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 Charcoal Fridges and Rainwater Harvesting Among Reasons Campi Ya Kanzi
One of the First Recipients of Ecotourism Kenya's New Gold Eco-rating
SANTA FE, N.M. (March 29, 2007) - Uncharted Outposts, one of the nation's oldest and most respected safari and travel specialists, announced Thursday that Campi Ya Kanzi, one of their favorite destination properties, is among the first recipients of Ecotourism Kenya's new Gold Eco-rating. 

A community owned eco-resort in southern Kenya's Chyulu Hills, Campi Ya Kanzi was one of just three properties to receive the Gold rating from Ecotourism Kenya, a group that promotes sustainable tourism. The Gold rating recognizes excellence in environmental management, sustainable use of resources and community/social linkages. Five other properties received the group's Silver Eco-rating. 

"We have watched the evolution of Campi Ya Kanzi from the very beginning," says Sandy Cunningham, director of sales for Uncharted Outposts. "Ten years ago we were managing a neighboring conservation area and saw firsthand their enthusiasm and dedication. Now we are delighted at the international recognition they are receiving for their outstanding work." 

Campi ya Kanzi (Camp of the Hidden Treasure) was opened in 1997 by Luca Belpietro and Antonella Bonomi on the Kuku Group Ranch, a Maasi reserve in the foothills of Kilimanjaro between Kenya and Tanzania. It is a collaboration with the local Maasi community, which helped construct and staff the camp. 

Tembo ("elephant") House is the heart of the camp. The clubhouse has a thatched roof and is beautifully constructed of local materials such as lava rocks and native timbers (collected in a National Forest where there is sustainable plantation). It is open to the outdoors, and from its terrace you'll have a spectacular view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Tembo House has a large lounge where you can enjoy our books about Africa; relax with a refreshing drink after your safari; listen to classical music while watching a zebra drinking at the waterhole...

You will also take your meals at Tembo House. Crystal glasses, fine table settings and candlelight dinners will be a highlight of your Campi ya Kanzi experience. Our cooks are specially trained in the preparation of fine Italian cuisine (home made fresh pasta, risotto, biscuits, bread, ice-cream...), which we feature along with International and local dishes. Fresh daily vegetables are supplied by our organic vegetable garden, as well as fresh milk from our organic dairy and fresh eggs from our chickens. Wines are from South Africa and also from the Italian vineyards of Antonella, specially bottled for Campi ya Kanzi.

The lodge was designed to have minimal environmental impact. Buildings were constructed from local materials, like lava rocks, thatch and lumber from a reforestation program. Hot water comes from solar boilers, while electricity is produced by solar systems and the food is prepared with eco-friendly charcoal. Waste is collected, recycled or incinerated - or used as compost for a small organic vegetable garden. Water is collected from the roofs and purified through lava filters, then recycled and fed into a pond for wildlife. 

Luca and Antonella also created The Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, employing teachers at local schools and nurses at dispensaries who provide supplies and medicine. In addition, Maasai game scouts protect wildlife and compensate herdsmen for loss of livestock. This project, crucial for the survival of the lion, is generously supported by Cartier and by actor Edward Norton. Campi ya Kanzi guests, who donate $40 to the trust for every night spent at the lodge, provide additional funding. 

Visitors further support the trust by generously offering donations to "The Maasai Foundation of East Africa," a U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit. In choosing Campi ya Kanzi, guests are visiting one of the few remaining spots of pristine African wilderness, while supporting a meaningful conservation project. 

The Eco-rating system - Africa's first - has three successive levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. It offers travelers to Kenya a guarantee that the product they are consuming is ecologically and socially responsible. 

More details

On 22nd March 2007 Ecotourism Kenya announced and awarded the first tourist accommodation facilities to achieve Gold and Silver Eco-rating in the Eco-rating Scheme. 

Basecamp Masai Mara, Campi ya Kanzi and Malewa River Lodge are the premier winners of Gold Eco-rating. Gold Eco-rating signifies excellence and/or innovation in environmental management, sustainable use of resources and community/social linkages. It is the highest level of certification in the Eco-rating scheme.

Additionally,  Amboseli Porini Camp, Mara Porini Camp, Olonana, Ol Seki Mara and Turtle Bay Beach Club were awarded Silver Eco-rating. These are also the premier winners of this level of rating. Silver Eco-rating signifies a facility that is moving towards excellence in the areas of environmental management, sustainable resource use and community linkages. 

