Conservation Participation SWT Eco Lodges

Published on the 15th of May, 2019

Our founder and matriarch Dame Daphne Sheldrick once noted that, “The sunsets of Tsavo are always beautiful — breathtakingly beautiful — as though to focus attention momentarily on the sky, and remind us where all life begins.”

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Tsavo wasn’t always this way; when David Sheldrick became the founding warden of Tsavo East in 1949, it was better known for its rampant poaching than its populations of wildlife. Under his leadership and with Daphne’s support, it was transformed from an inhospitable land into what is today Kenya’s largest and most famous National Park. Tsavo is now host to greater biodiversity than any other park in the world, including the largest herds of elephants in Kenya. The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) continues David and Daphne’s legacy of conservation, working across Kenya — with a special focus in Tsavo — to protect key habitats and the creatures that call them home. The SWT’s eco lodges invite you to partake in that mission, while also experiencing some of Africa’s most spectacular wild spaces.

The SWT’s six eco lodges combine an authentic, luxury safari experience with sustainable tourism. Operated as a not-for-profit model, all proceeds generated by our eco lodges are reinvested into the SWT’s conservation projects that protect the Tsavo Conservation Area. These initiatives include drought relief, veterinary support, aerial surveillance, anti-poaching patrols, providing vehicles and equipment for the Kenya Wildlife Service, and more. By staying in our lodges, guests actively participate in helping contribute towards conservation solutions that will support Kenya’s wildlife and local communities for years to come.

Each of the SWT’s eco lodges invite guests to experience unique — and largely undiscovered — corners of Kenya. Built in harmony with the surrounding habitat, the lodges are sustainable in design, development, and operation, minimizing environmental impact while maximizing the guest experience. They offer exclusive access to our projects, giving guests the unique opportunity to visit the orphaned elephants at our Reintegration Units and experience our trailblazing conservation work firsthand.

· Ithumba Camp is a stylishly rustic hideaway for the traveler who appreciates being off the beaten track. Located at the foot of Ithumba Hill, this camp offers star-studded nights and commanding views across the Yatta Plateau. Includes visiting privileges to the SWT’s Ithumba Reintegration Unit.

· Ithumba Hill Camp is a luxurious tented camp built into the hill that earned it its name. Designed with the discerning traveler in mind, the camp seamlessly combines the surrounding wilderness with luxurious touches. Includes visiting privileges to the Ithumba Reintegration Unit.

· Ithumba Private is a special annex to Ithumba Hill Camp. Built among the rocks of Ithumba Hill and shaded by giant baobabs, this hideaway offers an intimate oasis within the vast wilderness of Tsavo. Includes visiting privileges to the Ithumba Reintegration Unit.

· Galdessa Camp is the SWT’s newest property. With its safari-style setting and front row view of all the wildlife activity on the Galana River, the camp invites guests to immerse themselves in the untouched corners of Tsavo. Includes visiting privileges to the Voi Reintegration Unit.

· Galdessa Little is an intimate annex perched on the banks of the Galana River. Fringed with doum palms and overlooking the Yatta Plateau, the camp promises spectacular wildlife sightings. Includes visiting privileges to the Voi Reintegration Unit.

· Umani Springs is a classic African lodge tucked at the foot of the Chyulu Hills. Located within the ancient Kibwezi Forest, it offers a luxurious getaway within a pristine wilderness. Includes visiting privileges to the Umani Springs Reintegration Unit.

When developing our eco lodges, we wanted guests to feel like they were staying in their own luxurious home in the bush. For that reason, they are booked exclusively, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the wilderness surrounding them without distractions. The lodges are also self-catering, which enables guests to fully customize their stay; everything is tailored to their own personal needs. Our attentive team of chefs, waiters, room stewards, and guides offer discreet service and ensure that guests’ every needs are taken care of.

There’s a reason we chose Tsavo and the Kibwezi Forest as the destinations where our orphaned elephants graduate to live in the wild. In an increasingly developed world, they remain two truly natural and fully protected sanctuaries. Nothing gives us greater joy than sharing these special places with the people who make our work possible — you, our supporters. By staying in SWT eco lodges, you not only partake in sustainable tourism, but you also directly contribute to the conservation of Tsavo. As Daphne noted, these are the places “where all life begins.” Together, we can ensure that they continue to sustain life for generations to come.