Nomad Tanzania is renowned for its repertoire of luxurious safari camps. Dotted across Tanzania, from the Serengeti to the Selous, camps are well located giving guests direct access to the most unspoilt corners of the country. And the best bit? Every stay supports the local community through the work of their foundation, safeguarding the future of Tanzania and its wildlife for generations to come. We caught up with Lucy Cole from the Nomad Trust, who tells us more.
Conservation and community are at the heart of the Nomad Trust, can you tell us more about the work of the charity?
For us, conservation and community work go hand in hand for enabling sustainable change. We make our people our business, starting with local communities. Through all our operations, we always source and support locally – our camp shops are one of the best examples of this. Many of the products you will find there come from local charities that support vulnerable and marginalised people in Tanzania; from Maasai women’s groups to handicapped men and women. Much of the rest of the shop is made up from locally sourced hand-made items, lovingly crafted by talented Tanzanians who have been recognised for their unique skills. We have helped these local people use their handiwork in more profitable business sense to earn a reliable and steady income for themselves and their families. On top of that, we donate all profits to our partner projects, who work hard on community development projects and vital conservation initiatives across Tanzania’s national parks.
Which projects are currently underway across Tanzania? Do the camps support specific projects in their local area?
We have a colourful collection of projects happening, and ever expanding, across Tanzania.
At our camps in the Serengeti, we support a desnaring program, who send a team of rangers out to find poachers’ camps and remove wire snares from around the Serengeti ecosystem. They are doing a fantastic job and have collected over 8500 snares in the past eight months, but there are still so many more out there. We hope that with our support they will be able to deploy a second team shortly.
Meanwhile, Entamanu Ngorongoro has close ties with the Rift Valley Children’s Village, home to 97 vulnerable children, a nursery committed meeting the everyday needs of children and investing in their futures.
At Kuro Tarangire, we support the Simanjiro Grazing Easement project, helping protect grasslands in the Maasa Steppe ecosystem and working with local communities to ensure conducive land use for the wildlife and Maasai livestock.
Further south in Kigelia Ruaha, we have the very fun job of taking local school children on safari. We aim to use these school safaris to give children a new experience of their natural surroundings, and help foster a love for the African bush amongst children from villages that are typically in conflict with wild animals. This also has the extra benefit of offering schools a means of rewarding and incentivising learning. On Christmas day, we welcomed children from the local primary school for a game drive around Ruaha National Park.
At Chada Katavi, in western Tanzania, we partner with the Landscape and Conservation Mentors Organization, dealing with the relationship between local communities and wildlife. Their methods for harmonising the communities and wildlife are focused on beekeeping, birdwatching, tree-planting, open-air movie nights and festivals to encourage enviro-education and help promote a conflict-free coexistence.
Down in chimp country we are still supporting our nearest neighbours in Katumbi Village by supporting the local school and clinic. Together with our partners Pencils for Hope, we are able to support two students, run a couple of meal-a-day programs for 100+ nursery children, whilst also contributing to the renovation of the primary school and supplying them with essential resources. We hope this year to address the issue of running water in the village and have big plans in the pipeline – watch this space!
These different projects are all part of the bigger picture of what we stand for at Nomad, and how we give back through the choices we make, and the partnerships we are building through the trust.
You mentioned Christmas at Kigelia, what is a typical day like for local children visiting the camp?
The students and their teachers are collected by their Nomad guide from school at around 8am. Once they have all settled down and found their seats, the group enjoys a long game drive and for many it is the first time they see the animals so close up. Our Nomad guides teach the students and teachers about the different species found in the park, how to identify them and about interesting and unique animal behaviours they exhibit.
At lunchtime the students wind up their morning game drive and head to camp for something to eat and a spot of a rest. The teachers take the chance to have a welcome nose around camp and learn how we run a camp in the middle of nowhere, while the kids chat to the staff and learn a little about the safari world, the environment and what it is like to work in the tourism industry and all the different jobs there are.
The students then leave camp for a short second game drive, and en route back to school they drop in to meet the warden of tourism and have a mini Q&A. A final quick stop at the airstrip to spot any of the small aircrafts, and then the kids return to school for home time.
Nomad Tanzania is fiercely committed to conservation. What does the future of conservation look like in Tanzania? What threats, if any, will hamper its progress?
The future of conservation in Tanzania is looking really promising. Already we are seeing results in some of the areas that needed intervention urgently, the Selous was seriously affected by poaching in recent years but thanks to the combined effort of projects on the ground and the government we have seen a huge improvement in the area, particularly with the elephant population. Our presence in Tanzania’s parks goes a long way to securing the future of the its wilderness and our platform and outreach is a huge opportunity not to be missed.
What’s next for the Nomad Trust and the communities it supports?
In 2018, the Nomad Trust is hoping to develop outreach programs from places like Arusha and Dar es Salaam, connecting with our remote neighbours to help address health problems and gaps in education. And of course more of the same – getting kids on safari with ‘Kids in the Park’ days, educating communities with ‘village film nights’, beekeeping training to help put pennies in pockets without hurting the environment, supporting funds to collar and track lions and hopefully even some small scale farming projects to supply our more remote camps.