Kenya News
Following the hugely popular 10-part BBC2 series – This Wild Life – the UK public is keen to experience Saba Douglas-Hamilton’s delightful family-run property in Samburu, Elephant Watch Camp. It is now being marketed to the UK travel trade by Kamili.

Wildlife film-maker and conservationist, Saba Douglas-Hamilton and Tim Henshall (MD of Kamili) met in London, ahead of her hugely successful lecture at the Royal Geographical Society in early October. She'd newly arrived from the States, having been at an elephant summit in Jackson Hole.

Brief introductions and small talk over, as soon as they began discussing the camp and her entire family's commitment to conservation, Saba truly came to life. It was clear she is both passionate and dynamic... leaving Tim trying to imagine just how inspiring she would be when she wasn't suffering jet lag!

Saba was keen to emphasise that Elephant Watch Camp expands ‘eco-tourism’ by engaging at a deeper level with the wildlife and landscape to offer 'conservation tourism’.

“We feel it's part of our mission to ensure that guests leave with an increased understanding and commitment towards conserving Kenya's wildlife and engaging with the local people in a meaningful way.”

Conservation tourism takes “eco” a step further.  The idea is both to do no harm and to give something back. Saba describes the camp’s elephant encounters as akin to swimming with wild dolphins. It’s impossible not to fall in love! Conservation becomes central to the experience, because inevitably you protect the things you love. Simply by visiting national parks you help to conserve the animals. But at Elephant Watch you engage in conservation at a much deeper level, and also have a truly memorable safari experience!

Elephant Watch Camp is a "bohemian chic " tented camp with just 6 guest rooms. Saba took over management in 2014, but she emphasizes that it's very much a family enterprise - her mother, Oria,  constructed the camp 14 years ago and is still the creative force behind it.  The family’s love of nature is evident in the way each room is built under its own tree, blending in with the environment. Elephants often pass through, and in the morning you’re woken by a chorus of songbirds.  It has the feeling of home, especially as Saba, husband Frank Pope (who works for Save the Elephants) and their children all live there, along with a host of Samburu warriors from the local community.

“We try to peel back the layers of meaning so that each day your understanding and appreciation of the wild world deepens, in a beautiful, authentic setting that is both superbly comfortable but also luxuriously simple.”

The camp provided the focal point for a much-acclaimed 10 part TV-series broadcast in September on primetime BBC2. We were both glad to agree that UK tour operators would thankfully see beyond the dramatisation of daily events at the camp. "We're not really that disorganised behind the scenes!" Saba laughed. But the series has brought valuable exposure to the camp and its conservation links, with a surge of enquiries coming in.

"The camp is my home and, yes, I'm the host... but it's a passion project of the entire family, each committed to delivering amazing experiences that enhance our understanding of Nature ”

For more information on the camp, contact saba@elephantwatchportfolio.com or tim@kamilisafaris.com













Published in News
Wednesday, 09 September 2015 15:44

Serena leads by example

When times are tough – Serena Hotels leads by example and invests US$20 Million in East Africa’s tourism.  Read about what Serena has planned for some of its hotels in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania next year  – and check out their swish new landcruisers on http://bit.ly/1EjBYrk
Published in News
Friday, 14 August 2015 13:47

Once In A Lifetime Opportunity!

Atua Enkop Africa are offering directors, product managers and senior sales staff a once in a lifetime migration experience. It is not often that operators can get a free stay in the Masai Mara during the world famous great migration. We all sell holidays to Kenya around the migration time but how often have we experienced it for ourselves?? Atua Enkop is taking advantage of a few days when their beautiful luxury camps are not full to invite select travel staff to experience the migration first hand.

Anyone interested please contact Tsessabe on info@tsessabe.com to secure your space as they are limited.
Published in News
Kenya introduces MANDATORY online visa applications

Starting from 2nd July 2015, the government of Kenya will introduce electronic visa application.  Tourists wishing to visit Kenya need to apply as follows:

