After visiting Kenya a few years ago on honeymoon and falling completely in love with the beautiful country, I was so excited to be given the opportunity to return to experience life in Kenya away from the tourist trail and to see where Camps first began 16 years ago.
One of the highlights of the trip for me was the chance to meet some incredible people and characters along the way. Our first stop was our flagship camp, Camp Tsavo, which is set in an elevated position overlooking the stunning African savannah. Joffrey, the head chef, has been with Camps since we first began in 2002 and he is a firm favourite with all who visit Tsavo….greeting everyone with a beaming smile and serving the most delicious meals!
It was fascinating to meet the legendary Mama Mercy who is a pivotal member of the local community and head of the Itinyi Women’s group. She gave an inspiring talk about the extensive programme of crafts the women’s group are involved in to provide a crucial source of income for their families. We were able to try our hand at two of the activities – making bead bracelets and elephant dung paper, which was great to experience.
Our visit to Itinyi Primary School gave us all a crucial insight into just what a difference our volunteers are making. We were able to see first-hand the dedicated administration block that was built back in 2016 to provide a much-needed area for teacher meetings, lesson planning and storage.
We also saw the four classrooms which have been refurbished, with the doors and windows much improved and access ramps constructed. Having the chance to sit down with the students and to spend some time chatting about their day, their upcoming exams and their dreams for the future was an incredibly humbling experience and one of my favourite memories from the trip.
We finished our time in Kenya at The Wildlife Foundation Camp just outside Nairobi in the heart of the National Park. Many of the staff at this camp are members of the Masai community and we were treated to some traditional Masai songs around the campfire on our last night – something I’ll never forget! The following morning, we were taken on a nature hike out into the National Park which was led by the Masai. We learnt so much….from which herbs and plants are used in homeopathic remedies by Masai families to ongoing project work focusing on the ongoing conflict between wildlife conservation and urban living, including the brilliant Lion Light Project:
To find out more, check out: https://www.ted.com/talks/richard_turere_a_peace_treaty_with_the_lions#t-77654
(warning, video includes images which some may find upsetting)
What an incredible week! 😊