Saruni, the portfolio of luxury properties in Kenya, has partnered with Sera Community Conservancy to launch the first ever opportunity in east Africa for tourists to track black rhinos on foot. Opening in February 2017 'Saruni Rhino' will be the second of Saruni's properties to partner with an NRT member community conservancy, alongside Saruni Samburu in Kalama.
In 2015, Sera made history by becoming the first community conservancy in Africa to host a viable population of black rhino. The translocation of 10 animals from elsewhere in Kenya marked the return of the endangered species to an area where it has been absent for quarter of a century.
These two milestones are perfect examples of the high levels of confidence community conservancies can achieve from both government and private investors, by creating peaceful, stable conditions for wildlife and livelihoods to flourish.
Saruni Rhino will offer a unique walking safari experience, allowing guests to track black rhino on foot, accompanied by an expert Saruni guide and a highly-trained Sera Community Conservancy ranger. Along with using traditional Samburu tracking methods, the rangers are equipped with transmitters that pick up signals sent from the microchips in each rhino's horn. This allows them to determine the location of every rhino within the 54,000-hectare fenced sanctuary, and will enable guests to track within metres of the rhinos. The memorable experience will endeavour to educate and encourage the further protection of the species for future generations. In participating in the experience, Saruni Rhino guests will actively contribute to the long-term protection of the black rhinos.
Saruni Rhino will be initially comprised of two stylish ‘bandas’ (open stone cottages) which sleep 4-6 and a main ‘mess’ cottage just outside the sanctuary. An additional tented camp inside the rhino sanctuary will be added soon.
Guests will be able to dine and relax at their leisure in the camp surroundings which are true to Saruni-style: elegant but simple in a harmonious blend with the natural environment and in celebration of local craftspeople. Nestled amidst the swaying doum palms dotted along a large dry river bed, the cottages have sweeping views of a nearby waterhole which is a popular stop-off for a diverse range of wildlife including the indigenous “Samburu Special Five”: the endangered Grevy’s zebra, the long necked gerenuk, the reticulated giraffe, Beysa oryx and the Somali ostrich.
The conservancy fees paid to Sera by Saruni will be split 60/40 - with 60% going towards annual operating costs of the rhino sanctuary, and 40% going towards community projects.