Mara Plains Camp

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Name of the facility Mara Plains Camp
Certification Achieved Gold
Year opened 2010
Tourism region Masai Mara/South Rift
County Narok
Address Head Office – Nairobi
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Telephone/Mobile +254 (0)733 511 941
Email [email protected]
Website greatplainsconservation.com
Facility Notes Mara Plains Camp is located in Olare Motorogi Conservancy situated within the Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem. The camp lies on Global Positioning System (GPS) Latitude: S01020.609’ and Longitude: E 035007.813. It was established in 2010, owned and managed by Great Plains Conservation. It has seven (7) tents with a maximum bed capacity of 14. The camp is open all year round and has 35 permanent staff for its operations. It is designed to have a low impact on the environment. The canvas tents are beige in color, and blend in with the natural surroundings. They are raised from the ground on wooden platforms, leaving the natural vegetation relatively undisturbed.
The Olare Orok Conservancy was established in 2006 and later expanded to encompass Motorogi lands, thereby becoming Olare Motorogi Conservancy. It measures approximately 14,164 hectares (approximately 35,000 acres) wildlife conservancy, and lies within the Koiyaki Group Ranch, between Olare Orok River and Talek – Aitong Road. It shares the Southern boundary with Masai Mara National Reserve; and Naboisho Conservancy to the east providing critical wildlife dispersal area for migratory wildlife, including the wildebeest and other herbivores. It has significant populations of a wide variety of wildlife, wildebeest, Zebras, Thompson’s Gazelle, Impala, elephants, giraffes, spotted Hyena, jackals, warthogs, leopards, cheetah and lions.
Energy management The facility’s main source of power is solar energy fixed with power inverter battery system. The system provides power for lighting and running all the refrigerators. It is fixed with 72 solar panels. The solar power inverter system is metered and installed with main switches for major outlets which enable easier energy monitoring.
For water heating purposes, the guest tents are each fixed with a 300 litre solar water heating system. In addition are seven (7) back up kuni boilers.
Energy saving LED and energy saving bulbs are fitted for lighting throughout the camp. Solar power rechargeable flash light torches are used by, guests and security officers within the camp
Guests and staff are briefed on energy conservation and efficiency through guests’ arrival briefings.
Environmental management Mara Plains Camp is guided by its corporate motto ‘conserving and expanding natural habitats’ which is implemented through the facility policy; to create iconic role model conservation projects that ensure local communities benefit from protecting their environment and natural heritage. The facility has a comprehensive environmental management system with clear action / management plans for water, energy and solid & liquid waste management.
The camp undertakes its annual self-environmental Audit (EA) as required by legislation.
Chemical use The camp uses environmental friendly detergents for laundry purposes. Staffs handling chemicals are trained on usage. Biodegradable bathing soaps and solutions are used within the camp.
LPG (Liquefied Petroleum gas) is packed in 25 kg and 50 kg gas cylinders used for guests and staff cooking respectively. Fuel (diesel) is stored in 200 litres reservoirs whereas paraffin is bought in 20litre containers.
Conservation Criteria
Community Criteria
Solid waste management Waste separation is conducted at source, and the bins are clearly labeled. Additionally, further sorting is done at the waste management center. The waste is also weighed and recorded for monitoring purposes. Organic waste is managed through a compost pit which is well enclosed to keep off scavengers while plastic, glass and metallic waste is later disposed via Mara Plains head offices to recycling companies in Nairobi.
The facility employs the 3Rs waste management principle. .It uses rechargeable solar torches as a measure to avoid cell-battery waste generation. Drinking water is bought in 18 liters re-usable containers and served to guests in glass jugs so as to reduce on plastic waste.
Water management The Main source of water for the camp is from a borehole located within the camp. The water is stored in reservoir tanks with an average capacity of 15,000 litres. Additionally, the camp harvests rain water from its iron roofed staff quarters. The water is stored in three (3) tanks with a capacity of 15,000 liters. The water is metered at the main outlets (three meters are installed) and recording done on daily basis for monitoring purposes.
Drip irrigation has been installed on the facility kitchen garden as a measure to reduce on water consumption while the guest kitchen is fitted with push taps to reduce on water usage. In addition, the guest tents toilets have been adjusted to reduce on the amount of water consumed per flush.
Guests are sensitized on water conservation efforts by the camp manager upon arrival and through tent information folders. There are also “towel talk” signs in the guest tents encouraging guests to re-use their towels to reduce on water usage.
Visitor communication & education On arrival guests are briefed upon arrival on the values of the camp, camp operations and the Conservancy. Mara Plains Camp has a visitors’ resource area (located at the main tent) equipped with reading materials including environmental publications, wildlife and travel magazines, and nature conservation magazines such as Africa Geographic, Books on Kenya, Birds of Kenya. Mammals and bird list to sensitize visitors on the environmental values, and conservancy operations and activities. Booklets and room information folders are available at the resource information section and guest tents respectively.
Information on wildlife conservation projects such as Mara Cheetah and Mara Predator is shared with the guests. Booklets information sheets are available at the resource information section and guest tents respectively.
