Name of the facilitySweetwaters Serena Camp
Certification AchievedGold
Year opened1990
Tourism regionLaikipia/Samburu
AddressOl Pejeta Conservancy
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Telephone/Mobile+254 734699852
EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
Facility Notes

Sweetwaters Serena Camp is located at Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The camp is specifically located on Global Positioning System (GPS) Coordinates, Latitude 036 56 40.8 and Longitude 000 002 21.0011 N. The camp is located on 50 acres of land leased within the conservancy. It has 56 guest tents with a bed capacity of 120 visitors and a total work force of 110 employees. Ol Pejeta conservancy is managed as a wildlife Sanctuary, including the endangered black and white rhinos, leopard, elephant, buffalo and lion. Other wildlife includes Grevy’s zebra, Jackson’s hartebeest, cheetah and chimpanzee. The Conservancy works to conserve wildlife and provide a sanctuary for Chimpanzees. It aims to generate income through wildlife and tourism enterprises which is invested in conservation and community development.
The camp promotes environmental conservation through remittance of bed night fees, lease fees and conservancy fees to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, who collects funding necessary for wildlife conservation and enhances community development through providing financial assistance to projects on education, health, water, roads, agriculture, livestock Extension and Community-Based Tourism.

Environmental management

Sweetwaters Serena Camp is guided by the corporate Environmental Mission Statement of Serena Hotels. It commits to:
 Develop projects which pay the highest regard to environmental concerns in design, planning, construction and operation.
 To practice a responsible attitude towards energy conservation.
 Reduce and recycle waste generated in its operations.
 Control sewage disposal, air emissions and pollutants among other environmental measures.
- Serena Hotels being part of the Aga Khan Development Network it is guided by its Environment and Climate Commitment Statement.
- As part of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, Serena Hotels is also guided by the Environmental and Social Policy of the agency.
- Environmental management of the camp is guided by an established and working Environmental Management System (EMS). The EMS has monitoring plans in energy, water and waste.
- The camp has conducted its annual Environmental Self- Audit. This is in compliance with Environmental Management and Coordination Act (CAP 387); Ref No. NEMA/EA/LKP/5/2/914.

Environmental conservation

- The camp through the Serena Hotels Reforestation Program has implemented a tree planting initiative where staff, guests, members of the local community and local primary schools are involved. For example, in 2022, 194 trees were planted and 700 seedlings in the tree nursery. The tree species are planted in designated areas and these are mainly: Acacia Xanthophloea and Crotons.
- The management of the camp participates regularly in meetings of Ol Pejeta Conservancy where various conservation issues are discussed. Some of the issues discussed include compliance with the conservancy code of conduct by tourism operators.
- Part of the payment of lease fees, conservancy entry fees and guest activity fees is channeled towards supporting various conservation initiatives implemented by Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
- The camp commemorates the Earth Hour every year in March where non-essential lights are switched off for 1 hour. The event is commemorated globally as a symbol of unity, hope and collective action for the future of humanity and the planet.
- The camp measures its greenhouse gas emissions on an annual basis including the emissions avoided as a result of installing its solar farm.
- Sweetwaters Serena Camp supported the rhino notching exercise in February-March 2023 at Ol Pejeta Conservancy. This entailed provision of transport to the participants and accommodation to the person who did many notchings compared to other participants.
- The camp supports Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s livestock programme through purchase of meat. In 2021, 2380 kilograms of meat were purchased at a total cost of kshs. 0.8 million, while in 2022, 3770 kilograms were bought at kshs.1.5 million. Serena supports the initiative as the funds trickle down to support conservation and community projects carried out by the conservancy.
- Firewood used at the camp is obtained from deadwood/fallen trees and areas cleared by the conservancy to create roads. In this way, the camp discourages illegal logging at the community areas due to lack or inadequate market for fuelwood.
- The camp’s guides support Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy through wildlife monitoring by reporting incidences of injuries to wildlife. For example, in 2022 October a lioness with a broken leg was reported and in 2021 a limping cheetah.
- Environmental clean-ups are carried out by the staff within the camp. Litter collected in 2021 was 125 kg while in 2022 was 98kg.

