If you have any questions or would like further information on anything contained within this blog or some general advice on travel to Africa please call us on: 0044 1227 753181 or email info@puresafari.com

Friday, 24 September 2010

Client Feedback

Hi Nick

I hope you are well. I have just come back from my honeymoon at the Neptune Pwani Hotel in Zanzibar, as booked through yourself. We just wanted to send an email thanking you. We both had a wonderful, memorable honeymoon, at a hotel recommened by yourself.

Your help and attention paid to us during the booking of this holiday was fantastic, and of an extremly high standard.

Seems rare to find companies now that really do seem to have a genuine interest and concern in their customers requirements, yet you and your colleagues did that on each occasion we spoke.

I would have absolutly no problem in recommending you and your company to anyone that i can.

Should we think of returning to Zanzibar in the future, you will be the first phone call i make!

Again we both thank you, and wish you all the best for the future.


Matt Hyne.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Shompole Lodge - Eco Luxury at its best.

Nguruman Escarpment - Rift Valley - Kenya
Shompole Lodge is a luxury eco-lodge situated on the edge of the Nguruman Escarpment overlooking the Great Rift Valley in south-western Kenya. It is located 120 miles south of Nairobi on the Tanzanian border, near Lake Natron on a 35,000 acre core conservancy, surrounded by 140,000 acres of the Shompole Group Ranch which provides a With its stunning location lying on the edge of the Great Rift Valley, Shompole is a creation of the imagination. Constructed to emphasize the beauty of natural materials, the lodge combines flowing water and smooth white walls.

Shompole consists of six stylishly furnished minimalist rooms that incorporate elements of nature such as white quartz stone, thatch, fig wood and flowing water. The smooth white walls and the use of natural forms blend effortlessly with the natural rugged surroundings of the indigenous bush. The lodge overlooks the great sun baked plains of the Great Rift Valley and the rooms are spacious and shaded, having been designed with comfort and relaxation in mind. Each of the en-suite rooms has its own uniquely shaped “cool pool” and informal seating area with roll up canvas windows on all sides with spectacular views of the local scenery. The food is prepared from the finest fresh ingredients and you can enjoy your dinner in the main thatched dining room or in the privacy of your own room under the stars.

The local Maasai people are fully involved in the running of the lodge and welcome visitors to the camp and the local villages, an experience that adds an interesting cultural element to the clients´ stay. Each tented room provides a very spacious, shady oasis in this arid environment. With privacy, comfort and relaxation in mind, each room has its own cool-pool and informal sitting areas, a bathroom with a view and a specially designed tent that includes vast windows and a high canopied roof.

The main lounge and dining area consists of a high thatch roof overlooking Mount Shompole and the Rift Valley. Various levels accommodate seating areas and a lofted recess high in the roof provides an additional quiet area.

Little Shompole is composed of 2 luxury suites situated within a few minutes’ walk of the main lodge, commanding striking views across the Great Rift Valley. Complete with 9'x9' double beds, large cool pools, sun-deck, lounge and spacious bathroom with his and hers washbasins, these rooms are the ultimate in stylish privacy. The rooms also share an exclusive lounge and dining area and a 37m horizon / lap pool that looks out across Lake Natron. For clients looking for an even more exclusive and private getaway, guests of Little Shompole can enjoy the privacy of a dedicated team of staff, private guide and butler service.

Conservation, Tourism and the Maasai


The Maasai (also Masai) are a Nilotic ethnic group of semi nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. Due to their distinctive customs and dress and residence near the many game parks of East Africa, they are among the most well known of African ethnic groups. They speak Maa, a member of the Nilo-Saharan language family that is related to Dinka and Nuer, and are also educated in the official languages of Kenya and Tanzania: Swahili and English. The Maasai population has been estimated as 377,089 from the 1989 Census or as 453,000 language speakers in Kenya in 1994 and 430,000 in Tanzania in 1993 with a total estimated as "approaching 900,000". Estimates of the respective Maasai populations in both countries are complicated by the remote locations of many villages, and their semi-nomadic nature.