  1. Visit the electronic visa page at www.ecitizen.go.ke
  2. Select Register as a Visitor
    1. As part of this process, you will receive a confirmation email that you need to click on to verify and confirm your registration
    2. At this point, you will be asked to UPLOAD A DIGITAL PASSPORT PHOTO (Maximum size 500 px by 500 px)
  3. Once logged in, select Department of Immigration Services
  4. Select Submit Application
  5. Select Kenyan Visa
  6. Select the type of visa (visitor) and read the instructions carefully
  7. Complete the application form - please note that incomplete applications will be rejected however you will lose your processing fees
    1. You will need a scan of the main page of your passport (with your name, date of birth and other information)
    2. You will need to re-upload your passport photo
  8. Pay using your Visa card, MasterCard or other debit card
  9. Await your approval which will be sent to you by email.  This could take up to 7 days so give yourself plenty of time.
  10. Once you have received the email advising that your visa is approved, log back into your ecitizen account and download your visa. 
  11. Print a copy of your visa to present to the immigration officer at your point of entry into Kenya
Some things to remember:

  • The visa process takes up to one week and must be completed in advance
  • You will need a scan of your passport and passport photo
  • Approval and issuance of the visa does not guarantee entry into Kenya
  • Any form of business or employment on a visitor's visa is an offence 


GRACE PERIOD

As the introduction of this visa process was only this past week, there is a two month grace period whereby visas may still be purchased on arrival.  This grace period expires on 31 August 2015.



Effective 01 September 2015, you may be denied boarding of your flight to Kenya or denied entry to Kenya if you do not have your printed copy of your e-visa with you.



Please contact your ARP Travel Consultant should you have any questions.  



The new service goes live on 2nd July 2015.
Published in News
TOURVEST APPOINTS REPRESENTATIVES FOR EAST AFRICAN OPERATIONS

Tourvest East Africa has contracted Luxury Representation Collection of the United Kingdom as representatives for Vintage Africa, Sense of Africa Uganda and the Lemala Camps and Lodges to cover the United Kingdom and Ireland, with effect from 1 November. Effective the same date Ynot Concepts of Australia will provide representation services to the same Tourvest East Africa brands across Australia and New Zealand.

South African born Luxury Representation Collection owner Tesna Simonsen George has been working in the industry for over 16 years gaining experience from the various segments of the travel market before finding her true passion in the field of representation.

“Tesna is extremely passionate about Africa and through years of dedication and drive, alongside Kirstine Vercoe she has built up an excellent reputation in the UK and Ireland. Their combined experience and enthusiasm makes Luxury Representation Collection an ideal fit for Tourvest in East Africa,” said James Haigh, joint CEO and Sales and Marketing Director of Tourvest East Africa.

Rob Gurr, owner of Ynot Concepts comes from a strong sales and marketing background. Until recently he headed the South African Tourism trade marketing team in Australia. He implemented national marketing campaigns, business plans, developed and created relationships with key stakeholders and has an excellent understanding of the Australian and New Zealand markets.

“We are very excited to have Tesna, Kirstine and Rob on board as we continue to expand and we look forward to the value they will add to our sales and marketing effort,” he said.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:   info@luxuryrepcollection.com  

www.lemalacamp.com 
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sense-of-Africa-Uganda/572243669547969?sk=timeline&ref=page_internal
https://www.facebook.com/VintageAfrica
Published in News
Thursday, 29 May 2014 12:33

Kenya Travel Advice Update

It is now 2 weeks since the British government changed its travel advice for Kenya and for the present time is recommending avoiding non-essential travel to Mombasa Island and an area between Mtwapa, north of Mombasa and Tiwi, south of Mombasa. This is in addition to the pre-existing advice to avoid travel to some of the poorer areas of Nairobi and also areas near the border with Somalia.

The current travel advice (which you can see here) specifically excludes the many game reserves which are most people’s primary reason for travelling to Kenya, as well as stating that the international airports and popular beach resorts including Diani are unaffected.

All UK tour operators with holidaymakers in the affected areas will have moved them to other hotels and resorts as a result of the Government advice, and people due to travel to the affected areas in the future will also have had their arrangements changed.

TUI Travel (owners of Thomson and First Choice) took things a stage further and evacuated all their holidaymakers from the country, and announced that they would not resume holidays to Kenya until November of this year at the earliest. This attracted wide-spread media attention which has led to many people travelling to areas unaffected by the recent government advice to cancel their trips.

So what does this mean for Travel Agents and Tour Operators going forward?

Many companies have taken the understandable decision to stop selling trips to Kenya for the time-being, however the widely-held perception that the whole country is considered unsafe for travel is incorrect. International airlines including BA, KLM, and Air Kenya continue to operate their scheduled flights as normal to Nairobi and Mombasa, and everyday visitors are still enjoying the wonder of a safari in Kenya and relaxing in the beach resorts of Diani.

