White Masai – more than just a Safari
I absolutely love writing this blog, I really hope you love the journey or safari I take you on and you feel my passion for Africa, the wildlife and the culture. Since starting writing it several years ago I have been blessed with gaining many followers on my blog so I felt it was time to really give back to the country I call home. This is more than just about raising awareness of conservation and wildlife issues and encouraging tourists to visit Africa. I have been blessed to visit many charities in Africa. They are mainly run by volunteers from Africa and all over the world who like me have taken Africa to their hearts. The work the charities undertake is just incredible; I am always touched by their dedication and passion. I would urge you to click on the links below and read the work of these charities and please donate as much as you can. Also when you do come to Africa please visit these charities and see for yourself the wonderful selfless work they do to make other’s lives better, because at the end of the day it is important to support one another.
Here are some useful links for you:
The Maa Trust
“The Maa Trust is a non-profit organisation based in community-owned conservancies in the Masai Mara, Kenya. We work to increase the benefits of wildlife and conservation to Masai families so that they appreciate, and contribute to the protection of, wild animals on their land, and we aim to unite communities by involving them in conservation at a management level.
At The Maa Trust, we believe in research-based development and undertake detailed baseline and end line assessments so as to both quantify and qualify our impact. Our team has spent years going door-to-door asking thousands of ordinary people for their views, needs and aspirations. We listen carefully to what they say, think and ask for, and we act on this, rather than what donors want to give. By directing funding appropriately, and ensuring projects are set up and handed over in a sustainable manner, we help people to help themselves.
Unlike many organisations working in remote areas of Kenya, we are a permanent presence on the ground in the Masai Mara and we directly oversee all of our projects. While we strongly encourage communities to take ownership of projects upon completion, we continually monitor our work, and we are on hand should they need advice or guidance with repairs or maintenance issues.
The Maa Trust empowers local people by promoting small business start-ups & micro finance schemes, enabling them to make their own money and to invest in their family’s development. For example, in our social enterprises, Maa Beadwork and Maa Honey, we measure the success of these projects not only on how much money the ladies earn, but also the impact that these earnings have upon their lives. Our members self-identify their needs and wish list of items, and The Maa Trust helps them to save up for and attain these. Despite a severe lack of education granted to girl children in previous years, our female beadwork and honey members are now affording and investing in clean drinking water for their homes, solar power, alternative fuel to firewood, and they can now send more of their children to school.
We believe that education is a key to the success of the Mara conservancies and to the survival of this world-famous ecosystem. In collaboration with donor organisations, The Maa Trust builds classrooms and dormitories with electricity and clean water; connects children in need with scholarship and bursary sponsors; and organizes conservation education for students and teachers.”
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
They say “At the core of our work is the Orphans’ Project, from the rescue of milk dependent orphaned infant elephants through to their ultimate rehabilitation back into the wild. For the babies, their journey begins at our Nursery in Nairobi, where they receive dedicated hands on care and all the love and support they need to overcome the physical and psychological trauma of being orphaned and can start to enjoy the life they deserve.” They are open to the public just an hour a day between 11-12am and the wonderful staff bottle feed and play with the orphaned elephants whilst the tourists stand behind a roped off area. It was sad but beautiful to see the young Elephants clearly shriving and cared for by the staff. They frolicked in watering holes, played with and chewed on branches and generally were cheeky and mischievous. It was a delight to watch. One of the care staff talked about the individual babies, giving us their names and how they came to be rescued. The stories were varied and sad but he informed us of how they would be rehabilitated and introduced to herds in the wild. The majority of the babies were victims of the ivory trade and the organisation encouraged the visitors to boycott it and use influence on our governments to do so. It was a positive message. Before I left I sponsored a baby Elephant and would encourage you to do so, it is only $50 a year and this is a good charity.
The Giraffe centre
It is a lovely habitat for Giraffes and you are given special food to feed the Giraffes. I am not a fan of animals in captivity but this centre raises awareness of the conservation of Giraffes and their ethos is “The Giraffe Centre is the creation of the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (A.F.E.W. Kenya), a Kenyan non-profit organisation. Our main purpose is to educate Kenyan school children and youth on their country’s wildlife and environment, as well as give local and international visitors an opportunity to come into close contact with the world’s tallest species, the giraffe.” I must say I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, you really get up close and personal with the Giraffes and they are very cheeky and friendly. I love how they use their extraordinary endlessly long tongues to take food from you, I did laugh a lot. Giraffes really are quite intelligent and pretty animals, especially when you are up close with them. They all appeared to be in good health and very happy.
Nairobi National Park
“A short drive out of Nairobi’s central business district is the Nairobi National Park. Wide open grass plains and backdrop of the city scrapers, scattered acacia bush play host to a wide variety of wildlife including the endangered Black Rhino, Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, Hyenas, Buffaloes, Giraffes and diverse birdlife with over 400 species recorded. Visitors can enjoy the park’s picnic sites, three campsites and the walking trails for hikers.”
Having spent so many years on safari I was sceptical about visiting a park in the city hence why in sixteen years I have never. I must say I loved it. The scenery even though dry and arid this time of year was beautiful and in no time, you would never guess you were in a busy city. The park is 117 sq. Km and home to a diverse range of animals. Within 15 minutes we see a Black Rhino with a baby, it is a wonderful sight as they are endangered. Buffalos seem to be flourishing here and are well protected against poachers, which is still such a problem. He saw many different Antelope along with Buffalo, Hippo and Wildebeest. Most impressively to saw a lovely pride of Lions hunting. At sunset, the Lions headed down to the water to drink, it was stunning watching them silhouetted against the glow of the red orange and yellow glow of the sunset.
The Kenyan Wildlife Trust is an organisation I fully support and I hope you will to;
“The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) conserves and manages Kenya’s wildlife for the Kenyan people and the world. KWS undertakes conservation and management of wildlife resources across all protected areas systems in collaboration with stakeholders. It is our goal to work with others to conserve, protect and sustainably manage wildlife resources. The community wildlife program of KWS in collaboration with others encourages biodiversity conservation by communities living on land essential to wildlife, such as wildlife corridors and dispersal lands outside parks and reserves. The premise is that ” if people benefit from wildlife and other natural resources, then they will take care of these resources. Vision – “To save the last great species and places on earth for humanity”. Mission – “To sustainably conserve, manage, and enhance Kenya’s wildlife, its habitats, and provide a wide range of public uses in collaboration with stakeholders for posterity”. Core Values – “Passion, Professionalism, Innovation and Quality”. Mandate – Conserve and manage national parks, wildlife conservation areas, and sanctuaries under its jurisdiction.”
Project Luangwa is a charitable organisation formed by the Safari Operators of South Luangwa as a part of their commitment to responsible tourism.
Our aim is to create an effective, coordinated approach to helping local communities improve their long term economic prospects whilst avoiding a negative impact on the environment and wildlife.
We believe as a charity operating in Zambia that by developing and improving education in schools and creating training opportunities we can help families have the chance of a lasting and sustainable income.
Project Luangwa has grown from an idea by Jo Pope and is managed at grass roots level by Karen Beattie and Dave Hopson, a married couple who live and work in the Mfuwe, South Luangwa.
I am fully committed to raising awareness of wildlife conservation and supporting the charities I meet. With your support we can make a difference.