Although the Tanzanian and Kenyan governments have instituted programs to encourage the Maasai to abandon their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle, the people have continued their age-old customs. Recently, Oxfam has claimed that the lifestyle of the Maasai should be embraced as a response to climate change because of their ability to farm in deserts and scrublands.

The Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania have co-existed with wildlife for generations. The wildlife has survived because of the protection and respect that the Maasai have for the environment, having lived alongside most wild animals with an aversion to eating game and birds. Maasai are pastoralist and have resisted the urging of the Tanzanian and Kenyan governments to adopt a more sedentary lifestyle. They have demanded grazing rights to many of the National Parks in both countries, as they have seen reduced much of the traditional grazing lands for their cattle as they became protected areas; in fact, Maasai land now has East Africa's finest game areas.

According to the Department of Remote Sensing and Resource Surveys (DRSRS), more than 60 percent of Kenyan wildlife is found on the tribal land called ‘group ranches’ belonging to the Maasai people. The popular National Parks and Reserves like Amboseli, Lake Nakuru, Maasai Mara, Tsavo East and Samburu Game Reserve are all found in Maasai land. Their contributions to the local economy of Maasai people are minimal.

In Kenya, tourism is one of the principle sources of foreign revenues for the central government. Its direct and indirect contributions to the national economy are enormous. Other sectors like agriculture, transportation, or communication depend heavily on the tourism industry. But the tourism industry itself depends on wildlife resources as the main attraction with the government being the custodian of wildlife whether inside or outside the National parks.

The Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR), to mention an example of Maasai land, attracts 60 per cent of the nature tourists who visit Kenya every year, earning the country $75 million in 1996, yet a very little percentage of the revenue collected seems to trickle down to local communities. Today more than 80 per cent of wildlife, which belongs to the state, lives outside protected areas on the Maasai land. The most pressing issue is the ownership of the wildlife in communal areas at a time of rapid population growth. The land is under pressure from people and wildlife. Having wild animals that they do not own, living on their land has made the Maasai grow over time less tolerant of wildlife, while they feel that the issues of land and wildlife related to them raises questions such as:

• Why would the Maasai forego their own development and needs for a wildlife resource that they do not own or use?

• Why should Maasai not share the money accrued from the wildlife that feeds on their cows and children?

• Why should communities bear the costs of conservation but not the benefits?

• If local communities own the land on which the wildlife exists, are they not the best people to implement and monitor measures to relieve pressures on biodiversity?

• Is not their full involvement in the decision-making and management process imperative for the success of conservation and development on their land?

A very dramatic question that arises from all the above is why should the conservation of wildlife have precedence over local people’s needs?

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), a state corporation responsible for conserving and managing all of Kenya’s wildlife, has done little in educating the communities around the MMNR on how to benefit from the resource on which Kenyan tourism thrives. KWS has also neglected the community; out of a population of 46,331 people, 36,138 lived below the poverty line in the Mara planning unit in 2001.

Furthermore, the theme of the 1997-2001 District Development Plan for Narok District was “rapid industrialisation for sustainable development”. This included improving the infrastructure, developing local raw materials, marketing and access to credit. In the Mara division this has hardly been realised.

The Maasai’s changing view of wildlife is driven by the fact that they do not have the marketing and financial skills to utilize the natural resource commercially, leaving them feeling that someone else is reaping what they have sown.

The government has encouraged the Maasai pastoralists to practice agriculture, but with the high numbers of wildlife found in their areas, it is impossible. The animals eat the crops and wildlife is seen as a curse and an obstacle to development.

The Maasai are becoming frustrated by the wildlife that lives on their land but over which they have no control. They are moving from seeing wildlife as something with which they must live alongside in mutual respect, to a commercial commodity to be used. In agricultural areas wildlife is even seen as a pest to be eliminated.

Their monopoly of power by KWS, a central power outside the community, prevents the chances of sustainable coexistence outside protected areas.

