This year, we’re celebrating our 15th birthday and commemorating 15 years of making a genuine difference in the crucial wilderness areas of East Africa. From our humble beginnings in 2004, we have embarked on an adventure to not only offer our guests a life-changing safari experience but to ensure that we have a positive impact on local communities and the environment. Over the years, in addition to meeting our many wonderful guests, we’ve been fortunate to work alongside and through a range of industry partners.
Our commitment to making a positive impact has taken many forms. These are just some of the projects and programmes that we’re proud to have invested in over the years:
Pioneering new areas
We operate a number of camps and lodges that were opened either in areas that had no safari presence before or in areas that were not very popular with tourists at the time. We were the founding partners in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy, the Mara North Conservancy, and Rubondo Island National Park. We operate in regions defined as critical conservation areas, where wildlife is severely under threat and, therefore, local economic prospects are rapidly diminishing. These regions, although initially considered riskier in terms of investment, have flourished. A prime example is the Naboisho private conservancy in Kenya, which has protected 20 km² within an important wildlife corridor in the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, and which had no tourism income before 2010.
Asilia’s Walking Guide Programme
Our Walking Guide Programme was established in 2015, and since then we have trained and certified 12 new local Asilia walking guides. This is something we are extremely proud of, as, previously, most walking guides were not of Tanzanian descent. We are proud to say that we now have a citizen walking guide in every region where we offer walking safaris.
Introducing US$5 Conservancy Fee for all bookings
Introducing a compulsory US$5 conservation fee for every night spent with us was a fairly bold move but one we believed in. Our guests play an integral role in helping us to achieve our Positive Impact goals through this automatic donation of US$5 per night they stay with us. It has provided us with the opportunity to do more in terms of supporting and uplifting local communities and wildlife areas. We have partnered with local implementing partners, allowing the positive effects of our guests’ donations to be felt far and wide in the areas in which we operate.
Reducing use of Single-Use Plastics
Historically, the safari industry has been dependent on plastic both for the transportation of goods and the removal of waste. For the past decade, we have been committed to eradicating the use of plastics wherever possible. We provide all guests with stainless-steel water bottles that we encourage them to use throughout their trip and back home as well.
Single largest sponsor to Koiyaki Guide School
We support the work of important NGOs such as the Koiyaki Guiding School, which trains local Maasai youth in ethical and sustainable guiding practices and provides internships to students of the school. We fully support the guide training provided through the Koiyaki Guiding School (located near Naboisho, our camp in the Greater Masai Mara), and we employ many graduates from the school. This is because it is incredibly important to us to ensure communities are deriving benefits from tourism. We are proud to report that we employ the highest number of KGS graduates as guides in the area, and you may well meet one of them during your stay.
Asilia holds Platinum GIIRS Eco-Rating & Mara Camps hold Gold GIIRS Eco-Ratings
We’re proud to say that we are the first African safari company to achieve a five-star rating in the Global Impact Investing Rating System, and we were ranked Platinum (the highest possible level) for our overall impact business model. These ratings are the gold standard for measuring impact investing. Assessments are conducted across 176 industries worldwide, as well as within the eco-tourism industry, and our ratings prove our commitment to empowering crucial wilderness areas to thrive, supporting wildlife and local communities alike.
From Seattle to The Selous and London to Lions Head – every member of the Asilia Family celebrated our birthday together, raising a glass to the past 15 years of success and looking forward to another 15 more. Here are a few of our favourite pictures from the celebrations.
Asante sana to every person we have had the pleasure of meeting during our journey, we have loved every minute and cannot wait to see what the future holds!