Naboisho, which in Maasai means “coming together,” is a community-driven initiative in Greater Maasai Mara, Kenya that created a wildlife conservation and tourism area, Mara Naboisho Conservancy, which provides a source of revenue for the indigenous Maasai landowners and surrounding communities. HM Design was the planning and design team leader that developed an Integrated Biodiversity, Pastoralism and Tourism Development Master Plan for Mara Naboisho Conservancy, giving it a new bold and innovative master physical ‘naboisho’ planning approach to community-based tourism. Local community members ‘came together’ for the analysis and planning processes from Day One and their indigenous wisdom and on-ground knowledge led to the production of a cutting-edge master plan that helps protect native sacred ritual sites and medicinal plant sources, and ensures a water supply for Maasai cattle during droughts.
Local Maasai community members, project coordinators Basecamp Foundation and
HM Design-led consultant team ‘naboisho’ing’ at one of the master planning charettes
The Integrated Biodiversity, Pastoralism and Tourism Development Master Plan for Mara Naboisho Conservancy may be the first truly physical master plan prepared for a private protected area in Africa. As the quote at the bottom of this newsletter states, HM Design has decided to be an author! To prepare this history-breaking master plan, HM Design organized a group of local and International experts which included: avian ecologist Dr. Munir Virani, small mammal ecologist and author Professor Ara Monadjem, vegetation ecologist and author Dr. Najma Dharani, landscape biodiversity expert Sofia Lund, community liaison Dickson Kaelo and local hydrologist Mike Thomas.
The Integrated Master Plan is helping protect the habitats and migratory routes of numerous wildlife species such as the lion, elephant, Nile crocodile, hippopotamus, wildebeest and hooded vulture. Please click on the image below to view the “gestalt” of the 50,000-acre (20,628-hectare) Mara Naboisho Conservancy as captured by photographers Hitesh, Munir and Annette. This slide presentation reflects the amazing beauty of Planet Earth and we hope that you enjoy it.
Eight forms of methodology and process were utilized to create the Master Plan. Satellite imagery, GIS, ground truthing, local community member interviews, guided medicinal plant walks, walking safaris and nightly campfire storytelling were all important aspects of the master planning process.The final Master Plan (above) was drawn up by illustrator maestro Matthew Lewis who ‘painted’ a seven-layer plan.
The program for development includes only six tourism tented camps/lodges (maximum of 24 beds each), Research Center, Guiding School, Visitor Center, Wardens Housing, game viewing roads and walking trails. HM Design was also responsible for the refurbishment and expansion of one of these camps, Eagle View Camp, and for this effort, they led a local team consisting of architects, engineers and quantity surveyors.
The Site Plan for Eagle Camp was inspired by a Maasai Manyatta which has a strong circular design.
Early this year, Mara Naboisho Conservancy was chosen as one of the Global Top 100 Sustainable Destinations, which is a joint initiative of four leading organisations in sustainable tourism. For the first time, Sustainable Destinations Global Top 100 celebrated the management efforts of the most sustainable destinations on the planet.The list is the result of open calls in the social media, followed by a selection by 30 international tourism sustainability experts.
“The Global Top 100 aims to recognise tourism destinations that have worked hard to make a difference and take sustainability seriously,” said director Albert Salman of GreenDestinations.info.
And last year, Eagle View Camp was recognized as one of the world’s Topmost Ecolodges by none other than National Geographic. Together with local architecture firm Studio Infinity,HM Design created a “continuity of the vernacular architecture’ for the individual guest units (below).
The Lodge Villa was inspired by local Maasai Architecture and its organic forms and material textures.
We would like to once again THANK all of our clients, fellow consultants and friends for your continued support.
For the earth,
“History, some read it and some write it. Be the author.”
~ Mike Horn, explorer extraordinaire