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Cottars’ Vision

To be financially successful and sustainable for the next 100 years. By remaining true to the family tradition of providing an authentic and individualised safari experience and by ensuring a legacy of wilderness, wildlife, comfort and security and honouring a balance between conservation, prosperous commerce, community and culture.

Tourism practised properly is a driving force in conservation; this is the belief that has dominated our safari business from the beginning. 

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.

Mary Ritter Beard

A commitment to The Long Run & the 4Cs

We believe that there can be a maintained balance between a prosperous business and sustainable conservation, social entrepreneurship, and community development. We are extremely proud to be one of The Long Runs nine Global Ecosphere Retreats in the world and certified at a Gold Ecotourism standard in Kenya.

Our motivation goes far deeper than simply providing a place to stay. As a fellow member of The Long Run, we operate under the guidelines of The Long Run’s 4Cs: Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce. Each guest’s visit contributes directly to the sustainability of our conservation and social development efforts. These include the restoration of the natural environment to a pristine condition, re-establishment and protection of biological diversity, anti-poaching, on-site research and rehabilitation projects, the provision of health-care services and a local pre-school.

Cutting edge conservation

Cottar’s Wildlife Conservation Trust (CWCT) in partnership with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) supports the 7608-acre Olderkesi Conservancy pilot project on the boundary and key wildlife corridor of the Maasai Mara National Reserve and the Serengeti National Park. CWCT and AWF have been actively engaged in the preservation of natural habitats and wildlife in the area and in securing the area from poachers and for the protection of the community.

The Olderkesi Conservancy is conservation-in-progress. Damage caused by previous cattle farming endeavours is being repaired, with fences and structures being removed, and natural processes are being restored. We aim to offer a new period of hope for our local community and wildlife of one of Africa’s greatest wilderness areas, the Maasai Mara. Cottar’s Safaris represents an opportunity to explore not just a landscape, but a new model of conservation.

Read more about CWCT work

Our mission is to make natural biodiversity the most valuable and productive land use option for rural landowners in Africa.

Calvin Cottar, CWCT director

Community & Culture

We are an extended family of people from Nairobi, Laikipia, the Maasai Mara and beyond, a family of many tribes. We find strength in our diversity, and because we all share the same vision for the future of Cottar’s Safaris and Cottar’s Wildlife Conservation Trust, we can combine our energies and passion to make the Cottars’ vision a reality.

Cottar’s is neighbored by the Maasai community, a tribe that has so far maintained its traditional way of life. To ensure guests don’t miss out on the intricacies of this vibrant culture, Cottar’s encourages guests to experience Maasai culture first hand. We also provide a market for beadwork and other traditional handicrafts produced by Maasai women as an additional way of preserving Maasai culture and support for development, and culture to support the culture related to the history of safari. 

CWCT has for many years actively supported the Maasai community’s struggle to obtain land tenure, resulting in their legal ownership of the 7608 acre Olderkesi Conservancy in 2010. Cottar’s Safaris and CWCT are in partnership with the Maasai community and manage their land on their behalf (for wildlife use) at rates competitive with other economic uses providing conservation as an alternative livelihood opportunity to pastoralism and agriculture. 

We take pride in saying that most of our employees are from the local community, by this we are actively involving them in development. We conduct local clinic visits (dental, ambulance transfers and other general services) which are arranged by volunteer groups who come through Cottar’s Safaris. We have also built a footbridge with Bridging the Gap Africa. The people can now access social amenities unlike before where they had difficulty crossing the Sand River, especially during floods. The bridge is now saving an average of six lives a year.

Cottar’s Safaris and CWCT built the Olpalagilagi Primary School for a total of 200 students, paying teachers salaries and to keep the children coming to school, we also run a feeding program for them.

Our 4C Impact Statement

How your stay impacts nature & people

We are a proud member of The Long Run, a global network of tourism businesses committed to conserving ecosystems and improving the well-being of people through a holistic balance of Conservation, Community, Culture, and Commerce. To monitor our progress, we have collaborated with Weeva, a sustainability tracking platform. By choosing to stay with us, you are directly supporting our conservation efforts and contributing to the well-being of our surrounding communities.

Method vetted by The Long Run for 2023. For more details about the framework used to make these calculations please go to www.thelongrun.org/impact-statement

Your contribution to our local and greater Kenyan economy

Purchasing

We strive to support local businesses and have a strict supplier policy focusing on local, sustainable and eco friendly products, to reduce your safari’s footprint.

Your contribution to our projects

Conserving Nature

Supporting a 7,600-acre community-owned conservancy, 21,000-acre wildlife corridor home to the following threatened and endangered species: elephants, black rhino, cheetah, wild dogs, pangolins, leopards; crowned eagle, martial eagle and ground hornbill. Distribute 30,000 tree and grass seeds per year and profile key underserved species such as vultures.

Local Development and Community Empowerment

Provision to 30,000 Maasai through medical and public health services, schools and women’s microfinance programmes. Empowerment of staff with over 60% of senior staffing positions being held by women.

Investment in Local Cultural Heritage

Promotion of Maasai storytelling in social media reaching over 5 million views per year. Provision of unique impact activities that support cultural heritage.

Carbon Honest

Yes, we could buy carbon offsets as a measure to reduce our carbon footprint – but this would mean buying credits elsewhere and likely investing in monoculture. Instead of that approach, we want to help our community and nature’s backyard which includes grasslands, rivers, mountains, significant biodiversity and community.  So instead of off-setting, we have a policy of being carbon honest and localized in-setting. In-setting has a circular benefit for the area and includes credibly monitoring our carbon footprint and investing with localized precision and clear benefits to nature and the community.

By staying with us you help

A unique, community-led 7,608-acre conservancy and support 21,000 acres of critical wildlife corridors.

26,990 local Maasai, by supporting medical and educational facilities, and their land rights.

Support and promote indigenous knowledge and African conservation storytelling.

Invest USD $673,050 in payments for ecosystem services, and community and cultural initiatives, raised through donations and conservancy fees.