Behind The Scenes – Kenya
Kenya is one of our clients’ favourite countries. It not only has great wildlife and incredible scenery, but the camps host people superbly and the guides seem to be able to spot the flick of a leopard’s tail from half a mile away.
Behind the scenes the properties we partner with in Kenya are doing great work with the local communities and wildlife. These partnerships, often through charitable foundations, not only offer sustainable solutions to land use for rural people, but often also improve the quality of wildlife viewing in an area.
We’ve lifted the curtain to show off a few of these partnerships.
Lion Guardians at Ol Donyo Lodge
Ol Donyo Lodge sits within a huge Masai community area with wildlife existing alongside the Masai cattle and goats. Through the Big Life Foundation the lodge supports a number of programmes to protect villagers and their stock from predators. ‘Lion Guardians’ warn herdsmen of lions and other predators in their area and help build predator proof bomas to keep leopards away from goats.
These interventions have seen revenge lion killings drop from an estimated 20 a year prior to their implementation in 2006, to fewer than one a year in the last sixteen years. Alongside the huge elephants, which have always been a feature of a stay in the Chyulus, guests at Ol Donyo now enjoy good sightings of lion, leopard and cheetah.
Community Ownership at Sarara Lodge
Sarara Camp is a tented eco-camp in the Matthew Mountains owned by the local Samburu community. During the 20 years of the camps existence the area has flourished into a haven for wildlife and a safe place for people to care for their livestock. Habitat conservation and wildlife restoration has gone hand in hand with much improved relations with neighbouring tribes.
The community’s strength of feeling towards their wildlife is indicated by their recently established Reteti Elephant Sanctuary. The Sanctuary takes in orphaned and abandoned elephant calves with an aim to release them back into the wild herds adjoining Reteti. The elephant orphans are cared for by the local Samburu and visitors can view the elephants as well as enjoy a behind the scenes tour of the sanctuary.
Rhino Conservation at Borana Lodge
Borana in the remote Laikipia area is one of Africa’s newest rhino conservancies, and one of its most successful. In 2013, black rhinos were reintroduced to Borana Conservancy, the first time rhinos had roamed on its land for more than 50 years.
Borana Lodge takes a spectacular hillside setting on a private conservancy of 30,000 acres in the shadow of Mount Kenya’s jagged peaks. Conservation is a key part of Borana’s ethos, and a large team of rangers protects the rhino and elephant population. The rhino protection team manages and monitors the rhino population and provide veterinary care if a rhino or calf is sick or injured. Borana works very closely with its neighbour, Lewa Conservancy, on anti-poaching issues ensuring the safety of the growing rhino population. Guests at Borana Lodge can join rangers on morning patrols, learn about the work they do and perhaps help out if needed.
“Adopt a Plot” Campaign at Off Beat Mara Camp
Offbeat Mara Camp is a traditional bush camp in the Mara North Conservancy which borders Kenya’s renowned Masai Mara Reserve. As one of the founding members of the Mara North Conservancy (MNC) Offbeat Mara Camp is committed to protecting and preserving this area in partnership with the local communities for whom it is their home.
Tourism plays a vital role in generating a steady source of income to support the conservation of wildlife and interests of the Masai who own the land and the disruption to tourism during the pandemic had a devastating effect. Growing concern about the welfare of the Masai communities prompted Offbeat Safaris to set up the “Adopt a Plot” campaign allowing donations to be made to help fund the land leases so that families continue to receive income and the conservancy continues to exist. The fund raised almost $60,000 and ensured the conservancy remained as a sanctuary for wildlife rather than being put to the plough.
We would be delighted to help you plan a safari encompassing any of the conservation activities mentioned here. Our team of experts has travelled widely throughout Africa and can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. Do get in touch – chatting to people by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. If this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever. Please get in touch whatever stage you’re at.