From the mine, it takes us six hours to reach Campi ya Kanzi, on a large Maasai ranch, wedged between Tsavo West National Park and Amboseli. Campi ya Kanzi (the “treasure camp” in Swahili) is the fruit of Italian conservationists, Luca and Antonella’s dream to build a partnership with the local Maasai community to help them benefit directly from the conservation of their environment and its wildlife. The result is the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, which operates an upmarket eco-game lodge in the area, the proceeds of which go to fund education, health and research programs for the local Maasai community.
Instead of killing lions, Maasai become “simba scouts” who prove their bravery by tracking lions on foot. Among other things, the fund pays out compensation for cattle killed by predators. Check them out at www.maasai.com
Campi Ya Kanzi is a unique kind of place, with a profound connection between the guests of the eco-lodge and the Maasai community. For four days, we are taken around the bush by our Maasai guide, Parashi. And we return from our adventures to be pampered at the lodge with some of the best Italian food we have ever had.
Occasionally, the connection with the local “community” can get too intimate, as when Laura has an unexpected encounter with a genet cat in our tent.