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It’s all about family

October 5, 2011

If you have read any of my previous blogs, you will know that family is very important to me and I mention my own quite often.  Family is just as important to all the members of the Bush and Beyond portfolio  – it is actually one of the unique things about us.  Our properties are individually owned and operated by families who in many cases act as your hosts and welcome you to their homes.  Read further to learn more about our Bush and Beyond families.

The Francombe family own and run Ol Malo.  Colin and Rocky Francombe have lived in Northern Kenya for over 40 years and raised their family there.  They have opened their home and family ranch to guests so they can experience the beauty and wildlife of this special area.  Their children have also stayed involved with Ol Malo.  Their son, Andrew and his wife, Chyulu (who were married at Ol Malo this year) help with running the property and also act as hosts.  Their daughter Julia and her family live in the area and Julia runs the philanthropic arm of Ol Malo – you can often find her at the beading workshop or school which are both located on the property.

The Beaton and Looseyia families have been linked for three generations. Gerard Beaton and Jackson Looseyia grew up together and now own and operate Nomadic Encounters (Acacia, Mara and Topi Houses).  The unique combination of white Kenyan and Maasai Kenyan owners/friends provides an experience like no other for guests.  Add the artistic touches of Gerard’s wife, Rainee into the mix and it simply can’t be beat.  Gerard & Rainee are now raising their boys in the same area that Gerard and Jackson grew up – the legend continues.

Sarara is all about family.  Piers and Hilary Bastard manage Sarara and now Jeremy Bastard is working with his father and helping to run the property (as well as the walking safaris).  Sarara is really all about family, not just the Bastard family, but all the Samburu families who actually own Sarara.  Sarara is a community owned property and all the profits are dispersed among the local families.   So while you may only meet only one family while you are at Sarara know that this is about so many more families.

The Craig family have been at Lewa since the beginning of the 1900s and Will and his wife Emma own Lewa Wilderness.  The Craigs were instrumental in creating the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy which is one of the most successful and recognized private conservancies on the continent and a refuge to endangered species such as therhino and Grevy zebra.  A marvellous book about Deliah Craig (Will’s mother) has just been published and I highly recommend it – “From Oxcart to Email” tells the story of life at Lewa from its early days as a family ranch to its current success.  Now that’s a family story!

The Elias family is relatively new to Kenya but they have had a huge impact in their short time living here and their work with the local Masai & Samburu communities has made Ol Lentille a pioneer in the tourism industry.  Ol Lentille is a unique partnership between the Elias family, the local community and the African Wildlife Foundation.  John and Gil Elias manage the property and the conservancy on behalf of the local community and as such work hand in hand with the local families.  Another example of many families working together.

The Bonham family has been involved in the East African safari business for decades.  Richard Bonham and his sister, Trish Luke established ol Donyo Lodge and you can still find Richard, his wife Tara and their family living there.  Trish is busy in Nairobi as one of the partners of Bush and Beyond and her son, Richard Pye is now managing Mara Plains Camp.  Another generation of the Bonham family is following in the family business.

So as the famous disco hit says “We are Family” at Bush and Beyond.  We believe it is one of the things that make us and our properties so special.  We like to think that all of our guests feel like they are part of our families when they are staying with us.  So come and meet the family!

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