We have worked hard since the opening of Mara Explorers in 2011 to be conscious of our environment around us, to live off of the grid and to have as minimal impact as possible on our surroundings, whilst still providing an affordable base for travellers coming to the Maasai Mara.
Several ways in which we are doing this is as follows:
~Solar Power. We are 100% off the grid and rely purely on solar power to run everything in our camp on a day to day basis. This includes the lighting, charging, fridges, freezers, ice maker, blenders hot water and even the electric fence. We do have a back up generator but usually only have to run it a handful of times a year if we have more than 2-3 cloudy days in a row and the camp is busy with guests.
~Tree Planting. We have planted 100+ trees and 300+ shrubs and flowers in the camp grounds to benefit the birds, bees and other small creatures. We also currently have a plant nursery comprising of over 500+ trees, shrubs and flowers which will eventually all go on to be planted up.
~Bee Hives. We have five bee hives in our camp grounds which provide homes to thousands of worker bees and with the honey they provide us we use it for cooking and provide to our guests at breakfast times.
~Vegetable gardens/chickens. We have our own vegetable gardens where we grow a lot of our own produce including tomatoes, cabbages, spinach, lettuces, pumpkins and herbs. We also have some chickens who provide us with a supply of fresh eggs.
~Briquettes. We do not use any illegally sourced or lump wood charcoal products in our BBQs at camp, we use only briquettes made from left over sawdust and other wood by products. Other cooking is all done with our gas stoves and ovens.
~No single use plastics. In April 2019 we stopped providing any single use plastic bottles and straws to our guests at camp. In our bar we only sell sealed water, soda and beers in reusable glass bottles. We provide drinking water in recycled wines and spirits glass bottles in our en suite rooms and for guests who would like a straw we provide bamboo straws. In our vehicles and dining area, guests are provided with drinking water from 20 litre plastic bottles which are either recycled back to the company for refilling where possible or used to plant trees in our nursery when not possible.
~Water usage. Our water at camp is piped from a nearby spring and we have a capacity to store 30,000 litres of water on site, we also capture rain water from our roofs to assist with cleaning and watering the flower gardens during periods of drought. We provide buckets in the showers of our en suite rooms for guests to save water whilst they are running the shower to their desired temperature, that water can then also be used by our team for the gardens or washing the vehicles rather than being wasted.
~Waste disposal/compost. By being conscious of packaging when we shop we create as minimal amount of waste as possible. All of our organic waste is composted and later reused in our vegetable gardens. Most of our glass bottles and jars are reused for storage and for packing our honey after harvesting. Anything else such as scrap mental or plastic which cannot be burned in our donkey boiler to provide hot water is returned to Nairobi for recycling projects.
~Local employment. Over 80% of our camp team are from the Maasai community and they work in all departments.
~Community bed fee. Ole Keene Maasai village directly benefits from Mara Explorers as for every client who stays here a part of the camping/accommodation fee goes to them as well as the lease fee which we pay them annually. Along with the help of donations and volunteers from Australia we have also been able to build this village a block of two toilets to help curb the spread of Typhoid.
~Student sponsorship. We are proud to have fund raised and assisted over 20 different students to complete primary school, high school and college since we began Mara Explorers in 2011. This year in 2020 we have Daniel and Sinore in our neighbouring Ole Keene Primary School, Milton in class 8 completing his final year of primary school in Narok, Pianto in a special primary school for the deaf in Kericho, Peninah in her first year of high school in Maasai Mara, Mercy in her third year of high school in Maasai Mara and Felister from Narok in her second year at Mount Kenya University studying Clinical Nursing! All these students school fees are fully covered through a combination of donors and Mara Explorers.
~School projects. Mara Explorers works closely with Ole Keene Primary School 1km away from our camp. Many of the students come from very poor families and malnutrition is a big problem, for this reason we came up with the idea of The Porridge Project in which we provide the school students with nutritional cup of porridge every morning and cover the salary of a cook to prepare it. We also work together with the headmaster on development projects, our current project is to build a new classroom block by the end of 2021, to find out more or to donate you can click here.
~Gift Shop. As much as possible we source items for our small camp gift shop directly from the individuals or families who design and make the items, thereby ensuring they benefit from a good price from their items rather than buying via brokers who will often take advantage of the producers. Our gift shop profits go into sustaining The Porridge Project and are used to pay for school fees and expenses for some of our sponsored students.
~Pack for a Purpose. We are proud members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travelers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few kilos of space in your suitcase and take supplies for the projects we support in need, you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families.
Please click here to see what supplies are needed for our project/projects.
~Detergent/soaps. By the end of 2020 we plan to have made the switch to using completely non toxic detergents and soaps which are all made with natural ingredients.
~Cows for milk. By the end of 2021 we hope to have a small number of our own cows for a milk, cheese and butter supply.
~Electric vehicles. As a long term plan we would like to run only electric 4×4 Land Cruisers for our game drives into the Maasai Mara National Reserve. At present the cost to convert a diesel engine system to an electric system in Kenya is around $30,000 and therefore this is a long term project, but we aim to have converted at least one vehicle by 2023.