As of the 1st June, Tortilis Camp in Amboseli National Park will be the first camp of a substantial size in Kenya, if not all of Africa, to operate 100% on solar power 24 hours a day.

The camp’s 16 regular tents, family tent and private house all have spectacular views of Kilimanjaro, and guests will experience some of the best elephant viewing in the world. The camp also has two delightful pool areas, small spa and impressive restaurant, well known for its Northern Italian cuisine based on original family recipes.

One hundred and ninety solar panels will produce power equivalent to the previous 60 KVA generators, enabling them to power 48 batteries, each weighting 216kg, that will sustain power throughout the night. The additional solar power will save the camp approximately 28,000 litres of diesel a year, which is a tremendous saving, both financially and for the environment.

“We are delighted to be switching off the lights on power generated by diesel. All our camps are operated at some level by solar power, however it has always been our wish to go 100% solar and there are plans to expand this throughout the rest of the properties in the portfolio,” said Stefano Cheli, owner of Cheli & Peacock.

Winner of British Airways’ prestigious eco-tourism award and Silver Eco-rating certified, Tortilis Camp was one of the first eco-lodges of its kind in East Africa, and has always used solar power for the majority of its requirements. The camp has an exemplary sustainable tourism policy, including leasing and managing the 30,000-acre private Kitirua Conservancy, meaning the local community benefits directly from tourism, and helps preserve an important part of the Amboseli eco-system.

Tortilis has drawn up a long-term agreement with Big Life, the non-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of Amboseli’s ecosystem and the protection of wildlife, through a community-based collaborative approach, founded by wildlife photographer Nick Brandt. A payment from Tortilis of on average £16,500 a year to Big Life gives financial and practical support to the Amboseli Tsavo Game Scout Association (ATGSA), which recruits and trains local Maasai men as game scouts to work under the Big Life umbrella. Their goal is to ensure the continued safety and security of the flora and fauna of Amboseli and Tsavo, and to educate their own people about wildlife/tourism benefits. The vast majority of Kenya’s wildlife is outside national parks, and the community land between the Amboseli and Tsavo National Park is vital to the ecosystem.

Tortilis is also supporting Dr David Western’s Amboseli Conservation Program through rehabilitation and maintenance of an ‘elephant enclosure’ keeping these mighty mammals away from designated areas, allowing woodlands to rejuvenate.

Tortilis Camp donated over US$12,000 towards the building of the Esiteti Primary School, and provides bursaries for individual pupils with special needs.

Images courtesy Cheli & Peacock

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