Elephant Pepper Camp has a comprehensive Environmental policy. The policy emphasizes on environmental management, health and safety, resources conservation through responsible and sustainable tourism, local community benefits and environmental resources (water, energy and waste) management. Additionally, the camp has an environmental management system with monitoring action plans in resource use (water, and waste).
Elephant Pepper Camp is built on low environmental footprint; it blends well with the local surroundings. The tents are semi-permanent made of brown canvas tents and erected on wooden platforms. The facility is unfenced which allows wildlife to wander freely. The natural vegetation is relatively undisturbed with pathways filled with soil to demarcate the way.
Elephant pepper camp was core in the formulation of Mara North Conservancy and is part of the conservancy management playing a significant role in the conservancy operations. In addition the camp contributes the perquisite conservancy fees, lease fees and bed night fee.
The camp supports and partners with wildlife conservation initiatives such as the Mara Lion Project– an initiative to build an identification database of lions in and around the conservancies north of the Masai Mara National Reserve through tracking individuals, effective conservation techniques and the Mara Cheetah Project – a research initiative to identify the behavioral adaptations and assessment of impact of social structure on reproductive success and survival of the cheetah in the protected areas. Support and partnership is implemented through creating awareness of the projects to clients and involvement of facility guides in reporting sightings.
The facility sensitizes and car-pools its clients during transfers and game drives as a measure to reduce on its carbon foot print.
Waste water management
Grey water from the guest kitchen is managed through a grease trap to filter fats and oils before draining into a two chamber wetland (filled with sand) ending up in a soak away system. The grease trap is cleaned at least once every two weeks. Grey waste water for the staff quarters, guest tents and public areas is managed through soak pits.
Black effluent from the guest tents, staff quarters and public areas is managed through septic tanks. Effective Micro -organisms EM-1 is used in the septic tanks to enhance sludge digestion. The facility has five (5) septic tanks.
Solid waste management
Waste separation (paper, plastics, metals glass and organic) is conducted at source and the bins are clearly labeled. The waste is later put in a waste collection center for further segregation before final disposal via Elewana offices to recycling companies in Nairobi.
Organic waste is composted within the facility. Compost pit is properly covered to keep off wildlife scavenging and rain water.
In plastic waste reduction, the camp has adopted the following waste reduction measures;
- Invested in a reverse osmosis drinking water filtration system. The water is later served in 18 litre dispensers both to staff and guest. Drinking water for clients is served in 18 litre dispensers at the main restaurant.
- Water in the guest tents is served in glass jugs which are refilled from the dispensers. In addition guests are issued with a -500 litres vapour anti bottles – a foldable re-usable water bottle for use during their stay aimed at plastic waste minimization
The camp uses lanterns for lighting at night, around the facility as a measure to reduce on light pollution.
Elephant Pepper Camp is powered by solar power fixed with an inverter system with total power output of 30 kilowatts. In addition is a 10 KvA backup generator. Energy monitoring for the invertors system and generator is carried out and recording done.
Energy saving bulbs and light emitting diodes are installed throughout the facility for power conservation. In addition, a centralized charging point – no sockets in the guest tent - has been installed to control power.
The camp uses firewood obtained from Kakuzi Limited for water heating at the guest area. Three (3) efficient water heating kuni boilers installed by Warm Stem Heat Transfer Limited are used within the facility. Charcoal briquettes sourced from Chardust limited are used for oven baking. The kitchen oven is modified to bake and heat water for kitchen use at the same time.
Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is used for cooking at the guest kitchen. The camp has also invested in a charcoal fridge for storing its vegetables. Drip irrigation is used to water the fridge – an initiative meant to ensure water conservation.
Guests are briefed on energy conservation on arrival and through information folders in the guest tents while staff is sensitized through staff meetings and departmental briefings.
Main source of water for the camp is from borehole located in Aitong area. (The borehole was dug through a partnership with the facility which also serves the local community). The water is collected from the borehole by use of a water bowser of 600 litres – approximately 3trips are made in a day. It is stored in three (3) reservoir tanks with an average capacity of 20,000 litres. A water meter has been installed to monitor the water consumption. Additionally, the facility has 5 tanks with an average capacity of 24,600 litres for rain water harvesting. Water use recording for the rain water is done.
Guests are sensitized about water conservation upon arrival. They are encouraged to re-use their towels through “towel-talks” and also limited to using ‘safari showers’ - 20 litres refillable buckets showers - aimed at water conservation. Staff is sensitized during regular briefings.
Drip watering is used on the charcoal fridge roof as a measure to conserve water.
Purchasing and Supplies
Purchases for the facility are done centrally and bought in bulk to reduce on packaging while guest food is bought on demand.
Fuel (diesel, and Petrol) storage area is properly contained to prevent accidental spillage to the environment. The fuel is stored in a 200 liter drums which are clearly labeled for distinction purposes.
The camp uses biodegradable bathroom amenities in the guest tents. The chemicals are accompanied by Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) records.
Health and Safety
Environmental health and Safety
The facility has a health and safety policy in place which ensures safety procedures are maintained. In addition is a fire safety policy which outlines safety procedures in case of fire.
