The annual Kenya Eco Warrior Awards honor people and enterprises that support sustainable and green tourism. The event celebrates eco-friendly excellence in categories from lodging to airlines. While the awards ceremony for 2014 is still months away (October 9th), here are 10 of the Eco Warrior award winners from 2013 that we think you should know about.
1. Severin Sea Lodge – Lodge of the Year
This quaint lodge near Mombasa is part of an active environmental protection program and was the first hotel in Kenya to have a biological waste water treatment plant. They also operate a biological farm with free range chicken and their own vegetables.
2. Borana Conservancy – Private Conservancy of the Year
Borana is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to protecting critical habitat and wildlife. They use a holistic approach in sustainable tourism and ranching.
3. Elephant Pepper – Tented Camp of the Year
Located in the Masai Mara, this boutique camp has been one of the key supporters of creating the Mara North Conservancy. They are also one of six camps in Kenya to have a “Gold Level” eco rating.
4. Air Kenya – Airline of The Year
Air Kenya has made contributions to eco-tourism by funding a primary school using eco-friendly materials. All of the classrooms and staff houses are lit by solar power.
5. Gamewatchers Safari Ltd. – Tours & Travel of The Year
As a pioneer in eco-tourism focusing on East Africa safaris, not only did Gamewatchers bring home the Eco Warrior award for Tours and Travel, but also won Tour Operator of the Year at the Kenya Travel Awards in 2011.
6. Rupi Mangat – Journalist of the Year
Rupi has worked with Wildlife Clubs of Kenya since 1991, and writes stories on eco-tourism and wildlife conservation. You can follow Rupi at her blog here.
7. Derrick Nabaala (Base Camp Eagle View) – Guide of the Year
Derrick is one of the guides at Basecamp explorer, a tourism company that seeks to operate in a responsible and enlightened way.
8. Statunga Ecotours – Student Host Organization of the Year
Statunga partners with community based groups in western Kenya and works to promote conservation. The company tries to conserve areas of biodiversity that are located outside traditional national parks and forest preserves.
9. Sanctuary Olonana – Eco-Rated Facility of the Year
Set along a private stretch of the Mara River, Sanctuary Olonana was built with sustainability in mind. It features innovative wetland and tree-planting projects.
10. Sasaab Samburu – Ecotourism Partnership of the Year
This eco-friendly lodge is situated in the middle of the arid Samburu region. It features souk-style rooms and Moroccan menus.