Anyone coming to Africa wanting to see their tourism dollars and pounds go to a good cause, few places where that’s better achieved is than at the six eco-lodges run by the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya.

sheldrick wildife trust elephants kenya

One of the pioneering conservation organisations for wildlife and habitat protection in East Africa, the trust is best known for its work with elephants. It was founded in 1977 by Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick DBE, in memory of her late husband, the famous naturalist and founding warden of Tsavo East National Park, David Leslie William Sheldrick MBE.

The trust’s Orphans’ Project is the most successful orphan elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world. So far 247 have been successfully raised, and you can view the orphans page and see their progress. It rescues orphaned baby elephants, rhinos and other wild species across Kenya, so that they might enjoy a life back in the wild when grown. It is involved in helping wildlife and the environment they live in through its aerial (moving elephants that have strayed out of the parks back into their area), anti-poaching and mobile veterinary units. It has started community programmes, and works alongside the Kenya Wildlife Service and the country’s forestry service.

sheldrick wildlife trust kenya elephants

More recently it has opened lodgings so that outsiders can see up close and personal the effect their donations are having.

“Recognising the importance of tourism to Kenya’s wildlife,” the trust says, “we now offer the opportunity for individuals visiting Kenya to stay at one of our six eco lodges; five of which are based in Tsavo East National Park, Ithumba Camp, Ithumba Hill with annex Ithumba Private in the northern area, and Galdessa Camp and Galdessa Little on the Galana river. Umani Springs is in the Kibwezi Forest.”

sheldrick wildife trust elephants kenya ecolodge sheldrick wildife trust elephants kenya ecolodge

Each camp profile tells how the revenue (all of it) goes back into conservation. At Galdessa, it is to build and maintain fencelines, aerial surveillance, anti-poaching operations, water for wildlife (waterholes, boreholes and dams), upgrading the KWS Galana rhino base. At Ithumba there is the maintenance of the airstrip, bushfire mitigation support for KWS in the form of security and a 63 km electric fence on the northern boundary, support of KWS rapid response unit and their comms and GPS, vehicle donations, boreholes and desalination, water catchment.

The lodges can be booked by foster parents and people who adopt an orphan and support the Orphans’ Project. The lodges are booked exclusively, so you have the whole place to yourself. 

sheldrick wildife trust elephants kenya
The anti-poaching unit.

Since Dame Daphne passed away in 2018, her daughter Angela, who worked alongside her for twenty years, continues the mission with her husband Robert Carr-Hartley, their two sons Taru and Roan and the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust team. ​​​​​​​There are numerous ways to support the trust, by visiting, campaigning, becoming a partner. View the options on the trust’s website. Donations to the trust can be made by clicking here.

sheldrick wildife trust elephants kenya
Photos: Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.