FOR KIDS' SAKE - SAFARI PROGRAMS FOR KIDS
THOUSANDS OF KIDS DURING SCHOOL HOLIDAYS IN SAFARI LOW SEASONS
In the "Green Season" alone, from April through June, thousands of kids from all over the Kenya, from all economic levels, can participate in a two-night/three-day safari experience with three to four kids of the same sex sharing a tent or large room. This is especially viable during Spring break, when the kids are on vacation. Camps also have more availability to work with kids who are getting into the holiday season during flex or shoulder season from November to December 20th and from January through March. Some camps also have large, multi-function tents that can house the kids. Boarding schools near each of the camps/lodges can expand the use of their large dormitories for kids during vacation periods.
CHARTER MEMBER SUPPORTING SAFARI CAMPS & LODGES
Here are the Charter Member Safari camps and lodges that have already committed to supporting Kenyan Kids on Safari (KKOS). We have also included Kenyan organizations and programs that focus on education and involvement of local kids in wildlife conservation.
Click on the name of each Charter Member to view information on our visit at the camps/lodges and their managers' suggestions on development and support of Kenyan Kids on Safari:
AFRICAN WILDLIFE EDUCATION FOR KENYAN KIDS
Wildlife Clubs of Kenya (WCK) is a charitable non-governmental organization formed in 1968 by Kenya students. It was the first conservation education programme of its kind in the continent of Africa. Wildlife Clubs of Kenya has taken a leading role in anti-poaching and bush meat campaigns in the country, including de-snaring activities whereby wire snare traps are removed by club members in conservation spots. The aim is to make our wildlife habitats safe for the animals and to inculcate responsible conservation attitude among the youth.
WCK COLLEGE is a training and research programme of the wildlife clubs of Kenya. The centre was launched in response to the challenges posed by the increasing demands of sustainable tourism development in the country as well as contributing to the career development needs of WCK student members.
WCK is linked to Moi University, faculty of forest resources and wildlife management and the department of tourism. WCk’s many decades of conservation education experience and Moa University’s scholarly expertise join at WCK to produce professionals in the tourist and wildlife sector.
Vision: Empowered Kenyans with conservation knowledge for sustainability.
Mission: To provide conservation education to the youths and support wildlife clubs through training, information sharing and advocacy.
Objectives: To spread interest and knowledge about wildlife and the environment among the people of Kenya in particular and East Africa in general. In this way, to make them aware of the great economic, cultural and aesthetic value of natural resources.
Komba Magazine - Wildlife Clubs of Kenya - is one of the most exciting magazines on wildlife and the environment, published by the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya (WCK) since 1969, especially for its young school members. It's a unique magazine for any young person interested in nature. Every school term, Komba is sent to over 2000 school clubs in the country, with an estimated readership of more than 200,000 students. Articles on animals, plants and wild places are written by scientists and researchers in the field, staff at WCK and the WCK young members. This great mix of writers makes every issue vibrant. Significantly, Komba is free to all the young WCK members who can read copies delivered to the schools' WCK clubs. Read Komba on the web.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust provides some of the most important Community Outreach Programs, both in Nairobi and on the boundaries of Conservation Areas. These include the boundaries of Tsavo and the Mara Conservancy. www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org
Mobile Cinema Shows: One of the ways the Community Outreach Program is able to educate numerous school children on environmental issues is through Mobile Cinema shows. Between Nairobi and Tsavo the program runs four Mobile Cinema Units. 39 schools were visited during 2007, exposing over 11,200 children in Nairobi to environmental discussions and video shows.
Field Trips & Tsavo Safari, combined with clean ups, are an interactive and participatory way for pupils to embrace conservation. These Wildlife Trust-sponsored trips give participants the opportunity to take part in clean- up activities, then visit well known wildlife centers around Nairobi, including the Wildlife Trust's Orphans Project, and the Giraffe Center and The Safari Walk, along with a visit to The Nairobi National Park. A total of 16 clean up trips were carried out in Nairobi throughout 2007 with 878 participants. From these 16 trips 23 of the most enthusiastic children, chosen from five different schools, were selected to be a part of a fully sponsored five-day safari in December.
