Campi ya Kanzi was built in 1996 as a partnership with the Maasai of Kuku Group Ranch to promote environmental conservation and sustainable community development through ecotourism. The Maasai landowners benefit directly from tourism through employment and conservation fees.
Campi ya Kanzi's founder, Luca Belpietro, wrote his thesis in economics on “Wildlife as a Renewable Resource in Kenya: Environment Conservation and Sustainable Development.” Campi ya Kanzi is the result of that thesis: a joint venture with the Maasai of Kuku to transform their wilderness and wildlife into economic resources that generate dividends for the community.
We believe in the concept of “Payment for Ecosystem Services.” Campi ya Kanzi visitors who come to enjoy the Kuku wilderness contribute a $101 conservation fee per person per day. The funds support Wildlife Pays, an MWCT compensation program that reimburses Maasai herders for livestock killed by predators. In return, the Maasai promise not to retaliate by hunting the predators. Although the Maasai once saw lions and leopards as a nuisance, they now value these animals for the interest and income they generate among tourists.
We also believe that the Maasai community needs an advocate. In 2000, Luca and his wife Antonella founded the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT). The Trust has branches in Kenya, the United States, and Italy. The President of the U.S. branch is Edward Norton: United Nations Ambassador for Biodiversity (appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in 2010), founder of Crowdrise.com, member of the U.S. President’s Committee for Arts and Humanities (appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009), and acclaimed filmmaker (actor, producer, writer, and/or director for more than 30 films; nominated for three Academy Awards for acting).
Campi ya Kanzi has received ample recognition for its eco-friendly and socially responsible practices. For a full list of awards and certifications, please click here.
Campi ya Kanzi partners with Pack for a Purpose, a non-profit organization that encourages travelers to support the communities they encounter on vacation. If you would like to support MWCT's conservation, education, and health programs, please consider packing a few supplies in that unused pocket of your suitcase. You can find our wish list here.
Campi ya Kanzi has received the highest possible rating from the Five Leaf System for eco-friendly practices. Even though we rank at the top, we continue to strive for the lowest environmental impact possible.