El Karama Eco Lodge

Name of the facilityEl Karama Eco Lodge
Certification AchievedSilver
Year opened2006
Tourism regionLaikipia/Samburu
AddressEl Karama Ranch
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Telephone/Mobile+254 702 996 902
Email[email protected]
Facility NotesEl Karama Lodge is a private enterprise located in El Karama Ranch approximately 42 kilometres from Nanyuki town. The ranch is about 15,000 acres in size. The lodge is specifically located on Global Positioning System (GPS) Coordinates, Latitude: 0.20609 N and Longitude: 36.904060E. It has 6 guest tents with a bed capacity of 12 visitors and a total work force of 14 employees. El Karama Ranch has a wide array of wildlife which includes: lions, elephants, buffalo and leopards. Healthy populations of reticulated giraffe, common zebra, eland, hyenas, aardvark the endangered Grevy’s zebra, wild dogs and hartebeest thrive on the ranch. The ranch is also a haven for birds with over 380 bird species.
Energy managementThe lodge runs on 100% solar power. There are 22 solar panels connected to a battery system. The power is used for lighting the lodge, pumping water, swimming pool maintenance and running an electric fence. In addition, all water within the facility is heated through solar powered water boilers system. Energy consumption is monitored through an energy meter. Energy saving bulbs and LED’s have been installed throughout the facility to minimize on energy consumption. Path lights are lit through the use of LED bulbs. The lodge also has an energy rationing schedule. Visitors are encouraged to conserve energy by switching off unnecessary lights. The cottages are fixed with main switches for easier lights switch- off. In addition, there is information in the room folders to sensitize guests. Employees are sensitized through staff briefings. The lodge uses LPG gas for the guest kitchen and fuel wood for the staff kitchen. The wood is sustainably collected from the ranch guided by the ranch management. The stove used is also energy efficient. There are plans in place to install biogas.
Environmental managementEl Karama Lodge has an environmental policy mission which states commitment to environmentally low impact operations, contributing positively to sustainable preservation of the habitat and ecosystem of El Karama Ranch. Ecotourism practices guides in implementation of the policy. The facility conducts its annual environmental audit as required by Environmental (Impact assessment and Audit) Regulations, of 2003.
Chemical useThe lodge uses biodegradable natural washing soaps/solutions in the guest rooms from Cinnabar Green.
Conservation Criteria
Community Criteria
Solid waste managementWaste separation is done at source and the bins are color- coded and labeled. Organic waste is composted and the manure used in the organic garden within the ranch. Glass waste e.g. wine bottles are beaded, sanitized and reused for serving drinking water at the guest tents. This has greatly reduced plastic waste at the facility. Tins and tetra packs are also re-used within the camp e.g. for planting tree seedlings.
Water managementThe main source of water for the lodge is a borehole located within the ranch; it’s pumped into three reservoir tanks, treated through chlorination and later distributed through gravitational force throughout the facility. A meter is installed at the main inlet to monitor water usage. In addition, the lodge conducts rain water harvesting which is stored in reservoirs of approximately 100,000 liters. The water is later filtered; boiled and used for staff and guests consumption (the lodge does not buy plastic bottled water). Guest room toilets are fixed with dual cistern water flushing system and low filter shower heads for water efficiency. The lodge sensitizes its staff during meetings and guests during briefings to ensure water conservation. There are “towel talks” in the guest rooms encouraging visitors on water conservation.
Visitor communication & educationThe guest rooms have detailed room information folders tacked with history of El Karama Ranch, activities within the Ranch and environmental information. Besides all the visitors are briefed upon arrival. The lodge management has established a mini natural history museum used for visitor education, and in particular children’s training and activities. This section has relevant information on wildlife and the environment. The lodges’ guides, and staff during game-drives and nature walks, educate the guests on nature, its conservation and local culture. There is a visitors’ resource area which is equipped with reading information materials including environmental publications, travel magazines and nature conservation magazines.
