During our October meeting, we had the opportunity to speak with Marcos Mugo, Chief Health Officer and manager of Human Resources at Sarova Mara Game Camp, a world-renown game camp located at the edge of the Maasai Mara National Game Reserve. Mugo and his colleagues at Sarova continue to support the vision of the MGA at every step of the way.
Sarova Mara Game Camp is a leader in the Maasai Mara for initiatives that support the local communities, environmentally sound practices, and educational opportunities.
In July of 2016, Mara Guides Association (MGA) recognized Sarova for their generous support at the association’s official launch.
Sarova has worked closely with MGA leadership, including one of their professional guides and MGA member, Daniel Itanet Ole Soit. They graciously donated materials for our official launch and hosted a dinner for MGA members and special guests. Sarova Mara continues to donate a space for MGA to hold their meetings and trainings and to employ MGA’s free-lance guides.
Beyond support for MGA, Sarova Mara shares a vision for ecologically sound practices in the Mara—from eco roofing to filtered wastewater. Their eco toilet system reduces the impacts of human waste in the game reserve and is filtered into clean water that goes back into the ecosystem. Sarova Mara Game Camp is one of few lodges with a recycling program and has organized rubbish collections at Sekenani gate.
As far as their contributions to the Maasai community, Sarova Mara provides free healthcare, sponsors education, provides training to local people, and aims to share economic opportunity with Maasai people. Mugo says that their employees have gone so far as to save their tips in order to repaint the local primary school themselves.
Sarova helped to secure a funder for Olmalaika, a home for disadvantaged girls and funders to develop facilities at Sekenani Primary School. They have agreed not to sell womens’ beadwork in the lodge’s store and host an open-air market each week for women to share their crafts and receive all proceeds. Morover, Sarova has hosted free dental clinics and Mugo himself is an icon amongst the local children of Sekenani for treating stomach worms.
Beyond supporting the infrastructure and health of the Maasai community, Sarova provides professional training for young people in the Mara and hopes to expand the number of trainees who join their team each quarter.
Mugo says, “there is enough for everybody.” Maasai people have not been included in the profits of the tourism industry, but as Mugo puts it, “it is time the local people can be included in tourism.” The MGA could not agree more and extends its gratitude to the managers, staff, and tourists who make Mara Sarova an exceptional destination.
As MGA continues to establish itself as an indigenous guides movement, we look forward to collaborating not only with lodges and tour operators, but with the entire tourism industry in Kenya to create a more sustainable business through involvement with local communities.
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