Project Sikilizeni’s Memorable Visit to Tsavo West National Park.

When the girls of Camp Project Skilizeni were asked to share their most memorable moments from the 10-day camp, one adventure stood out: the visit to Tsavo West National Park. Initially, this trip seemed doomed due to relentless rains that month. Every bus company we contacted refused to brave the muddy roads, making the journey appear impossible.

But fate had other plans. Against all odds, we found a bus willing to take us through the main gate, which was far more accessible than the treacherous Chyulu Hills gate. Excitement turned to frustration on day three of the camp when the bus got stuck at our research centre gate. By the time the issue was resolved, it was already past 10 am, forcing us to postpone the trip to the next day.

The girls were understandably disappointed. They had woken up at 4:00 am, brimming with anticipation for the adventure. Classes that day lacked their usual energy, but the girls took it in stride, demonstrating remarkable resilience.

Day four dawned with renewed excitement. The girls, more eager than ever the 4-hour journey to Tsavo West was filled with dance and entertainment, setting a lively tone for the day ahead. Our first stop was the education centre, a place one girl humorously described as “smelling old” during our recap session. Indeed, the scent of age lingered, but the knowledge gained there was invaluable.

Armed with tablets and a photo bucket list, the girls explored the Shetani (Devil) lava flows. These vast black rocks formed a few hundred years ago and were once believed by locals to be the devil emerging from the earth. The sight was nothing short of spectacular. 

Next, we travelled to Mzima Springs, soaking in the breathtaking views Tsavo West is famous for, including its mountainous landscape and diverse wildlife. Mzima Springs, fed by a natural reservoir under the Chyulu Hills to the north, was the highlight of the trip. The clear waters and multicoloured fish were mesmerizing. The urge to dive in was strong, but we refrained, knowing the springs are home to hippos and crocodiles—no one wanted an obituary reading they were killed while swimming in a prohibited area. The water, the freshest and purest we had ever tasted, is a major source of fresh water for the coast.

Reflecting on the trip, it’s clear why this experience was one of the most memorable moments of the camp. From the initial setbacks to the ultimate triumph, the visit to Tsavo West National Park will be cherished by the girls for years to come.

About Project Sikilizeni.

See My Story: Sikilizeni Amboseli was a ten-day environmental storytelling camp at Conservation Kenya’s headquarters in Amboseli Kenya. The curriculum was designed to teach and empower adolescent Maasai girls to create and share stories about their lives and environment. The program integrated field trips, environmental educational sessions about climate adaptation and conservation, and introductory storytelling workshops on personal narrative writing, videography, photography, and visual arts. Lessons and seminars employed close observation, description and discussion to help participants build voice and agency and make connections around their existing knowledge and relationship to their environment.

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