Spectacularly Sustainable Safari
In the heart of Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve is the luxurious, eco-friendly Emboo River.
The location is so ideal that the lounge area is flanked by a river on one side, and endless plains on the other. As soon as you hop into the safari vehicle, your game drive begins – while the camp itself is naturally protected by a lush forest, the expansiveness of the open grasslands and close wildlife encounters can be enjoyed just a stone’s throw away.
Whether you choose to stay in a luxurious River Room along the river bend or level up in an exclusive River Suite with a private terrace, you will be able to choose between an open (‘weaver bird’s nest’) or closed (‘warthog den’) canvas option – depending on whether you would like to feel truly at one with nature or keep cosy and cocooned. There is also a unique Studio accommodation option, which includes a work area in addition to the luxurious living space. It’s surrounded by trees, overlooks the river, and is perfect for photographers, digital nomads, and others looking to work and play in the spectacular remote destination.
However you choose to curate your bush adventure, one thing is for certain – the resident wildlife will not disappoint. While there has been a traditional focus on the Big 5, the Emboo team is passionate about sharing what they call the ‘Big 20’ with guests. From the Maasai giraffe to the dung beetle, every wild creature is viewed with equal reverence for its uniqueness and place in the ecosystem. Particular highlights for guests include spotting the elusive Narina Trogon forest bird, and marking the fauna and flora spotted on a safari bingo card. Another current favourite is the resident hippo, Betty – who can be spotted in the river by guests enjoying a massage at the Spafari spa (a gorgeous wooden structure positioned between the trees).
While many destinations pay lip service to sustainability, Emboo truly walks the talk. You won’t find any loud diesel vehicles; hear a generator in the background while you’re having dinner under the stars; or feel guilty about your wastewater being dumped into the nearest river.
Opened in 2019, the progressive destination offers electric safari vehicles repurposed from 90s Land Cruisers. It’s the only lodge with a full fleet of electric cars in the region, and their ‘solar-powered safaris’ allow guests and guides to hear every little sound of the bush and get closer to wildlife without disturbing them (a photographer’s dream!). Beyond this, the entire lodge is solar powered. The pool is kept crystal-clear without any chemicals; guests can enjoy hot ‘rainshowers’ 24/7; and every drop of water is filtered and reused for flushing toilets. Emboo River shows that sustainability does not compromise on luxury, and instead elevates your stay.
The team grows their own food in hydroponic vertical gardens, and guests can accompany the chefs to select their own fresh produce. Think nourishing seasonal veggies for dinner; lemongrass or mint for afternoon tea; cocktails with sage for sundowners; and even fresh herbs for the natural oils and scrubs used at the spa. All food scraps are processed through a bio-digestor and end up as bio-gas to power the kitchen stove.
“Sustainability is constantly changing, and we are always learning and trying new things,” shares CEO Valery Super. “We are serious about the journey; the data shows that Emboo River’s operations are carbon neutral; and we are regularly measuring the results of our efforts to help inform our next moves,” she continues. “We are proud of the fact that we have many of the fundamentals down so far – we grow our own food; clean our own water; and don’t use petrol – these are important basics for a safari lodge.”
“Nobody can say that they are 100% sustainable, but we are on our way – regularly measuring the results of our efforts and using the data to inform our next moves,” she continues.
Emboo’s social consciousness and contribution are as impressive as their eco aspirations. While tourism in Kenya (and throughout Africa) is a traditionally male-dominated industry, Emboo strives for a 50/50 balance within their team. Their female head guide and ranger – affectionately known as the Queens of the Mara – are proud testament to this. They also host regular women’s empowerment networking meetings to offer support for the otherwise isolated women living and working in the area.
“We are acutely aware of our impact – not only on our guests, team, and ecosystem – but also on the wider community in the area,” shares Super. “We tend to attract guests with similar values, and together we create more than a safari – it’s an all-encompassing, inspiring, experience.”
If this has inspired you contact us to make your dream safari a reality!