Press Release


Eco-Tourism with a Difference

It’s not a Safari, it’s not just an AID project, and it’s not just a course.  It is all of these and more.

Set on the edge of the Maasai village of Ngare Ndare in Kenya’s Laikipia Wildlife District.  This course will look at a project commenced in April of this year.  It will question:  What is appropriate in third world aid?

The project is on one small corner of Borana Ranch an internationally famous Safari Lodge.  When the animators of The Lion King were looking for inspiration, Borana is where they went. 

Borana Ranch had a small piece of land on the village side of the elephant fence and it was in trouble.  Constant trafficking of livestock (mostly goats) and women collecting firewood had severely degraded this semi-arid landscape.  An erosion gully over 2 metres deep had taken just a couple of years to form and others were well on the way.

Michael Dyer the manager of the family ranch asked Michael Nickels a Canadian forester with more than ten years experience in Kenya to help.  Together with Jeff Nugent, a Permaculture teacher, designer and author from Australia, they transformed the landscape in just one month.

“By addressing the problems of food security, firewood, fodder and erosion control simultaneously, we have a very productive and stable site in just a few years.” said Mr. Nugent.  “The big issues are in the approach to the landscape design and the right selection of species.”

The effects were pronounced. In this area it doesn’t rain often or for long but the rain is intense.  In just 20 minutes the team had collected 5 million litres of water on the landscape and avoided massive erosion.  The collected water then percolated into the soil to become available to the new plants.

“After we finished the project and looked at it with satisfaction we decided that more people should be developing these skills.” said Mr. Nickels “There is so much work to do just in that one village, but then to look at the rest of Africa, we urgently need skilled workers.  Acquiring these skills isn’t as difficult as most would think and it can be personally rewarding.  Anyone can participate.”

“The course offers a unique combination of experiences.” Mr. Nugent said “An organised stay in one of Africa’s most politically stable countries, a stay in a safari style camp on the edge of a Maasai village, a safari through the wildlife park, the learning of new skills for healing the landscape and direct involvement in third world aid.  Too often people are reluctant to make a donation to aid projects because they are unsure of the effectiveness.  This is the perfect opportunity to see for yourself.”

If you think you’re up to the challenge the first two week long course runs from 18th – 29th November 2002.  The course costs US$1500 and participants will have to find their own way to Nairobi.

Please contact us if you are interested in this course.  

It can be run again if there is interest.

People wishing to find out more about the project or the course should go to website.


The following photographs are copyright of Jeff Nugent.  Free use of them is granted for the promotion of this course.  Larger images can be made available on request (

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The wildlife of Borana Ranch

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The project site with the village of Ngare Ndare behind. - Camels being driven through the village.

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Community members look at the erosion from goats.  A new erosion problem in the making.

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Local people are trained and employed at the site.