By Dian Hasan | August 22, 2009
Perched on the flanks of a rock kopje or rocky outcrop in the heart of a private conservation area, is The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille, a collection of 4 private, serviced and staffed houses, about 75 km north of Mount Kenya, in the Laikipia region which is an area known for its rich biodiversity and culture. This luxe safari lodge is available either individually or as exclusive use of the whole property. With each comes a personal Masai guide and safari vehicle.
This private conservation area, known as the Ol Lentille Conservancy, covers 6,867 hectares of grassy hills and valleys and is home to endangered species such as the African wild dog, greater kudu, leopard, striped hyena and spotted hyena, and klipsringer. The Sanctuary also offers an array of fantastic facilities and activities ranging from an infinity pool, a sensuous spa, jogging trails, game walks and drives, horse and camel safaris, quad and mountain biking, and lawn games such as croquet and bowls – something for every member of the family.
Prices from US$3,225 for a 3-night stay at a 1-bedroom house, including all meals beverages and activities. The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille is currenty offering a 25% discount on all new bookings for 2009, on stays up to December 20.
Guests at The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille lodge enjoy an African night sky and sleep soundly knowing that the lodge provides income to the local community.
Ol Lentille is the result of a ground-breaking union between the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), the Laikipia Maasai of the Kijabe Group Ranch, USAID, and a conservation-minded private investor. With support from AWF, USAID, and the European Union’s Tourism Trust Fund (TTF), the Maasai community secured ownership of Ol Lentille and established a long-term partnership with Regenesis, a conservation tourism company operated by John and Gill Elias. Regenesis will manage the tourism business and the 6,500-acre conservancy on which the lodge is situated.
Unlike many other public-private partnerships, the local community has both a voice and a stake in this venture, which allows for sustainable, economically appropriate enterprise, conservation and community development.
Benefiting the Community
The Maasai owner-partners are fully engaged in Ol Lentille’s operations as conservation personnel and members of staff. Approximately 100 residents were employed in The Sanctuary’s construction. In addition, many women from the Maasai community have been working with Regenesis and AWF to develop and expand small craft businesses, obtain job training and build a Maasai cultural village.
In another landmark action, the Maasai community created The Kijabe Trust, a charitable entity designed to attract donor and investment funds to the community. The purpose of the Trust is to enable the Kijabe leadership, members and dependents to create and maintain a thriving, sustainable property in which people, livestock, tourism and other commercial enterprises and wildlife coexist harmoniously in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
In addition to serving as a trustee, AWF is providing the community with fiscal and administrative guidance on how to equitably manage and share the benefits accruing from the lodge. The Trust will provide financial resources to community projects, such as livestock husbandry, security and bursary programs for young people.