Christmas in camp

Greetings and Happy Holidays from all of us at the Elewana Collection. With a challenging year coming to a close, we want to take a moment to share how immensely grateful we are to everyone. From our office employees to our camp staff, to our trade partners and to our guests, each individual found a way to help keep the spirit of safari travel alive and support one another in moments of difficulty. We thank you for all your efforts and are proud to be part of this community. We are hopeful that 2021 will prove to be a more positive and prosperous year, especially with the recent welcome news on vaccinations.

arusha coffee lodge toy drive

In celebration of the upcoming Christmas break, we have organized for a festive toy drive at Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge, in partnership with Land & Life Foundation. A drop box is available at Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge which allows people to donate toys, games, teddies and dolls for children in need. The holiday gifts will be given to children in the neighbouring orphanages around Arusha. To find out more about how you can participate even from afar, kindly contact Land & Life Foundation.

Elewana Loisaba Lodo Springs

As we anticipate the arrival of 2021, we hope it carries good fortune for everyone in the world. We are happy to share that we are continuing to steadily work on renovations throughout the camps and lodges in Tanzania and Kenya, anticipating a wonderful reopening for late Spring 2021.

We are looking busy for high season with pend up demand driving bookings for July through to October 2021. We highly recommend taking advantage of special offers and availability mid-May through to the end of June, especially coupled with the fact that it is such a wonderful time of year to explore the African bush. Our reservations team is happy to help with all your booking requests.

SkySafari above and beyond

Other eventful news for 2021 includes the relaunch of SkySafari as its own stand-alone brand. We have retained many of the luxurious mainstays that SkySafari has been known for since its inception in 2010 while offering newly reimagined SkySafari itineraries for Kenya and Tanzania, together with our brand new one-of-a-kind East Africa itinerary. Combining both countries on a private plane safari is a first for the region and offers considerable value for the safari traveller with A-list decadence at an affordable price. Take a look at the new safari website

evisa go ke Republic of Kenya Electronic Visa System

The New Year brings new visa rules for Kenya. Starting January 1, 2021, Kenya’s electronic visa (eVisa) will be a mandatory entry requirement for all travellers wishing to visit the country. We advise getting familiar with the new online system, which will eliminate the option to obtain a Kenya visa in-person on-arrival, making it compulsory for all travellers to have an eVisa prior to boarding the plane for their safari adventure.

Our special "Up to 25%" offers and exclusive buyouts are still available for bookings through 31 May 2021. There’s never been a better time to experience the peace and tranquillity of an East African safari and it’s especially advantageous thanks to these great rates – the more nights you book, the more you save. Kindly contact our reservations team to find out more.

shanga best award winner

Shanga, the self-sustaining social enterprise which employs people with disabilities to create unique, high-quality, handmade jewellery, glassware and home ware has won Minor’s prestigious ‘Best Sustainability Award’, underpinning its dedication to incorporating recycled materials.

At Shanga, all the glass is recycled from broken windows or wine and spirit bottles and the furnaces are powered by recycled vegetable cooking oil. Tailoring is cleverly designed using repurposed fabrics, a favourite being the delightful “mummy and baby” elephant cushions made from used men’s business shirts. The team can also turn customers old shirts into personalised cushions. In 2019, products made at Shanga saved an estimated 150 tons of waste going into landfill.

Ruth Willet, marketing and business development consultant at Shanga comments on the award, “The recognition from an award like this is validation for what we are doing and have achieved, and proves we are making a difference. The team was so proud to have all their hard work honoured especially after such a difficult year”. For more information on Shanga visit

wildlife warrior resource pack

Land & Life’s Wildlife Warrior resource packs are now available for purchase in Elewana’s Kenya properties and for donation online. The packs are a valuable tool for educating local children on the importance of enabling wildlife to thrive across the planet on how to protect their surrounding environment.

Each beautifully illustrated Wildlife Warrior resource pack contains nine conservation topics, which range from oceans and marine world, forest and trees to waste management, good agricultural practise and climate change and renewable energy.

An online purchase option allows people internationally to order the packs and Land & Life will donate them to the children in supported schools near Elewana properties on their behalf.

To purchase these amazing Wildlife Warrior resource packs for US$12.50 as a Christmas gift visit Land & Life Foundation's secure online platform found here and help make a difference.

