The safety (and immense pleasure) of being on safari in Kenya

3rd April 2015.  Jacopo’s birthday.  Today he is 8 years old.  His Maasai name is Leshan, the one who brings the rains.  And today it rained, which is always magical in Africa.  Here is what my eyes were seeing just a few minutes ago.

But no celebrations.  Only compassion.

That is the only word which comes to me in this moment.  Compassion for
the Kenyan families devastated by yesterday’s terrorist attack in Garissa,
near Somalia.

I would also like to share another kind of compassion: empathy for
those hundreds of thousands of Kenyans whose lives depend on tourism.  Those hard workers who have kids, who need to pay their school fees, who need to bring food to their tables each day….

This blog is a window onto the world, and I would like to open this window to reach out to you: yes, you, exactly you.  It is up to you to support these hundreds of thousands of peaceful Kenyans and to understand how terrorists are
targeting our lifestyle everywhere, not just in Kenya.  It just happened at a café in
Copenhagen, at a kosher market in France, in Paris, in Tunis….

You can enjoy a safari in Kenya in total safety.
It takes two days to travel to Garissa from where we live.

So, can it be “business as usual”?
Can you still consider Kenya as a holiday destination?
My answer is a no to the “business as usual” question and a
loud YES as to the safety of coming on safari with us.

No, it must not be business as usual.  We need to stand up and support Kenya by visiting its safari destinations.  All very safe, all hundreds of (and up to a thousand) kilometers away from the troublesome border with Somalia.YES: it is absolutely safe to be on safari in Kenya.  In the Maasai Mara, in Amboseli, or here in the Chyulu.

What is meaningful for a conservationist like me is that
conservation needs tourism.  What is even more significant is that hundreds of
thousands of Kenyans depend economically on tourism.  And so do thousands of wild animals, whose protection without tourism is simply unaffordable, even in the National Parks.So, most substantially of all, if we want our children to be able to enjoy lions and
elephants in the Maasai wilderness when they have their children, we must act
Act by saying no to “business as usual,” and support Kenya with tourism.
Act by understanding that YES, a safari here is safe.
Why?  Here are three direct reasons:
– Our Maasai reservation
is 15 miles from Tanzania.  It would take a two-day journey to get to the areas
near the Somali border;
– Your hosts here are the 15,000 Maasai landlords, whose
children go to school, whose sick get medical assistance, and whose
livestock are protected and compensated for when predated, thanks to your $101
conservation fee paid for every day you spend with us;
– Lastly, because we employ 101 Maasai rangers, making this
paradise on Earth probably much safer than your home is, given the madness of
today’s world….
Choose Kenya for your coming holiday.  Choose the community-based Campi ya Kanzi for your safari: it will be one of the most serene trips
you ever have.Can I now use the window provided by this blog to have you look into our world?  Why don’t you look through the eyes of those who have been here?

Let these images talk to you….

Mia Camargo, age 5, last year, walking hand in hand with Parashi.  I bet she will remember this for a long, long time….


A walk in the Chyulu Hills last week.  (Photo credit: 7 Mila Miglia Lontano)


From my bedroom, a couple of days ago…


Warriors, as seen by my brotherly friend Nicola Tonolini


The happiness of Maasai children, again seen from the camera lens of Nicola

This is what it is to be on safari….
And much, much more…

and enjoy it… here, in the Maasai Mara, in Amboseli, wherever you
like.  Do not leave Kenyans alone.  Make a difference and come on safari
to the home we all come from: Kenya….