Tourism in Enashiva
We touch down at Wasso airstrip just before the storm hits. Thunder rumbles above as we quickly transport gear and equipment from the plane to our waiting vehicles. Grassy savannah stretches out in all directions and a lone Maasai stands watch over the scene. Iconic stereotypes ring true here. This is the Serengeti.
Thomson Safaris has a 30-year legacy in Tanzania. The company has been able to blend environmental responsibility with community collaboration in to all of its tourism projects. The Enashiva Nature Refuge is the newest, and arguably most philanthropic venture, to date. The land that comprises Enashiva has undergone many transitions over the years. First, it was cultivated for barley by Tanzania Breweries Ltd. Later, it was utilized as pasture for the Maasai’s grazing cattle. In 2006, Thomson purchased the property – all 12,600 acres of it – and Enashiva Nature Refuge was born.
“The Serengeti ecosystem is more than just the National Park. It extends right in to this area,” says John Bearcroft, General Manager at Thomson Safaris. Over the years, competing interests from hunting, agriculture, and pastoralism greatly affected migrating wildlife’s ability to utilize this corridor. “They really had to run the gauntlet to get here,” says John. Thomson saw the opportunity to create a new sustainable tourism model in Enashiva that would offer guardianship over the land. “The obvious alternative land use was tourism.”
But for the neighboring Maasai, the transition from accessible to inaccessible land was not easy. Thomson understood that their presence could be perceived negatively. It would take an open dialogue with the community and ongoing cooperation to create true harmony here.