Responsible travel: Wildlife safari holiday in Kenya
This operator has raised significant funds in support of the world’s leading wildlife and conservation agencies and have increased awareness of conservation through the holidays we run. Furthermore we have voluntarily spearheaded collective action campaigns such as Travel Operators for Tigers in South Asia and continue to work with conservation initiatives on the ground to provide much need funds and to give our clients a privileged insight into this crucial work.
This trip gives financial support to the Living With Lions Mara Predator Project which monitors lions in the Mara North Conservancy, identifying key trends and shifts in population and building an online database of individual lions so that effective conservation methods can be applied. Lion populations throughout Africa are in decline so it is imperative that tourism raises awareness concerning the lion’s plight and raises funds towards conservation projects.
To mitigate the carbon dioxide released into the high atmosphere through your air travel we are giving £10 per client to Rainforest Concern if you book international flights through us. Rainforests have a central role to play in the slowing of climate change and yet we are removing forests from the planet at a faster rate than they can grow back. It is thus axiomatic to try and preserve the forests that we have rather than replanting. Rainforest Concern was established in 1993 to protect threatened natural habitats, the biodiversity they contain and the indigenous people who still depend on them for their survival.
Kicheche Mara Camp, the base for this trip has been awarded Bronze Eco-certification by Eco Tourism Kenya for its commitment to the local community and its re-cycling policies in camp. In addition Kicheche guides adhere to strict codes of conduct when carrying out game drives and have been instrumental in formulating a policy on guiding etiquette in the Mara North Conservancy. In short, the policy is formed around 8 salient tenets:
- A limit of 5 vehicles on a sighting.
- 20 mts distance should be maintained from all sightings.
- General behaviour - vehicle engines should be switched off and wildlife observed in relative silence. Guests should remain in vehicles and not stand on the roof or hang out of the window. All picnics should be taken away from sightings.
- Animal harassment - flushing animals out of bushes etc is strictly forbidden as is any attempt to attract the attention of an animal.
- A speed limit of 40 km/ph should be observed at all times.
- Night drives are not permitted in MNC. Vehicles returning to camp after dark may use spotlights but strictly on nocturnal wildlife only.
- Injured Wildlife - to be reported immediately and followed up on by guides and camp managers.
- Litter - avoid dropping any litter and where possible stop and pick up litter that has already been dropped.
The guiding principle to all of the above is a mantra this operator has long adopted - the wildlife comes first.
Our travel partners, accommodation, service providers and ground agents are all carefully chosen to ensure their commitment to the environment. Most are quality, family owned businesses which reflect the unique character of the places, the abiding hospitality of its people and the remarkable spirit of its wilderness.
The camp used on this trip supports 2 local schools, a local clinic and the nearby guiding school and in addition gives employment to approx 35 local masai. The wildlife guides used at this camp are mainly trained at the local Koiyaki Guiding School which educates local young masai towards obtaining a Bronze KPSGA qualification. The shop in camp encourages a local group of ladies to provide bead work for which money is paid into a joint account, ring-fenced for use in funding young local girls to attend school
The trip includes a visit to the nearby Aitong market and a manyatta where the interaction is carefully managed to ensure sensitivity towards cultural sensibilities. If not handled carefully ‘village visits’ become voyeuristic and are uncomfortable for both tourist and villager so every effort is made to foster two way interaction in order to deliver an authentic cultural experience.