SARARA CAMP | Namuniak, Kenya

How eco-tourism and sustainable land practices can help kick-start a revival in animal populations

The Sarara Story of Coexistence between the Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Northern Rangelands Trust and the Samburu People

To understand how these groups of people are working together is to understand the future of conservation.

Sarara is an exclusive, secluded, community ranch. It is one of the leading examples of how eco-tourism and sustainable land practices can help kick-start a revival in animal populations, and so begin to regenerate the local environment.

First, the experience is unparalleled in terms of wilderness, wildlife, seclusion, and cultures. Second, the entire lodge and all the facilities are owned, though not operated, by the local Samburu community. This is extraordinary. It gives the local communities a real reason to buy into conservation and to become advocates for conservancy. Each guest who stays at Sarara pays a daily conservation fee that goes directly into the community.

Jeremy Bastard is Sarara Initiative CO-Founder & Manager. www.sarara.co

     *Photo by Simon Morris*

A FEAST FOR THE EYES... AND FOR THE SOUL

There is nothing more likely to restore a childlike sense of wonder and smallness than seeing a herd of elephants. We were greeted by this memorable sight as soon as our group settled in the Sarara Camp, where we would spend the first five days of our Conservancy Safari.

A three-year unprecedented drought and a natural watering hole frequently brought these noble creatures to drink from a few feet away from us. A feast for the eyes and soul.

Among the elephants are juveniles drinking and spurting water over each other, and a matriarch, perhaps 50 years old, ponderously watching over the youngest ones. They are Mother Nature’s Mona Lisa, its Taj Mahal and Angkor Wat, its Michelangelo’s David – but living, breathing, roaming the bush highways of Africa and scratching their backsides on acacia trees. In the decades since this herd’s matriarch was born, the number of elephants in Africa has plummeted by an astonishing two-thirds.

Wild Philanthropy’s Founder, William Jones, meticulously crafted and professionally executed a Conservation Safari, a journey ‘into the land’, to help educate and share with a global audience the challenges – and victories – of conservation and ecosystem management, eco-tourism and impact travel. Our extraordinary journey began in Sarara.

    *Photo:*  [*Sarara.co*](www.sarara.co)

A SOLID INTERDEPENDENT SYSTEM

SARARA HELPING THE SAMBURU TRIBE

Revenue from the lodge goes into a community fund, which splits the money between conservation activities (rangers, etc.) and community development needs (schools, etc.). Sarara and the ranger teams it deploys bring about a sense of security and reduce conflict among tribes and between clans within tribes.

THE SAMBURU TRIBE HELPING SARARA

In turn, conservation is impossible without the Samburu. They provide the eyes and ears on the land to keep it safe from poachers. Their ephemeral wells are a magnet for wildlife in a very arid landscape, and to some extent, even their grazing helps stimulate new growth and life.

The Samburu are also the ‘ultimate guides’ for the lodge’s visitors. They share their knowledge and passion, and help us understand how we can better understand, participate and better protect our natural environment.

THE MANY BENEFITS OF COMMUNITY-BASED CONSERVATION

Locals receive benefit from tourism, incentives to conserve and help manage wildlife and land. The results are thriving wildlife, healthier lands, more jobs, greater development and better governance. A perfect synergy.

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