Camp Information
Community Projects
About the Maasai
Who We Are
Wildlife Conservation
Destination Africa Safaris
Plants & Animals
Secure server - through Paypal. You do not need to have a Paypal account to use our service. Donations are being accepted through our friends Jonathan & Roseann Hanson, under the name "Desert Enterprises" until we acquire our non-profit status.

Our two primary projects for community improvements are

1) School roof, floors, desks, water system. And

2) Water delivery system for the village.

By improving community life, by extension we are making conservation of wildlife habitat important to the community.

Contact us, for more information.

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

 - Margaret Meade

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Photo credits: Wildebeest, Robert Cratty. All others, Roseann & Jonathan Hanson or Hagai Kissila, Destination Africa.
Conservation at Whistling Thorn Camp

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.

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.

Wildlife Corridor

Because Whistling Thorn Camp is located in the vital Kwa Kuchinja wildlife corridor (click here for information from the Wildlife Conservation Society on the importance of wildlife corridors around Tarangire, and the threats they face), 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.

Community Improvements

Direct payments through guest fees and hiring staff are just one way for the community to benefit. We have two main community benefit projects:

1. 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 start.

Click photo to see a video of children singing for visitors. (5 mb mpg file)

2. Water System. The local well is controlled by a foriegn mining company. A borehead and pump that belongs to the community would hugely benefit everyone's health and day-to-day lives. Presently, when access to local water is denied, people (mostly women and children) must walk many kilometers to get drinking water, wash clothes, and water their livestock.

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

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The Maasai Community

Whistling Thorn Camp has forged a priceless relationship with the people of the Olasiti community, which is situated around the northwestern tip of Tarangire National Park. The Maasai call the region Elwai, after the whistling thorn, hence our own name. Just as many of the migratory animals are threatened in the area from an increase in farms and other development, so are the Maasai. They have lost access to hundreds of thousands of acres of ancestral lands where they moved seasonally to ensure their livestock had plenty of water and forage. Development has caused them to resort to a sedentary lifestyle, in a landscape that is not good farmland. Hence, the community is a very poor one and there is little or no help from the goverment.

Daudi Melangodi is the village chairman, and Olais Likoli is the village executive officer. They are both very supportive of the Whistling Thorn project, and anxious to see it grow and expand both in what it can do for the community and how much land can be protected as part of the wildlife corridor.

As we continue to build this website, please check back for more historical and cultural information about the Maasai.

In the meantime, we recommend the following resources for excellent information on the Maasai, in their own words and in the eyes of others:

The Maasai Association's website is a fantastic resource - written by Maasai, for the benefit of the whole world.

For readings, some of the most interesting books written about the Maasai are by Tanzanian David Read. As a boy, David (who is now in his 80s) grew up with only Maasai children as companions. His stories in his books are amazing, and they are full of information about Maasai customs, with no sugar-coatings.

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Wildlife & Plants of Whistling Thorn

Whistling Thorn Camp is located in one of East Africa's most diverse landscapes, with extremely high plant and bird diversity, and some of the largest elephant herds remaining today. Regarding birds of the region, there are over 450 species, with numerous threatened species. The globally threatened Lesser Kestrel is found here in considerable numbers, and Fisher's Lovebird, an endemic, is very common.

Check back here as we develop species lists from Whistling Thorn Camp.

For web resources, there is excellent information on the birds at

For elephants, be sure to go to the Wildlife Conservation Socity's Tarangire Elephant Project website at

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All content © Destination Africa Safaris Ltd., Arusha, Tanzania 2006