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Encounter Mara posted a topic in AfricaWe've been quietly reading many of the posts across this forum (Safaritalk as a whole) recently. One post stuck out to us. @@Soukous says: Perhaps what Kenyan operators should be doing is asking "What would it take to make you book a safari in Kenya?" So here we go - we're asking you, Safaritalkers, "What would it take for you to book a safari in Kenya at the moment, all things considered?" Several of you have already mentioned that you had booked safaris before Ebola started scaring people away, but you're sticking to your plans. Good for you! And thank you! Kenya needs your business. So perhaps you can go to your friends, family, and fellow travellers and ask them the same thing. What incentives do people need in order to make that step and book a safari in Kenya? We all know there have been no Ebola cases in Kenya. Will big discounts on safaris attract more travellers? Will more dissemination of reassuring information about the lack of Ebola here attract more travellers? We look forward to seeing some feedback from you as seasoned Safari-goers, but also perhaps from your less-seasoned family members or friends. Thank you all! And here's to some super safaris across Africa for 2015!
Encounter Mara posted a topic in Lodge, camp and operator newsAs this topic has come up before regarding camps in Kenya and Botswana, we thought it would be prudent to explain what we as a camp do to try to minimize our impact on the environment while maximising our impact on conservation and local communities. All of Encounter Mara is designed to have the lowest impact possible on the surrounding environment while providing a comfortable, classic safari experience as well as tangible benefits for local conservation and community development efforts. Elements of this eco-friendly design include: 100% Solar Power – All tents have plenty of light provided through low-wattage bulbs, run solely off of Solar power. Only the dining tent is equipped with electrical outlets for charging electronics/batteries which is also provided solely through solar power Eco-friendly waste water system – All waste water is treated and filtered before disposal Eco-friendly cooking and heating methods – All cooking is done on pressurized gas from Nairobi or eco-friendly recycled charcoal briquettes. Boilers for hot water also use eco-friendly charcoal, and camp fires use wood from sustainable plantations in Limuru. Minimal plastic waste – All drinking water is decanted from large 20 litre containers of mineral water from Limuru into glass bottles in the rooms and aluminium bottles for activities to avoid excessive wastage of small plastic bottles. We support the “Throttle The Bottle”campaign – a new initiative to help sensitize East Africans to the menace that plastic waste presents to our lives. Completely removable infrastructure – All structures in camp are either constructed completely out of canvas, or temporary woodwork. No cement has been used in construction, and no structure is permanent. Replanting of trees – In order to offset the impact of the use of wood furniture and carbon emissions, one indigenous tree is planted, and nurtured to maturity, in Limuru for every guest that stays at the camp. Locally Grown Vegetables – All vegetables come from our own vegetable garden in Limuru or from local Limuru farmers, using sustainable agricultural practices, and are supplemented by a small vegetable/herb garden in camp, with no chemical pesticide use. Biodegradable soaps – In order to avoid contaminating the local ground-water, all guest soap and shampoo is organic, and biodegradable. Traditional canvas bucket showers This aids in water conservation whilst still providing as much water as requested for hot showers Laundry Schedule – Planned washing of linen and towels once every three nights or with new guests (unless specifically requested otherwise) helps to conserve water Rainwater harvesting – Large collection tanks harvest rainwater from roof gutters for multiple uses within camp. Waste separation – All solid, inorganic waste from camp is separated and categorized to be sent back to Nairobi for recycling or disposal. All organic waste is composted in camp. Local employment – More than 90% of the staff at Encounter Mara Camp are from the Maasai communities immediately surrounding Mara Naboisho Conservancy. Support of Koiyaki Guiding School – For every guest that stays at Encounter Mara, one day of school fees is paid for a student at Koiyaki Guiding School. Support of local conservation – Encounter Mara Camp is affiliated with African Impact and it’s Masai Mara conservation volunteer program . This program involves work with Koiyaki Guiding School, cheetah monitoring with the Kenya Wildlife Trust, lion conservation and research through the Mara Naboisho Lion Project, and community development. For Encounter Mara, being a part of the Mara Naboisho Conservancy’s leadership in community-based conservation was a major motivation for the establishment of the camp. We believe that the best way for the truly sustainable conservation of Africa’s wildlife is to work closely with local communities and ensure real benefits to those living in and around precious ecosystems, such as the Masai Mara. We are privileged to work alongside great visionaries in the Naboisho community who have led the way in preserving their own land for the future and providing a sustainable income for their families. We are committed to responsible low-impact tourism operations, employment of local communities and being part of creative solutions to the many problems facing surrounding communities and the conservation of the Masai Mara ecosystem, as well as Kenya’s wider natural environment. We believe the time has come for true consultation with local communities and for partnerships that involve a different brand of tourism, which do not exploit or commercialize local cultures and communities. We believe in an authentic guest experience that embraces our great respect for the Masai people’s culture and our own passion for the conservation of the incredible wildlife surrounding the camp. We understand that some of our guests may wish to contribute or make donations to local community projects. Such donations can easily be made to local schools or health centres. Please visit the website below for a guide of what items make the biggest impact and how to fit them into your luggage. We are also now proud to be corporate members of two prominent East African Conservation Organizations: