Heritage Day is celebrated across the Governors Camp Collection
At Governors’ Camp Collection, we joined forces with our partners at Wilderness Safaris to celebrate ‘Heritage Day’ on the 27th of August.
Heritage Day celebrations – photo credit Will Fortescue
A time to share traditional foods, cultures, dress, song and dance, it is also a wonderful opportunity to recognise all the different ethnicities across our group and within our neighbouring communities.
Thanks to all the staff at Governors’ Camp, Little Governors’ Camp, Loldia House, Governors’ Mugie House and Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge for being a part of this day and for capturing the occasion in their respective properties so beautifully.
Governors’ Camp honours the tradition – photo credit Will Fortescue
Governors’ Camp arranged a stunning evening beneath the stars, with Kenyan dishes available from the buffet for the guests. Some of our team were adorned in their traditional Maasai attire and entertained the guests to a vibrant show of song and dance.
Up at Sabyinyo, chefs Fofo and Mitch made some delicious Rwandese brochettes, completed with roast potatoes and a garden salad (from our garden!). A great effort indeed was made.
Rwandese brochettes by Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge staff
At Loldia House, assistant manager Keith arranged a traditional meal that is generally reserved for respected or elderly people during bride price presentations within some Kenyan cultures. It consisted of fresh fish (tilapia) caught straight from the lake, served in a local tomato sauce with a side of millet and sorghum ugali and boiled green vegetables “Saga” (spider plant) and “Mrenda” (jute mallow).
Loldia’s traditional Tilapia dish
Up at Governors’ Mugie House a couple of the team had some fun with a northern Kenyan recipe that chef Sammy made. Terere (amaranth) leaves were picked from the vegetable garden before being added to chopped onions and being fried. After simmering for a few minutes, milk was added to the pan, salt was added to taste and the dish was served with ugali!
Chef Sammy selects the very best ingredients from the ‘shamba’
Bringing you up to date with our Mara conservation efforts
On the 26th of August, a couple of the Mara Raptor Project team headed up on one of our Governors’ Balloon Safaris hot air balloons in order to monitor raptor nest sites from the air. This was the first such flight as part of our new partnership with MRP.
White-headed vultures – photo credit Mara Raptor Project
“The Kenya Bird of Prey Trust is very excited about our new partnership with Governors’ Camps. Balloon flights from Little Governors’ Camp provide access to large swaths of the Mara River Forest for our nest monitoring program that previously were challenging for our team to survey. On our inaugural balloon ride in August we were able to confirm the location of a critically endangered white-headed vulture nest. This species has declined rapidly in the Mara over the last decade and this is only the third active nest we have found this season. A big thanks to Simon Landolt, Captain Barnabas and the entire Governors’ team for helping us locate this nest. We are very excited to continue monitoring this nest and others from the balloons.”- Stratton Hatfield, director of the Mara Raptor Project.
A long-crested eagle sighting from Governors’ Balloon Safaris – photo credit Felix Rome
If you would like to support the important work of the Mara Raptor Project, you can do so via our secure online donation link.
This month work began on the construction of the new medical staff accommodation at the Mara Rianda Health Clinic. This will allow for visiting health professionals to volunteer their time at this important clinic.
Mara Rianda Health Clinic: New staff accommodation
Our team facilitated one of our last large-scale food drives to our community neighbours. This marked the 14th month of support since the onset of the COVID19 Pandemic. Close to eight tons of basic food supplies were distributed, and as ever, the families were incredibly grateful for all the support that they received which has been vital in helping to feed their families each month. We would like to sincerely thank both The Mara Rianda Charitable Trust (52%) and the Chairman’s Foundation via the Wilderness Trust (48%) for their significant financial contributions.
August’s Masai Mara food drive
Handover ceremonies of four new homes in Rwanda
On the 8th of August our new management couple at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Natasha and Nico, attended the official handover ceremony of four fully equipped houses with electricity to survivors of The Genocide.
A pioneering community-owned lodge, Sabyinyo’s projects with SACOLA (Sabyinyo Community Livelihood Association) means that each guest who stays with us at the lodge pays a nightly fee which goes back to the community. The revenue generated from the lodge was used to build the homes.
Official handover of a home by SACOLA
SACOLA is the organisation entrusted with handling these community revenues and ensuring that they are used to benefit the lives of the communities in the surrounding areas.