The Ecotourism Kenya-managed Eco-rating Scheme was the first in Africa.  The scheme has three successive levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Up to 22nd March, there were 31 facilities that had been holding Bronze Eco-rating.

Apart from evaluating performance of lodges/camps, the Eco-rating Scheme is contributing to branding of Kenya as an ecotourism destination. In a market where travellers are increasingly concerned about the ecological and social impacts of their holidays, this scheme offers guarantee to the traveller that the product they are consuming is ecologically and socially responsible. 

Ecotourism Kenya's Eco-rating scheme
Ecotourism Kenya manages a scheme that certifies tourist accommodation facilities in Kenya. The Eco-rating Scheme, as the scheme is called, is an initiative of the Kenyan tourism industry that is designed to further the goals of sustainable tourism by recognizing efforts aimed at promoting environmental, social and economic values. Eco-rating is a systematic approach for verifying a tourism organisations performance when evaluated against an agreed suite of criteria. The scheme is voluntary; any hotel, lodge, camp, bush home or banda can participate. Being awarded a label under the scheme is confirmation that the facility has invested time, money and other resources in betterment of the environment, resource use and the welfare of local communities

Campi ya Kanzi

Eco-rating Scheme Award Gold 

Facility Type: Permanent Tented Camp

Year Opened: 1998

Situated in Southern Kenya, 25 miles from Mt. Kilimanjaro, in a Maasai Group Ranch, Campi ya Kanzi is joint venture with the local Maasai community.

Address: Campi ya Kanzi
P.O. Box 236- 90128 Mtito Andei
Phone +254-45-622516 or +264 720 461300
Fax +254-45-622516 or +264 720 461300


14 guests are accommodated in six luxury tented cottages and the Hemingway and Simba suites, all set on wooden platforms with thatched roofs and large en-suite bathrooms with hot (solar boiler) and cold running water, special eco friendly flush toilet, shower and bidet. Bedding is of the finest Italian linen. Tents are named after the view from the verandas, from Chyulu Hills to Kilimanjaro.

bird watching, bush picnics, bush walks, forest walks, game drives, village visits 

Sustainable tourism measures
Outstanding & replicable tourism practices

  • The reason for selecting the campís location (a place where there is no water) is an outstanding practice. Most tourism facilities in Kenya are located very close to water sources.
  • The Maasai Wildlife and Conservation Trust that seeks and manages funds for various environmental and social support initiatives, including paying compensation to members of the community for wildlife depredation, construction of 4 classrooms and employment of five teachers at a local primary school, giving scholarships, etc.
  • Has won other sustainable tourism recognition, including winning the 2005 Skal Ecotourism Award, 2006 Tourism for Tomorrow Award and being a finalist at the 2004 Word Legacy Award. 
Other responsible tourism practices
  • The camp is small and blends well with its environment
  • All garbage is separated before disposal
  • Uses only charcoal briquettes for all cooking
  • Use of a comprehensive guest briefing and information sheets, all which have enabled the lodge to take maximum advantage of travelersí philanthropy
  • Uses dual flush toilets for water efficiency
  • Detergents used have been chosen because they are known to be eco-friendly
  • Energy efficiency - minimum use of the generator, with excess power being stored in batteries to be discharged later
  • Laundry and dish-washing machines have been chosen due to their water efficiency characteristics
  • Every unit has a water meter to monitor water usage
  • Rainwater harvesting and storage, using roof catchment
  • Use of a three-chamber composting system to manage kitchen wastes
  • Use of effective micro-organisms in septic tanks to break down wastes
  • Use of a reedbed system as part of their wastewater management initiatives
  • Scouts the Chyulus for KWS as the state agency does not have enough rangers to do it 
  • Safety: there is a fire hose and a fire extinguisher in every unit
  • Technology/innovation: has a charcoal fridge for storing vegetables
  • Community support: pays $40 bed night fee and a yearly management fee of Ksh. 300,000 to Kuku. Apart from what the Trust gives, the manager estimated that in 2006, the community received in excess of 15million from the camp, in form of conservation fees, salaries, tips, etc.
  • Has employed 39 locals at the camp
  • Covered the black PVC tanks used for water collection with dry sticks, as a way of ensuring they blend with their environment

Sandy Cunningham
Uncharted Outposts

Eco tourism Kenya


Also See: The Doubletree Hotel Portlandís Carbon Offset Program Includes the Elimination of Airport Shuttle, Installation of  Low-flow Showerheads, Much more / April 2007

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