Emboo River is a luxurious lodge in the Maasai Mara, Kenya, with sustainability at the forefront of its operations. Emboo River is also the first lodge in the region to offer guests the chance to embark on carbon-neutral safaris in converted electric safari vehicles powered by solar energy. I had the chance to interview co-founder, Valery Joanne Super, about sustainability and ecotourism in the Maasai Mara region, as well as the exciting milestone of powering a fleet of safari vehicles using solar energy.
“The electric vehicles are a big part of what we love about the sustainability approach,” Valery explains. “The vehicles we have are old Land Cruisers from the 1990s. They were not electric at first. We got them in quite a bad shape. They were rusty, they would stall every now and then. We brought new life back to them by taking out the old engines and putting new electric engines and batteries in there.” Guests can enjoy a game drive in the electric safaris at any time of the year and have the chance to witness the Maasai Mara’s abundance of wildlife. During the Great Migration season, herds use a popular river crossing close to the lodge making animal sightings even more frequent.
Related Reading: Sustainable Travel in Kenya with Travel4Purpose
Carbon-neutral safaris aren’t the only standout achievement of the lodge. Emboo River applies innovation and technology at all levels of its operations. “With the help of our local team, we have applied a unique “Closed Loop System” that allows us to be carbon-neutral. This system includes running the camp’s showers with solar-heated water and utilising lagoons with local wetland plants that filter and recycle 100% of wastewater,” says Valery. Read more about the camp’s sustainability metrics here.
Emboo River’s principles of sustainability relate to a rapidly evolving tourism industry in Kenya whereby the preservation of local cultures and environments take precedence. We are now seeing a more inclusive approach to tourism where local people lead the conversation about what kind of tourism is best for the land and its people. The foundations of Emboo River are built upon such conversations.
The business partners with Friends of Maasai Mara, a movement working to improve attitudes towards conservation in Kenya. “More often, local people are left out of discussions [around tourism] and decisions are made without their presence,” explains Friends of Maasai Mara co-founder Amos Kipeng’. “We work with, and educate, the outside world on how to collaborate with locals when it comes to decision making, and are excited to take this approach into our work with Emboo River.”
Related Reading: Kenya Embraces Sustainable Tourism As The New Normal
Listen to the full interview below, and head over to the Emboo Camps website for more information about this inspiring project.