Mara Toto

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Name of the facility Mara Toto
Certification Achieved Silver
Year opened 2013
Tourism region Masai Mara/South Rift
County Narok
Address Masai Mara National Reserve
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Telephone/Mobile +254(0)202161437
Email [email protected]
Website greatplainsconservation.com
Facility Notes Mara Toto Camp is located within the Masai Mara National Reserve specifically on Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates, Latitude: S01021.132’ and Longitude: E 035009.771. The camp was established in 2013 owned and managed by the Great Plains Limited. It is a sister camp to neighboring Mara Plains and shares some of the operation components such as laundry. However, Mara Toto is a distinct product with a different value proposition. It is a seasonal camp open for approximately 9 months every year with five (5) guest tents and a total bed capacity of ten (10) visitors. The facility has a total work force of 16 permanent employees for its operations.
The Maasai Mara National Reserve covers approximately 1,510 km2 under the management of Narok County Council (NCC) and Trans-Mara County Council. The Reserve is located in the northern portion of the Mara Serengeti eco-system, which covers 25,000 km2 straddling Tanzania and Kenya. Serengeti Park borders the Reserve to the south, Siria (or Oloololo) Escarpment in the west and community-owned conservancies to the North and East of the reserve. The Maasai Mara National Reserve has about 95 species of mammals and 570 species of birds recorded. It is famous for hosting the wildebeest migration, which is dubbed as the ‘8th Wonder of the World’. The migration occurs from the months of July to September. It involves wildebeests, Thomson’s gazelles, Topi, elands, and zebras. These migrants are followed along their annual, circular route by predators, most notably lions and hyenas. Numerous other antelopes can be found, including Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles, impalas, duikers and Coke’s hartebeest. The Mara is also home to the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, African elephant, African buffalo, and Black Rhinoceros). The plains are also home to the distinctive Masai giraffe.
Energy management Mara Toto Camp is powered by solar power fixed with an inverter system. In addition is a 16 KvA backup generator. Energy monitoring generator is carried out though fuel uptake recording.
To save on consumption of electrical energy, Mara Toto camp has installed a centralized charging point; no sockets are installed in the guest rooms. Rechargeable solar torches are used for lighting. Energy saving bulbs and light emitting diodes are installed throughout the facility for power conservation. Main switches are easily accessible at the guest (fixed at the entrance) to conserve energy.
Water heating is done through (2) two water efficient kuni boilers. Sustainably obtained fuel-wood (Eucalyptus) is used to run the boilers. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is used for cooking at the guest and staff kitchens.
Guests are briefed on energy conservation upon arrival and through information folders in the guest tents while staff is sensitized through staff meetings and departmental briefings
Environmental management Mara Toto Camp has a comprehensive Environmental policy steered by the Great Plains motto ‘conserving and expanding natural habitats’. This is implemented through the facility policy which aims to create iconic role model conservation projects that ensure local communities benefit from protecting their environment and natural heritage. The camp has an environmental management system with monitoring action plans in resource use (water, and waste). The records are analyzed based on bed occupancy.
The camp conducts an annual self-environmental audit as required by legislation.
Chemical use Gas is bought in 50kg and 12kg cylinders.
The camp uses biodegradable bathroom amenities in the guest tents. The chemicals are accompanied by Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) records.
Conservation Criteria
Community Criteria
Solid waste management Waste separation (paper, plastics, metals glass and organic) is conducted at source and the bins are clearly labeled. The waste is later put in a waste collection center for further segregation before final disposal via Great Plains offices to recycling companies in Nairobi. Organic waste is composted within the facility. Compost pit is properly covered to keep off wildlife scavenging and rain water
In waste reduction, the camp has adopted the following waste reduction measures;
• Buys drinking water in 18 litre dispensers both to staff and guest. (as opposed to plastic bottles)
• Water in the guest tents is served in glass jugs which are refilled from the dispensers. (a plastic waste reduction measure)
• Solar rechargeable torches are used at the facility to reduce on cell battery
Water management The main source of water for the camp is from a borehole located within the facility. The water is solar pumped and stored in high elevated reservoirs with a capacity of 10,000. It flows via gravity force to the entire premises. A float switch has been installed to avoid spillage. A water meter has been installed to monitor the water consumption. Additionally, the facility has two tanks with an average capacity of 6,400 litres for rain water harvesting. Water use recording for the rain water is done.
Guests are sensitized about water conservation on arrival, they are encouraged to re-use their towels through “towel-talks” and limited to using ‘safari showers’, 30 litres refillable buckets showers, as a means of conserving water. There is no running water at the guests’ tents; however the guest tents are fitted with water efficient dual cistern toilet system.
Visitor communication & education Booklets and room information folders are available at the restaurant section and guest tents respectively. Publications such as Africa Geographic magazines, Books on Kenya, Masai Mara National Reserve and its ecosystem, Birds of Kenya, mammals and bird list are availed at the section. Room information sheets and flyers are strategically put at the guest tents for sensitization / communication purposes.
