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The Wildlife Tourism College of Maasai Mara

The recent inauguration of the Wildlife Tourism College of Maasai Mara marks a pivotal advancement in conservation education within the Masai Mara region.

Nestled in the heart of the innovative Pardamat Conservation Area, the College, with its unique approach to sustainability and community development, reflects a shared vision that has been meticulously brought to life through close partnerships, including the invaluable contributions of Saruni Basecamp.

A Vision for the Future

Saruni Basecamp Svein at Wildlife Tourism College
Chair & Founder Saruni Basecamp, Svein Wilhelmsen together with Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, Dr. Alfred Mutua accompanied by Narok County Governor Patrick Ole Ntutu

In his inspiring inauguration speech, Svein Wilhelmsen emphasized, “Kenya’s greatest resource is its youth, and by ensuring that these young minds emerge as well-rounded, skilled professionals, they are empowered to carry forward the message of sustainability and conservation.” This philosophy is at the heart of what we do at Saruni Basecamp and is echoed in every aspect of the College’s operations and curriculum.

As the Wildlife Tourism College begins its journey, Saruni Basecamp continues to be a proud partner, celebrating each milestone that brings us closer to a sustainable future.

The College: A Hub of Learning and Innovation

Saruni Basecamp Wildlife Tourism College Students
WTC Students during the College Inauguration

Opened for its first intake in September 2023, the College welcomed 40 eager students into its locally sourced, ecologically built campus. The architectural design of the College pays homage to its environment, featuring three classrooms named after local conservancies which include Mara Naboisho, Pardamat, and Mara North. These names not only signify the locations where Saruni Basecamp operates but also represent the deep connections and ongoing contributions by Svein Wilhelmsen, Saruni Basecamp’s founder, through Basecamp Explorer Foundation – Kenya (BCEF-K) our not-for-profit sister organization to supporting these conservancies.

Saruni Basecamp Wildlife Tourism College Computer Lab
Well-equipped computer laboratory at WTC

The facilities at the College are crafted to foster an immersive learning environment. From a museum showcasing a collection of animal bones from the Masai Mara, which serves as a vital educational tool for understanding local biodiversity, to a computer laboratory situated below a well-stocked library, the campus is designed to support comprehensive research and learning. The integration of a fully equipped kitchen and dining area ensures that students receive hands-on hospitality training, extending their skills beyond wildlife guiding to encompass all aspects of the tourism industry.

Saruni Basecamp’s Integral Role

Saruni Basecamp Wildlife Tourism College Junior Safari Guides
Saruni Basecamp Female Guides

Saruni Basecamp has long been intertwined with the legacy of the Koiyaki Guiding School, the precursor to the Wildlife Tourism College. Over the years, Saruni Basecamp has not only sponsored numerous local community members to attend the school but has also provided employment opportunities to many of its graduates, who are now some of the top guides at Saruni Basecamp properties. This enduring relationship underscores our commitment to nurturing local talent and supporting sustainable community initiatives.

The transformation from Koiyaki Guiding School to the Wildlife Tourism College was envisioned to create a more holistic educational environment, one that addresses the urgent needs of today’s conservation challenges while also empowering the next generation of leaders. The College now serves as a vital research area for scholars and researchers, further supporting its mission to become a self-sustaining institution that contributes significantly to the local economy and conservation efforts.