We are pleased to have made it onto this year’s ‘long list’ for the EcoWarrior Awards which is an event created by EcoTourism Kenya. These awards seek to celebrate tourism professionals paving the way in responsible tourism in Kenya. We entered the category entitled “Best Accommodation in responding to COVID-19-Impacts”. The ceremony will be held on 27th of October at the Radisson Blu Hotel.
Our donation of a raffle prize (two nights for two at Governors’ Camp) to the Kilifi Gold Triathlon event helped to raise Ksh 1,000,000 for the Taylor Ashe Antivenom Trust (TAAF). We are delighted to have been able to support this worthwhile cause.
“To be bitten by a venomous snake is everyone’s worst nightmare. In Africa this happens to people quite regularly especially to those in the rural communities. The primary objective of East African Venom Supplies and The Taylor-Ashe Antivenom Foundation is to reduce the number of deaths and maiming caused by those many snakebites” ~ EAVS.
One million Kenya shillings is raised for the Taylor Ashe Anti-venom Trust through the Kilifi Gold Triathlon.
As part of our commitment to support our partner the Mara Predator Conservation Program, we offer complimentary flights in our Governors’ Aviation aircraft for their team members who need to travel for work between Nairobi and the Masai Mara.
Mr Dennis Sonkoi of Mara Predator Conservation Program and Capt. Rex Jackson of Governors’ Aviation.
By offering this service, we are helping to ensure that their limited funding can be spent where it matters the most, focusing on scientific research and community engagement activities. Ultimately this provides more protection for the predators that call the Masai Mara home. This month we provided four tickets to three people; Dr Irene Amoke (Executive Director of The Kenya Wildlife Trust), Mr Michael Kaelo (Community and Public Relations Manager) and Mr Dennis Sonkoi (Program manager) for MPCP, bringing the total number of flights given to their project to more than ten.
Capt. Anup Lottay, Dr Irene Amoke and Mr Michael Kaelo ready to board a flight with us.
With increasing incidents of human-wildlife conflicts being reported to the project in the region, various mitigation measures are being introduced to enhance livestock security and therefore improve tolerance towards predators by communities in conflict hotspots.
MPCP initiates training sessions to help reduce the occurrence of predator-livestock conflict incidents. Herders are equipped with good herding practice skills and are sensitised on laws regarding compensation and penalties found in the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act of 2013.
We sent the program a Ksh 30,000 donation in order to conduct one livestock herder’s training session this month.
As part of our long-term commitment to re-green the ecologically-diverse, riverine habitat in which our four Masai Mara properties are situated, we have been boosting our tree-planting efforts. Our workshop team has made new metal plant protectors and these are being put into place throughout the camp grounds to protect our young seedlings from browsers such as elephants and antelopes.
Harrison Nampaso, Camp Manager at Governors’ Camp, stands beside newly planted trees that are protected from elephants and other browsers passing through the grounds.
We were pleased to have been able to support another of our main conservation partners, the Kenya Bird of Prey Trust by providing the funding (Ksh 96,000) required to create eight anti-poisoning response kits.
These will be distributed to community scouts dotted across rural areas of Kenya which have been identified as poisoning hotspots. The scouts will be taught how to rapidly and effectively respond to a poisoning event in their area; ensuring that the greatest number of birds can hopefully be given adequate first aid until the professionals from KBoPT can arrive at the scene to administer more long-term care.
A lappet-faced vulture at the Kenya Bird of Prey Trust – photo credit Fernando Faciole.
Poisoning poses a major threat to all of our wildlife and is responsible in a huge part for the dramatic declines that we are seeing in our raptor populations across Africa. The kits will be instrumental in saving the lives of countless birds that are often found poisoned in remote areas.
You can help to save a bird’s life by making a donation towards this effort via our secure online payment platform. Each kit costs USD100, however any amount will be gratefully received and passed on to the Kenya Bird of Prey Trust.
Each month we aim to support the tree-planting work being carried out by Eburru Rafiki in the Eburru Forest which is a remnant patch of the Greater Mau Forest Complex. Our latest donation brings the total number of trees sponsored by us in the forest to 733 since August 2021 at a cost of Ksh 100,000.
Tree planting in the Eburru Forest – photo credit Felix Rome
Our Loldia House team are continuing their efforts to remove any old, discarded fishing nets, otherwise known as ‘ghost nets’ from Lake Naivasha. Recently, Boat Captain Stephen rescued a great cormorant from one such net. This serves as a reminder that we must always be vigilant in protecting our wildlife and wild spaces.
Many water birds succumb to the dangers of discarded ‘ghost nets’ – luckily this one was saved by Loldia House.
Rains finally arrived at Mugie Conservancy providing much needed respite from the long drought for livestock, wildlife and people.
We thoroughly enjoyed a visit to a Pokot village from Governors’ Mugie House. Here we learnt about the traditions and customs of this colourful tribe who hail from the districts of West Pokot and Baringo. We were entertained to vibrant songs and dances by the highly adorned women and watched an elderly lady making cloth out of a goat hide.
