Answers to African Safari Legacy
Manager, Kirurumu Lodge
Note: An email was sent to
Jo from New York City requesting the following information. When I'm at
the lodge, I will interview Jo and the staff more in-depth. However, what
is beautiful is the depth and love of her answers for both the land and
the people. If we can use the Legacy of Kirurumu in our lives, it is to
love what we do and for whom we do it. In Jo's case, it is the love of
Africa's pristine beauty and ecological balance with the modern world.
What legacy does your lodge/facility provide the traveler that he/she
can take back with them?
Kirurumu Lodge is completely in touch with its natural surroundings.
It was built by local hands using local materials, and its presence has
caused the regeneration of many of the indigenous flora and fauna previously
destroyed through agriculture.
This has over the years encouraged the return of many animal and bird
species, thus becoming a perfect example of the harmony Mother Nature
When travelers stay with us, they become aware of this in many ways. Our
peaceful environment allows them to enjoy sounds such as the hum of the
African bush, the evening choir of frogs, and the morning chorus of birds.
This is accompanied by exceptional views, comfortable accommodation and
friendly local staff.
Being a tented lodge brings a person closer to nature, so when staying
at Kirurumu a traveler can begin to truly appreciate the things in life
that could so easily pass them by. We place much emphasis on this at Kirurumu,
and with the help of our Maasai Guides we encourage guests to take walks
to see the world through the eyes of this fascinating tribe.
Through experiencing the African bush, (which can often be missed in bigger
hotels) a person develops an intimacy with nature. Within our company
we are dedicated to creating balance with our natural surroundings, and
by having our guests appreciate the importance this relationship is definitely
a legacy that Kirurumu would like to pass on.
What is the most important goal for all who visit your facility?
The most important goal for all our visitors is to let go of all of their
problems. To forget about time for a moment. To forget about work and
/ or stress related areas of their lives, and put away their laptops and
their mobile phones, and share some peace and tranquility here with us.
If there is one message you'd like all your visitors to take with them
regarding Africa, what is it? Why do you feel this is the most important
Despite its problems, there are so many beautiful assets to be found in
Africa, and much we can learn off the African people. For example children
from an early age are made to work on their parents farms or become cattle
herders. They often miss meals and have to walk vast distances for water.
They live in one roomed houses constructed mainly from mud and have no
electricity, no toys and little clothing. They know nothing of television,
play stations, fashionable clothes and many of the other luxuries most
western children have become accustomed to. Yet they have the biggest
smiles and he most enthusiastic hand waves I have ever seen.
Our area in particular is famous for its many tribes, all of whom live
together and work together in harmony despite cultural variations, proving
yet again, we still have much to learn.
The people of Tanzania are exceptionally friendly and courteous, and when
combined with Tanzania’s abundance of wildlife, it makes one of
the most wonderful experiences a traveler can have.
From a child's point of view, what do you feel is the most important image
a child should take from Africa?
The realization of life’s diversity. The image of the spectacular
wildlife and the colourfulness of the Tanzanian people. The knowledge
that not everybody and everything live the same way. The image that Africa
is a desirable place to return to and that Africa is fun!
What do you do to encourage the traveler to return to your facility, or
to encourage family, friends and relatives to visit at some time in the
Kirurumu offers an intimate environment and the style of accommodation
is designed to suite everyone’s needs. Being tented gives travellers
the thrill of the under-canvas experience, whereas the provision of hot
running water, flush toilets and electricity adds the touches of luxury
not normally found in a camp. Its small size prevents couples and smaller
groups becoming overwhelmed by too many larger groups.
The staff are extremely warm, welcoming and professional, providing a
very homely feeling.
The location of Kirurumu makes it an ideal place for guests to stay several
nights as there are three National Parks with close proximity, and many
walking opportunities. With all these assets, plus our comfortable facilities,
we find many of our guests returning to stay with us again and again.
What do you see in the future of Africa over the next ten, twenty, fifty,
hundred years? What are you doing today to make that a reality?
Tourism will inevitably play a huge part in Tanzania’s future, as
it provides a large source of income. The key to its success is ensuring
it is handled in such a way that it becomes beneficial to Tanzania / Africa
in other ways rather than just creating revenue.
Our company has strived over many years to establish goods relations with
the communities in our areas. Through establishing a bond of trust, these
communities have learnt that they can reap more benefits through preserving
and protecting the African bush rather than by cultivating it.
Our community based tourism projects have proven time and time again to
be extremely successful and actually earned us the Conde Nast award in
By providing our communities with annual fees and bed night revenues created
through people staying at our properties, they receive an income with
out the need to farm land for financial security. In turn the communities
co-operate by protecting these areas against poaching and assist with
By providing our village clean drinking water, we eliminate their need
to cut down trees in order to boil water, and through using solar power
to heat our guests water we reduce electricity consumption and by financing
the building of schools we provide a much needed education for the younger
members of the community. All of these examples of sustainable tourism
play a vital role in helping to protect precious resources, and ensuring
a prosperous future for Africa.
How can, or what can someone do who is coming to your facility, maximize
the great history and impact of his/her/their visit.
In order to maximise their stay with us a person should take advantage
of the walking opportunities we provide. Inside the National Parks this
is not possible, and it also allows you to spend some precious time with
a Maasai, looking at the practical uses of the surrounding plantlife,
as well as feeling the beat of the African bush beneath your feet.
Anyone staying with us, could also take a few minutes out of their game
drive time and visit one of our schools, or visit one of our villages
where they could assist with various projects through a donation, or by
provision of books and pens etc.
What are some of the legacies of your staff? How do you select them? What
is your philosophy of service not just to the traveler's comfort, but
to the enrichment of the African experience?
Due to our village agreements, the majority of staff are employed from
the immediate area. From time to time we create casual employment which
we rotate in order to give everyone in our community an opportunity.
Through in-house training, many of my permanent staff have worked their
way up through the ranks placing them in key positions of which they may
not necessarily be qualified to do on paper. One example is my Assistant
Manager Joseph, who was a waiter when I first arrived!
There is very little staff turn over at Kirurumu, as the staff are loyal
and enjoy their work. They are very knowledgeable about the area and Kirurumu.
This creates a great family atmosphere which is often commented upon.
What made you want to do this? What fulfillment do you personally receive
from hosting travelers from around the world?
I first came to Tanzania with Nigel (my then boyfriend) on a safari. Nigel’s
family have many roots here in Africa and he was often coming back and
forth from the UK to guide safaris.
When I arrived I fell instantly in love with the surroundings and the
people. We started looking for work as a way to keep ourselves here, and
initially were employed by another company. We soon met Peter Lindstrom
– our Managing Director, and Steven Laiser his partner who mutually
founded a company we really wanted to be part of. We soon found ourselves
moving to Manyara and settling in to a life I would never have imagined
for myself a few months before. Kirurumu is a wonderful place to live
and life has been both challenging and rewarding.
The people I work with, the guests that I meet, and knowledge of the efforts
we make for the well fare of this beautiful country is extremely fulfilling.
What would you say is the most important reason why every family, every
person, should make a visit to Africa, and, of course,
stay at your facility?
Africa is beautiful. There are not many untouched places left in the world.
The fact that Tanzania is the heart of human origins, and yet still so
wild makes it unique as well.
By staying with us at Kirurumu a person can experience a true taste of
African in a comfortable and environmentally friendly manner.
I have talked much about wildlife and people working together, and through
sharing a few nights here with us, or any of our facilities, means you
are participating in our efforts for eco-tourism.
Tanzania is warm, friendly and inviting, and on behalf of everyone at
Kirurumu Lodge Karibu – which means welcome!
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