Elephants in their constant search for food knock down trees, and uproot saplings – it’s just something that they do. Often they will strip and eat a few branches of vegetation and then leave the rest of the tree to die.
Deforestation of unprotected areas and climate change are impacting the flow of the Mara River so that during periods of heavy rainfall, floods have become more intense with the result that large portions of the river bank have been lost; and with it go many of the trees. Over the years we have seen the riverine forest decline and shrink. In an attempt to reverse this trend we have initiated a tree planting exercise in our Masai Mara camps. We have planted thousands of trees throughout our campgrounds and have also donated over 500 trees to local schools.
We only plant indigenous species, including sausage trees (Kigelia africana), wild figs (Ficus thonningii), East-African greenhearts (Warburgia ugandensis), broad-leaved crotons (Croton macrostachyus), quinine trees (Rauvolfia caffra), various species of acacias and many others.
Our current focus is on growing the East-African greenheart as these trees seem to suffer from a fungus which consumes the inside of the trunk. Their fruit are a favourite food for elephants and the seeds germinate best after passing through the gut of these pachyderms. Our groundsmen collect the fallen dung each morning from along our camp pathways and extract the seeds- these are taken to the nursery and cared for until they are big enough to be planted back out in the wild.
We also support the Eburru Rafiki Forest Community Group in their tree planting efforts that focus on the Mau-Eburru Forest. This is a critical mountain bongo habitat located on the mountainous hills above our Lake Naivasha property, Loldia House.
In Rwanda we have also carried out extensive re-planting work in and around Sabyinyo Silverback lodge. We are already seeing the positive effects of this work as some of the native wildlife returns into our lodge grounds.
Guests are welcome to plant a tree