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

- As one of the Serena Hotels properties, Sweetwaters Serena Camp is guided by the company’s environmental mission statement. The statement outlines the company’s commitment to: Developing projects which pay the highest regard to environmental concerns in design, planning, construction and operation, being sensitive towards monitoring of interests of the local population, including their traditions, culture and future development, practicing a responsible attitude towards energy conservation, reducing and recycling waste, control of sewage disposal, air emissions and pollutants and being sensitive to the conservation of environmentally protected or threatened areas among others.
- Environmental management of the camp is guided by an established and working Environmental Management System (EMS). The EMS has monitoring plans for water, energy and waste.
- The camp has conducted its annual Environmental Self-Audit. This is in compliance with Environmental Management and Coordination Act (CAP 387).

Environmental conservation

- Sweetwaters Serena Camp has implemented a tree planting programme in collaboration with Ol Pejeta Conservancy. In 2019, a total of 2510 trees were planted, and out of these 1621 were fruit and herb trees. Tree planting is carried out by staff, guests and members of the local community in designated areas such as: within the camp, Matanya Primary School and Marura Dispensary. The camp keeps the records of trees planted for monitoring purposes. The picture below is of students from Ireri Primary School participating in tree planting at the camp in December 2019.
- Grass used for thatching is harvested from the conservancy in areas where fire breaks are created. This is usually seasonal, and the last harvesting was done in August 2020.
- During the Coronavirus pandemic, the camp supported Ol Pejeta Conservancy fundraising efforts through provision of food and venue to the organizers/participants. The fundraising was aimed at raising funds to support in running conservation programmes when little revenue was being generated. Approximately 120,000 pounds was generated.
- Environmental clean-ups are carried out within the camp by the staff.
- The camp provides water to conservancy staff e.g rangers on patrol.
- The camp supports the conservancy staff through provision of medical care at its clinic.
- The camp supports the conservancy through provision of fuel for use in maintenance of roads. The support is provided in partnership with other camps namely: Porini Rhino Camp, Kicheche Laikipia Camp and Ol Pejeta Bush Camp. For example, in 2020 180 litres of diesel was donated, while in early 2021 50 litres were donated by each camp.
- Through purchase of staff meat from the conservancy, the facility supports the conservancy’s conservation efforts, as part of the revenue generated is not only channeled to supporting local communities but also conservation.
- The camp supports the behind the scenes initiatives of the conservancy for the Northern White Rhino, Junior Rangers Program and Chimpanzee conservation.
- The management of the camp participates in conservancy’s meetings, where issues regarding environmental management are discussed.
- Through payment of lease fees, conservancy fees and guest activity fees, the camp supports conservation efforts being run by the conservancy such as rhino conservation.

Waste water management

- Grey water from the guest kitchen flows through a grease trap to remove fats, oils and grease. The grease trap is cleaned 2 days per week to ensure maximum efficiency in its operation.
- Both grey and black water generated from various areas of operation except the swimming pool is managed through 2 separate septic tanks and finally through French drains.
- Bioliff bacteria is added in the septic chambers to increase the bacterial action, necessary for sludge digestion.
- Swimming pool is cleaned via sieving, vacuum cleaning and backwash. The backwash is done depending on the pool’s use and run for a period of 8 to 10 minutes.
- Wastewater generated from the backwash process is managed through a soak pit.
- Effluent sampling and testing is carried out quarterly by Polucon Services Limited. This is in compliance with Environmental Management and Coordination (Water Quality) Regulations of 2006. The last tests were conducted in January 2021.
- Effluent Discharge Licence application for the year 2021 has been made by the facility in compliance with the Environmental Management and Coordination (Water Quality) Regulations of 2006.

Solid waste management

- Solid waste is segregated at source (in the guest and staff kitchens) into these categories: paper, food waste, plastics and hazardous using well labeled step bins
- Glass waste generated from the guest kitchen and the non-organic generated from the staff kitchen are disposed directly in the waste holding area.
- Waste has been separated at the waste holding area along proper categories namely: glass, plastics, food waste, paper and metal.
- Food waste is given to a local pig farmer on a daily basis.
- Glass, plastics, metal are transported offsite for management by the County Government of Laikipia.
- Paper is shredded and re-used for packaging when transporting any fragile items to the central stores in Nairobi.
- Waste is weighed and an inventory kept based on types and quantities generated to ensure effective monitoring.


- Paths within the camp have low-light emitting bulbs, which are also covered to reduce light pollution.
- The generators have silencers to reduce noise pollution.

Water management

- The main source of water for Sweetwaters Serena Camp is a borehole located within the camp.
- The abstracted water is pumped from the borehole to collection tanks with a total storage capacity of 60,000 litres. The water is then treated through filtration and chlorination before being distributed for use throughout the camp.
- 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.
- Dual flush toilets have been installed in the guest rooms to reduce water consumption.
- Staff working in the guest kitchen are sensitized on water conservation through water saving notices.
- Guests are sensitized on water conservation through notices strategically displayed in the bathroom area.
- The camp has implemented rain water harvesting at the staff quarters through installation of water storage tanks with a total capacity of 15000 litres.
- To minimise water consumption water buckets are used at the carwash.