Pollution Paraffin Lanterns are used to light the paths at night with an aim to reduce light pollution.
The facility has a 16KvA generator (rarely used) which is well insulated and soundproofed.
Environmental conservation Mara Plains Camp is built on low environmental footprint and blends in with the local surrounding. The premises are unfenced allowing wildlife to move freely. Guest tents are made of beige canvas raised on raised wooden platforms (obtained sustainably – recycled from old rail sleepers). The pathways are demarcated by use of mazera stones. The staff quarters are made from recycled tetra pack material and blends well with the surrounding. Guests are encouraged to engage in low impact activities such as village visits, bird watching and nature walks.
Mara Plains Camp partners with the conservancy on wildlife monitoring initiatives; this include Mara Predator 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 and Mara Cheetah Project – a research initiative headed by Dr. Elena to identify the behavioral adaptations and assessment of impact of social structure on reproductive success and survival of the cheetah in the protected areas. The partnership includes data collection through guides and visitors. In addition, the clients are offered sensitization and conservation talks by the project researcher. The camp guides assist the conservancy rangers in wildlife monitoring and report on any incidences to the conservancy.
Mara Plains has an environmental sensitization program at the local Endoinyo Erinka Primary school. Achievements include, setting up an environmental club, tree planting and motivational game drives and talks by camp guides at the school.
Waste water management Effluent from the guest and staff kitchen flows through a grease trap to filter out oils and grease before draining into a bio box treatment system.
Grey and black effluent from the laundry, guest tents, public areas, and staff quarters is managed through Biobox treatment system. The Biobox system ensures the waste water is recycled through treatment. The treated waste water is used for irrigation in the kitchen garden
Water effluent sample tests are conducted in compliance with Environmental Management and Coordination (Water Quality) Regulations of 2006.
Purchasing and supplies Food for staff and guest is bought in bulk to reduce on packaging. Fruits and vegetables are packed in re-usable crates whereas meat is stored in a cold room.
Employment and remuneration/staff welfare There is a staff welfare committee which handles and addresses staff issues to the management.
Staff education, communication and awareness training The camp has in house trainings for its staff. Topics trained on include food preparation, hygiene, food safety, health and safety work skills development, and general knowledge improvement.
The facility chefs are sent for refresher course trainings at Kenya Utalii College.
Mara Plains camp has notice boards fixed within for staff communication.
Employees are sensitized and briefed during departmental/daily meetings.
Cultural preservation and promotion/protection of local sites The camp 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. For village visits, visitors pay 10 USD to Elndoinya Erinka women group kitty. In addition, the facility has a curio shop which sells few beadwork obtained from Endoinya Erinka women group.
Benefits to local community/community empowerment The Mara Plains camp purchases from the local Talek town where possible. Products such as staff food mostly flour, and sugar, vegetables and fruits is bought locally. The facility further employs from the local community. Approximately 80% of the staff is from the local Masai community.
The conservancy pools together, the bed night fees, and conservancy fees from members camps. The monies are paid for the conservancy management and operations, and lease fee to individual land owners. Major projects such as education, infrastructure and community wellbeing initiatives are implemented.
Through Mara plains and the conservancy Trust, the following initiatives on health, education, and community wellbeing are implemented. Below are some of the major initiatives:
• Health: construction of a health clinic at Eldoinyo Erinka.
• 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.
• Community empowerment: establishment of two water projects at Mpwai and Elndonya Erinka respectively.
• 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.
Staff benefits include food, medical cover, uniform, entertainment center, transport and accommodation.
Cultural Criteria
Health and safety Mara Plains is registered with DOSH (Directorate of Occupational Health and Safety) and certificate of workplace issued. Medical check-ups have been conducted for food and beverage handlers to ascertain their health fitness in compliance with legislation.
The camp has a team of staff trained on fire-fighting skills and the guest tents are provided with radio calls for use in case of emergency.
Mara Plains has an equipped medical first aid kit. All the guide vehicles are equipped with first aid boxes. A team of 15 key staff including management has completed an AMREF first aid course. The camp has also subscribed with ‘Flying doctors’ evacuation services. Medical referrals for the staff are made to nearby clinics at Mara Intrepids Camp, Talek and Siana dental health care. In addition, the facility has a doctor – on – call from Talek Health centre to attend to visitors or emergency services.
Firefighting equipment including, fire extinguishers, fire blanket in the kitchen are serviced and strategically placed within the facility. Sand buckets are placed to compliment the available firefighting equipment. Fire assembly points are properly marked and displayed within the facility.
The facility provides protective gear / PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as ear muffs, boots, uniform, gloves, and apron to the repairs and maintenance staff.
The camp has conducted a health and safety audit in compliance with the relevant legislation and has also conducted a fire safety audit in compliance with Factories and other places of work Fire Risk Reduction Rules.
Child labor, abuse and human rights The facility adheres to the legal employment age.
Business Practises Criteria
Entry Date 10th November 2017

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