Name of the facility Sanctuary Olonana Camp
Certification Achieved Gold
Year opened 1999
Tourism region Masai Mara/South Rift
County Narok
Address Head Office – Nairobi
Map It
Telephone/Mobile 020- 6950211
Facility Notes Sanctuary Olonana Camp is located within Olololoo escarpment in Masai Mara on a private concession area of 125.453 hectares (310 acres). The camp is specifically located on Global Positioning System (GPS) Coordinates, Latitude: -1.240118 and Longitude: 35.034676. It has 14 guest tents with a bed capacity of 30 visitors and a total work force of 45 employees. The camp borders the Mara Triangle Wilderness Area within the Masai Mara National Reserve. The concession area is an integral part of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem providing critical wildlife dispersal area for migratory wildlife. It is frequented by wildlife species including lions, giraffes, zebras, gazelles, rock hyrax amongst other species. It is also a haven for bird species.
Energy management The main source of power for the facility is solar energy fixed with power inverter battery system and (3) three back-up generators with an output capacity of 100 KvA (FG Wilson), 80 KvA (Perkins) and 40 KvA are the main sources of energy. The generator runs for just 8 hours in day. There are 42 solar panels fitted throughout the facility which provide power for lighting. Regular maintenance of the generators is conducted after every 200 hours to avoid breakdown and reduce on emission. Generators fuel consumption and running hours are also closely monitored.
Water heating for the facility is conducted through the use of energy efficient boilers that use charcoal briquettes. The 19 boilers are insulated for energy efficiency. Briquettes are made within the camp and supplemented by supply from Quality Component Hardware in Rongai. The camp has a charcoal briquette making machine. The briquettes are made from paper waste (paper waste is obtained within the premises) mixed with molasses; and used to supplement the stock from Chardust. The camp has invested in a biogas system that provides cooking gas at the staff quarters. Cow-dung to run the system is supplied by the neighboring community. The staff kitchen also uses energy saving jikos for cooking to supplement the energy provided by biogas.
The camp has a charcoal fridge for storing fruits and vegetables. It is fixed with a drip pipe to reduce water used in cooling. The guest tents are fixed with easily accessible main switches and the night guards are sensitized to switch off unnecessary lights. Staff is sensitized on energy conservation through departmental briefings whereas visitors are sensitized on arrival briefings. Also, guest tents are fitted with room information sensitizing visitors on energy conservation. Energy saving bulbs and LED bulbs are installed throughout for energy conservation. The facility conducts energy audits to comply with section 6 of the Energy (Energy Management) Regulations, 2012.
Environmental management Sanctuary Olonana camp is guided by its corporate environmental policy and mission statement that shows commitment to responsible and sustainable tourism, nature conservation, improving local communities’ wellbeing, and raising awareness among tourists. The policy addresses the impact and management of the resources such as water, energy, and solid waste. The facility has an environmental management system (EMS) to spearhead its operations. The EMS includes plans for water, waste, energy and community wellbeing. The camp has undertakes its annual self-Environmental Audit (EA) as required by EMCA 1999 (Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act.)
Chemical use LPG – Gas is supplied in a two (2) ton cylinders and put in a properly contained structure. The camp uses biodegradable bathroom amenities in the guest tents, e.g. bathing soaps and shampoos supplied by Africology Limited
Biodegradable chemical detergents from Eco-lab are used for laundry. In addition, the swimming pool detergents are also obtained from Ecolab. Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) records and consumption details for the chemicals is done for monitoring purposes. Diesel is stored in a ground-level reservoir of 5,000 liters each. It is fixed with a fueling pump. The fueling area is properly reinforced and bunded to contain any spillage.
Conservation Criteria
Community Criteria
Solid waste management Waste separation is conducted at source. The bins are clearly color-coded for separation purposes. Organic waste is managed through chamber composting. There are four chambers where waste is mixed with ash and anaerobic bacteria solution. Upon composting the dry mulch is used at the facility kitchen garden. Other waste (Plastics, metallic tins and glass) is put in a holding area for further sorting before disposal via Nairobi central office to recycling companies.
The facility has a ‘no plastics’ bottled water policy, it has invested in a reverse osmosis water purification system. Reusable company branded glass bottles are used in the guest tents for serving drinking water. Waste paper is used for briquette making and tetra packs are used for planting tree seedlings within the premises. Bathroom soaps and solutions are packaged in re-usable bottles – dispensers to reduce on waste.
