• Safaris

Redefining the Luxury Safari Lodge

A Kenyan luxury safari lodge has forever changed the traditional relationship with its Masai landowners—and the experience for its visitors.

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Ten years on, it’s clear that the experiment has succeeded. Shompole has provided local Masai with some $3 million in earnings and land conservation fees—allowing their settlements to thrive and hundreds of their children to attend schools and colleges. The tribe’s renewed commitment to managing the land has paid off ecologically as well. Ten years ago, only a handful of starving animals occupied this part of the valley, including just four or five lions. Today, thanks to the unprecedented efforts of Shompole’s Masai landowners to limit livestock grazing and forgo their ancestral custom of game hunting, 68 lions now live on and around the conservancy.

Masai influence is everywhere at Shompole: in the traditionally beaded textiles and upholstery, the iron spears planted upright in doorways to indicate “do not disturb,” the voices of staffers murmuring to one another in their native tongue, Maa.

Redefining the Luxury Safari Lodge

Ten years on, it’s clear that the experiment has succeeded. Shompole has provided local Masai with some $3 million in earnings and land conservation fees—allowing their settlements to thrive and hundreds of their children to attend schools and colleges. The tribe’s renewed commitment to managing the land has paid off ecologically as well. Ten years ago, only a handful of starving animals occupied this part of the valley, including just four or five lions. Today, thanks to the unprecedented efforts of Shompole’s Masai landowners to limit livestock grazing and forgo their ancestral custom of game hunting, 68 lions now live on and around the conservancy.

Masai influence is everywhere at Shompole: in the traditionally beaded textiles and upholstery, the iron spears planted upright in doorways to indicate “do not disturb,” the voices of staffers murmuring to one another in their native tongue, Maa.

Sarah Gold
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