BEST ACCOMMODATION FACILITY IN CONSERVATION THROUGH ESTABLISHMENT OF CONSERVANCIES
PART 4 0F 6
This award category called out to accommodation facilities to recognize that promoted conservation in various tourism destinations in Kenya. The specific measure was through securing critical wildlife habitats by establishing conservancies and paying lease fees to the land owners. Thereby, highlighting the benefits of tourism to community development projects and conservation, through the establishment of conservancies.
Ensuring proper management of land and resources in conservancies is crucial in promoting healthy ecosystems that support wildlife, tourism, livestock, and human needs. Basecamp Explorers Kenya & Saruni Camps established and run two conservancies; Naibosho Conservancy and Pardamant Conservation Area.
- Naibosho Conservancy– Situated in the Greater Mara Region, it was carved out of the Koyaki-Lemek Group Ranch and Pardamant Conservation area making up over 50,000 acres of land. It is to the North of Maasai Mara National Reserve and extends the Mara ecosystem. It plays a role in ensuring the protection of the delicate Mara ecosystem. It is set as a community-owned conservancy.
Recognizing the key role local communities play in wildlife and landscape conservation, Basecamp came to an understanding with land owners to give part of their land for conservation. It supports approximately 500 families with income that facilitates their livelihood.
2. Pardamant Conservation Area– with approximately 850 landowners on 26,000 acres of land, the conservancy takes a different approach. The land is leased for wildlife protection. The rangeland is used by humans, cattle and wildlife.
For harmonious coexistence, there are certain measures that have been put in place. For instance;
- Predator-proofing bomas, which ensures wild animals such as lions are kept at bay from livestock. Around 41 predator proofs have been set up.
- De-fencing plots have opened up 2863 acres of land to wildlife. This has allowed free roaming of wildlife. As a result, there have been recent sightings of wild animals thought to have disappeared from the region, such as wild dogs and giraffes.
Distributing tourism benefits towards community development is seen in their numerous community-focus projects and initiatives. Basecamp Explorer Foundation, the not-for-profit partner facilitates and administrates the enterprises’ community projects. They include;
- The Bonga Project– This works towards sensitizing the local communities to view the girl child as valuable and important by empowering out-of-school adolescent girls for sustainable livelihoods, by giving them access to education.
- Community Institution and Leadership (Green Villages)- This encourages the use of renewable energy and other livelihood techniques that conserves the environment. It also builds the capacity of community civil societies. The establishment of Olare – Orok community-based development organization, for example, represents Olare Village in resource mobilization, planning, development, and partnership.
- Basecamp Maasai Brand– This community-owned handicraft center with approximately 160 women, empowers Maasai women and preserves the Maasai beading tradition. Through this initiative, there are positive outcomes for the local community among them; the drilling of 3 boreholes, a water pan, a 10,000 liters concrete water tank, financial support in terms of school fees, and shopping essentials for children. As a result of this initiative, 50% of these women have installed solar panels in their homes.
- Employment of women guides– Basecamp Explorers Kenya & Saruni Camps has employed approximately 40% of female guides in the Mara.
- Education-The Wildlife Tourism College of Maasai Mara (WTC) is being built on the legacy of the Koiyaki Guiding School (KGS) which has graduated over 350 trained Maasai safari guides since its opening in 2005. KGS has produced many of the guides that work for Basecamp Explorers & Saruni Camps.
is about people. If you
don’t have sustainable
development around wildlife parks,
the people will have no interest in
them and the parks will not
– Nelson Mandela
For development projects undertaken in areas inhabited by pastoralists, input from the community is acquired as the local knowledge is valued. This gives an opportunity to engage the community in decision-making processes to guide the design of community-led conservation and the benefits to be acquired. Basecamp Explorer Kenya and Basecamp Foundation have employed 90% of the staff from the local community, with about 30% of the total being females. The staff are involved in high-level decision-making as a number of them are in charge of the camps and the foundation projects.
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Watch a video clip from the 2022 award ceremony where sentiments were shared on winning the award
This award category was proudly sponsored by Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association.