Water management Main source of water for the facility is obtained from River Mara. The water is solar pumped on a high elevated water treatment plant. It is filtered and treated before storage in three (3) reservoirs with a capacity of 30,000 litres. The water flows via gravity to the entire premises where overhead tanks are installed. A water meter has been installed at source and sub-metered at laundry and guest kitchen to monitor usage. The facility also practices rain water harvesting. It has reservoirs with an approximate capacity of collecting 16,000 liters when full.
The camp has established a routine reporting procedure to monitor any water leakages. The efforts are spearheaded by the repairs & maintenance (R&M) team. The facility has a water extraction permit from Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) as required by section 25 in the Water Act 2002. The guest tents are fixed with low filter shower heads to reduce on water usage. The camp has “towel talks” in the guest tents encouraging visitors on re-use of towels. Kitchen garden irrigation is specifically conducted early in the morning – with an aim to reduce on water loss.
Visitor communication & education The facility has a visitors’ resource area (located at the main restaurant) equipped with reading information materials including environmental publications, wildlife and travel magazines, and nature conservation magazines such as Africa Geographic, Books on Kenya, Birds of Kenya. A copy of the environmental policy is well displayed at the reception area and in room information folders for effective guest and staff communication. Visitors are briefed upon arrival on the environmental principles and values of the camp. Guests engage in learning and sensitization activities which include; game drives, village visits, bird watching and nature walk safaris – walking safaris are also aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of the camp.
Pollution Low emitting light and wattage bulbs are used for lighting the pathways at night. This reduces on light emission and pollution at night. The generators are in a sound proofed room to reduce on noise vibration.
The car wash area is fixed with an oil interceptor to filter out any oil spillages.
Environmental conservation The camp is built to blend in with the natural surroundings. The guest tents are made out of beige and green canvas tents raised on wooden platforms. The surrounding indigenous vegetation is relatively undisturbed. The pathways within the facility are designated with Mazeras to demarcate the way. The main restaurant is designed out of large windows fitted with glass for natural lighting. The walls are done using cow dung, ochre and ash (no cement used). The architectural design has allowed an indigenous tree to retain its growth inside the restaurant area. The facility conducts low environmental impact activities such as village visits, bird watching, balloon safaris and nature walks.
The camp has an indigenous tree planting program for its guests. The activity is aimed at sensitizing the visitors on environmental conservation. Guests contribute 15-20 USD for the program monitoring / sustainability measurers. Approximately 1649 tree seedlings have been planted since inception in 2009 resulting to a wood lot – an artificial forest within the premises (approximately 330 trees were planted in 2015 with a survival rate of more 90%). Seedlings are obtained from the facility’s tree-nursery.
The camp partners with the Mara Triangle conservancy on collating information through wildlife monitoring initiatives. In addition it has established a linkage with Mara Cheetah Project aimed at research data collection through guides and guests’ sensitization. The camp has leased at least 100 acres of land (opposite its premises) specifically for conservation purposes. Further, being along the Maasai Mara River bank, the facility has constructed gabions along the periphery of the river to control soil erosion. The facility runs an awareness creation and mentoring program for students. Periodically the facility offers wildlife clubs game drive and hotel service opportunities aimed at sensitization and mentorship.
Waste water management Grey and black effluent from the kitchen, guest rooms, staff quarters and laundry is managed through septic tanks for sludge sedimentation and drains into a man-made wetland comprising of five treatment lagoons before discharge into a natural reed. The sewer system comprises of sewer line, man holes, septic tanks and a wetland with five co- joined lagoons with different stages of treatment. Bio enzymes are added in the septic tanks for sludge digestion. The effluent undergoes various stages of natural treatment (solar effects, aerobic/anaerobic treatment, through vegetation and polar rock purification, solar effects) then is released into the environment.
Effluent from the guest kitchen flows through a grease trap to filter out oils and grease before draining into the sewer system. The swimming pool is cleaned via scrubbing, brushing and backwash system. Effluent is discharged through soak pit system.
Purchasing and supplies Deliberate purchasing of bulk is implemented to reduce on general waste production. Dry goods such as flour, rice, sugar are bought in bulk.
Employment and remuneration/staff welfare Staff is provided with, health care – medical cover, uniform, food, entertainment, accommodation facilities and basic amenities.
