The 15th Eco Warrior Award focused on Rethinking Tourism: Celebrating Change Makers. The event recognized various categories of tourism that had been carried out sustainably, innovatively, and differently. As part of our Changemaker series, we are thrilled to showcase the winners of this prestigious award and their exemplary efforts toward promoting responsible tourism in Kenya.
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Best Accommodation in Communities and Cultural Preservation- Basecamp Explorer Kenya & Saruni Camps
This award sub-category was looking at identifying accommodations that seek to promote local and authentic cultural experiences, preserve the local sites important to the local culture or history, develop and manage tourism enterprises within their areas of operation. The Basecamp Explorer Kenya and Saruni Camps have demonstrated with responsible tourism practices, the capability and desire to promote and sustain the culture of the local community they operate around. Let’s explore the efforts they have made to contribute to communities and cultural preservation.
In mitigating the negative impacts of tourism on host communities and helping to maintain their culture, they;
– Initiated a young professional club and the local radio station, to keep the youth informed and interested in local and world events.
– Support the Wildlife Tourism College of Maasai Mara to keep the youth educated.
– Support the women by employing them; approximately 40% of the women guides in the Mara.
– Regularly wear uniforms inspired by the Maasai culture and dedicate a day a week to wearing Maasai outfits.
– Run the Enjoolata Basecamp center, where they preserve and showcase artifacts and Maasai cultural items.
– Support the reforestation of the Mara to restore the natural heritage of the area.
In promoting the preservation of the local sites and culture to the guests, they;
– Have continuously run the Basecamp reforestation project since 2000. The locals have several sites along rivers and in the bush that have cultural/spiritual importance. The project assists in their preservation in identified areas such as the Pardamat Conservation Area and sections along the Talek River. See a short clip on the project;
– Conduct awareness raising with the locals to discourage practices such as deforestation that destroy natural heritage.
– Run the Enjoolata Information Centre which has different functions such as;
o Providing an incredible space to support cultural expression, education, and cultural exchange.
o Hosting guest activities that have cultural themes e.g., cultural weddings.
o Various pieces of decor within the camp reflect the local culture of the Maasai
– Take guests to the local market at Talek upon request, where they get an opportunity to experience the Maasai way of life.
– Provide guests with guidelines to be followed when interacting with the locals during the village visits, as a way of respecting the local customs.
On committing and contributing to the development of community-owned and managed tourism enterprises, they;
– Run the Basecamp Maasai Brand (BMB), a community-based handicraft workshop set up by the Basecamp Foundation to empower disadvantaged Maasai women while preserving the Maasai beading tradition.
– The Foundation provides a space to bead, training, and quality control, as well as outlets for women to sell their products, both locally and internationally. This has improved the livelihood of the 160 women they engage in the initiative. See a short video clip on the brand;
With these running projects, activities, and initiatives, they hold sustainability in value and as a practice. They strive to have a sustainable business model and management strategies in place that have positive impacts on people, the planet, and the business itself.
Excited to have won this award at the 2022 Eco Warrior Award Gala Ceremony, here’s what they shared;
Plan your visit to Basecamp Explorers and Saruni Camps!
Stay tuned to their activities online;
The Best Accommodation Facility: Communities and Cultural Preservation Award Category was sponsored by East Africa Wildlife Society.