Too often awards are concocted, self-serving and cynical: ‘you advertise in our Bush Companion and we’ll give you a worthless accolade,’ or the winner is the one that garners the most solicited support on social media. Just as the best wildlife photographers are not the ones with the most followers on Instagram, so the finest camps are not ones with worthless logos. Which brings us to the Kenya Ecotourism gold awards. These coveted prizes have ridiculously stringent rules and judges and are devilishly difficult to attain.
Ask any drugs-free athlete what is more demanding, winning gold or retaining it and they will tell you the latter. Kicheche has just retained its four gold eco awards. Out of the thousands of tourism facilities in Kenya, under forty have this cherished badge. Kicheche have four! (4)
You don’t get this sort of ethical podium love by a few superficial verdant logos or a couple of recycling bins. The whole sensitive, sustainable ethic has to be swallowed whole and then course through every staff members veins. It does.
Whether it is staff toilets made from old wine bottles being bog standard or knowing exactly how to dispose of the peelings from two dozen carrots, Kicheche embraces it.
This matters and will continue to matter but for now we are just very proud that four small, independent safari camps can be so recognised.
Kicheche. Gold: 24 carrots.