Employees have a staff welfare committee which handles and addresses staff issues. The employees are registered under KUDHEIHA (Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Education Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers).
Staff education, communication and awareness training The camp offers its staff refresher course trainings periodically through Kenya Utalii College. Various in-house trainings are conducted mostly on health and safety.
Staff briefings are held at departmental level on daily basis for planning activities.
Cultural preservation and promotion/protection of local sites The facility has a curio shop; most of the products sold are sourced from the local villages. In addition, it has a designate section, where the local Masai women are allowed to sell their beadwork directly to the visitors. The camp offers village visits for an authentic cultural experience at Olonana village. Visitors are offered cultural lectures by the village elders. Guests are charged $20 per person for the visits; however the plans are underway to introduce a ticket system.
Benefits to local community/community empowerment The camp has employed approximately 70% of the staff from the local community. This has been attained through on job training by the facility. The facility buys locally where possible. Individually, the camp is a member of the “Pack for a Purpose” where visitors are encouraged to donate items needed by the communities. Donations made include learning materials (stationery) and sports equipment (balls) etc. The camp has a comprehensive Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) Plan under Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy with a respective person to spearhead it. The facility engages in various initiatives, these include education, entrepreneurship, community projects and conservation initiatives:
• Education; In collaboration with their guests, the camp has continued its support in various schools in the region such as Enkereri School, Emurototo primary school, Enkutoto nursery school and Olopiki Ndongoe primary school. In Enkereri, the camp has added a library, ablution block, dining room and food-store to construction of four (4) classrooms. Further, the camp has established a feeding program where the pupils are provided with porridge daily which cost approximately USD 39,000.
• Bursaries; the facility is currently offering full sponsorship to 23 pupils in various schools at a tune of USD 22,500 annually. Sponsorship include fees, clothing, shoes, food etc.
• Bee Keeping; the facility has established a bee keeping project – 10 beehives – at Emurutoto School. The honey harvested is sold and proceeds go back to the school and community. The company trained a teacher, pupils and some members of the community to run the bee keeping project.
• E-Reader Program; the facility is in the process of launching an E-reader program with a pilot having been done at Enkereri primary School. The program is planned to start in 9 primary schools at a cost of USD 100 within the region.
• Entrepreneurship & community empowerment; the facility has designated a place for the local women groups to sell their beadwork directly to guests. In addition, the facility sponsors a local dance group comprising of 20 dancers to entertain visitors at the camp or during bush events. The dances are organized at least 4 times in a month.
• Conservation; the company has partnered with Friends of Conservation (FOC) an organization lobbying for environmental conservation on a tree planting project within the surrounding schools. They have established FOC clubs and scouts and sponsored tree nurseries in these schools and monitoring of the projects is done on a regular basis.
• Health: the facility supports nearby Mara Rianta Clinic through supply of medical equipment in conjunction with Project Care.
• Philanthropy; the facility supports the local community in emergency response through providing transport to the nearest hospital in case of emergencies.
Cultural Criteria
Health and safety Medical services for the employees are referred to nearby Mara Rianta Clinic. In addition, the facility has a doctor on call for guests from nearby Kichwa Tembo Camp. Guest tents are fixed with radio calls for emergency response. The swimming pool depth is clearly marked for safety purposes. The camp has an emergency evacuation plan with clearly spelt out procedures on fire, medical care and evacuation. Further it is linked to (AMREF) Flying Doctors services and charter air services can be provided for emergency response.
The camp has an emergency evacuation plan with clearly spelt out procedures on fire, medical care and evacuation. The facility conducts a health and safety risk assessment in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2007. Medical check-ups are conducted for food and beverage handlers to ascertain their health fitness and in compliance with Food, Drugs, and Chemical substances Act, Cap 254. The camp has a Health Inspection Certificate from the Ministry of Public Health. A team of 37 employees at the camp have been trained on Fire Safety Awareness and Health & Safety. The camp has an adequately stocked first aid kit located at the main office and an adequate team trained on first aid.
Fire exits are clearly and conspicuously marked within the camp. Sand buckets are also provided to compliment the fire extinguishers. The facility provides protective work gear / PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as boots, uniform, gloves, apron to the staff.
Child labor, abuse and human rights The facility adheres to the legal employment age.
Business Practises Criteria
Entry Date 10th November 2017

Leave a Reply