Camps International is an organisation running in the UK and Australia, offering ethical service programs. This social enterprise runs trips in Africa, South America and South East Asia and trips are available for schools, gap students, families and individuals.
What appealed to me initially was the ethical mindset of the company. I’m extremely passionate about service learning and helping others and when I saw the promotional booklet, I was extremely interested. Running school trips is something I regularly do, and as a Service Education Coordinator, I thought this would be perfect for my school.
I joined a teacher Recce (or research trip) headed for Kenya to see what the company and experience was like, as a means to be able to see it first hand and have genuine personal knowledge to guide my decision making and teaching when back at school.
From the word go, Tanya from Camps was extremely efficient and helpful in organising my flights and providing me with helpful information. Not long after the end of Term 4, I flew from Sydney to Kenya via China on China Southern Airways. I met my fellow Reece travellers in China and off we went. Despite an extremely long journey on planes, and a scheduled refuel in Bangkok, we arrived in Kenya (minus my baggage?!) ready and raring to go.
We were met by Yusura who led us for the entire journey, had some breakfast, stocked up on supplies for the bus and began our long bus journey to Camp Tsavo.
After the trip in a bus and on an interesting highway drive (think millions of trucks wanting to overtake each other and seeing zebras on the side of the road), we found ourselves at the Camp Tsavo site.
The area is incredible, in a small place an hour from the town of Voi. It is village life with the locals living in minimal houses, many made from mud. It’s also very green, they have amazing produce. They have large families and so eager to see locals, coming outside to wave to the passers by. I’d happily just drive up and down the road all day. The children walk to school and quite far to get water. I’d love to see water filters be built or provide bicycles some day.
At the camp, we’re met by the local staff, introductions made and we are shown around the site and settled into our rooms – the camp style cabins have beds and blankets. Rooms (for 3) have electricity and charging facilities mosquitos nets, there’s drop toilets and cold showers. So, it’s actually quite like glamping.
There’s a dining hall where food is cooked for you and the food is incredible – think local food like meat and vegetable curries and Ugali. They also made some western food and in particular an amazing bolgonaise and the most tender meat patties I’ve ever eaten. Coming from a foodie, this food was superb. Filtered water, tea and coffee was also available.
The site itself and out look is absolutely incredible. It’s like you’re featured in part of the lion king and “circle of life” is constantly replaying in your head.
The trip includes a safari in a private game park. We visited this for approximately 4 hours and managed to see giraffes, elephants, warthogs, zebras and more. Unfortunately they aren’t prone to regular visitors and the sound of the vehicle scared them off. I’m keen to revisit Africa to go on Safari to a National Park or even to see the Great Migration.
Following this, we visited the Voi Wildlife Lodge, where groups are taken for a bit of R&R. An incredible resort overlooking animals in their habitat and this is amazing to watch the animals drink from a watering hole whilst having a drink or bite to eat yourself.
However, this is not the prime reason we were on camps. We were there to see the Service work projects and participate in these ourselves. This will be continued in the Blog Part #2.