Visitors are briefed upon arrival on the camp’s operations, and environmental values and the guest tents are equipped with room information folders to brief the visitors on environmental conservation activities and initiatives. Guests engage in activities which include; game drives, village visits, bird watching and nature walk safaris. Walking safaris are also aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of the facility
Pollution The camp uses lanterns for lighting at night, around the facility as a measure to reduce on light pollution while the generator is sound proofed to reduce on the noise pollution.
Environmental conservation Mara Toto Camp is built on low environmental footprint; it blends well with the local surroundings. The tents are semi-permanent made of brown canvas tents and erected on wooden platforms. Guest tents are raised on wooden platforms / pillars whereas the staff quarters are made from similar but ‘smaller’ canvas fly tents erected on the ground. The facility is unfenced which allows wildlife to wander freely. The natural vegetation is relatively undisturbed with pathways filled with dry grass to demarcate the way.
Through Mara Plains (sister facility), Mara Toto has an environmental awareness creation and mentoring program for Endoinyo Erinka Primary School. In addition, the camp conducts various nature conservation initiatives within Olare Motorogi Conservancy.
The camp supports and partners with wildlife conservation initiatives such as the Mara Lion Project– an initiative to build an identification database of lions in and around the conservancies north of the Masai Mara National Reserve through tracking individuals, effective conservation techniques and the Mara Cheetah Project – a research initiative to identify the behavioral adaptations and assessment of impact of social structure on reproductive success and survival of the cheetah in the protected areas. Support and partnership is implemented through creating awareness of the projects to clients and involvement of facility guides in reporting sightings
Waste water management Grey water from the guest kitchen is managed through a grease trap to filter fats and oils before draining into a bio box treatment system. The grey and black effluent from the laundry, guest tents, public areas, and staff quarters is managed through Biobox treatment system. The System ensures the waste water is treated for recycling through treatment
Water effluent tests are conducted is stipulated by law
Purchasing and supplies Purchases for the facility are done centrally and bought in bulk to reduce on packaging while guest food is bought on demand.
Employment and remuneration/staff welfare The camp has a staff welfare committee which handles and addresses employees’ issues. The committee represents staff issues to the management.
Staff education, communication and awareness training There are notable notice boards within the facility where staff information/communication is done. The camp has weekly staff meeting for staff sensitization
Cultural preservation and promotion/protection of local sites The camp has detailed room information folders with materials concerning the Masai Mara region and ecosystem, people and culture. Mara Toto further offers village visits for an authentic cultural experience at local Elndoinya Erinka Village. A community women group (consisting of 100 members) has been selected where visitors are taken at individual homesteads for cultural experience. Guests only purchase curios and beads at the women’s group shop. The visitors pay 10 USD to the women group kitty.
Benefits to local community/community empowerment Mara Toto Camp purchases from the local Talek shopping centre including staff food, vegetables and fruits. About 80% of the permanent employees are from the local area however, all casual work is allocated to the locals. The employees were sought from the local community and trained on hospitality skills. The facility also makes annual remittances to the County Council of Narok.
The camp has a community engagement plan in place, which is implemented through the mother company – Great Plains limited. Through Great Plains, Mara Toto is implementing the following initiatives:
– Education: donation of learning materials, and construction of a classroom at Elndoinya Erinka School. Partnership with guests to establish the Erickson Scholarship program – started in 2012, the initiative aims to offer 50% bursary to top students joining secondary school.
– Women Enterprise; the camp pays the salary of a female group coordinator / teacher who manages and offers trainings to the Elndoinya Erinka women group.
Individually, the camp is a member of the “Pack for a Purpose” where visitors are encouraged to donate items needed by the communities. Donations made include learning materials – blackboards, stationery to local primary schools.
Cultural Criteria
Health and safety Mara Toto is linked to Flying Doctors service for emergency evacuations and a doctor on call for medical emergency. Also, there is a team of staffs and guides trained on first aid by Amref. Well-equipped first aid kits are available at the main office and game drive vehicles.
The camp has undergone Health Inspection and issued with a Health Inspection Certificate while the food and beverage handlers have undergone medical check-up in compliance with Food, Drugs, and Chemical substances Act. Cap 254.
Emergency contacts and documented procedures are strategically put at the manager’s office for safety preparedness at the camp. Guest tents are equipped with radio calls for emergency purposes
Firefighting equipment such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets are strategically located and serviced. Sand buckets are also availed to boost firefighting equipment. In addition, an adequate team is well trained on fire safety. The camp provides PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as overall, gloves and boots to the repairs and maintenance staff.
In addition, the facility has conducted a comprehensive health and safety audit and a Fire safety audit in compliance with Section 11 of Occupational Safety and Health Act 2007.
Child labor, abuse and human rights The facility does not employ any person below the legal working age of 18 years.
Business Practises Criteria
Entry Date 13th March 2018

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