On August 4th, 2004, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) celebrated the official opening of the Lion Rock Tented Camp, a spectacular 24-bed luxury ecolodge located in the Taita Taveta district of Southern Kenya, close to AWF's Kilimanjaro Heartland.
What Makes this Ecolodge So Unique?
The Lion Rock Tented Camp is part of the Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary (which neighbors the populous Tsavo West National Park), and part of the wider Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem and both popular international tourist destinations.
In 1993, three group ranches, Lualenyi, Mramba and Oza, joined together to form the Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary as a way to sustainably utilize the natural resources on their land. Covering an area of 113,144 acres, the Sanctuary is home to abundant and diverse wildlife species, spectacular landscapes, and enjoys the rich cultural heritage of the Taita people.
To ensure the sustainability of the Sanctuary, AWF, with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), helped the Lumo community and Tsavo Park Hotels form a partnership to own and operate conservation enterprises within the area. The partnership, Lion Rock Tsavo Camp Company, now own and manage an eco-friendly luxury tented camp within the Sanctuary's wildlife-rich landscape.
According to U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, His Excellency William Bellamy, who attended the grand opening of Lion Rock Tented Camp, "The Lion Rock Tented Camp shows that profitable business enterprises that draw upon natural resources in a sustainable manner are a viable option and one that makes sense for both the environment and tourism, for both the local community and the business investor."
Tsavo Park Hotels, who will provide management and training for the camp, estimates a 60 percent occupancy rate in the first year, with hopes of growing by 10 percent in the following year. The income will directly benefit the Sanctuary's 2,250 members and will ensure that the environmental integrity of the area is maintained.
AWF is pleased to see the local people benefiting from the union of conservation and enterprise and hopes that the Lion Rock Tented Camp will serve as a model for other sustainable business throughout Africa.
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