African Safari Family Legacy
Where Many Bond Into One For Generations





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Answers to African Safari Legacy Questionnaire

Jo Heath
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. Cliff McKenzie

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 can create.
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 message?


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 future?


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 2004.
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 re-forestation etc.
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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