Conservation and Community Responsibility
In this day and age, with over 75% of Kenya’s precious wildlife living outside of formally protected areas it is a necessity that we work hand in hand with conservation and community projects to ensure the survival of our wildlife and its areas for future generations. Offbeat Safaris has always operated in "off the beaten track" locations and as such it is very important we help in every way we can. Below are some of the projects in which we are involved.
Conservation and Community Responsibility Details:
Offbeat Meru Camp
The Camp is the first and only tourist facility in Bisanadi Reserve which was gazetted as a national reserve in 1979 and is an area of 606 square kilometres. With the park fees generated by the camp we have helped preserve this area as a wildlife destination against pressure from locals who wanted to grab the land for farming.
We are also involved with supporting Guba Dida Primary School, which is a government school located in our neighbouring Boran community. We have so far helped with desks, chairs, books, blackboards and hopefully we are about to install a new water system in the school and help in the future with building classrooms, teachers houses and scholarships. We are one of the biggest employers in the area and many of the staff are from the local villages of Kinna and Rapsu.
At Offbeat Meru Camp we have tried to be as eco-friendly as possible. It can get pretty hot in Meru and as such we have built a stunning infinity swimming pool which blends seamlessly into its surroundings. The pool is the only permanent structure in the camp and no other building materials other than local sand have been used in the camps construction.
Sosian Lodge is 1940’s ranch house which was converted from a dilapidated ruin into a tourism enterprise in 2002. The ranch was derelict and our oldest member of staff has been at Sosian for 40 years. The rest of the staff were employed from the local area and few had any professional training - all training is done on site and we are very proud of this. 85 people are employed at Sosian which is spread between the lodge and the cattle ranch, anti-poaching and protection of wildlife, security and maintaining the natural resources and habitats of the 24,000 acres that comprises the ranch.
We use rain water for drinking as much as possible. All biodegradable waste is either fed to our domestic animals, or sent to the compost heap to feed the garden. A large number of vegetables and fruit are grown at Sosian and this minimizes transport from towns far away and we eat our own beef, lamb, ducks and eggs.
Sosian is an active member of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum which aims to conserve the integrity of the Laikipia ecosystem by creatively managing the natural resources, thereby improving the livelihoods of its people. The LWF recognizes that tourism holds the greatest potential for development of a sustainable funding base, and a long term future for the area, its people and wildlife. Sosian supports the LWF financially and is also actively involved with Mpala Research Station’s Wild Dog project with which we assist with predator research weekly.
Sosian lodge supports a local clinic by employing qualified nurses, and this clinic is far reaching. The ranch provides firewood to the local community free of charge. We contract the local community to cut hay to prepare for times of drought. We support the local school with desks, stationary and books. Sosian encourages environmental awareness amongst the children of the local school and aims to emphasize pride in their cultural heritage and traditions as well as outlining the importance of wildlife and tourism in the area.
Deloraine House & Offbeat Riding Safaris
It is a sad fact that Kenya has an inherent poverty problem and with a population of 40 million, estimated to double in the next 25 years, every company needs to involve itself with community projects to help immediate neighbours.
Offbeat Safaris has been based at Deloraine for 18 years and has initiated various projects in the vicinity.
The Leldet primary school and Deloraine nursery school begun on the farm by Pam Scott have swelled from 350 - 550 students in the 18 years since the Voorspuy's moved in. In that time we have re-built the nursery school, provided new loos and are currently building 2 desperately needed new classrooms for the primary school.
We also fund a forest protection security team for the Koibatek forest adjacent to the farm. A much threatened cedar and olive forest with rare fauna such as Colobus monkeys, red duiker, crested guinea fowl, Ross’ turaco and many more finding refuge there. It is Government forest but lack of resources mean that it is threatened by charcoal burners and cedar post cutters who commercialise their activities well beyond the forests sustainable capacity.
We are corporate members of the East African Wildlife Society and Tristan has been published several times on wildlife and community related issues, (often from the perspective of riding through little visited areas) in SWARA the society's quarterly magazine.
We encourage all safari participants to join the society which champions the cause of conservation throughout Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. As non Government it tirelessly cajoles and finances many conservation projects in the region.
Our riding safaris operate in various remote areas of Masai land such as Ol Kinyei Group Ranch near the Masai Mara and also other areas around Amboseli that do not benefit from tourist revenue, thus bringing welcome income to fringe communities. At the same time the nomadic mobile nature of the riding safari means we leave no permanent mark on the landscape except the ash from our camp fires.
Offbeat Mara Camp
Over 85% of the camp staff are local Maasai who helped Piers build the camp in 2005. They now have jobs from guides to cooks, from room stewards to waiters.
Piers and Tristan are two of the founding members of the Mara North Conservancy. We have helped protect more than 70,000 acres on the edge of the Masai Mara National Reserve, which is home to both a huge amount of wildlife and members of the Maasai Community. For the first time Maasai landlords are being rewarded fairly and equally for the land and in the last two years the area has improved dramatically as wildlife destination. In addition we also double lease 1500 acres around the camp and the horse riding mobile camp and we are now seeing the Offbeat lion pride, buffalo, elephant, hippo and an abundance of plains game in our Offbeat Valley on a daily basis.
Offbeat Mara Camp is conscious that it operates in a fragile ecosystem. As such the camp has no permanent structures and the camp is purely canvas with some local rock and murrum used to level the tents. We have not used even one bag of cement here and if the camp where to move you would never know it had been there. We must be one of the most low impact camps in the Mara.
In addition to this, we also sponsor the local Aitong Primary School which is based in the Mara North Conservancy. Aitong Primary educates about 950 children from ages 6-15 from all over the wider Mara Area. The school has expanded rapidly in the last few years, introducing boarding to help those families who live too far away.
Offbeat Safaris Ltd
Offbeat Safaris also helps to support the African Medical Research Foundation. AMREF’s aim is to bring good quality and affordable health care closer to those who need it most - improving access to health treatment and preventing poor health through community education. Working closely with African communities and governments, AMREF ensures that its health projects are relevant and sustainable.
The Flying Doctor Service operated by AMREF is one of the most comprehensive air ambulance services in Africa. Offbeat Safaris ensure that every guest receives Flying Doctors membership throughout their stay which not only gives peace of mind to those who travel with Offbeat Safaris but also financially contributes to the important work of AMREF.