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2019 Newsletter


The whistling thorn is Acacia drepanalobium, which has a special relationship with a species of Crematogaster ant. The ants live in the trees, fiercely protecting them from browsers that would strip their leaves, flowers & seeds. In exchange, the tree provides the ants with hollow galls in which to live and special nectar glands for food.This relationship is the analogy for community conservation: people protecing the landscape and wildlife, and in exchange the land and animals provide the people with food, shelter, water, and economic benefit.



Conservation at Whistling Thorn Camp

“Never forget that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Meade

At Whistling Thorn Camp, conservation is not about either wildlife or people ~ it's about combining both, so that while the landscape and its creatures are protected, the people who live there also benefit and are part of the conservation effort. Too often conservation means just wildlife, and when local people suffer from crop loss or the death of loved ones, they become hostile to conservation efforts.

We are currently in the process of registering Whistling Thorn Conservation Community Development Project as a not for profit, non-trading company in Tanzania with a view to forming a full NGO in the near future. This step will help us to further our plans for conservation and community empowerment.

Community Projects

Direct payments of guest fees and hiring staff from nearby villages are some of the ways the community benefits from the presence of Whistling Thorn Camp. We also have two main community benefit projects:

Ol Tukai Primary School: The community's school is in dire need of direct support, not just for supplies but for mere basics we take for granted: a roof, water system (from rainwater collection), and floors to begin with.

Community Water System: A foreign mining company controls the local well. A bore head and pump that belongs to the community would hugely benefit everyone's health and day-to-day lives. Currently when access to local water is denied people (mostly women and children) must walk many kilometres to get drinking water, wash their clothes, and water livestock.

Guests of Whistling Thorn Camp have generously supported the education of several local students through secondary school. We have also assisted the local women in their efforts to provide high quality beaded objects to visitors. In 2008 they were able to build a permanent structure in which to display these items. We have plans to build on this success and market select products through International Fair Trade organisations.

Our hope is to bring in the mobile medical unit of the Foundation for African Medicine and Education (FAME) to host an outreach clinic for the surrounding villages in early 2009.

If you would like to donate funds to any of these important projects, or to organize a special volunteer trip to help work on them, please contact Hagai Kissila ( ).

Conservation at Whistling Thorn Camp



National Park Buffer Zone

At present, the conservation projects at Whistling Thorn Camp are just getting underway, but perhaps the most important direct conservation of habitat and wildlife is occuring just by the presence of the camp: land that the camp leases from the community is removed from any intensive uses such as grazing or farming, and thus creates an important buffer between the park and nearby human communities.

Future projects include a tree planting campaign and an education programme on substitute fuel to help stop deforestation of the area.

Wildlife Corridor

Because Whistling Thorn Camp is located in the vital Kwa Kuchinja wildlife corridor we hope to continue to enlarge our small camp with the cooperation of the surrounding Maasai community. In order to do this, we must ensure that our enterprise is successful and brings benefit to the community.


How you can help:
Stay with us! Proceeds directly benefit the community. To book a tent at our camp email:

For more information:
To make a booking:

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