Name of the facilityBasecamp Masai Mara
Certification AchievedGold
Year opened1998
Tourism regionMasai Mara/South Rift
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Facility Notes

Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the key tourist destinations in Kenya. It is located in South-Western part of the country, along the Great Rift Valley area in Narok County, and adjacent to Serengeti National Park. The reserve has the Maasai Mara River and Talek River as key draining rivers of the park. The vegetation is mainly open Savannah grassland with seasonal rivulets and some doted acacia trees. The reserve is most popular for the annual great migration, where millions of wildebeests cross the Mara River. The reserve is home to a wide range of wildlife species such as: the big Nile crocodiles, lion, leopard, hippo, buffalo and elephant among many others.

Environmental management

- Basecamp Masai Mara is guided by the Corporate Environmental Mission statement of Basecamp Explorer Kenya. The statement outlines the company’s commitment to conserve key global ecosystems, through coexistence between wildlife and humans.
- Environmental management of the facility is guided by an established and working Environmental Management System (EMS). The EMS has monitoring plans on energy and water.
- The facility has conducted its annual Environmental Self-Audit, in compliance with Environmental Management and Coordination Act (CAP 387).

Environmental conservation

- The camp’s guides support the Masai Mara National Reserve rangers through wildlife monitoring.
- The foundation has also constructed water pans for use by wildlife.
- The camp has implemented a sustainable way of re-using waste such as plastic sacks and insect spray cans. For instance, the sacks are transformed into threads for use by women when beading their products.
- The camp is not fully fenced, thereby ensuring the ecosystem integrity is maintained by allowing free movement of wildlife.
- The camp has also carried out tree planting within its premises, where guests are directly involved in planting.
-Through the Enjoolata Awareness Centre located, the camp educates its guests on wildlife conservation

Waste water management

- Grey water from the guest and staff kitchens is managed through septic tanks.
- Grey water from the laundry section and car-wash area is managed through soak pits.
- Grey water from the guest tents is used in watering the grass lawns.
- Black water from the guest rooms and staff quarters is managed through septic tanks.

Solid waste management

- Solid waste is separated at source (guest kitchen) into the following categories: tins, plastic, paper, food waste, foils and tetra packs and glass, using labeled bins.
- Solid waste in the staff kitchen is separated along proper waste categories, and the bins placed in a cage to avoid any scavenging.
- Waste has been separated at the waste holding area along the following categories: tins, plastic, glass and foil/tetra packs using well labeled bins.
- Food waste is composted in a compost pit, which is well covered to avoid any scavenging.
- Foil, tins, plastic, glass and old tyres are transported to Nairobi for disposal.


- Low-light emitting kerosene lanterns are placed along the paths at night to reduce light pollution.
- The generator is sound-proofed to minimise noise pollution.

Water management

- The main source of water for Basecamp Masai Mara is a borehole located within the facility.
- The abstracted water and the harvested water are channeled into a single underground concrete-made water reservoir, with a capacity of 10,000 litres from where it is pumped into 2 overhead water tanks with a total storage capacity of 13000 litres.
- Water for staff areas is pumped from the underground reservoir and stored into water tanks with a total storage capacity of 20,000 litres, from where it is supplied from.
- Water is metered at the in-let and daily records taken.
- Water to key consumption areas such as guest areas, laundry, staff kitchen and staff quarters is sub-metered, to monitor water consumption levels
- Dual flush toilets and low-flow shower heads have been installed in the guest tents, to minimise water consumption.

Energy management

- The main source of power for Basecamp Masai Mara is solar energy.
- A solar farm comprising of 72 panels has been installed, and connected to a battery-inverter system comprising of 24 batteries. The solar power inverter system is metered and installed with main switches for outlets, which allow energy monitoring. The energy is used to power the camp’s operations such as lighting
- The camp has a diesel powered generator with a power output of 13.5 kVA, which is used as a backup.
- Solar water heating systems have been installed for heating water at the guest rooms.
- 2 energy efficient kuni boosters have been installed for heating water at the guest kitchen and staff quarters.
- Energy efficient jiko is used for preparing at the staff kitchen.
- The camp uses LPG for cooking at the guest kitchen.
- Charcoal briquettes are used for barbecues.

Visitor communication & education

- Guests are briefed about the facility’s operations upon arrival.
- The room information folders in the guest tents provide information about the camp’s operations.
- A guest library has been set up at the lounge area, and stocked with various publications on nature and wildlife.
- A metallic model depicting wildlife species found in Masai Mara ecosystem has been strategically displayed at the camp along the path

Chemical use

- The camp uses biodegradable chemicals for laundry (Santex Manual Wash Detergent), staff kitchen (Morning fresh) and at the guest tents (Cinnabar green).
- LPG for use in the guest kitchen is bought in bulk, in 50kg cylinders.
- The LPG for emergency use has been caged and a safety signage provided. In addition, a sand bucket has been provided for use during emergencies such as fire.
- A safety signage has been provided at the fuel storage area.