There has been some progress in that the community and the Maasai Conservation and Development Organization are designing a program to create self-reliance through conservation and tourism and to demarcate a core conservation area. The project aims to educate the community on how to utilize the wildlife by building tourism facilities and encouraging visitors to the area. The hope is that the benefits they see will balance their increasingly negative views of the wildlife.

The Maasai people have gradually become poorer over the years. The combinations of frequent droughts and poor markets have adversely affected their livestock-based economy. Supplementary incomes through employment are limited due to lack of education and training. The only other resource they have is the wildlife-rich land and their cultural heritage, both of which are coming under great pressure due to poverty.

The increase in human-wildlife conflicts and the gradual loss of wildlife habitat in tourism destinations have reinforced the view that local people’s involvement in the tourism industry is an essential adjunct to the concept of a nature-based tourism industry. The relationship between local communities and the tourism industry is that of purposeful interdependence.

Maasai’s themselves are one of the greatest tourist attractions in Kenya. The myth is sold as warrior and warlike tribe somewhere in Africa. The tribe's male live on the hearts of the lions they kill in the sprawling savannah.

The Maasai on their part have learned that there is a dollar in being merchandise of the curio type. So they turn out in front of their manyattas (kraal) as if in Hollywood. For a dollar, the tourist can both see this ‘creature’ of the wild and photograph it. For a job well done and the delivery of the ‘merchandise’ to the tourists, the tour guide gets his tip. The curio dealer in town is thus matched by the human curio dealer in the Maasai plains.

Too often, the temptation to become a caricature of themselves and a cliché for few dollars is too strong, and after which the tourist goes back home and says that he has seen Africa. He claims that he has seen man almost at his primeval stage. Something close to a lie, a fix image of a reality that is dynamic and in constant change. Culture as a fusion of a people's way of life is not a commodity. It is an expression of their totality and when taken otherwise, it is hard to tell between them and wildlife. In this case, the Maasai has the same camera value with a buffalo since their lives begin when the camera begins to whine and ends when it is shut down.

Culture is much more dynamic than a moment of a camera flash which is what the exotic image made of the Maasai turns it into. Culture holds the past and present, a blending that the post cards of the Maasai kills.

Culture is dynamic and the Maasai are not exceptional to that rule. The shuka-clad (a red cloth that the Maasai wrap around themselves) Maasai man is as at home with a Coke as the urbanized man from Central Province.

It is all a matter of understanding that culture is not a plastic thing. It is about real life. That is why constant long term effort from the government and the communities needs to be developed, so as Maasais benefit naturally of the revenue generated by tourism, where they play an important role, being able to choose how to play and how to live with respect for their history, culture and present situation. It is crucial for the tourism industry to understand and be able to deal with social and historical sensibilities since sustainable tourism means benefits for the tourists as well as for the local community and conservation of the natural resources that make the destination attractive to international visitors.

Written by LLA

Client Feedback

Lake Manze Camp - Selous Game Reserve

We have just recieved in some feedback from our guests at the Lake Manze Camp in the Selous Game Reserve. Both of the clients below were booked by Ali, one of our safari experts.

Rollason x2 27-31 August
Thank you all very much for a marvellous trip. Really entertaining and convivial surroundings, comfortable and relaxed, good food and some genuinely excellent game. A really good experience and one which has got us determined to return to Africa soon.
Reena and Jon

Caldwell x2 2-5 September
Thank you so much to all the wonderful people at Camp Manze. We had a fabulous time! Lots of adventure, beautiful sights and amazing food! Our compliments to all. With much appreciation,
Kevin and Sherry

If you would like to contact Ali or one of the team please call: 01227 753181

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

We have a stunning special offer for Mnemba Island.

Stay 5 and pay only 4

Mnemba Island Resort is arguably one of the most beautiful resorts found anywhere in the Indian Ocean and this offer is too good to miss. Mnemba Island is the perfect place to rest up after a safari or as a destination in its own right. Not only is it perfect for a honeymoon but also attracts divers keen to explore the pristine atoll surrounding this world class resort.

Please call: 01227 753180 for further information and reservations.