Borana Lodge: Promoting conservation through thoughtful lodging

The global climate crisis is no longer a secret, and millennials are not unaware of the urgency to start acting to save the environment. In this perspective, people make choices that promote environmental conservation. From making discreet brand choices to practicing a minimal lifestyle, people are willing to live a life that is environmentally conscious.

This made companies take into account people’s changing preferences and encouraged them to also practice sustainability in their business processes. A company that was formed on the basis of sustainability is Borana Lodge.

Located in the heart of the Borana Conservancy, with mesmerizing views 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 customers that promote environmental sustainability.

Mindful stay

Borana Lodge is located in the heart of the Borana Conservancy, north of Mt. Kenya. In 2013, a founding population of rhinos was introduced to the conservancy, and a year later the fences between Borana and the nearby Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to the east were dropped. This formed the Borana-Lewa landscape and is now home to a population of over 300 black and white rhinos, 14% of Kenya’s total rhino population.

All profits generated from guests’ stays at Borana Lodge are invested in sustainable conservation of land, wildlife and building local livelihoods. By staying at Borana Lodge, guests have the opportunity to get involved in conservation. They also have a tangible positive impact on conservation, enabling Borana Lodge to continue its truly sustainable journey and committing all profits to ensure conservation integrity.

An outstanding leader

Lawrence Ngugi is Main guide at Borana Lodge. After working 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 Chief Curator at Mt. Kenya Animal Orphanage for six years. Lawrence is a keen birder and has helped renowned ornithologist Brian Finch 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 some 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 stringent sustainability audits in the hotel industry. It considers all aspects of the 4Cs, Community, Culture, Conservation and Commerce. GER ® Status is not only about mitigating their negative environmental impacts, but about a positive impact on the well-being of the planet and its people.

Lawrence was instrumental in Borana Lodge receiving this accreditation and ensuring that the entire Borana Lodge team was committed to driving a lasting sustainable journey across Borana Lodge and the Conservancy.

Recreational Leisure

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 participate in its conservation activities such as:

Rhino tracking

Help conservation at Borana by joining the team of scouts tracking rhinos in the morning. The team sets out every morning to see and account for every rhino in the conservation area. Guests are taught how to track rhinos on foot, how to identify each individual and provide an authentic insight into life as a ranger at the Borana Conservancy.

Implementations

Every evening, the armed unit of the anti-poaching team is deployed to different vantage points on Borana to monitor and monitor the conservation. Accompany members of the team on these deployments, tour Ranger headquarters and learn about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into conservation, and meet the team responsible for protecting the Conservancy’s rhinos.

These authentic interactions with rangers and insight into how rhinos are kept safe are not offered anywhere else in Kenya.

Overcome obstacles

Speaking on how the company overcame the challenges of the pandemic while ensuring the safety and security of its employees, Lawrence Ngugi, the Chief Guide at Borana Lodge said, “The biggest challenge faced during the COVID-19 pandemic was how we could support and nurture our team. With the world in lockdown and zero tourists visiting Borana Lodge, we ensured that all members of the team remained employed.”

“The Borana Conservancy (usually supported by the income generated by the Borana Lodge) continued to administer health care 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 supplied to various locations in our communities and local pastoralists were supported through the Cattle to Market program and zero poaching was reported throughout the Borana Conservancy.”

“Borana Mobile Clinic also assisted in administering COVID-19 vaccinations to all members of the Borana Lodge team. Throughout the pandemic, we maintained strict MOH guidelines and ensured that all staff at Borana Lodge were educated about the virus, and any concerns was heard and dealt with.” Lawrence concluded.

The Future Forward

We asked Lawrence about his vision for scaling the company’s operations, to which he replied: “Borana Lodge is a small, intimate lodge that has eight rooms spread across six cabins. Operations will not be scaled as we focus on low-density tourism, which has a major impact on local conservation initiatives.”

Speaking further on what advice he would like to give to budding entrepreneurs aspiring to venture into the field of hospitality, Lawrence expressed, “Consider the impact your venture will have on people and the planet. Make a positive impact in all aspects By the company.”

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