A visit to the Pokot Tribe can be organised from Governors’ Mugie House – photo credit Nick Penny.
They welcomed us inside one of their homes and we learnt about the importance of gourds; how they are prepared using various types of sticks and the way in which they are used to store milk.
Inside a traditional Pokot homestead – photo credit Nick Penny.
A village elder made fire by rubbing two pieces of wood of different hardnesses together, while other men played a fast-paced game of bao in the sand and yet another old man demonstrated how he makes shoes out of goat hides.
Elderly Pokot men demonstrate fire making and a local game of ‘bao’ – photo credit Nick Penny.
The ladies were delighted when we gave each of them printed photographs that had been taken a few months prior by our visiting conservation photographer Fernando Faciole. Printed photographs are a luxury that not many people in rural areas can afford or have access to, so this is something that we certainly would encourage our guests to get involved with if they would like to make a small but meaningful difference to these hard working people.
A Pokot woman holds her printed portrait – photo credit Alisa Karstad
It was a fascinating experience and should not be missed, if you are planning to stay at Governors’ Mugie House. There is a fee of Ksh 15,000 (USD 120) for the experience, regardless of guest group size and this activity should be booked in advance when possible.
The Pokot Tribe live in the West Pokot and Baringo districts of Kenya – photo credit Alisa Karstad.
In a partnership between Mugie Conservancy and HomeNet Kenya, eight bee hives were donated a few months ago to women’s groups in order to provide them with an income that is separate from their traditional livestock farming and agriculture.
Bee hives on Mugie Conservancy – photo credit Nick Penny.
We were lucky to attend the first honey harvesting and encourage our guests to enquire about the possibility of watching a honey harvesting demonstration when staying with us. Mugie Conservancy also sells the most delicious pure honey from the headquarters which makes for a perfect memento of your time in Laikipia.
Harvesting the honey – photo credit Nick Penny.
Lions pose a major conservation challenge across much of Africa due the conflicts that arise from their behaviour of killing livestock. Mugie Conservancy currently has over 40 lions divided between four prides across the conservancy.
The Gaby Pride of lions on Mugie Conservancy – photo credit Nick Penny.
In order to reduce and prevent unnecessary predation of livestock, two females from two different prides were fitted with collars in partnership with Lion Landscapes and The Kenya Wildlife Service.
The movements of collared lioness ‘Gaby’ and her pride are monitored from the conservancy headquarters – photo credit Nick Penny.
Collars allow the conservancy team to follow the pride movements and prevent predation incidents from happening by making the livestock herders aware of the presence of lions in their specific areas. The collars also allow the conservation team to better understand the movements of the prides inside the conservancy and the overlapping of the territories. All the monitoring, tracking and analysis is done through EarthRanger.
Lion tracking is a signature experience to our guests at Governors’ Mugie House – photo credit Nick Penny.
Mugie is currently waiting for a third collar that will be fitted on an individual from the Western Pride to further mitigate conflict.
Waste is a major problem across the world, especially plastic. In order to mitigate the impact of waste on the local ecosystem, Mugie has constructed a waste management centre where all the waste collected along the C77 highway and waste generated inside the Conservancy, is collected and sorted. The sorted waste is then collected by certified recycling companies.
Waste is sorted on Mugie before being recycled – photo credit Nick Penny.
During a recent ‘Healthy Kids Session’’ carried out at Mugie Primary School, the topic was ‘waste management and segregation’. Our guides led a discussion surrounding the importance of waste management, dangers of waste to our wildlife and environment and the different ways to reduce waste. Later the kids were taken around the waste area and were shown the different types of waste generated in the conservancy and learnt how Mugie is managing its waste and making it more useful by recycling.
One cow was kindly donated to a Rwandan family by Sabyinyo Silverback guest Lucy Robbins on the 9th of September.
Leonard Harerimana of Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge together with the family who received the cow.
The family remembers how Lucy visited them and went to see their tree tomatoes. They are incredibly touched by her gift and have said that the cow will help them to change their lives. The mother, Lenia, said “This beautiful cow will give birth to many calves and my children will enjoy milk. Once I have more cows, I will be selling part of the milk collected and I can buy other family needs including clothes and buying school materials for the children”.
Her husband Emmanuel, also added that with the cow he will increase the productivity of his farm, saying he will get plenty of fertiliser from the manure that he will be able to use in his potato fields.
Emmanuel and Lenia at their cooperative shop.
Lenia is a hardworking woman, combining agricultural activities with handcrafts. She makes beautiful baskets and walking sticks at their Cooperative shop. The family asked to send Lucy their sincere thanks and gratitude and said they hope to meet Lucy again so they can show her how happy they are. Lucy will stay in their hearts forever.
If you would like to learn more about any of our Community & Conservation efforts you can reach out to us via email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to support our work you can do so via our secure online payment platform.
By Alisa Karstad, Community and Conservation Manager for Governors’ Camp Collection.