“It is an honour to have our camps in Kenya retain this top-tier eco-rating certification that is recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Despite the adverse effects of the pandemic, our daily interactions and business processes continue to be guided by various policies that focus on responsible business along our value chain so as to create shared value between our business and the eco-system within which we operate,” says Mr. Mahmud Jan Mohamed, Managing Director, Serena Hotels.
The Serena Hotels’ Camp portfolio in Kenya that includes, Sweetwaters Serena Camp and Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp have retained their Gold Eco-Rating Certification by the Eco-Tourism Society of Kenya since year 2013 and 2015 respectively.
Founded in 1996 as Ecotourism Society of Kenya (ESOK) and later adapting the name Ecotourism Kenya (EK) in 2006, EK was the first ecotourism society in Africa and a leader in the fields of voluntary tourism certification, and community asset building through tourism projects.
It is also involved in sustainable tourism planning, and campaigns, community mobilization and sensitization, product identification and development and environmental/social audits.
Grace Nderitu, CEO Eco-Tourism Kenya, says, “We applaud Serena Hotels for meeting eco-tourism standards to achieve the Gold Certification Rating. This certification is a true testament of how Serena Hotels is making remarkable continuous improvements to uphold sustainable tourism business practices.”
Sweetwaters Serena Camp and Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp went through an in-depth biennial on-site audit that resulted in the Gold Eco-Rating Certification.
A ‘Gold Eco-rating’ is awarded to facilities that have shown innovation in responsible resource use, environmental conservation, community empowerment, cultural preservation and promotion and holistic business practices.
The Eco-Tourism Kenya Certification places emphasis on standards for running sustainable travel and tourism businesses. The Gold Certification represents the highest level of standard that can be attained by a business as a result of the adoption of best practices in the use of tourism resources, working with local communities, and managing waste and emissions.
The Certification program is recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) since 2016 and is at the same level with other international standards across the globe.
The GSTC manages global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, and acts as the international accreditation body for sustainable tourism certification.
Some of the notable projects both Camps were commended for but not limited to includes; Trees planted by our guests, staff and the local community school children.
Both camps have their own seedling nursery with efforts focused on reforestation while in the recent past, on agroforestry which includes the planting of fruit and herb trees.
Whilst contributing towards reducing our carbon footprint, it is hoped that this will enhance food security in the long run. Has made conscious efforts to reduce ‘single-use plastic’ through initiatives such as: transitioning to a replenishable large format of guest amenities that replaces the traditional single-use miniature bottled shampoo, shower gel and lotion; elimination of plastic straws; and transitioning to the use of glass mineral water bottles from single-use plastic mineral water bottles.
- Lake Elmenteita Serena and Sweetwaters Serena both run on a grid-tied solar system and have solar water heating systems.
- Supports and empowers the local community through the provision of employment, training, internships, priority towards sourcing of fresh food produce, sale of artefacts and handicrafts from the local community groups at the gift shops amongst others.
- Water conservation is achieved through efficient laundry and kitchen washing process formulations and waste water recycling. Treated effluent water is re-used for irrigation and the excess effluent is let back into the environment.
- Serena Clinics are in place at each property and accessible to guests, staff and the local community who receive free medical and wellness consultation.
Serena Hotels offers quality accommodation in a collection of 23 up-market hotels, safari lodges, camps and resorts within seven countries in the Eastern Africa region (Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Rwanda, DR Congo and Mozambique) and 11 properties in Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan). Serena Hotels continues in its quest to be the hotel of choice for the discerning traveller providing guests with quality accommodation, unique conference and holiday solutions, cultural heritage and adventure tourism.
Our rigorous hygiene and safety protocols have been enhanced with the appropriate recommendations and compliance measures as prescribed by the Ministries of Health across the East African region; and the World Health Organization to minimize the attendant Covid-19 health-related risks to our staff and guests.
Serena takes pride in the level of personal care and warmth of welcome that it extends to its guests. Each Serena property is designed to complement its environment, while nurturing the landscape, culture and community that surrounds it. The Serena Group leads the industry in East African eco-awareness and eco-policy implementation.