By Clarissa Hughes – Group Positive Impact Co-ordinator
Brainchild of Ron Beaton, a third generation Kenyan settler, and Saigilu Ole Looseyia, a local Maasai, Rekero was one of the first safari camps in Kenya to be a joint venture between indigenous and settler business partners.
With such collaborations being rare in those days Rekero was a true pioneer in what has now become a proven tourism model – including local people.
Growing from Rekero’s lead of shared benefits for locals and tourism operators alike, close to 20 community conservancies have arisen surrounding the Masai Mara National Reserve. The model is so successful that the Naboisho Conservancy won the African Responsible Tourism Award in 2016. Gerard Beaton, Ron’s son, was integral to the formation of the Naboisho Conservancy and continues to serve on its board.
Gerard is a director of Asilia Africa, the current owner of Rekero Camp. As partners and friends, Saigilu and Gerard realized that in order to create the momentum to form the conservancies, that would ultimately preserve the Greater Mara, they would need more than their individual passion. Gerard explains: “In 2009 we decided to partner with Asilia Africa, a company that lives up to its vision of empowering wild places.”
One of Rekero’s proudest achievements is the formation of the Koiyaki Guide School in 2006 where local Maasai are trained to become safari guides. “As the idea of the school was new it was difficult for students to get bursaries,” says Ron Beaton. “Rekero stepped up, and has produced more bursaries than any other commercial company operating in the area. The graduates, who wear their traditional dress, are now guiding throughout Kenya with some having branched out into Tanzania and Uganda.”
As a positive impact company Asilia continues to expand into areas where tourism brings about human development and environmental conservation. “We’re growing into areas where ecotourism is under-developed because we know, through experience, how much it empowers both people and the natural environment upon which we all depend,” says Gerard.
Rekero is a case in point. If you would like to see conservation in action and visit us at Rekero Camp, please get in touch with your usual travel agent or make an enquiry with us below.