The state-run-marketing board, the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) has
honored Thomson Safaris with the 2009 Tanzania Conservation Award.
The award specifically recognizes the company’s efforts in
establishing and supporting the Enashiva Nature Refuge, a
community-based conservation project east of the Serengeti.
On Tuesday this week, Enashiva’s project manager, Daniel Yamat,
received the award on behalf of Thomson Safaris at a ceremony in
Cairo, Egypt, which was attended by Tanzania’s minister of tourism,
Shamsa Mwangunga, among other distinguished guests.
“Thomson Safaris is humbled to receive this honor,” said Yamat. “We
owe our deepest gratitude to the TTB, the government, and, most of
all, the Maasai communities around Enashiva that have helped make
conservation successful. The award really belongs to them.”
Since conservation efforts began at Enashiva, wildlife populations
have more the doubled in the area and sightings of endangered species
such as wild dog have increased dramatically.
Rare woodland habitats that support endangered tree species are also
being restored, according to him.
Yamat, who is of Maasai heritage, collaborates with a liaison
committee of Maasai elders and leaders who assist in guiding
Enashiva’s principles and work with local communities on conservation
efforts and community projects.
In 2008, select projects included the development of a borehole and
water well, support for a women’s entrepreneur group, and the donation
of a maize-grinding machine. Yamat noted several projects that are in
the planning stages for 2009.
“As tourists come to Enashiva, we hope more opportunities will open
up,” said Yamat. “Wildlife and communities do not have to be in
conflict with each other. They can both win.”
The Conservation Award marks the third honor Thomson Safaris has
received from the Tanzania Tourist Board.
In 2005, Thomson received the Humanitarian of the Year Award, and they
were named Tour Operator of the Year in 2001. More recent recognitions
include being named among the Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth
by National Geographic Adventure in 2008 and 2009.
Thomson Safaris was also a finalist for the 2008 Condé Nast World
Savers Award, which recognized the company’s efforts in supporting
education initiatives in Tanzania.