Waste water management

- Grey water from the kitchens flow through grease traps to remove fats and oils. The grease traps are cleaned after every 3 days.
- Grey water and black water generated from the camp operational areas with exception of swimming pool is managed through 2 septic tanks and finally via french drains. The treated effluent is used for irrigation and tree planting within the camp.
- Grey water generated from the swimming pool backwash process is managed through a soak pit.
- Bioliff is added in the septic tanks to increase the bacterial action necessary for sludge digestion. In addition, the sludge is removed from the septics once every 5 years or longer as required.
- The swimming is cleaned via sieving, vacuum cleaning and backwash. Backwash is done once every week.
- The camp has conducted effluent sampling and testing of its treated effluent. The last tests were conducted in September 2022.
- The camp has made an application for the Effluent Discharge Licence (EDL) for the year.

Solid waste management

- Solid waste is separated at the guest kitchen (source) into the following categories using well labeled step bins: glass, paper, tins, plastic &polythene and food waste.
- Solid waste in the staff kitchen is separated along the following categories: general waste and food waste.
- Waste is further separated at the waste holding area along paper, plastic, metal, glass and food waste categories.
- Food waste is given to a local pig farmer.
- Plastic, glass and metal waste are transported offsite once or twice per month by the County Government of Laikipia.
- Paper is shredded and re-used for packaging when transporting any fragile materials to central stores in Nairobi.
- Medical waste at the clinic is segregated along the following categories: general waste, infectious and highly infectious.
- The medical waste are taken to Nanyuki Referral Hospital for incineration.
- Used guest soap is kept aside and used to wash the walkways.
- The camp weighs and keeps records of waste generated based on types and quantities to ensure effective monitoring.
- As a measure of reducing plastic waste generation, the camp provides glass bottled water in the guest tents and at the restaurant.
- Paper straws are provided at the restaurant


- Low-light emitting bulbs within the camp are covered to reduce light pollution.
- The generators at the camp are housed in a purpose-built generator room and fitted with silencers to reduce noise pollution.

Water management

- The main source of water for the Sweetwaters Serena Camp is a borehole located within the facility.
- The abstracted water is pumped from the borehole to collection tanks with a total storage capacity of 60,000 litres. Water for consumption at the camp is treated via filtration and chlorination. The untreated water is used for irrigation.
- Water is metered at the inlet and daily records taken.
- Water analysis is carried out based on bed occupancy on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.
- Rain water is harvested at the staff quarters area. The total capacity is 10,000 litres.
- Dual flush toilets have been installed in the guest tents to minimize water consumption.
- Water conservation notices are available at staff quarters and the guest kitchen
- Guests are sensitized on water conservation through notices strategically displayed in the guest tent.

Energy management

- Sweetwaters Serena Camp uses a grid-tied solar system to power its operations. The camp has a solar farm comprising of 240 panels and 3 inverters with a capacity of 76.80 kWp.
- Any shortcomings in energy generated from solar is filled by the Kenya Power supply.
- The camp has 2 diesel powered generators with power output of 125 and 200 kVA. These are used as back-up.
- The management keeps documented and up to records of its energy consumption. In addition, the power consumption is monitored remotely.
- Energy analysis for the camp is carried out on a daily, monthly and yearly basis based on occupancy.
- Solar water heating systems have been installed for heating water at the standard guest rooms and staff quarters.
- A diesel powered boiler is used for heating water at the Morani wing, guest kitchen and laundry at night. During the day, grid-tied solar system is used.
- The camp uses LPG for cooking at the guest and staff kitchens.
- Energy saving bulbs and LED lights have been installed at the camp.
- Laundry is weighed to ensure that the machines run on full load.
- Staff working at the laundry are sensitized on energy conservation through notices.
- Some of the laundry are hand-washed based on request.
- Guests are sensitized on energy conservation through notices strategically placed in the guest rooms.