Half the donation will be ploughed back to reprint more copies meaning that Land & Life will be able to reach even more children and the remaining amount will go towards supporting a child's education in secondary school through Land & Life's Wildlife Warrior Scholarship Program.

lewas big christmas challenge

Lewa’s Big Give Christmas Challenge has raised a target of US $25,000 to support at least 1000 small scale farmers practice sustainable agriculture. The more farmers who practice sustainable agriculture, the more the environment will benefit. This in turn assists both people and the wildlife that depend on the precious natural resources.

This is a tremendous effort and congratulations go to Lewa for this successful campaign as well as a big thank you to all the generous donors. By smashing through the target to raise these funds every person has helped to seed the future, multiply impact, uplift livelihoods and safeguard biodiversity. For more information on Lewa’s work with local farmers click here

hazel gumpo

As we come upon the festive season, we took a moment to check in with Hazel Gumpo, General Manager for the award-winning Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge on what guests can look forward to during the upcoming holidays.

What special activities do you have planned for guests for the upcoming holidays?

As the year draws to a close, and we all hold a collective breath, we acknowledge 2020 has been difficult in many unprecedented ways. At Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge, we are working hard to bring you holiday delight and cheer this festive season. The end of the year is traditionally when we take time to be with our families. And this year will not be any different as we invite families to spend a relaxing time with us under the stars in our beautiful gardens. 
For Christmas Eve, we are organising a classic Christmas movie night with delectable individual picnic hampers. Christmas Lunch will feature Santa in attendance for another big family day of fun. We are offering horseback rides for kids around our coffee fields and fun creative activities, including make your own Santa masks and hats with Shanga products, as well as sweet treats to keep everyone smiling. A lovely traditional spread with lamb on the spit will be served together with a Christmas music sing along.

The official festive season celebrations will culminate on New Year’s Day with a fun family lunch. Masai clowns will keep children entertained throughout the day together with a line-up of games for the little ones and the young at heart.
Our chef has put together a delicious set of menus, which will be served in our lavish coffee gardens or in our private suites, all with a festive touch throughout the season.

While our Christmas programme will be mainly focused on families and bringing people together in a safe environment, we are also organizing private in-suite dining for couples on the suite patios.

For all holiday events, bookings must be made before December 20, 2020.

How will you and your staff celebrate the upcoming festivities?

We have organized a picnic lunch in the bush for all our staff and managers. We will come together for a delicious meal and raise a toast to our wonderful team, as well as have a merry visit from Santa.

What are your favourite parts about the holiday season? 

I love having an excuse to shop until I drop. Having committed to serving others for the past 30 years on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, which I absolutely enjoy, Christmas shopping is my yearly reward.

I love handmade home accessories and jewellery sold in Christmas markets. Arusha has some of the most creative artists in Africa, including our very own Shanga, where we will be promoting their Christmas accessories in support of all the beautiful work that they do. The markets also have incredible culinary offerings where people make amazing food for the soul.

Above all else, outside of birthdays, Christmas is the only time of the year where we connect with friends and family from all over the world and receive greetings and well wishes from people we haven’t seen or talked to in years. This year, I will be making a special effort to write to as many people as I can, not only family members and friends, but colleagues from our industry who were hit hard by the pandemic  

How do locals in Arusha like to celebrate the holidays?

Arusha is a small community with people from all walks of life. Every year we meet to create Christmas memories, often with those who are far away from home. Those who are more adventurous join the local Tanzanians and visit families in the village for Nyama Choma parties. Nyama Choma is our typical local BBQ and in Tanzania, we especially like to make Nyama Mbuzi, roasted goat meat, as a special dish for the New Year.

PieAerts Tortilis 39

Pie stayed at Elewana Tortilis Camp in Amboseli in September this year. Here he tells us why he believes that Amboseli is the most photographic place in Africa.

I think booking my trip to Amboseli was amongst my best decisions in 2020. We were so lucky to almost have the place to ourselves, sighting only four other cars throughout the week we were there. I hadn’t anticipated how epic and magnificent the landscape is with the combination of open water beds and big skies.

What is fantastic about staying at Elewana Tortilis Camp is the access to the 30,000-acre Kitirua Conservancy, a wildlife corridor which bridges Amboseli National Park with Tanzania. With the camp situated within the conservancy, guests are able to walk under supervision and travel off-road for up close and personal encounters. This is a gift to a photographer looking to capture extraordinary wildlife images.

This unique eco system in my opinion is without doubt the best place in Africa to see elephants. During September and October, the riverbeds have dried, and elephants migrate throughout the day from the surrounding woodlands to find water. We regularly came across herds in numbers from sixty to over one hundred in size.

