Topic: Conservation models

Conservation, development and community outreach projects.

Cause an Uproar: Lending a voice for Kenya’s Lions

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
William Butler Yeats, 1899

Ol Donyo at Guided Safaris®


A purpling dusk spreads over the Chyulu Hills slowly revealing a million-star-sequined canopy. At the emerald foothills of Kilimanjaro, the dull roar of black-maned lions carries on the wind as the Maasai set up lanterns around the raised wooden platforms of Ol Donyo Lodge.


It is here on Mbirikani ranch, an integral outskirt of the Tsavo-Amboseli ecosystem, that a model for balanced human-wildlife co-existence brings its message to light: A World Heritage for all Mankind.


275,000 acres set aside for the protection of Kenya’s big game; Lions, Elephants, Rhino, Buffalo, Leopards — and more. Balancing conservation and community with commerce for a low-impact tourism audience, the Great Plains Foundation aims to save these vast tracts of lands with support from its real custodians; The Maasai community, joint-owners of this vast and ravishing wilderness. The lands that these tribespeople behold have been reshaped, long threatened by poaching and population growth. The support from tourism is imperative to helping sustain Africa’s wildlife heritage and provide a shielded haven for the endangered animals that inhabit here.


“All of our work — filming, photography, research, tourism and the Big cats Initiative — fits into a single lifelong goal, to make a difference for conservation,” say National Geographic documentary-makers and founders of the Great Plains Foundation, Beverly & Dereck Jourbert. Filming African wildlife in Southern Africa since the 1980s, the Jouberts have turned from chroniclers of the conservation message to actual conservationists with a nourishing management plan given the stark change in Africa’s precious wildlife terrain over the last 30 years with more and more tracts of land becoming endangered habitats. The Big Cats Initiative is the Great Plains emergency action plan.


Ol Donyo at Guided Safaris®


At Ol Donyo, they partnered with well-known Kenyan tracker and conservationist Richard Bonham of the Big Life Foundation and founder of the Maasailand Preservation Trust, a community game scout program at Mbirikani. The Bonham family history is famed as East Africa’s key wardens in the establishment of the Selous Rhino Trust and advocates for the last remaining Rhino populations in the local area. Lion monitoring, Black Rhino anti-poaching units, Educational support over land management and rural farming, and compensational resolutions toward human-wildlife conflicts are some of the projects in actual work here. Health clinics, clean water supply and schools for the children alongside a crucial Wildlife Scholarship program also aid the subsistence of the Maasai community. In turn, the training and recruitment of these dedicated scouts from the program have assisted the KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) in the effort to prosecute over 500 poachers and illegal loggers, while rendering general border control for this significant wildlife corner.


Ol Donyo at Guided Safaris®


Guided Safaris® guests visit beyond the fourth-wall perspective; not as tourists and passersby but as benefactors and real stakeholders in a humanitarian effort; A front-row, hands-on seat is offered on this important on-ground project watching daily stories unfold and contributions raised in the emergency funding required from each visit supporting the work at hand.


Your journey here links to the destiny of these prized regions, helping directly fund not only the protection of these majestic animals but also sponsoring the rural communities at the actual forefront of the anti-poaching war.


Travel with a purpose and join Guided Safaris® Journeys of A Lifetime:


Ol Donyo at Guided Safaris®

Singita Grumeti Fund

The Grumeti Community and Wildlife Conservation Fund in Tanzania  is Singita Grumeti Reserve’s outreach program funded in part by the hopitality revenue generated from the luxury safari lodges managed by Singita and financial donations from friends and fellow travelers. The programs support rural villages in Serengeti and Bunda districts surrounding the private reserve.
About the Conservation projects and community support at Singita Grumeti Reserve:
Vocational training and scholarship fund for the Field Guide Academy
Singita Grumeti reserves has financed and established one the best guiding schools in the country dedicated to wildlife tracking and other related field studies.

School and childrens’ educational programs
Singita Grumeti has been involved in both the contruction of new schools as well as renovation of existing facilities where available to strengthen educational initiatives. Learn more about the Grumeti school program.

Environmental Educational Center at Grumeti
A 5-day program for youth in the community schools to learn about their wildlife heritage and gain a sound level of understanding on the Serengeti ecosystem and its importance for future conservation.

Anti-Poaching initiatives and Black Rhino Conservation
Learn more about the Black Rhino introduction effort at Singita Grumeti

Sustainability and support for small agricultural businesses in the local community
Training and support for self-sustaining jobs in cash crops and development of markets for bee-keeping, fish farming, sunflower oil production, poultry and egg farming, vegetable gardens and provision of food resources all run by the community and supported by the lodges at Singita Grumeti reserves. The Ikorongo-Grumeti Co-operative Society was established under the Tanzania law and today, has over 100 farming groups from the villages as members.

Access to clean water
Establishment of 95 deep wells of which over 50 supply fresh water to the villages and maintenance of boreholes as a continual source of this core neccessity.

Right to play
The Grumeti Fund provides financial support to the ‘Right to Play’ international organisation that uses structured play to bring about healthy physical, emotional and social development of the youth of the Serengeti district. The project trains teachers as coaches to engage children in regular sport and play activities devised as part of this initiative.

Grumeti Environmental Education Center

Video: The Environmental Education Center at Singita Grumeti Reserve, Tanzania.
Singita’s commitment to conservation, development and community outreach come together in perfect harmony in the establishment of the Environmental Educational Centre to engage and educate the community’s next generation of leaders on the importance of a balanced, sustainable ecosystem. The Environmental Education Centre conducts approximately 25 week-long courses per year. These are attended by 300 youth from the 26 secondary schools in the Bundu and Serengeti districts, which border Singita Grumeti. The content of the course is aligned to the school curriculum and, as such, enables the youth to be better prepared for their formal education. Knowledge shared includes soil and vegetation usage and management; water conservation; as well as the protection of local wildlife including birds, animals and insects. The Centre also includes teachers in its 5-day on-site programmes to help better teach their students about these crucial topics. In order to ensure the long term sustainability of the ecosystem and the rich biodiversity within it, it is essential that the local communities be empowered, informed and engaged with conservation. The Environmental Education Centre ensures that local youth are being brought into the conversation at an early age and helps to create well informed and responsible decision makers for future generations.