Visitor communication & education

- Guests are briefed about the facility’s operations upon arrival.
- Portraits depicting wildlife species found in Ol Pejeta Conservancy have been strategically displayed around the lodge area
- To enhance guest experience, guests are given an opportunity to visit the solar plant at the camp.

Chemical use

- The camp uses Ecolab chemicals for laundry and kitchens. Odex products are used for cleaning the floors and Frangi for the guest rooms.
- Dosing of laundry chemicals is automated.
- Material safety data sheets for all the laundry chemicals have been provided at the laundry section.
- LPG for use in the guest kitchen is bought in bulk, in 2 cylinders of 2 tonnes each. The LPG for staff kitchen is bought in 500 liters cylinder.
- The LPG cylinders have all been caged and safety signage provided.
- Diesel is stored in an underground tank with a capacity of 9,400 litres.
- Fuel pump has been installed on a concrete floor. The area is well bunded to contain any potential spillages.
- A fire extinguisher has been provided near the fuel pump.

Community Criteria
Benefits to local community/community empowerment

- Sweetwaters Serena Camp supports the local communities that surround Ol Pejeta Conservancy in the following ways:

- 60% of staff at the camp come from the local surrounding community
- Casuals are sourced from the local community on need basis. Currently, the camp has employed one casual working at the tree nursery.

- The camp considers students from the local area for internship positions. In the year 2022, the camp had 4 interns from the local community.
- Some of the past interns have been employed by other hotels. For example, one works at Mt. Kenya Safari Club.

Access to education
- Serena Hotels has an on-going initiative at Matanya Primary School to promote literacy and early childhood development. It built a library at the school in 2017 which has 280 books. The total number of students benefitting from the initiative is 398 per annum.
- Sweetwaters Serena Camp carries out visits to the school on a quarterly basis.
- The above initiative was expanded to the camp to include a staff library where books focusing on career and personal development have been provided. 106 staff are benefitting from the initiative. This initiative is also aimed at encouraging staff to embrace early childhood development for their children.

Water access
- The camp supplies clean drinking water to the conservancy gate.
- The facility provides drinking water to Ireri Village twice per month. All the 10 litter jerrycans are filled with water and taken to the community.

Local purchases
- All vegetables at the camp are sourced locally.
-Eggs and beans are sourced locally from 3 suppliers in Nanyuki.
- Staff meat is sourced from Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s ranching business.
- Artefacts sold at the camp’s gift shop are sourced locally from various community groups. Some of the groups are: Kazuri Beaders, Kenana Knitters, Krafty Artz and Judumu Africa among others.

Guests entertainment
- Sweetwaters Serena Camp invites group of dancers from Turkana, Mwomboko, Samburu and Maasai communities to perform for guests during the festive season and bush dinners.
- The dancers are provided with transport, food and paid after performance.

Village Visits
- Guests visit Ireri village where they experience the local culture. Each guest pays USD 20 per visit.

Cultural Criteria
Cultural preservation and promotion/protection of local sites

- Local dances by the Turkana, Mwomboko, Samburu and Maasai group of dancers are performed for guests.
- Guests visit Ireri Village where they learn about the daily living of the locals, experience song and dance performance, purchase ready-made artefacts and experience cultural talks.
- Cultural talks are provided for guests. This is usually done by the guides during game drives.
- Guests are informed about the “dos” and “donts” by the naturalist prior to the village visits.
- Bush dinner and welcome entertainments are conducted for guests where they experience the local cultures.
- Local cuisines are served for guests.
- Various artefacts have been displayed at the gift shop, some of which reflect the Maasai culture.
- During the festive season, guests are involved in making of beadworks.

Business Practises Criteria
Purchasing and supplies

- Sweetwaters Serena Camp purchases goods in bulk to reduce waste generated from packaging.