Travel Agents faced with clients looking for a safari and beach holiday in the next few months might want to consider Tanzania and Zanzibar instead of Kenya...or South Africa or Botswana combined with Mozambique or Mauritius would be another popular alternative. Of course as Nairobi Airport and Kenya's game reserves are currently unaffected, some people might still want to go and see the great migration in the Masai Mara and then head off to the beach in Zanzibar or elsewhere in the Indian Ocean.

It will all come down to a simple rule in the end: follow the government travel advice and avoid the areas that are considered unsafe, and then take advice from specialists in the area before making your own decision on whether you are still happy to send clients to unaffected areas.

Hopefully this situation will be resolved before too long, and we can all go back to selling this fantastic destination without any hestitation what-so-ever.

Published in News
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 10:47

Serena launch new family package for Kenya

Just announced - Up to 2 kids under 12 years old stay for free when combining either Mara Serena Safari Lodge and Serena Beach Resort or Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge and Serena Beach Resort. This unique offer is valid at Mara Serena for the May and October 2014 half term breaks and at Kilaguni Serena for the May and October 2014 half term breaks AND the summer holidays. Bookings can be made through your existing booking channel or if booking direct please contact info@ethosmarketing.co.uk for full details.  
Published in News
Late last year Sanctuary Olonana, the award winning tented camp situated on a private stretch of the Mara River received an extensive upgrade to the public areas of the lodge as well as a soft refurbishment to the tents suits and pool area. We wanted the local Masai ladies to play an active part in the refurbishment and they offered to “mud” the interior walls in all of the main areas, curio shop and offices. This is the same technique used in their own houses and involves mixing cow dung, sand and cement placed on the walls. A complete new entrance was built where guests will be welcomed with a refreshing drink after arriving at the lodge or when returning from a game viewing activity. The dining room received new furniture including new tables, chairs, lamps, table linen, lanterns, side boards, cabinets and lighting. The lounge area received new relaxing sofas, tables, ottomans, coffee tables, carpet and lighting fixtures. The library now features a new whole new look bookcase, sofa, desk with a laptop for guests to use and a new board games table. In addition the rooms received new bedside tables, lamps a large carpet and re-upholstered day beds. Please visit our website at http://www.sanctuaryretreats.com/kenya-camps-olonana for a look at the newly upgraded camp featuring interior décor with a new contemporary design.
Published in News
Thursday, 19 December 2013 11:31

Kamili's Kenya offering

Kenya continues to be one of the UK's prime safari destinations, and we are delighted to be extending our offering here. These two stunning properties, our superb ground handler and an exceptional photographic safari, match Kamili’s high expectations regarding accommodation, hospitality and safari experience.

The Mara: inside and out

Sentinel Camp

Sentinel Safaris operate a luxury tented seasonal eco-camp, which is set up along a secluded site along the banks of the Mara River. The Camp is situated in a prime area of the Masai Mara National Reserve. The Musiara Marsh area renowned for its outstanding game viewing is where the BBC “Big Cat Diaries” and Disney’s “African Cats” were both filmed. Guests are assured of an excellent game viewing experience.

The camp itself is set up in a forest with wonderful bird life and the private and natural setting ensures that guests have a most enjoyable and authentic experience of the bush. This carefully chosen location on high banks above the Mara River means that there are always hippo and crocodile in the river below to be seen.The non-permanent seasonal nature of the camp minimises the impact on the environment. The camp itself captures the essence of traditional East African safari hospitality, with the décor and ambience encompassing the romance and adventure if a bygone era.

See more>>

Great Lakes Safaris

Kenya have a great new reason to jump for joy; Great Lakes Safaris are setting up offices in Nairobi and will offering their exceptional ground handling services across Kenya.

If you’ve enjoyed the benefits of working with great Lakes Safaris in Uganda, you’ll be jumping for joy to hear that they are set to open offices in Nairobi to offer exceptionally high standards of service for Kenya. Employing highly experienced Kenyan staff (not Ugandans running the show from a different country) means you can expect the same level product knowledge, the same speed and accuracy of response, the same level of client care and the same level of cost-savings that Great Lakes have founded their Uganda business upon.

Contact Kamili for more information.