Each family received a house with sofas, two mattresses and basic food supplies. The mama of each household also received a new kitenge (sarong) as well as an envelope containing USD 10.
New mattresses plus a new home!
Each house cost USD 12,500 to build. Food supplies, kitenges, sofas and mattresses came to USD 214 per household. We believe that in order to save the mountain gorillas, the people who live alongside them must be able to see direct benefits from the long-term survival of this endangered species.
Laikipia community work: distributing food supplies
On the 2nd and 3rd of August we distributed 6.3 tons of food supplies to twelve of the neighbouring schools using funds allocated to our food drive program from the Wilderness Trust. We will be running one final food drive of this size in early September.
Naibor Amani Primary School in Laikipia
“We sincerely appreciate your kind gesture and may you be blessed abundantly”- Beatrice Kesses – Head teacher of Naibor Amani Primary School in Laikipia.
With greatest thanks from Naibor Amani Primary School in Laikipia
Loldia’s reedbuck translocation
Thirteen Bohor reedbuck antelope (Redunca redunca) were successfully translocated from Loldia Farm to the Green Park golf course. The reason for moving them was because they were overstocked in the irrigation area of the Loldia farm.
Bohor reedbuck translocation – photo credit Gary Hopcraft
Considering their shy and retiring nature, they seem to have a surprisingly impressive ability for getting through the farm fences and proceeding to enjoy the abundant fresh grasses growing on the other side, which none of the other wildlife are able to access! Who can blame them?
However, they are an ideal species for up at Green Park and it’s important for the reedbuck gene pool to keep flowing in order to stay strong; so hopefully they will find some new mates to mix with there. Thanks to the Kenya Wildlife Service and Loldia Ranch team for safely translocating the animals.
Thanks to the Kenya Wildlife Service and Loldia Ranch
Days to remember in the animal world
This month we celebrated two of our most iconic species; lions and elephants on the 10th and 12th of August respectively.
Elephant and lion encounter in the Mara – photo credit Will Fortescue
On World Lion Day we celebrated these iconic apex predators; the second largest cat in the world! Governors’ Camps have for many decades, been fondly associated with the famous Marsh Pride of lions whose core territory lies adjacent to our Masai Mara camps. Our guides have been fortunate to witness the dynamics of this pride change over the years – as new cubs are born into it, young males are ousted from it and new male coalitions battle to take it over. We feel incredibly privileged to share our knowledge with our guests.
Marsh Pride female Pamoja with her three cubs in July – photo credit Felix Rome
This pride is fortunate to receive a relatively high degree of protection since it tends to remain within the National Reserve, yet it, like many lion prides across Africa, has still faced its share of many human-inflicted threats over the years. Africa’s lion population has almost halved in the past 25 years due to threats including habitat loss and fragmentation and human-lion conflict. Conserving lions means providing protection to entire ecosystems.
If you would like to learn more about the challenges facing this species and the various solutions being implemented to protect them, then we encourage you to follow take at look at Mara Predator Conservation who are working hard to protect the lions of the Masai Mara. You can also follow them on Instagram @marapredatorconservation
World Elephant Day was a day dedicated to the conservation of the largest land animal on our planet. Elephants are highly intelligent creatures with complex emotions and strong family bonds; not so different from ourselves. Yet they face numerous threats across their natural range. Ivory poaching has decimated entire populations in many areas of Africa. Current threats include the drastic expansion of human populations which are causing a devastating loss of habitat; leading to more incidences of human-elephant conflict.
Elephants enjoying the Mara mud – photo credit Felix Rome
Elephants rely on being able to move freely through vast home ranges in order to access resources such as food, water, salt licks and mates. Unfortunately many of their historical dispersal routes are located outside of protected areas and are frequently becoming blocked by fences as land is increasingly converted from wild spaces for agriculture.
The Mara Elephant Project is working hard to address many of the threats facing elephants in the Greater Mara Ecosystem. Please follow them on Instagram @maraelephantproject to learn more about how you can help them to conserve this important species and its habitats.
If you feel in any way moved by any of these initiatives, and you would like to support us, you can make a donation of any kind through the Governors’ Camp Collection Community and Conservation Trust’s secure online payment portal. We will ensure that any funds you send are used to directly improve the lives and well being of our community neighbours and wildlife. Thank you!
By Alisa Karstad, Community and Conservation Manager for Governors’ Camp Collection.