Wildlife conservation, local communities, and business values
At Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp, we are concerned with sustainable tourism and aim for our business to positively contribute to nature and local communities in Maasai Mara in Kenya. Therefore, we support two non-profit organisations working for wildlife conservation and local health care. Our charitable partners are, respectively, Remembering Wildlife and Right to Sight. Locally we are also hosting Oltepesi Public Pumphouse, a water well provided by the camp for free for all people living in the neighbouring villages. We also support our primary school and other local projects.
Remembering Wildlife is the home of the charity book series, which includes Remembering Elephants, Remembering Rhinos, Remembering Great Apes, Remembering Lions, Remembering Cheetahs, Remembering African Wild Dogs, and Remembering Bears. Their mission is to create the most beautiful books on a species ever made and then sell those books to raise awareness of the plight facing that species and funds to protect it.
The work is made possible by the generous donation of images by many of the world’s best photographers, including Steve Winter, Art Wolfe, Frans Lanting, Brent Stirton, Tim Laman and Jonathan & Angela Scott. Since the first book, “Remembering Elephants,” in 2016, nearly 200 of the world’s best wildlife photographers have generously contributed to the series. It’s an honour that Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp’s founder Arnfinn Johansen also is represented among these top-notch photographers. The project is run by British wildlife photographer Margot Raggett.
Together, the series has distributed more than $1,24 million USD to 58 conservation projects in 24 countries across Africa and Asia. You can read about where many of the donations have gone here. Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp’s support implies an annual donation of a 5-night / 6-day private wildlife photography safari for two guests on a fully inclusive basis worth USD 7,740. In 2023 we donated two such safaris. Remembering Wildlife sells these safaris at the auction at the annual book launch event at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
RIGHT TO SIGHT
Right to Sight is an international non-profit organisation with programmes for preventing curable blindness on the African continent. The consequences of blindness affect all generations. Children are born with cataracts in both eyes, so it is urgent to identify and operate on them early to preserve sight. In Africa, more than 7 million people have needless blindness. More than half of this blindness is due to cataracts. Using new surgical technology, patients with cataracts can regain their sight, and a 10 minutes operation can cure their blindness at the cost of 25 Euros. In addition, the organisation transfers competence and new technology to African doctors and always trains colleagues when treating patients; this secures sustainability.
Right to Sight Norway only focuses on Kenya. Currently, it supports training programs in Mombasa, with a satellite clinic in Tahita Hills, a mountain range located in the Taita-Taveta County in South-Eastern Kenya, and Kisii.
Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp’s support implies an annual donation of high-quality nature photographs taken by founder and wildlife photographer Arnfinn Johansen. The pictures are sold from an Oslo gallery financing Right to Sight Norway’s training programs and clinics in the Taita-Taveta County in South-Eastern Kenya and Kisii.
In March 2023, we will host the project and its doctors at Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp so that they can treat patients in Mara and surrounding conservancies.
PUBLIC WATER WELL, GRASSROOTS INITIATIVES, PRIMARY SCHOOL AND BUSINESS VALUES
In January 2022, Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp drilled a 200-metre-deep well. On March 19th, we had an official opening. In addition to providing water to the camp, the ceremony celebrated that anyone living in the neighbouring villages could come to Oltepesi and fetch water for free. Clean water is a significant health factor in all societies. Furthermore, a well makes life easier because you do not have to go far daily to fetch water, especially during the dry season. About 2,000 people benefit from this in their everyday life.
We are also backing local communities and conservation in the Mara on a general basis. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, we supported other villages with food and resources on several occasions. We have also supported grassroots conservation projects like the Cheetah Guardian and the Colobus Conservation.
In 2022 we started supporting our local primary school, Olare Owang Academy, located close to the camp on Oltepesi Hill. In 2023 we will carry on with this! Thank you to all our guests for helping us support our local schoolchildren!
At our camp, Oltepesi, we are fortunate to have a hard-working, service-minded, and highly skilled staff. All of our employees are local Maasais. We are like a big family, and we all depend on each other in the camp. Unfortunately, during the pandemic in 2020, the camp was closed for six months because there were no travellers to Kenya. But, following our business values, the payment of regular salaries was maintained.
All this aligns with Oltepesi’s desire to promote sustainable tourism. We believe that a prerequisite for successful environmental protection is that it must pay off financially for the local communities to conserve wildlife and nature, as it does here in the Maasai Mara.