The global climate crisis is no more a secret and millennials are not ignorant about the urgency to start acting on saving the environment. In this perspective, people are making choices that promote environmental conservation. From making discreet brand choices to practising a minimal lifestyle, people are willing to lead a life that is conscious of the environment.
This made businesses take account of the changed preferences of people and encouraged them to practise sustainability in their business processes as well. One enterprise that was formed on the foundation of sustainability is Borana Lodge.
Situated at the heart of Borana Conservancy, with a mesmerizing view of Mount Kenya, the lodge is built entirely with local materials by local craftsmen. The lodge offers a wide range of recreational activities to its clients furthering environmental sustainability.
Borana Lodge is located at the heart of Borana Conservancy, to the North of Mt. Kenya. In 2013 a founding population of rhinos was introduced to the conservancy, and a year later, the fences were dropped between Borana and the neighbouring Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to the East. This formed the Borana-Lewa Landscape and is now home to a population of over 300 Black and White Rhino, 14% of Kenya’s total rhino population.
All profits generated by guests’ stays at Borana Lodge are invested into the sustainable conservation of land, wildlife and building local livelihoods. By staying at Borana Lodge, guests are given the opportunity to get involved in conservation. They also have a tangible positive impact on conservation, allowing Borana Lodge to continue its truly sustainable journey, committing all profits to secure conservation integrity.
A Distinguished Leader
Lawrence Ngugi is the Head Guide at Borana Lodge. Having worked in another safari lodge, Lawrence joined the Borana team in 2013. Lawrence has been a safari guide for well over a decade and previously worked as head curator at the Mt. Kenya Animal Orphanage for six years. Lawrence is a keen birder and has helped the famous Ornithologist Brian Finch to develop the Bird Map of East Africa.
Lawrence is extremely dedicated to providing the best guest experience at Borana Conservancy and has strong leadership skills. He speaks six Kenyan dialects, is fluent in English and Swahili, as well as a little Spanish and French.
In 2020, Borana Lodge was awarded The Long Run’s prestigious Global Ecosphere Retreat ® Status. This is considered ‘one of the world’s best standards for privately protected areas’ (Dr Jeff A. Landholz). It is recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and is one of the most rigorous sustainability audits in the hospitality industry. It considers every aspect of the 4Cs, Community, Culture, Conservation, and Commerce. GER ® Status is not only about business mitigating their negative environmental impact, but about positively impacting the well-being of the planet and its people.
Lawrence was instrumental in Borana Lodge receiving this accreditation and ensured that the entire Borana Lodge team was committed to driving a lasting sustainable journey across Borana Lodge and Conservancy.
Borana Lodge is a small intimate lodge that offers much more than the traditional safari experience. With a focus on regenerative travel and conservation, the lodge encourages its guests to participate in conservation and experience ‘behind the scenes’ of a successful conservation area.
Guests can take part in its conservation activities like:
Help with conservation on Borana by joining the team of scouts who track Rhinos in the morning. The team sets out every morning to see and account for each rhino on the Conservancy. The guests are taught how to track rhino on foot, how to identify each individual, and give an authentic insight into life as a ranger on Borana Conservancy.
Each evening, the armed unit of the anti-poaching team is deployed to various vantage points on Borana in order to survey and monitor the Conservancy. Accompany members of the team out on these deployments, tour the Ranger HQ and learn more about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into conservation, and meet the team that keeps the Conservancy’s rhinos safe.
These authentic interactions with rangers and insight into how rhinos are kept safe are not offered anywhere else in Kenya.
While talking about how the company overcame the challenges posed by the pandemic while also ensuring the safety and security of its employees, Lawrence Ngugi, the Head Guide at Borana Lodge had this to say, “The main challenge faced during the COVID-19 pandemic was how we could support and care for our team. With the world in lockdown and zero tourists visiting Borana Lodge, we ensured that all members of the team remained employed.”
“Borana Conservancy (usually supported by the income generated by Borana Lodge) continued to administer healthcare in local communities via the Borana Conservancy Mobile Clinic. Teachers and schools were supported throughout the pandemic by the Borana Education Support Programme. Clean drinking water was regularly delivered to different locations within our local community and local pastoralists were supported through the livestock to market programme and zero poaching incidents were reported across Borana Conservancy.”
“The Borana Mobile Clinic also helped to administer COVID-19 inoculations to all members of the Borana Lodge team. Throughout the pandemic, we have upheld rigorous MOH guidelines and ensured that all staff members at Borana Lodge were educated about the virus, and any concerns were heard and dealt with.” concluded Lawrence.
We asked Lawrence about his vision to scale the firm’s operations, to which he replied, “Borana Lodge is a small, intimate lodge that has eight rooms across six cottages. The operations will not be scaled as we focus on low-density tourism, which has a high impact on local conservation initiatives.”
Talking further about what he would like to advise to the budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the hospitality space, Lawrence expressed, “Consider the impact your venture will have on people and the planet. Have a positive impact throughout all aspects of the business.”