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The East African : Mar 9th 2015
The EastAfrican MAGAZINE MARCH 7-13,2015 XI Eco Lodges The concept of eco lodges is one that will hopefully gain trtaction in Africa and become the norm rather than the exception. This is a model which benefits all involved, especially the communities that live around the lodges and the animals themselves. Typically the establishment of an eco lodge will help in the elimination of encroachment of forests and the protection of key wildlife corridors. The African Wildlife Foundation has mid-wifed several such lodges and a holiday in one of these would be a pleasant break from the usual holiday getaways. By their very nature, conser- Cotta≥’s 1920’s Safa≥i Camp Cottar’s 1920’s Safari Camp is caught in a pleasant time warp. Sitting on a 6,000 acre private conservancy, about a kilometre from the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, the camp is a leap back in time. If the hassles of modern day living leave you with frayed nerves and wish to leave all that behind even for just one long weekend, this is the place for you. There are no nearby lodges or low-flying aircraft to break the seclusion of this camp. Absent too are the ubiquitous mini-buses that can sometimes be intrusive in the savannah. This is not to say that the camp is in any way rustic. Far from it. The entire concept is a throwback to an era of opulent luxury and comfort. Cottar’s is the epitome of quality. The camp’s distinctive white canvas tents accommodate only 12 people. Day and night game drives into the Maasai Mara are arranged on request. Above and right: The Ngari Hill ecolodge cottage. Eco lodges are catching on in the region and are run by local communities. Pictures: Rupi Mangat vation lodges are set in wildlife-rich landscapes and, more often than not, are owned by the local communities and managed by professional hospitality and safari experts. These lodges source their manpower from the local community, pay rent to the community and share their revenue with these same communities. Crucially the incentive to conserve the wildlife and protect the land around them is introduced. Consequently your stay in these lodges directly helps conserve the wildlife and the surrounding lands and economically empowers the communities who are the custodians of the eco-system. The Sanctua≥y The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille is a Elephant Peppe≥ camp In the Mara North Conservancy lies the Elephant Pepper camp. The embodiment of rustic luxury, the camp has a few epicurean surprises for the gourmet: northern Italian fare, fresh salads and fresh baking. Epicurus would approve. The camp’s relative seclusion (away from the crowded western Mara region) is a big draw for visitors. Certainly when the western section is likely to be teeming with visitors over Easter, the Elephant Pepper Camp will be an oasis of calm for guaranteed rest and relaxation. Eight luxury ensuite tents and two honeymoon/family suites serve as the accommodation. Everybody eats together at the Elephant Pepper Camp, affording guests the opportunity to mingle with their fellow explorers. Evenings around the camp fire where guests swap game stories (of now and yore) are very popular at the camp and would most definitely make for an Easter to remember. 16-bed eco lodge that is located in the northern escarpment of the Laikipia Plateau in northwest Kenya. The Sanctuary is a collection of four, fully staffed country houses, each with its own courtyard, raised deck, gardens and lawns. The houses are secluded from each other. The largest of these, the Chief’s House, has three bedrooms, a living and dining area and its own plunge pool on the deck. The Colonel’s House is twobedroomed, also with a small plunge pool. The Sultan’s House has one double bedroom with a spacious living and dining room. The most unusual of the houses is the Eyrie. Perched on top of a kopje (hill), it commands superb views over the entire conservancy. The Sanctuary has a swimming pool, a library which provides a welcome haven for the bibliophile. The Laikipia Plateau boasts wildlife densities comparable only to those of the Maasai Mara. Satao Ele≥ai Camp This conservation lodge is built on a 5,000-acre private conservancy next to the Amboseli National Park and at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro. (Kenya or Tnazania?) It is a 28-bed camp configured into five five luxury suites and nine canvas tents. Satao Elerai is set in an area with a variety of ecosystems that range from acacia woodlands to grass plain. This makes for a rich diversity of game. Elephant, eland and giraffe abound. Dozens of bird species also make a home here. The camp has its own waterhole that is frequented by elephants, giraffes, eland, zebra and lesser kudu. Day and night game drives maximize on your viewing pleasure. And surely there can be nothing more memorable than a sundowner with Africa’s most romanticized mountain as a backdrop. The community of the Elerai Maasai who are the custodians of this land welcome visitors who are keen to catch a glimpse of their way of life.
Mar 1st 2015
Mar 16th 2015