Community Criteria
Benefits to local community/community empowerment

Through the Basecamp Explorer Foundation, Basecamp Masai Mara supports the local community in the following ways:
- Basecamp Maasai Brand (BMB) is community-based handicraft workshop that was set up by the foundation, to empower disadvantaged Maasai women and preserve the Masai beading tradition at the same time. The project which started in 2003, currently comprises 189 women. The products are sold both locally and in international markets for instance in Norway, Denmark and Australia, and 75% of the proceeds from sale goes directly to the women, while 25% is used in administration costs. 60% of sales is done online. Through the project, local women are able to earn income and pay school fees for their children among other benefits.
- 3 boreholes have been drilled to provide the camp with water, and at the same time increase water access for the local community.
- The water pan that provides water for wildlife is also used by members of the local community.
- A 10,000 litres concrete water tank has been constructed at Basecamp Masai Mara for water storage, used by both the camp and the local community.
- The foundation pays full school fees for 20 girls whose parents are part of the Basecamp Maasai Brand (BMB). The girls are currently in form one in the following schools: Talek Girls High School, St. Mary’s Girls Secondary School Narok and St. Mary’s Girls Secondary School Bomet among others. The initiative began in the years 2019.
- In addition to payment of school fees, the foundation also provides school shopping for the girls.
- Basecamp Explorer Kenya has sponsored 4 local students to undertake a Diploma cooking course at Karen Blixen Hospitality School. The course takes a duration of 18 months to complete. Part of the funds is raised by Benson (who pioneered the programme) through sale of his cook book, which describes his personal journey and cooking recipes.
- The camp has employed approximately 75% of the staff from the local area.
- 13 members of the local community have been employed at the tree nursery.

Cultural Criteria
Cultural preservation and promotion/protection of local sites

- Various pieces of decor within the camp reflect the local culture of the Masai
- During village visits to Elekasoi village, guests get an opportunity to experience the way of life of the Maasai.
- Occasionally, local Masai dances are performed by the local staff at the camp.
- Events such as birthdays and wedding anniversaries are celebrated in local culture upon request by guests.
- The beadworks displayed at the camp’s gift shop reflect the local culture.
- Cultural talks are provided for guests. This is usually done by the guides for instance during game drives.
- During the African night local cuisines are served for guests.
- Guests are informed about the Enjoolata Awareness Centre and encouraged to visit, where they learn about the Masai way of life.
- Guests are taken at the local market at Talek upon request, where they get an opportunity to experience the Masai way of life.
- Guests are provided with a code of conduct by guides. This is to be followed when interacting with the locals during the village visits, as a way of respecting the local customs.
- Guides and staff dress in Masai attire which reflects the local culture.

Business Practises Criteria
Purchasing and supplies

- Basecamp Masai Mara purchases goods in bulk to reduce on packaging.
- Vegetables, eggs and staff meat is sourced locally from Narok and around the conservancy.

Health and safety

- Health and Safety Audit of the facility has been conducted in compliance with OSHA 2007 legal requirements.
- Fire Audit of the camp has been carried out in compliance with Fire Risk Reduction Rules of 2007.
- Food handlers have been medically tested in compliance with Food, Drugs and Chemical Substances Act CAP 254.
- Firefighting equipment within the facility such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets have been inspected and duly serviced by Nat Fire Company Limited.
- Members of staff drawn from various departments have undergone refresher First Aid training.
- Members of staff drawn from various departments have undergone refresher Fire Safety Awareness training. This was conducted in October 2020 by Response Med.
- The camp has an emergency response plan to be followed in case of emergencies such as fire.
- The camp has a Health and Safety Committee, comprising of 8 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.
- Sand buckets have been provided at the Fire Assembly point, for use in case of fire incidents.
- Fire drills are conducted in each quarter, so as to familiarize and reinforce proper evacuation practices and routes.
- Fully stocked First Aid kit has been provided for use at the facility.

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, their salaries are paid according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
- All employees are entitled to paid annual leave of 26 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 entitled to up to 6 off-days per month, and in case of work done on a public holiday, they are provided with 2 off-days.
- Staff are provided with a medical cover-First Assurance.
- The company has arrangements with Koiyaki Community Clinic, whereby all medical expenses for staff who seek treatment at the facility are paid for by the company.
- Employees are provided with free meals and accommodation.
- Staff are provided with tips. Further, a staff committee has been established to ensure equal distribution.
- Staff are provided with service charge. The amount given depends on the business performance.
- Staff are given bonuses.
- Employees are provided with an opportunity to stay with their kids and nannies at the premises. The nannies are provided with free meals.

Child labor, abuse and human rights

- Basecamp Masai Mara adheres to the minimum legal age requirement for employment (18 years).
- Basecamp Explorer Kenya has a Child Protection Policy, which describes the company’s commitment to protecting children against forced labour, abuse and violation of human rights.

Staff education, communication and awareness training

- Effective communication channels between the management and staff are in place, for instance through the notice boards.
- On-job trainings are provided for staff. For example, locals with basic education can be employed by the company in departments such as housekeeping, and learn through the job.
- Staff undergo refresher trainings every year at Utalii College.
- In-house trainings are conducted for various departments.

Date Created18th January 2021