"A gold rated eco friendly camp, the highest eco- certification level in Kenya they need to be very proactive in both looking after the environment and the community."

It has been 10 years since I visited east Africa and I have to say I was really impressed. The sustainable and responsible tourism that has developed over this time is grossly understated.

Gone are the days of getting a bottle of water every day with your room, gone is the lack of education about rubbish disposal and recycling and mostly gone are the days where the money you spent in a place, went only to large corporations.

The rest of the world can learn a thing or two from the changes we now see in Africa. I was fortunate enough to spend three nights at the Karen Blixen camp based in the Mara North conservancy.

Driving into camp I was happy to see some large solar panels soaking in the glorious African sun. Once inside I was given a steel refillable water bottle with my name on it and shown all the places I could refill it with clean drinking water. These two factors alone delighted me so much. But it went so much deeper than that and helped so many people in the area, nothing was wasted and I mean nothing! Sustainable tourism at its best.

As a gold rated eco friendly camp, the highest eco – certification level in Kenya they need to be very proactive in both looking after the environment and the community.

On the environmental level this camp was making sure everything that could be recycled was. Food scraps were turned into compost for their vegetable patches and any other rubbish that could be turned into briquettes were sent off to this project. This saves local communities from impacting on nature by destroying surrounding bushland.

The camp also has a very interesting sewerage system which filters the water into multiple pools until it is clean enough to send into the conservancy. It waters the plant life and is frequently moved around so that many areas benefit from the extra water and from where we were standing we could see the difference between the vegetation getting the extra water and those that weren’t. When I said nothing was wasted I meant it!

The largest project of this camp would have to be its cooking school. Highly regarded as one of the best in Kenya the students are in a position to cook daily (instead of once a week like its big city counterparts) and because of this the graduates are highly sort after and are guaranteed employment. It gives young people the opportunity and the support to follow their passions and to create futures for themselves.

Outside of the cooking school, they also have IT and English classes for the people in the local community. It was beautiful to see how many older Masai woman were coming to the English classes, those who missed out on this vital education when they were younger because of the culture many years ago, but now they are recognising the changes in the world and loving the opportunity to learn.

The Karen Blixen Camp has set up 5 beehives around the grounds, provided beekeeping outfits and teaching the women of local families how to harvest the honey. The women come to the camp, and using the tools provided they collect the honey and sell it back to the camp for a profit. This gives them a chance to earn a wage that is theirs, that they can then use on the essentials for their families. A lot of the ladies are single mothers that sometimes can be forgotten about as they struggle to find a way to make a living. The camp also provides assistance with personal finance counselling to make sure they make the most of the wage they are receiving.

One of the most important assets to the Masai culture is their livestock and the Karen Blixen camp trust assists with ensuring the livestock is safe from wildlife predators and over grazing is not an issue by providing moveable bomas. This keeps both the livestock and the boys that watch over the animals safe and allows them to move the herd with ease to find new grazing spots.

There is so much happening at this wonderful, luxury camp and the best way you can help is by spending some time there.  Seeing what is involved and talking about the differences you can impact in the travel world, no matter how big or small.

So on a final note even though it isn’t all of Kenya making these wonderful changes, a large majority are taking charge that will make a massive impact on the world and its people. A lot can be learnt from the movement of responsible tourism in Africa and you need to ask yourself… what am I doing to make a difference when I travel?

For more information on our African safaris in Kenya, please contact us on +61459308888 or email us on hello@reisvoyage.com.au Whatever your adventure, Reis Voyage can create a tailored experience that lets you see, hear, live and breathe the beauty of this magical land.

Grab your passport… and prepare to be the world’s best photographer!!

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