With the end of the year approaching fast, the Christmas trees are decorated and there is a festive spirit is in the air, it’s time to look back on a remarkable year. This was made possible through your support and we would like to acknowledge our Partners and Friends across the globe for making this one of Elewana’s best years yet. Thank you for believing in us and joining us on our journey.
Some of the highlights from this year;
The last straw….
We’re proud to say that Elewana Collection has made considerable efforts to reduce its carbon footprint on the world around us.
We strongly believe in the importance of conservation and we do our best to promote these values with the communities we work in, with our teams, and of course with our guests. In the last couple of years we have made great strides in reducing single use plastic. We started with the #banthebottle initiative, eliminating our use of plastic water bottles, and then at the beginning of this year, we were the first property group in East Africa to eliminate the use of plastic straws across all our properties. We now offer biodegradable paper straws and encourage guests to go to #warwiththestraw.
Elewana in the community...
We have been very busy with our community and conservation initiatives through our charitable arm Land & Life Foundation and Shanga, as well as within the properties themselves.
With deforestation being a large issue in Kenya, Land & Life partnered with Seedballs Kenya to bring trees back to the key conservation areas in which we operate. A seedball is an indigenous tree seed encased in a nutritious biochar casing - this casing protects the seed from grazing wildlife and temperature extremes until conditions are perfect for germination. At a number of our Kenya properties, guests are able to buy packets of seedballs which they can use under guidance from our professional guides to help reforest the area when they go out on their game drive or walking safari. The concept has also been introduced in the Wildlife Warrior Program, where bags were distributed to all Wildlife Warrior Club members in Mwaroni (Diani), Kachiuru (Isiolo) and Ura Gate (Meru) Primary Schools for their education sessions, which focused on the theme of forests and reforestation. Over the course of this year the Wildlife Warriors have distributed 152,950 tree seeds across Kenya!
Where do we begin on the Wildlife Warrior and school support program? There has been so much going on this year. Apart from the regular conservation literacy training for young primary students, Land & Life have run art and essay competitions, taken students on game drives and swimming trips, arranged glass-bottom boat trips across the coral reef for the young Warriors from Amboseli, held the most successful Annual Retreat yet in Nairobi for 36 students, and our first four Wildlife Warriors have graduated from secondary school and are applying for internships with Elewana. There have been new classrooms built and whole schools refurbished, dormitories constructed and recycled playgrounds installed, solar systems revamped and resources like photocopiers and text books provided.
The Esiteti Primary School shamba project in Amboseli was completed, and it is hoped this will have a lasting impact on the community. Benefits include teaching the students to grow their own produce as well as supplying the school with much needed food. This project aims to bring sustainable solutions to a number of problems, upskilling students and providing an additional life skill while also increasing food security.
The Annual Medical Camp at Aitong in the Mara saw approximately 900 local Maasai community members treated for free, and the annual Plaster House fundraiser held by Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge raised over $20,000 for them to purchase a vehicle to drive children to and from hospital for appointments. Arusha Coffee Lodge was also delighted to welcome Jane Goodall and host a fundraiser for her Roots n Shoot Program, and we look forward to another such event in early 2019
Shanga at Traders Walk, part of Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge, has seen many achievements from producing new designs, products, introducing new colour pallets and full collections. Under the guidance of Amber, Shanga saw the release of its first full collection in 4 years, The African Rains Collection. The excitement & response from everyone upon its release has been overwhelming and gratifying. The planning is already underway for another full collection to be released in early 2019. Also, the donations received through the Shanga Foundation this year have made a lasting impact, especially for some; Mary was able to purchase formula for her baby twins and ensure the little ones got their regular health checks, Daudi was able to pay for his medical support and Simon received two prosthetic legs. The festive season is all about giving, the Shanga family have given their creativity to brighten someone’s day but they have received this back tenfold and are so grateful for your support.
Our turtle hatchery at Elewana AfroChic Diani saw over 500 turtles hatch this year, with two nests in the first season and three in the second, each bringing excitement and joy to our guests as they witnessed the tiny creatures make their way to the ocean.
Guiding the way….
Elewana Collection continues to invest heavily in Guide training to ensure we have the best guides in Africa. We train our current guides on a regular basis to ensure they are at the top of their field, in our continued efforts to make sure guests have a superior experience when they stay at an Elewana property. At the beginning of the year we sent a number of our walking guides to South Africa for six weeks to learn from leading professionals in the industry. Professional guides from Royal Malewane then travelled to Tanzania for two months to work with our walking guides in furthering their skills and knowledge on home ground. Craig McFarlane, Head of Guide Training for the Elewana Collection leads this dedicated team of guides and has been conducting a number of training sessions with all the guides to end the year.
Earlier in the year, we also just launched our first Guide Apprenticeship Program and the 14 that were selected have been hard at work and have almost completed their first year of two.
Elewana made it onto the Red carpet….
Elewana Collection made it into this year’s Oscar Swag Bag, presented to Academy Awards nominees at the Oscars ceremony. It was claimed to be the most extravagant item in that bag - received by the likes of Octavia Spencer, Best Actress in a Supporting Role - The Shape Of Water and Allison Janey, Best Supporting actress - I, Tonya - a customized 12-night safari from The Elewana Collection and SkySafari.
A number of Elewana Properties received recognition for outstanding achievements;
- Elewana AfroChic Diani: Unique Luxury Hotel of the Year (Luxury Travel Guide Award – Africa & Middle East)
- Elewana AfroChic Diani: Travellers’ Choice Award Winner
- Elewana Afrochic Diani: Most Outstanding Luxury Boutique Hotel - Kenya (Global Luxury Hotel & Spa Awards)
- Elewana Tortilis Camp: Gold Eco-rating Certification (Ecotourism Kenya)
- Elewana Loisaba Tented Camp: Global Win - Luxury Tented Safari Camp (The World Luxury Hotel Awards)
- Elewana Kilindi Zanzibar: Africa Continent - Luxury Beach Villa (The World Luxury Hotel Awards)
- Elewana Kifaru House: Africa’s Most Stunning Views (Boutique Hotel Awards)
- Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge: Sapling Level (Responsible Tourism Tanzania Certification)
The portfolio grows…
We were delighted to add Elewana Kifaru House to our wide ranging East African portfolio, the second on the Lewa / Borana Wildlife Conservancy. The beauty of this charming property, with its lush lawns and elegant thatched cottages, capturing a haven of luxury in the bush was a perfect addition to the Collection.
Unzipping a new look….
Elewana Sand River has seen a number of major improvements done over the last year; the main area has an upgraded bar area, perfectly situated for enjoying the stunning scenery and new landscaped pathways that meander between tents. The swimming pool that was centrally located was removed and a stunning infinity pool is now in near the banks of the river. Guests can now enjoy direct access to their shower ‘under the stars’ from the main bathroom complete with large freestanding Victorian style baths. The refurbishments are now finished and we look forward to hosting you in the near future.
With our partners at Deckchair we set up a permanent camera overlooking the water hole, at Elewana Tarangire Treetops, offering you a ‘window’ to check out what is happening, any time day or night wherever you are in the world, which has been very popular.
And into 2019….
We have some exciting new developments - we can't tell you now but next year is going to be even busier for us ... stay tuned for updates!
Once again, thank you for your continued support. Elewana Collection wishes you and your loved ones a safe and happy festive season.
Best wishes for the holiday season,