Happy birthday to Cheli & Peacock who this year, look back on 28 years of life in the Mara.
Here’s a note from our friends at Cheli & Peacock…
With summer upon us, all eyes are on the Maasai Mara. While the annual migration gathers pace and Richard Branson prepares to open the doors of his newest venture, Cheli & Peacock looks back on its long history in the Mara.
Liz and Stefano Cheli established Cheli & Peacock in the early safari days of 1985 and, over the past 28 years, have been at the helm of what is now one of Kenya’s leading and longest established safari operators.
Throughout the 1980s, both Liz and Stefano were leading regular mobile safaris across the Mara, captivated by this vast wilderness and, in particular, a favourite camping spot which later became Elephant Pepper Camp.
As one of only a few companies operating in the Mara at that time, Cheli & Peacock were joint creators of Campfire Conservation Ltd: the first organisation to encourage the formation of a Maasai Landowners Committee to ensure community revenue from tourism and conservation.
Following the later division of land by the government, Cheli & Peacock once again set about forming strong community partnerships with Stefano co-founding the Mara North Conservancy (MNC), which he still chairs to this day.
Established in 2009, this non-profit operation is a best practice, world-class conservancy with long-term commitments to the environment, wildlife and local communities!
Elephant Pepper Camp is one of their exclusive tented camps set in a grove of trees amidst the rolling plains and lush forest of the MNC. In keeping with its history, Elephant Pepper Camp brings its guests back to the traditional safari experience! This small, private camp is stylishly furnished with Indian ‘Raj campaign furniture’ and its eight traditional canvas tents (and secluded honeymoon tent) offer a memorable night under the stars and a welcome retreat from an exhilarating day in the bush.
This is the best part of the Maasai Mara – a year-round game viewing experience like no other, particularly when it comes to the migration months. Intrepid explorers can get that much closer to the wildlife and learn ancient tracking techniques on Maasai-guided waking safaris, while those looking to unwind can indulge in al-fresco bush breakfasts, spectacular sundowners and the camp’s highly-renowned authentic Italian cuisine.
Just as Liz and Stefano began their adventures in the Mara with a commitment to both wildlife and community, today’s Cheli & Peacock Community Trust reflects this same philosophy. Formed in 2011 – following many years of on-going partnerships – the Trust focuses on educating the next generation of Kenyan conservationists, working with local communities to identify and support their development needs.
At Gold eco-rated Elephant Pepper Camp, the Trust supports a number of initiates and is currently fundraising for the ‘Boma Fortification Project’: an initiative aimed at reducing predation of Maasai livestock through strengthening of cattle enclosures, ultimately reducing human-wildlife conflict.
Looking back on their early years in the Maasai Mara, Stefano & Liz Cheli comment: