Guests of Basecamp Explorer’s collection of safari camps, hotels, safaris and trips around the world enjoy responsible tourism. To do this they support the Basecamp Explorer Foundation alongside their commercial operations while working closely with Maasai communities in Kenya to develop models for nature conservation.
Going Beyond Conservation
Basecamp Explorer runs two exclusive safari camps within Maasai Mara National Reserve: Maasai Naboisho Conservancy and Masai Mara Mara National Reserve. Through their longstanding relationship with the local Maasai community, they strive to promote conservation efforts as well as social impact initiatives.
Many eco-tourism organizations focus on supporting specific projects, but Basecamp is dedicated to creating sustainable solutions that address the most pressing needs of the communities where they operate. Their efforts have a powerful ripple effect that can positively affect individuals, families and entire communities.
Basecamp’s model for empowerment and education among Maasai people has been recognized with numerous accolades, including in 2010 when they were honored with the Innovation Leadership in Sustainable Tourism award from the International Ecotourism Society (TIES).
The Basecamp team works in close partnership with the Maasai community to develop models that address their most pressing needs and enable them to become sustainable citizens. Furthermore, they create opportunities for employment and income generation so they can realize their aspirations.
For instance, in 2009 Basecamp launched the Maasai Mara Conservancy – a 20,000-hectare land conservancy located within Kenya’s Maasai Mara region that was created through collaboration between 500 Maasai landowners. Each landowner contributes part of their land for conservation and receives monthly rent payments over 15 years as compensation.
This system is beneficial to both Maasai and Basecamp. It enables them to manage wildlife in their area while guarding it from poaching and land encroachment – two major threats to African wildlife.
Basecamp is making a lasting impact on the Maasai people through reforestation. Since 2005, they’ve collaborated with the Maasai community to establish a forest in Talek area of Maasai Mara. This initiative has transformed an arid region into one that experiences increased rainfall and surface water, as well as bringing more birds and smaller wildlife into the area – not to mention socio-economic benefits for local Maasai families.
Creating Economic Opportunities
Basecamp Explorer, as an eco-tourism leader, creates economic opportunities for its customers and local community through various initiatives such as capacity building projects that promote education and job creation. These efforts have had a substantial impact on poverty reduction in Maasai Mara region by decreasing inequality levels.
For instance, Basecamp has established the Basecamp Maasai Brand (BMB). This provides Maasai women with an income stream and helps preserve their traditional beading practice.
Another project which helps improve the environment and reduce poverty is Basecamp’s reforestation of the Masai Mara camp area. This has transformed the land into a microclimate, increasing rainfall, surface water levels, and creating habitats for more wildlife. Furthermore, this reforestation project helps offset carbon emissions generated by guests who visit the camp.
Basecamp has created an innovative partnership with the Masai Mara Naboisho Conservancy to protect wildlife and strengthen local communities. This is an inspiring model of conservation and community development that provides jobs and economic opportunities to Maasai individuals.
This partnership has resulted in improved infrastructure within the Conservancy and a strict policy that limits bed numbers to ensure both wildlife and human life thrive. These policies have also had an immense benefit on local communities, providing stable incomes to over 500 land owners while providing them with secure livelihoods.
To further strengthen their partnership, Basecamp has planted over 100,000 indigenous trees in the Talek region surrounding their camps. This has transformed the climate in the area into a microclimate with increased rainfall and surface water that has also enabled an increase in birdlife and small wildlife species.
As part of this initiative, Basecamp has established a seedling nursery and employed local Maasai workers to set-up and operate it as well as plant trees. Furthermore, Basecamp has implemented community development programs that facilitate the reforestation project while building capacity within the Maasai community.
Supporting Local Communities
In a world where land ownership and management is becoming increasingly privatized and gated off, Basecamp Explorer has created an eco-friendly model that works alongside local Maasai communities. Their partnership with landowners in Mara Naboisho Conservancy and other private wildlife conservation areas around Kenya not only allows them to protect and manage their own land but also provide tourist partners with income sources.
The Mara Naboisho Conservancy is an innovative wildlife conservation area, allowing visitors to travel within the boundaries of Mara National Reserve while safeguarding its abundant wildlife heritage. Led by Basecamp Explorer, this conservancy strives to increase wildlife populations and provide sustainable livelihoods for Maasai landowners while simultaneously creating opportunities for local communities.
This is achieved through various projects and initiatives, such as the Basecamp Nature Forest planted near Masai Mara conservancy camps. This tree-planting initiative has revived the natural habitat and brought abundant birdlife back into the area.
Basecamp Explorer has also joined forces with the Talek community to secure more land for a wildlife sanctuary and reforestation project, giving local people an opportunity to invest in themselves. They’ve already leased 100 acres of land and hope to expand it in the future.
Basecamp’s four camps within the conservancy offer guests a range of accommodations and experiences. Leopard Hill tent camp features six tents, Eagle View has nine tents, Wilderness Camp has five tents, while Dorobo mobile camp also provides six tents.
Each property offers an unforgettable experience in the conservancy, with each having its own distinct viewpoint. All have experienced Maasai guides to help travelers explore both the wilderness and its inhabitants.
In addition to the camps, Basecamp Explorer provides travelers with various ways to support conservation and reforestation efforts. These include beaded items from the Basecamp Maasai Brand which can be sold as funds for projects; planting trees in the Basecamp Nature forest; or volunteering at a community project.
Guests can learn more about the projects and their effects on local communities through information found on the company’s website, social media platforms, and print magazines. Guests are also invited to visit the sites in person to experience firsthand what is being done and its effects.
Environmental Education and Conservation
Basecamp Explorer operates unique safari accommodation camps in Kenya’s Masai Mara and Mara Naboisho Wildlife Conservancy. Their destinations strive to create long-term solutions for wildlife conservation while developing models of community empowerment and economic development.
Masai Mara Camps have achieved Gold Eco-Rating, operating under an environmentally friendly model with participation of 500 Masai families who have donated their land in trust and receive monthly income according to its size. This ensures the future protection of both land and people alike.
Basecamp’s Business Model for Sustainability and Social Responsibility emphasizes environmental education. This information is shared with guests via various means, such as the company website or printed materials.
For instance, guests at Basecamp are informed about Basecamp’s community projects during their stay and encouraged to visit these sites when possible. Furthermore, they receive print materials to take home with them which describe these initiatives and how they benefit local communities.
Staff members who frequently interact with guests are given trainings on various community projects, which allows them to better convey this information to guests.
Guests to the Maasai Mara region have the unique opportunity to engage in several community activities that benefit the local population. This includes visiting Basecamp Explorer Maasai Mara Community Projects, where guests can gain insight into the difficulties experienced by Maasai people and discover solutions provided for them.
Basecamp also supports the local community through a school and health clinic that are funded through donations from visitors to the camp. The clinic provides free medical care to Maasai families while the school provides educational opportunities to children.
Basecamp also supports a capacity-building institution that trains young Maasai men and women in nature-based courses. Through these initiatives, Basecamp has helped achieve gender equality among Maasai people in Masai Mara and Naboisho Conservancy.