Health and safety

- The camp has been duly registered in compliance with OSHA 2007 legal requirements and issued with a valid certificate of workplace registration. This is dated 30th September 2022.
- Health and Safety Audit of the camp has been conducted in compliance with OSHA 2007 legal requirements. This is dated 4th March 2022. In addition, audit for 2023 has been conducted.
- Fire Audit of the camp has been carried out in compliance with Fire Risk Reduction Rules of 2007. This is dated 4th March 2022. Audit for 2023 has been conducted, dated 22nd March.
- Food handlers have been medically tested in compliance with Food, Drugs and Chemical Substances Act CAP 254. The last medical tests were conducted on 13th March 2023.
- The camp is guided by Serena Hotels Occupational Health & Safety which describes the commitment to promoting the health and safety of employees and guests.
- Firefighting equipment within the facility such as the fire extinguishers and fire blankets have been inspected and duly serviced by Morrison Engineering Limited. This was done on 5th December 2022. The next date of service is May 2023.
- Members of staff from different departments have undergone Occupational First Aid training. This was done on 13th-14th October 2022 by EMT.
- Fire handling demonstration has been carried out to staff at the camp. This was done by Morrison Engineering Limited on 18th December 2021.
- The camp has a fire escape plan to be followed in case of fire emergencies.
- The camp has a Health and Safety Committee, comprising of staff from each department. The committee provides a forum for the management and staff to resolve health and safety issues.
- Fire assembly point has been clearly marked within the camp.
- Fire hose reels and emergency panic buttons have been provided in different areas within the camp
- Effective PPE such as gloves and masks have been provided for use by staff in sections such as laundry.
- The swimming pool depths have been marked and safety signage provided nearby.

Employment and remuneration/staff welfare

- Staff are unionized and affiliated to KUDHEHIA, which negotiates terms of service and working conditions for its members.
- For the unionized staff, salaries are paid in accordance with the CBA.
- All employees are entitled to paid annual leave of 30 days in line with statutory requirements.
- Female employees are entitled to maternity leave of 3 months.
- Male employees are entitled to paternity leave of 14 days.
- Employees are provided with free meals and accommodation.
- Staff are covered under a medical scheme.
- In case of illness that would require referral for instance to Nairobi, staff are provided with transport and meals.
- Staff welfare committee is in place to address staff welfare issues such as bereavement.
- Tips are shared among all the staff.
- End of year party is usually organized for staff, and they are also provided with Christmas vouchers.
- Families of staff are allowed to visit during festivities such as Christmas.
- A reward scheme is in place where employee of the month and employee of the year are rewarded for their performance. For example, at the end of 2022, 2 best performing employees were offered 1 night with their spouses at Jambo Mutara Camp.
- Fidelity (token of appreciation) is given to staff at the end of the year depending on business performance.
- Service charge is provided for the unionized staff.
- When retiring from the company, employees are given basic salary equivalent to 6 months’ salary. In addition, a party is also organized to bid them farewell.

Child labor, abuse and human rights

- Sweetwaters Serena Camp adheres to the minimum legal age requirement for employment which is above 18 years.
- Serena Hotels’ Human Resource Manual has incorporated the child protection policy, which describes the company’s commitment to protecting children against forced labour, abuse and violation of their human rights.

Staff education, communication and awareness training

- Effective communication channels between the management and staff are in place at the camp. For example, through the notice boards.
- An in-house training program for staff is in place for each department. Further, the Group Chef, Group Engineer and Group Housekeeper move from one unit to another training staff based on gaps identified.
- Employees undergo refresher trainings at Utalii College and also at Nairobi Serena Hotel for staff from the bakery section.
- An exchange programme is in place within the company, whereby staff from one unit can be assigned to another for purposes of exchanging knowledge and skills.
- Product suppliers are invited to the camp to provide trainings for staff. For example, Ecolab and Diversey train staff at the laundry department on chemical use.
- The resident nurse at Sweetwaters Serena Camp frequently conducts training to staff who handle hazardous chemicals and monitors correct usage of items provided.
- The company has a management development programme, whereby selected staff are trained on management. The HR and the unit manager co-ordinate the selection and training.
- An online training program (Tipsy) has been introduced, providing staff an opportunity to refresh their knowledge and skills. It also serves as an extra tool for merit.

Date Created13th March 2018