For emergency purposes, the camp is linked to Flying Doctors service for emergency evacuations and a doctor on call for medical emergency. There is also an adequate team of 10 employees, heads of departments, the camp manager and guides trained on first aid. Well-equipped first aid kits are available at the main office, and game drive vehicles. Emergency contacts and documented procedures are strategically put at the manager’s office for safety preparedness at the camp. Guest tents are equipped with radio calls for emergency purposes.
LPG (50 kg) is well secured in a cage for safety purposes. The camp has also undergone Health Inspection and issued with a Health Inspection Certificate.
Occupational health and safety
Firefighting equipment such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets are strategically located and serviced. Supplementary sand buckets are also availed to boost firefighting equipment. Elephant Pepper camp has an adequate team trained on fire safety. A fire assembly point is properly marked and displayed within the facility. A fire alarm is also available.
The camp provides PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as overall, gloves and boots to the repairs and maintenance staff.
Social Cultural Criteria
Training and education
Elephant Pepper Camp has an in-house staff training program where employees are sensitized on fire safety, health and safety, sustainability awareness, hygiene and housekeeping lessons.
Benefits to staff and the community
Elephant Pepper Camp purchases from the locals where feasible, milk and goat meat for staff meals is obtained from the staffs who happen to be the locals. At least two (2) goats are bought from the community on weekly basis. Formal agreements are signed in milk supply. Water bottles are issued free to all visitors; however, visitors are also encouraged to purchase more, proceeds from the sales are directed towards the community trust.
About 50% of the employees are from the local area. The employees were sought from the local community and trained on hospitality skills.
Through its corporate social responsibility (CSR), and the Cheli and Peacock Community Trust, Elephant Pepper Camp has the following initiatives;
- Education: the camp promotes learning by supporting a number of schools namely, Aitong Primary, Ololomei Primary and Aitong Secondary. Through, thee Bright Green Project – Cheli & Peacock facilitated the award of a US$1 million grant from the Obel Family Foundation for an initiative to improve education for Maasai children and youth, establish wildlife eco-clubs promoting conservation awareness, for communities living in the Mara ecosystem. Through the initiative, the trust has managed to renovate classrooms at Aitong Primary School, install a rain water harvesting system, and build an extension of the dining room a new kitchen and purchase chairs and tables. Additionally, the facility has constructed a boy’s dormitory for the school. In Ololomei Primary, the camp renders its support to the School through donations such as, over 200 text books, exercise books, and stationary. In 2014, the school received donations worth Kshs. 659,334.95
- Health: In a partnership with Kenya Red Cross, the camp launched a bi-annual Medical Camp at Aitong where they provide the Community with medical supplies and peer education sessions touching on HIV/AIDS awareness. An initial medical camp at the clinic was arranged from 16 – 18 November 2012, during which a team of five trained Red Cross personnel provided free medical advice, treatment and prescriptions to 300 patients. In June 2013, two doctors visited the clinic to offer medical care and developed an operational work plan for the coming year(2014), to look into maternal-child health camp in October (focussing on fistula awareness and the benefits of clinic delivery). In 2014, Kshs. 268,038 was raised through the initiative. In 2015, a medical outreach aimed at training clinicians on advanced life support in Obstetrics’ was held on 6th and 7th June at Mara Discovery Centre. The event was held in conjunction with Kicheche Mara Camp.
- Wildlife Warrior Programme: An efforts to educate and sensitize school going pupils on conservation while at the same time linking between wildlife tourism and community benefits. Over 380 Wildlife Warriors of Ololomei Primary School take part in the initiative.
- Wildlife Warrior Scholarship Program; Designed to encourage best pupils under the wildlife warrior program. Currently it has 2 pupils in Ololomei primary school (full scholarship)
Elephant Pepper camp ensures payment of requisite fees (financial obligations) as follows;
- Land Lease / Rent: At least Kshs.680, 000 is paid on annul basis to the land owner
- Conservancy fee: at least Kshs. 3, 000 is paid per bed on monthly basis to the conservancy
- Bed night fee & Park Fee this is paid to the conservancy at the rates of Kshs. 1300 & 600 for every adult & child.
The staff is provided with accommodation facilities, food, heath care and staff uniform.
Elephant Pepper camp has detailed room information folders with materials concerning the Masai Mara region and ecosystem, people and culture. The guests are further sensitized on the local Maasai culture and engage in traditional activities such as arrow and spear throwing. Clients willing to visit the local villages are charged 25 USD. 5 USD is directed towards Cheli and Peacock Community Trust whereas the rest is paid on monthly basis to the local villages.
Visitor communication and education
Visitors are briefed upon arrival on the camp’s operations, and environmental values. Additional information is provided through booklets and room information folders which are available at the restaurant section and guest tents respectively. Publications such as Africa Geographic magazines, Books on Kenya, Masai Mara National Reserve and its ecosystem, Birds of Kenya, mammals and bird list are availed at the section. Room information sheets and flyers are strategically put at the guest tents for sensitization / communication purposes e.g. environmental conservation activities and initiatives.
Guests engage in activities which include; game drives, village visits, bird watching and nature walk safaris – walking safaris are also aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of the facility.
Staff communication and education and other recognition
The environmental policy is clearly communicated to the staff through strategically fixed signage, daily briefing from the management and in house sensitization. The facility has staff committee which represents staff issues to the management. Weekly staff meetings are held for staff sensitization. Furthermore, the camp has a staff welfare committee which handles and addresses employees’ issues.