PollutionLow Emitting light bulbs/ Diodes and lanterns are used for lighting the path ways at night
Environmental conservationThe facility’s architectural design blends with the existing natural environment. It is built using local materials. The cottages are built using dry driftwood and stones boulders collected locally from river beds. The roofing is made of grass thatch. The walls are adorned by frames of artistic painting and stone art made by various Laikipia crafts-people and community groups. The lodge keeps a minimal number of tourism vehicles to reduce wildlife disturbance.
The lodge is a corporate member of Laikipia Wildlife Forum– a membership led conservation organization supporting, co-coordinating and facilitating conservation and natural resource management within Laikipia region. The lodge submits conservancy fees to El Karama Ranch which goes into conservation and community development initiatives which include; rangers’ salaries, infrastructure development in the ranch, wildlife monitoring activities, etc. The conservancy fee is 60 USD per guest per night or KSh. 1800 for local residents. Guests are encouraged to participate in low impact activities such as guided walks, game drives and bird watching.
Waste water managementGrey water from the kitchen and laundry is managed through soak pits whereas grey water from the guest rooms is managed through septic tanks. The facility has installed the Eco-Smarte natural swimming pool- a chemical free, non-chlorine, non-salt pool water system, which uses de-ionizing cleaning technology. This type of technology is easier to use and more friendly to the environment. After cleaning the water is re-used to irrigate the lawns. Water effluent tests are conducted in compliance with Environmental Management and Coordination (Water Quality) Regulations of 2006. Black water from the guests’ tents and public areas is managed through septic tanks. The facility has seven (7), two-compartment septic tanks for all the guest tents. Pit latrines are used at the staff quarters.
Purchasing and suppliesDry goods such as flour are bought in bulk to reduce on packaging waste. Fruits and vegetables are packed in reusable crates which reduce on general waste produced, while meat and dairy products are stored in freezers.
Employment and remuneration/staff welfareStaff are rewarded with; training opportunities when need arises to improve on their technical skills.
Staff education, communication and awareness trainingNotice boards and meetings are used to facilitate communication to the staff. The lodge supports four (4) members of its staff in training under KPSGA (Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association).
Cultural preservation and promotion/protection of local sitesThe lodge has elaborate reading materials on the history of the ranch, Laikipia conservation area and the local people, etc.
Benefits to local community/community empowermentThe lodge purchases its staff meat, vegetables and fruits from contracted local suppliers within the Nanyuki region. For instance, most of the interior décor items and upholstery are obtained from Nanyuki spinners and weavers, and Mitumba Art which comprises of local women groups. On ad hoc basis, the lodge supports Daraja primary school through support from guest donations. Currently, the lodge is carrying out a reward scheme to the best performing students who get a tour of the conservancy and the lodge. In the past one year, approximately KSh. 500,000 has been used in support on social enterprises, trainings and community initiatives, which are guided by the lodge’s CSR policy. About 40% of the employees are from the local area, however, all casual work job opportunities are given to the locals.
Cultural Criteria
Health and safetyThe lodge has a health and safety policy with clear procedures on fire safety and emergency response. The lodge has a Health Inspection Certificate from the Ministry of Public Health. Medical check-ups are conducted for food and beverage handlers in compliance with Food, Drugs, and Chemical substances Act. Cap 254. There are designated smoking zones within the facility aimed at enhancing fire safety. The facility does not have a clinic; however, it ensures there is always a vehicle on standby; all medical referrals for the staff and guests are made to Nanyuki Cottage Hospital. The facility is also linked to Flying Doctors for emergency evacuations. Emergency contacts are well displayed within the facility. There is a first aid kit within the facility and the staff are trained on first aid and fire-fighting skills. Training conducted by Red Cross.
Sand-buckets are available for fire- fighting. There is a ‘kitchen safety and fire prevention’ procedure in place. The staff are provided with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment.) e.g. gloves, working aprons, boots etc.
Child labor, abuse and human rightsThe camp has well defined Human Resource policy that guides against employment of minors. Minimum employment age is 18years.
Business Practises Criteria
Entry Date9th March 2018
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