The itinerary for the Tsavo Winners Trip included a lecture by Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick with a visit to the Infant Orphaned Elephants in Nairobi, overnight and game drives the next day in Lake Nakuru National Park, then onto Tsavo West National Park with the attractions including Mzima Springs, and the 500-year old Shetani Lava flow. From there time was spent in Tsavo East National Park, which included a visit to Aruba Dam, the Wildlife Trust's Orphans Project based in Voi and a conservation talk delivered by Kenya Wildlife Service. This trip not only rewards these students for their enthusiastic approach to conservation, but helps them become more responsible in conserving wildlife.
Stanley's Camp - At Giraffe Manor outside Nairobi, youngsters have the opportunity to feed, and even share a breakfast table with, these majestic, not to mention rather tall, animals. The Manor, with its tower of endangered Rothschild's giraffes, also features an education center where kids can take guided walks through the surrounding primeval forest and learn about the rich local flora and fauna.
Charter Member - Mara Bushtops Camp
Bushtops is set amid the Mara Siana Wildlife Conservancy, directly bordering the Maasai Mara itself. Perched on top of a hill, 12 spacious, well-appointed luxury tents overlook a scenic valley.
Embracing a philosophy of environmental conservation, the camp has been designed to make the most of natural resources, using solar power for most of its energy needs.
Mara Bushtops' dining room and outdoor spacious dining veranda overlooks a large water hole, where customers enjoy a lavish meal while observing this focal point for wildlife coming to drink and bathe throughout the day. Wine lovers enjoy sampling one of the most complete wine cellars in Kenya, where a carefully selected range of world-famous wines are kept in optimum cellaring condition by ancient carbon refrigeration techniques.
Contact Georget Guilbert, camp manager at bushtops.managerorion-hotels.net, or Daniel Lomoe, community relations manager at lomoe70yahoo.com (072 172 1114).
Charter Member - Governors' Camps - Mara
Before visiting the three camps in the Mara, KKOS received great help in refining the program from Dominic, Ariana and Romi at the Nairiobi headquarters. We arranged a special afternoon drive for Wilson's two Kenyan daughters with an enchanting American couple through Sammy at Little Governors' Camp. Later we renewed our long-term friendship with Dr. Peter Kariuki and Tim Tucker, who manage Governor's Camp on the Mara River, near its ultra-luxurious Il Moran camp. Governors' Camp is organized to stimulate the wonder and discovery of the natural world for the younger traveler. Families have several options, including extra beds in tents and rooms, flexible timetables, early meals, evening baby-sitters, and sole-use of game drive vehicles and boats (subject to availability).
Guides stay in tune with the unique interests of younger travelers - footprints, bugs, Maasai traditional stories, interesting plants, animal families - whatever the childrens' interest, they find ways of enthralling them in this unique environment.
Governors' camps are already working closely with local schools, such as Mara Rianda Primary School. Together with safari clients, Governors' Camp has been supporting Mara Rianda for many years. To date, this support includes construction of 5 classrooms and one library, accommodation for 6 teachers, installation of rainwater collection and storage systems, solar lighting, salaries of 4 teachers, sponsorship of 3 exceptional students through Secondary School, equipping all classrooms with desks, and construction of a bio-gas plant to provide the community with free cooking fuel.
Governors' Camps have 6 KKOS digital telephoto cameras for the kids to use on game drives and a KKOS color print station.
Charter Member - Campi ya Kanzi, Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust
MWCT has played a large role in educational development within the Maasai community of Kuku Group Ranch, currently employing over 40 certified teachers to work at understaffed government schools and hiring community leaders to work as cultural teachers who educate children about their Maasai history, cultural traditions, and teach language, songs and folklore. MWCT has funded the building of two school facilities, including a private boarding school, and sponsors 22 local youth in secondary school. It has recently introduced a reward program based on merit, which gives students the opportunity to go on safaris and educational field trips based on their academic performance and involvement.
Operating in three sectors, and with over 150 employees from the community, as well as international volunteers and researchers, MWCT encourages local children to take an active part in the projects in health, education and conservation and to become involved in the community focused efforts of the Trust. Through its programs in education, MWCT strives to offer students the opportunity to expand their horizons through travel, inquiry, and community involvement and having a first hand understanding of their environment, fascinating culture and natural surroundings.
