Conservation

The Sarara Foundation, Kenya

“Investing in Indigenous People. Protecting Biodiversity. Fighting climate change. “

Sarara is one of our most loved camps in Kenya with many of our clients spending 3 – 4 nights here as part of their trip. Located in the Matthews Range, a c.3hr drive north of Nanyuki, this area is in stark contract to the rich soils found on the foothills of Mt Kenya. Here is it dry, hot and the land is unforgiving.

The 850,000 acre Namunyak Conservancy was formed in 1995 to promote wildlife conservation and assist the Samburu community to benefit from tourism, in return for protecting the wildlife species living on their land. Sarara was built in 1997 and the start of this unique partnership began. The first guests at Sarara were lucky to spot any wildlife at all as the area had been decimated in the 1980’s during the Somali civil war, highlighting the urgency for this partnership to succeed.

The following 25 years showed an incredible transformation, both within the community who, by their own admission, hadn’t seen the benefit of protecting the wildlife. With c.1,200 local families in partnership with Sarara, the wildlife began to return as their mutual trust was re-established. Through the support of the tourism dollar, revenue started to flow through the foundation, supporting the many impactful projects that operate today. Those initial guests at Sarara are the ones that really supported this effort at it’s grassroots stage, enabling future guests to witness an ever increasing, healthy wildlife population.

SARARA FOUNDATION PROJECTS: Of the many projects run by the Sarara Foundation, we wanted to highlight two that continuously resonate with our clients and helps demonstrate just how much the $190pppn Conservation Levy is making a difference. On top of supporting the employment of the team at Sarara, they also employ 75 wildlife rangers, 16 eco rangers, 25 administrative staff and 60 elephant keepers. These jobs alone support essential development in the community.

TOURISM IMPACT: $211,114 has been distributed to the Sarara Foundation from the Eco Lodges between Jan-June 2022 alone.

 


 

Reteti Elephant Sanctuary

Reteti Combo

Initiated by the local community, the sanctuary was established in response to the increased number of baby elephants being found abandoned or orphaned due to drought, man-made wells, human-wildlife conflict and natural mortality.

The Sanctuary started in September 2017 and the community takes a leading role in rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing elephants within their home range. All the keepers are from the local community and are formally trained in the care, rehabilitation and release of elephant calves. An elected board from within the community oversee all operational aspects of the Sanctuary.

Revenue from the US$190 Conservation Levy given by each guests stay provides a steady cashflow that can be relied on. This is a hugely impressive effort which times an incredible amount of commitment from each team member and is exceptionally costly to run. Guests staying at Sarara have the opportunity to visit, meet the elephant keepers, elephants and learn about the history and future of the sanctuary.

🎥 To watch a short video on the Guardian Elephant Warriors, click HERE

 


 

The Worlds First Nomadic Montessori Schools

Montessori 1

Samburu are nomadic pastoralists who move with their livestock in search of grazing. When approaching the idea of providing education for the children in the local area, it was essential that the schools were mobile, with the ability to collapse and be moved to where the Samburu move.  It was also essential that the school system fitted and celebrated the Samburu’s indigenous culture, heritage and nomadic lifestyle. For example, they do not have ages, but age sets. The Samburu’s age sets encourage camaraderie, community and unity; characteristics that have helped the indigenous Samburu people thrive. A school structured around grades would be in conflict with the Samburu’s cultural framework, and and very confusing for young child. A new education system was created and the worlds first nomadic Montessori school was born.

There are now 3 Montessori schools in operation in the Namunyak Conservancy enabling 560 children to have access to world class education since 2019 (which importantly includes a nutritious portion of porridge every day) and 13 newly qualified Montessori teachers from the local community.

 

If you would like to visit Sarara or learn more about the foundation, please get in touch.

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