Amboseli National Park is a flat, semi arid basin lying below the most famous symbol of Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro. Rising dramatically out of the savannah to 5,895m (19,340 ft), Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest free standing mountain in the world.
The majestic giant with its snow-clad peak floating in the stark blue African sky forms a dramatic backdrop behind the abundant wildlife that live in the Amboseli National Park.
A large part of the park consists of the alluvial dried-up bed of the seasonal Lake Amboseli, which in the rainy season can transform into a shallow flood whilst the dry season brings strange mirages above the dry shimmering surface.
Towards the centre of the park are a series of swamps, fed by the underground rivers running off the mountain. It is here, closer to the water, that the concentration of wildlife intensifies, from the ever present herds of elephant to the colorful birdlife. This includes a wide variety of water birds such as grey heron, saddle bill stork, Egyptian goose as well as long-toed lapwing., yellow throated sand grouse and up to 6 species of vulture. The rare Madagascar Squacco Heron is a frequent visitor. Other game frequently seen include buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, gazelle, Masai giraffe, lion and cheetah.
The Elerai conservation area sits in an AWF (African Wildlife Foundation) identified critical wildlife corridor named the Kitenden Corridor which links the Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve in Tanzania to Amboseli National Park and beyond. These areas include a rich variety of ecosystems from the semi-arid savanna to wetlands and is home to a diverse collection of flora and fauna.
Like wildlife everywhere, the wildlife of Africa needs vast open landscapes to live, move, propagate. Isolated islands of protected land will not suffice to ensure that wildlife survives and thrives. Successful conservation efforts look beyond human borders to balance the needs of wildlife and people at the landscape level.
One of the great problems facing wildlife in Africa is the increasing isolation of viable wildlife habitat. As the human population grows and converts land into agriculture, National Park’s and Reserves are becoming more and more like isolated islands. One of AWF’s priorities is to maintain and restore landscape connectivity. The Elerai Camp Community and Wildlife Trust was started by Elerai Camp Lodge and it’s parent company Southern Cross Safaris in association with the local Elerai Maasai council and community.
Through the Trust and with the help of kind donations and continued support by AWF we hope to increase the conservation area through additional lease agreements so that the Maasai can be a part of long term wildlife protection efforts.
AWF believes that “loss and fragmentation of habitat is the single largest threat to most African wildilfe”.
Our focus is to create and support sustainable ways for the Maasai communities to live in harmony with the environment and the wildlife around them. We do this through assisting with education, securing additional lands for conservation efforts and community projects such as the traditional maasai village.
We have been greatly encouraged by our guests interest and willingness to want to assist with these projects. In the interest of the Elerai Community we decided to set up the Elerai Camp Community and Wildlife Trust, a vehicle through which people can make donations to assist communities and wildlife directly. The community themselves are trustees of the trust and all funds received are utilized solely for the benefit of community and wildlife in the area.