Below are photos and comments from some of the 40 best students within the Kuku Group Ranch selected for a safari to Tsavo West National Park:
Lui Tipape, 13 years old, Class 8 Student at Iltilal Primary School: "The day of the field trip dawned, at first we became anxious for the bus had not yet arrived, but after 10 minutes it arrived and we got in to start our journey. On the way we saw giraffes, antelopes, zebras, and wildebeest. Then we arrived at Mzima Springs. It is a very fantastic place to enjoy and an awe-inspiring sight for tourists visiting Kenya, who come from all over the world. We learned that the source of Mzima springs is from the Chyulu ranges whereby water that is collected from the natural springs under the hills and from rain, moves beneath the earths surface to arrive at Mzima. For that reason, Mzima acts as a park of marine life. We saw a lot of marine life during our visit, such as turtles, hippos, crocodiles and fish. This field trip was the most interesting and exciting tour that I have ever visited!"
Papaya Matasha, 12 years old, Class 7, Olorika Primary School: "When we reached the Shetani lava flow in Tsavo West National Park, our head teacher explained more about the lava and we learned that it was formed through solidified magma on the earths surface. We boarded the bus and set off for Mzima Springs on a long, dusty, zig-zagging road. There we saw many types of trees, namely Trichilia, Water Sausage and Kigelia Africana, which is classified as a hydrophite since it grows in wet places, and is used to make beers such as 'muratina' in kikuya language. Mzima Springs looks like a dreamland. There was croaking of frogs, chirping of birds, chattering of monkeys, rustling of leaves and bubbling of the springs. We watched aquatic animals like crocodiles, hippopotamus and fishes swimming in the water before we set off to Mtito Andei to visit a railway station. After learning about the railroad system in Kenya, we drove back through Tsavo National Park, sighting many animals on the way to our homes. The day of the trip was one to remember forever."
Senteu Mirishi, 12 years old, Class 7, Iltilal Primary School: "After exploring the Shetani Lava flow, and collecting specimens of the lava, we passed through the entrance gate to Tsavo West National Park to visit our first destination, Mzima Springs. We watched green fish feed on small animals in water and learned about how fish are cold blooded animals that breathe oxygen through their gills. Hippos are warm blooded and the ones that we saw were very fat! They breathe through their lungs, but spend most of their time under the water and feed on grasses, meaning that they are herbivores. Crocodiles are also cold blooded like fish, and the ones that we saw had very long tails. They feed on small animals who come near the water, I stayed away from the waters edge because I didn’t want to become supper! We also saw monkeys, who were busy swinging in the trees to find fruit and insects to eat, and many species of birds who were chirping sweet songs. After a delicious lunch in the town outside the park, we departed to make our way back to Iltilal Village."
For more information about the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, please go to www.maasaitrust.org.
For information about Campi ya Kanzi, please go to www.maasai.com.
Charter Member - The Intrepid Safari Company
The Intrepid Safari Company of the Heritage Hotels Family-Friendly Safari Program offers the Adventurers Club for children 4-12, and the Young Rangers Club for teens. Families can take their morning and evening game drives together, then the children spend the afternoon learning about the bush through a fascinating 'bush school' with excursions to historical sites, practical conservation work, and cultural and sporting exchanges with local Maasai Mara and Samburu communities.
We also met with the Mara Intrepids team of John Parmasau and Paul Kirui - Boniface Macharia and Joseph Ole Kerore, Maasai naturalist working with kids clubs.
The Adventurers Club helps younger children to learn about the African bush with well-trained guides and to participate in activities such as learning to make a fire with sticks, catching and studying butterflies, learning about reforestation, even casting lion tracks from the real thing.
The Young Rangers Club provides teens with a comprehensive program of conservation education, community interaction and practical 'bush skills'. The Club stresses the importance of Africa's wilderness and tribal cultures and the need to preserve both for future generations. Rangers' courses are usually staged over three to four days, with an established itinerary of interrelated activities. After each day in the bush, Rangers spend the evenings discussing their day's 'findings' with local naturalists and community members, watching documentary programs, or undertaking special nighttime activities, such as stargazing or nocturnal animal spotting. Both clubs are free to all guests.
