so grateful for that :)

- Isla

Need inspiration and direction?

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