Encounter Mara

Each of Encounter Mara’s twelve spacious tents features their own private veranda with a view over the surrounding savannah. Tents are constructed out of canvas and natural materials and furnished with handmade furniture, boasting simple and elegant décor, soaking in the beauty of the surrounding bush. Tucked into the edge of the forest, tents are side facing, which allows for a larger veranda as well as a “bathroom with a view.”  Because of the regulations of Mara Naboisho conservancy, numbers of tourists are limited. Therefore, guests often find themselves with a private view of exquisite game, unhindered by the masses of safari vans one often finds in the Masai Mara Reserve.

Mara Naboisho Conservancy is known for its high density of animals and comes close to leading Africa in the highest density of lions. The wide variety of species abundant in Mara Naboisho includes Cheetah, Leopard, Elephant, Giraffe, Zebra and the elusive African Wild Dog. Guests also have a front row seat to staggering numbers of wildebeest during the annual migration. Night drives are conducted after enjoying a breath-taking Mara sunset from one of the many sundowner spots. This is often one of the most exciting times in the bush as the big cats start to hunt, and lion, leopard, aardwolf, porcupine, grazing hippos and many other nocturnal species are seen.

See more>>

Coetzer Nature Photography

Lou Coetzer is a bit of a perfectionist and having been a top wildlife photographer for over 30 years he understands the wishes and needs of other photographers. That’s why Coetzer Nature Photography’s set-departure photo safaris are so often sold out, with clients coming back year after year.

Not all clients are experts by any measure, although they are all keen to improve their skills and take better images with the help of the multi-award winning CNP team. They run photo safaris to Etosha, Chobe and the Masai Mara with trips lasting on average 10 days.

The Masai Mara is undoubtedly one of the premier game-viewing destinations in Africa and until recently CNP had resisted its call. Guests are taken in their custom built vehicles, with fridges for keeping those refreshments cool, and a bank of 220v plug points to allow photographers to charge camera and laptop batteries in the field to learn how to capture that “perfect shot.” 

See more>>

Published in News
Tuesday, 17 December 2013 13:02

The best of the Mara without the masses

Encounter Mara is one of only 6 camps in the 50,000-acre Mara Naboisho Conservancy on the northeastern border of the Masai Mara National Reserve. The private conservancy is a groundbreaking tourism project benefitting conservation and communities. They successfully promote, preserve and develop land for livestock, wildlife and tourism. They also manage issues of land-use and human-wildlife conflict together with residents and ensure economic growth through increased community participation in the planning and development of projects.

The Mara Naboisho Conservancy has a population of 23,000 people (roughly 4,900 households). The Maasai have maintained a pastoral way of life, co-existing with wildlife for several thousands of years. Livestock farming is the main source of livelihood and income for the landowners who have leased their land to create Mara Naboisho. The creation of the conservancy is an opportunity not only to conserve the wildlife, which is under threat from human activities and land-use changes, but will also help to diversify the livelihoods of the Maasai so that they can cope with the climatic fluctuations that are common in the dry lands. Currently approximately 500 landowners are receiving monthly lease fees from the camps by bank transfer directly into their personal accounts. Unlike the old system, in which the chiefs were paid and it was up to them to distribute the money, this new system ensures that each member is paid their share.

The camp employs 95% local Maasai community members as their staff, and also provides education projects, which facilitate local employment in tourism. These include training locals to become guides, supporting local schools, improving access to healthcare and clean water, and empowering women - which helps to strengthen and uplift the community.

Mara Naboisho Conservancy has one of the highest densities of lions in Africa. One of the major prides, comprised of 22 lions, makes its home nearby Encounter Mara Camp. The conservancy also has impressive numbers of elephant, giraffe, and other plains animals, in addition to hosting some of the rarest animals in Kenya, such as Wild Dog.

Visitor numbers and camp size is strictly controlled to ensure visitors have an exclusive experience because they are away from the very high vehicle numbers so prevalent in Masai Mara National Reserve. Guests sometimes drive around all day without seeing another vehicle.
The conservancy is a new model for Kenya and is playing a big role in influencing the politics that are being put in place at a national level, to conserve the land and wildlife and empower communities.

The Mara Naboisho was a highly commended runner up in the Responsible Tourism Awards 2013 and they also won 'Best Tented Safari Camp 2013' at the World Travel Awards.

www.encountermara.com
Published in News
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