Since we first began building the lodge back in 2006, it has grown organically into a beautiful, self-sustaining eco-lodge well-loved by visitors from all over the world.
Sophie and Murray and their team have put time and energy into this very special place, and welcome their guests to enjoy a taste of life in the wilderness. Their hope is that time spent in natural world has the power to inspire, invigorate and create well-being for all travellers in search of that all import personal connection and adventure.
Our primary goal as an lodge driven by core values is to protect Kenya's wildlife through the revenue generated by eco-tourism.
Private conservancies that provide safe haven to wildlife in this country do so at their own cost. There are many different conservation models out there, ours is fairly unique in that we receive no donor funding or outside support in what we are doing,, choosing sustainable and diversified business as our models to implement our habitat management strategies and use our business as a platform for livelihood improvement over time. This habitat is home to 4 of the Big 5 and several endangered and indigenous species to Laikipia including Reticulated Giraffe, Grevy Zebra, Gerenuk and the Laikipia Hartebeeste.
This small business was created to help cover the cost of protecting this habitat. Guests who visit us are therefore directly contributing to conservation by choosing to stay here. This conservancy has a dedicated anti-poaching team of trained rangers who are charged with protecting the entire ecosystem. The lodge also collaborates with national and regional organisations specialising in wildlife protection including Kenya Wildlife Service, Lion Landscapes, Mpala Research Unit and the Great Grevy Trust to ensure that our data collection and monitoring efforts are shared over the entire Laikipia landscape. The verified bird count here has reached 432 species including migrants and this landscape has been included as an Important Bird Area since 2018.
Protecting unique ecosystems is something we do as a community. We believe that through small business and mutually beneficial working relationships we can make a positive impact over time. We have long-term employment strategies, training and development, education, strict local procurement strategies, ethical operations (accredited by Eco Tourism Kenya). This lodge works hard to prove that a commitment to sustainable activities is a powerful tool for change. We have self-funded annual 6 week internship at our lodge for 2 Kenyan students, giving a crucial insight into working life and creating mentoring opportunities within our team. We also welcome school visits throughout the year free of charge.
We serve our community by creating an annual cultural events programme, resident offers and pop up days out, We engage in career mentorship and school visits with our team and incorporate this into our guest experience ensuring that this form of tourism has a positive 'ripple effect' for those not directly employed here. Our local procurement strategy ensures support to local producers only for anything we cannot grow ourselves.
All infrastructure projects involve large amounts of employment and are instrumental feeding grounds for new skills development and opportunities to join the team. Our team of permanent staff now numbers 24 local Kenyan professionals.
Through the exclusive use of renewable energy, 100 percent water harvesting, monitoring and metering and responsible resource use we ensure our operation has a very low footprint for a business of its size. We operate on 100% solar energy, zero waste goals, we pioneered Kenya's first eco-swimming pool and our practices are accredited annually by Eco Tourism Kenya. We won the Eco Warrior Award in Kenya for our responsible consumption approach and our team are committed to and accountable for observing sustainable practice. The Lodge supports a number of research and monitoring efforts throughout the region and the wider region and contribute data annually to these through our own guide monitoring practices and annual census counts for species such as Grevy Zebra and Lion.
We are pioneers of a new Leopard monitoring technique using stationary mirrors and trail cameras to ID leopard and have also created an exclusion zone here to protect important tree and plant species. In January 2020 we launched a new seedling planting and reforestation project to help stabilise the damage done by elephants and climate change in this area. These are just some of the ways in which this tourism operation positively benefits the environment in which we operate. From 2021, the lodge team will produce an impact report to share with interested guests that explains how we measure impact here.