Campi Ya Kanzi ( & Chyulu Club)
Chyulu Hills, Kenya
Campi ya Kanzi is an award-winning, boutique, eco-lodge in the Chyulu Hills of southern Kenya. This “Camp of the Hidden Treasure” is the only safari lodge on a Maasai-owned reserve spanning 283,000 acres of pristine wilderness. Mount Kilimanjaro and Ernest Hemingway’s “Green Hills of Africa” form a stunning backdrop for inspiring and sustainable safari experiences. Campi ya Kanzi offers luxurious comfort, thrilling outdoor adventure, memorable wildlife encounters, and authentic connection with the Maasai people. Moreover, it leverages the benefits of tourism to protect the local environment and to preserve the Maasai culture. This is where safari dreams come true.
Luca Belpietro and his wife, Antonella Bonomi, have made Campi Ya Kanzi their home and are raising their family here. They will be your hosts, with senior guides and a team of seventy people from the local Maasai community, who help with the guiding, cooking, housekeeping, and maintenance.
This is truly is the most iconic safari land: Kilimanjaro dominates the view; elephants and lions roam free in real wilderness; giraffes and zebras cover the plains, and Maasai warriors contemplate. Campi Ya Kanzi will tailor-make your luxury safari to meet your needs. Every detail will depend on your desires, the time of the year (game moves within the reserve and certain itineraries are better at certain times of the year), and the length of your stay.
Campi ya Kanzi was built in 1996 in partnership with the Maasai of Kuku Group Ranch to promote environmental conservation and sustainable community development through ecotourism. The Maasai landowners not only benefit directly from tourism through employment and conservation fees, but are full owners of the lodge after Luca and Antonella formally donated the lodge to the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT). They continue to operate it as before, but now all its proceeds will be solely for The Trust. By staying at Campi ya Kanzi, your clients will support authentic conservation, whilst having the most authentic safari experience.
Luca, Campi ya Kanzi's founder, wrote his thesis in economics on “Wildlife as a Renewable Resource in Kenya: Environment Conservation and Sustainable Development.” Campi ya Kanzi is the result of that thesis: a joint venture with the Maasai of Kuku to transform their wilderness and wildlife into economic resources that generate dividends for the community. The camp is carbon neutral and 100% solar (since inception), and gets all of its water from capturing rainwater, without any tapping into community wells or springs. Campi also recently took delivery of a second new electric Land Rover, and the entire fleet will now be transformed to electric; one vehicle at a time.
Chyulu Club is Campi ya Kanzi's new sister camp. Built in partnership with Institut Le Rosey, this is the first lodge in Africa to be not only carbon neutral (100% photovoltaic with induction kitchens and electric Land Rovers) but also carbon negative, with an afforestation project funded by The Rosey Foundation. On the border with Tsavo National Park, the camp is an ideal addition to Campi ya Kanzi.
We believe in the concept of “Payment for Ecosystem Services.” Campi ya Kanzi visitors who come to enjoy the Kuku wilderness contribute a $101 conservation fee per person per day. The funds support Wildlife Pays, a Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) compensation program that reimburses Maasai herders for livestock killed by predators. In return, the Maasai promise not to retaliate by hunting the predators. Although the Maasai once saw lions and leopards as a nuisance, they now value these animals for the interest and income they generate among tourists.
The Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) works to protect the legendary ecosystems and astounding biodiversity of East Africa through conservation that directly benefits local Maasai communities. The world increasingly relies on many traditional communities like the Maasai to protect the ecological treasures that exist within the land that they own. Unfortunately the incredible wilderness and wildlife of Africa’s grasslands and the famous culture of the Maasai people both face daunting threats to their long-term survival. The fate of both rests with the Maasai themselves as they work to figure out how to benefit from their incredible natural resources while preserving them.
That’s what MWCT is all about—a pioneering partnership between professional conservationists, like U.S. Board President Edward Norton, and dynamic Maasai leaders to show that the Maasai community can thrive, not just survive, by managing their ecosystem wisely. MWCT’s efforts are focused on the Maasai communities and landscapes of Kenya’s Chyulu Hills, within the world-famous Amboseli-Tsavo Ecosystem.
Camp Fact Sheets, Images, and Videos:
Executive Director, Luca Belpietro: firstname.lastname@example.org
(more updates on MWCT website)
Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust Video