Charter Member - andBEYOND - Mara
Stanley organize groups of a dozen children from the local schools in the Green Season, April through June, during school holidays, and otherwise only with the full consent of the school principal, so as not to disrupt their school study program. After a wildlife conservation presentation the children enjoy lunch at the Kichwa Tembo and then head out on a game drive in two vehicles.
Kichwa Tembo offers a quintessential game viewing experience, with sweeping vistas of the Masai Mara or the Sabaringo River. Located where the riverine forest meets the sweeping plains in the path of the awe-inspiring Great Migration, the camp provides an authentic dose of African wilderness, delivered with legendary Kenyan hospitality. The adjacent Bateleur Camp of andBEYOND provides the ultimate luxury in an intimate setting.
andBEYOND has given considerable support to WILDCHILD - Today's WILDCHILD is tomorrow's guardian of Africa's wilderness. For every WILDCHILD bracelet sold, an extra student from the camps' neighboring communities experiences an & BEYOND conservation lesson on this Reserve. Hand-in hand with Africa Foundation, a not-for-profit rural development organization, & BEYOND welcomes thousands of children annually in its Conservation Lessons program.
Charter Member - Royal Mara Safari Lodge
Royal Mara Safari Lodge treated our KKOS family-team of four to a very special rate for visiting our Charter Member Mara safari camps. Helen and Sionta joined a Norwegian family staying at the Royal Mara on a game drive, discovering mating lions and a herd of buffalos among other wildlife.
Emilie Nokleby Finnevolden, Trine Finnevolden, Paal Helgel Nokleby, from Norway comment on their experience on safari with the children - "It was wonderful to share the exciting experience on the safari with two young Kenyan girls. We went on a cold morning drive together. All wrapped in warm clothes, we saw several wild animals including buffalos and lions. We all enjoyed taking photos of Kenya's rich wildlife and viewing the fantastic Maasai Mara scenery. It was great to see the girls eager and excited with taking photos, being their first time using a digital camera with telephoto lens. The girls also had impressive language skills that included English and even French, which helped us share our common experience of the savannah."
The lodge is situated directly on the wildebeest "Great Migration" route, internationally known by the BBC's Big Cat Diary television program. The tented lodge and camp is located on the popular Hippo Bend Lagoon of the Mara River, amongst several elephant, buffalo and giraffe herds, and with close proximity to several lion prides, including the Maternity, Musiara Marsh, Aitong, and Ridge prides.
Contact George Sphikas, Director, reservationsroyalmara.com.
Charter Member - Sarova Mara Game Camp
Taking a whole-hearted interest in the program, Faith Mbaya-Kibue, Client Service Manager and Peter Waweru, Sales Account Manager, provided unusual insights, as well as helping to refine the KKOS Mission Statement while discussing the program with the headquarters' offices in Nairobi. Contact Faith at faith.mbayasavovahotels.com.
Francis suggested that KKOS organize the safari experience for kids around three levels.
THREE LEVELS of Kenyan Kids on Safari:
Charter Member - SERENA HOTELS - Safari Lodges in the Mara & Samburu
Mara Serena Safari Lodge: The KKOS team had an exciting meeting with lodge manager Herman Mwasaghua. He noted that 2,000 to 3,000 kids visit Mara Serena every year, sometimes as many as 5 school buses a day, often arriving without prior notice. The kids receive an orientation from the Serena guides and naturalists as well as rangers from the Mara Conservancy staff, managed by Brian Heath, who also organizes community and wildlife conservation projects for children living in the Mara. The lodge has a large tent for major functions that can be used to house Kenyan kids on safari. Contact Herman at hmwasaghuaserena.co.ke.
Paul had a similar experience at the Amboseli Serena Hotel where he was praised in the 2004 Nation Weekend newspaper as the "Comaradely Paul Chaulo" for coordinating a visit by 15 children from the Wildlife Clubs in greater Nairobi. Arriving during Animal Action Week to build awareness of endangered species, the children were housed in 12 tents pitched next to the staff quarters, helped to prepare food for themselves and taken on game drives. Contact Paul at PChauloserena.co.ke.
Charter Member - Mara Timbo Camp
Wilson's daughters marveled at the bathtub on the terrace of the tents, enabling guests to watch the hippos in the Mara River while talking a bath. The neighbors are far away. They thought it was neat that all the individual tent "butlers", private attendants, are female.