Energy management

- The main source of power for Sweetwaters Serena Camp is solar. The camp has invested in a solar system (240 panels and 3 inverters) with an installed capacity of 76.80 kilowatts peak (kWp).
- The solar system is grid-tied (linked to the national electricity grid).
- The camp has 2 diesel powered generators with power output of 250 and 135 kVA. These are mainly used as a backup.
- The management keeps documented and up to date records on energy consumption. Further, the power consumption is also remotely monitored.
- Energy analysis is carried out based on bed occupancy on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.
- Solar water heating systems are used for heating water at the camp in areas such as: the guest areas (standard guest tents) and staff quarters
- A diesel powered boiler is used for heating water for the Morani wing, guest kitchen and laundry during the night, while at day time hybrid solar-grid tied power system is used.
- The camp uses LPG for cooking in the guest and staff kitchens, and also in laundry.
- The LPG is metered to monitor consumption levels.
- Charcoal briquettes are used for barbecue.

Visitor communication & education

- Guests are briefed about the camp’s operations upon arrival.
- The room information folders are provided, which detail the camp’s operations.
- Portraits of some bird species found in the ecosystem have been displayed near the reception area.
- Visits to the solar power plant are allowed for guests upon request.

Chemical use

- The facility uses biodegradable chemicals in laundry and at the kitchen i.e. Diversey and Ecolab products.
- Eco-boutique soaps are used in the guest rooms.
- Dosing of laundry chemicals is automated.
- Diesel is stored in 2 underground tanks each with a capacity of 9000 litres.
- Fuel pump has been installed on a concrete floor, which is well-bunded to contain any accidental fuel spillages
- A safety signage, fire extinguisher and a sand bucket have been provided near the fuel pump.
- The LPG used in the guest kitchen and staff kitchen is bought in bulk in 3 cylinders each with a capacity of 2 tonnes.
- The LPG cylinders serving the kitchens have all been caged, with a safety signage and fire extinguishers provided.
- The LPG cylinders have been duly serviced.
- Swimming pool chemicals consumption records are in place for monitoring purposes.
- A calibrated cup has been provided at the swimming pool section for measuring chemicals.

Community Criteria
Benefits to local community/community empowerment

- The camp has employed approximately 60% of the staff from the local area i.e. Sweetwaters, Jua Kali and Marura.
- Casuals involved in work such as thatching of the guest tents are sourced from the local community.
- Through the Serena Wellness Program, the camp supports the local community health as well as that of staff. This is by sensitizing locals on life style induced diseases such as cancer. This is usually done in partnership with various medical institutions. In addition, the program includes address/talks from guest speakers on various topics including: financial management and planning, goal setting, stress management and family life skills. The total number of beneficiaries per year is approximately 60 adults and 70 children.
- The camp provides free medical consultation and treatment at its clinic at subsidized rates for the conservancy staff as well as members of local community in times of emergencies.
- Serena Hotels established a children’s library at Matanya Primary School in 2017 in an effort to promote literacy and early childhood development. The library has been stocked with approximately 300 books. The total number of students benefiting from the program is about 250 per year.
- The above program has also been expanded by establishing a staff library, stocked with books focusing on career and personal development of staff. The aim is also to encourage staff from the local community to embrace early childhood development for their children. Approximately 127 staff are benefiting from the support.
- The camp also donated stationery to Matanya Primary School in 2019. These included: childrens’ books and novels all written in English language.
- As a way of motivating students at Matanya Primary School, the camp provided Christmas lunch to top 3 students in each class as well as the most improved. A total of 29 students benefitted from the support.
- The camp provides internship opportunities to students from the local area. In 2019, the camp had 24 interns out of which 14 were female.

Cultural Criteria
Cultural preservation and promotion/protection of local sites

- Local dances by the Samburu, Turkana, Maasai and Mwomboko local dancers are performed for guests during the festive season, and events such as bush dinner.
- Weddings are performed in Maasai culture upon request.
- During the village visits guests are able to experience the way of life of the Maasai.
- Guests are provided with a code of conduct to be followed when interacting with the locals during the village visits.
- Local cuisines are served to guests.
- During the evenings, visual information on local cultures is displayed for guests to watch and learn. This is usually done by the naturalist.
- Cultural talks are provided for guests during game drives.
- Through the gift shop, guests are able to experience the Masai culture such as bead-making.

Business Practises Criteria
Purchasing and supplies

- The camp purchases goods in bulk to reduce on packaging.
- Veges, eggs, milk, beans and staff meat are sourced locally.

Health and safety

- The camp’s health and safety management is guided by Serena Hotels’ health and safety policy, which describes the company’s commitment to promoting and protecting the health and safety of employees and guests.
- Health and Safety Audit of the facility has been conducted in compliance with OSHA 2007 legal requirements. The report has been submitted to DOSH for review.
- Fire Audit of the camp has been conducted in compliance with Fire Risk Reduction Rules of 2007. The report has been submitted to DOSH for review.
- 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 July 2020.
- Food handlers have been medically tested in compliance with Food, Drugs and Chemical Substances Act CAP 254. The last medical tests were conducted on 29th January 2021.
- Firefighting equipment within the camp such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets have been inspected and duly serviced by Morison Engineering Limited. This was done on 14th November 2020.
- Emergency procedures have been provided for use by both staff and guests.
- Staff have undergone Occupational First Aid training. This was conducted by Emergency Rescue Limited on 22nd November 2019 and valid for a period of 2 years.
- The camp has a Safety and Health Committee, which provides a forum for the management and staff to resolve health and safety issues.

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 to motivate employees and enhance their skills and awareness. Every month a reward is provided for the staff that has demonstrated exemplary service. Further, the employee of the year is provided with an opportunity to visit one of the Serena properties.
- 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.

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 programme for staff is in place for each department. Further, the Group Chef also moves from one unit to another training staff based on gaps identified.
- Employees undergo refresher trainings, for instance at Utalii College for staff from various departments, 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.
- 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

Entry Date13th March 2018