The region is home to charities including Big Life Foundation and Cynthia Moss Amboseli Trust for Elephants who have been working tirelessly for 30 to 40 years to help protect elephants and ensure that the local people and wildlife coexist in harmony. It is testament to these successful practises that this year’s elephant calf birth rate has been one of the highest on record, including two sets of twins.

My advice to keen photographers is to invest in staying at a camp like Tortilis where the guides are first class. Our guide Jonathan was incredibly knowledgeable on the area and was well skilled in predicting animal behaviour and knowing the parameters in which we could explore. Together we would analyse animal behaviour the day before to predict the best opportunities for our game drives.

I would also encourage people to carry a long lens and a short lens and if you can run to it financially, two camera bodies. I always encourage people to stay with an elephant family. You can watch their behavioural patterns and so often patience pays off.

I also say don’t put too much pressure on yourself, it’s not always easy and sometimes you just have to rely on bush karma and enjoy the process.

PieAerts Tortilis 33

Pie has very kindly supplied Elewana with a selection of wildlife images from his visit to Amboseli to help with our efforts to highlight the area. Here is a selection of the spectacular new images now available


Jane was lucky enough to spend time in November travelling around some of the Elewana Kenya properties, here she gives us her observations on travelling at this time.

Elewana AfroChic Diani Beach

Our stay at AfroChic happened to coincide with Thanksgiving and was an opportunity for us to take some time off and enjoy a beach holiday. AfroChic is a five-room beachfront property on the north side of Diani Beach. It’s very family friendly, with a nice pool area and lovely lounges overlooking the Indian Ocean. The food is delicious whether you order from the extensive regular menu or the daily Chef's Menu. Being next to the ocean, you can expect amazing fresh seafood.

Activity wise, we went snorkeling off a sandbar and had wonderful close up encounters with boxfish, angel fish, parrot fish, clown fish, and even a black-and-white sea snake (but not too close-up — they’re venomous!). We enjoyed a half-day deep-sea fishing excursion where my husband caught a 40-lb king mackerel, and I caught a 20-lb barracuda. 

Getting to the coast was easy and all the essential Covid protocols were in use at Wilson Airport in Nairobi including social distancing, hand sanitizer, etc. We were the only passengers on the Kenya Air Flight from Nairobi to Diani, and the only people in the terminals.

Elewana Lewa Safari Camp

I’ve always loved Lewa Safari Camp, because it’s so quiet and because it’s the only place to overnight in the park’s southwest corner (all other camps are in the northern part of the conservancy). Lewa is truly the model for African conservation. We had a behind-the-scenes visit to the conservancy headquarters and operations room where they are using state-of-the-art technology to monitor the 213 black and white rhino that roam the park. If they don't see a rhino for three days, they start to worry.

On three of our game drives, we didn’t see any other visitors and it felt like we had the park all to ourselves. There are lots of animals including black and white rhinos, lions, hartebeest, oryx, eland and elephants galore.

Elewana Tortilis Camp Amboseli

At the moment it is mostly local tourists visiting safari camps and you may be the only non-resident traveller at any given location. That means that weekends are busier than weekdays, especially in camps or parks close to Nairobi. However, even with residents visiting, none of the national parks or wildlife reserves are terribly busy. On weekdays, you may have the park pretty much to yourself. In Amboseli National Park, we were almost the only ones exploring the southwest part of the huge park. In three hours (on a Sunday evening), we saw one other vehicle. What a privilege.

Amboseli has turned pink, or at least the water in the park’s southwest corner, where shallow lakes are full of flamingos. It turns out that the birds have migrated from Lake Natron during the last two years and are staying. The birding in general has been exceptional and seeing as I now mount my binoculars on a harness, I’m officially a “twitcher.” 

Amboseli is a gem of a park. Currently the park has a lot of water; the Amboseli swamps are full and expanding. And wildlife is prolific, with elephants leading the pack (or herd in their case). It was magical having the clouds around Kilimanjaro suddenly open-up and see the full peak.

As for Covid’s impact at this time, all the Elewana Collection properties are following protocols. Staff wear masks and guests are asked to wear them when walking around the public areas, which also have handwashing stations. Hand sanitiser is readily available and in addition, Elewana offers you a welcome pack with a mask, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitiser and other goodies. One of the distinct advantages to taking a safari holiday right now is that the wide-open space, fresh air and small guest numbers all lend themselves to natural social distancing.