Helen and Sionta would love to comeback and discover what a Swedish Massage is all about! Timbo has built a special Massage Tree House where those being treated can watch the hippos in the Mara River. As a welcome-gift, Timbo offers every guest a 10 minute welcome massage.
Charter Member - SASAAB Lodge - Samburu
Our safari to promote safaris for local kids had a grand finale at Sasaab in Samburu, where we spent a few nights in the bush at our northern Kenya's coordinator, Shivani Bhalla's research camp for Ewaso Lions on a hill just above Sasaab. Todd spent the final night before heading back to the USA at Sasaab winding up the KKOS promotion of Charter Member Safari Lodges and Camps across Kenya. Tony and Ali are the managers. Contact: sasaabtamimiea.com.
Although Sasaab Lodge is comprised of only nine luxurious accommodations, it makes one of the largest contributions of any size lodge to the local communities and especially their children. The lodge has been established in association with the local community who benefit directly and indirectly from each customer's stay at Sasaab.
The individually detached rooms with huge thatched roofs and canvas sides have sensational views overlooking the Ewaso Nyiro river in the heart of Samburu land. Each room is uniquely styled with its own private pool and open veranda in contemporary North African style.
The Westgate Community Conservancy (WGCC) is the development arm of the Ngutuk Ongiron Group Ranch (NOGR) and is also a registered community based organization that deals with all developmental issues on the ranch in terms of conservation, tourism and the community.
The aim of the WGCC is to educate the local community to understand the benefits of living harmoniously with the surrounding wildlife. Conservation can never be truly successful without the support of the people whose livelihoods depend on the habitat that is trying to be conserved. Wildlife must bring perceptible benefits to the communities it shares the land with, if people are to stop seeing it as a threat and start to see it as an advantage.
The Group Ranch has a total of four primary schools and eight pre-primary schools, all these schools are in need of facilities and educational materials. Thanks to the generosity of our guests we have provided Ngutuk Ongiron Primary School with 50 new desks and other materials. A guest has funded a project to provide food to one school on WGCC for one year.
Lion Project - Lion Conservation has become a global issue with a species population reduction of 30-50% over the last two decades. This is largely due to habitat loss and conflict with humans. The lions in the Samburu region are in a vulnerable situation, living in or adjacent to areas inhabited by nomadic people. Their predatory behaviour has caused great resentment amongst the increasing rural pastoralist population.
The overall objective of this lion study is to enhance the survival of a vulnerable species by gaining a better understanding of the issues facing the future of lions in this region.
This research is being carried out by Shivani Bhalla as part of her PhD, and will also contribute to the research being carried out on the already endangered Grevy Zebra population.
For more information please look at Shivani's website and also her blog on Wildlife Direct.
Sasaab has 2 KKOS digital telephoto cameras for the kids to use on game drives.
Charter Member - WILDERNESS LODGES - Mara & Samburu
Our first KKOS program was at Keekorok Lodge in the Mara with AIDS orphans accompanying doctors and nurses from Hope Teams International on a three-day/two-night safari.
Click on "Make It Happen" and "News" to read about this experience and review pictures taken on safari at Keekorok!
On the follow-up visit in late 2008, the KKOS family team met with the headquarter's management staff, including Bernard Kaimenyi, Peter Musya and Shikha Nayar wildernesslodges.co.ke. They lent their continued whole-hearted support to the program, including special rates for the kids. Winding up our trip through the Mara, before going on a walking safari with Wilson's family in Loita, Todd, Wilson and the kids spent the night at Keekorok lodge. Lodge manager, Wilfred Ombok and Natal Leshan, front office supervisor, assured KKOS of their ongoing support in the Mara. In Samburu, Shivani Bhalla and Todd visited Mike & Sue Norris, managers of Larsen's Camp, one of the first camps Todd had stayed at back in 2001. Wilderness Lodges also operates Samburu Game Lodge.
Wilderness Lodges - Keekorok has 6 KKOS digital telephoto cameras for the kids to use on game drives and a KKOS color print station, which are being managed by Patrick Murunga, Pastor of the Good Shepherd Africa Gospel Church in Nairobi. Contact Patrick at murungaphotmail.com.
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