Elsamere’s Centre for Education in Sustainability (CES) is situated on the shores of Lake Naivasha in Kenya’s Rift Valley about 110 kms (68 miles) from Nairobi. The Centre is about 200 m from Elsamere’s main Lodge and is separated from the lake by a strip of mature yellow-barked acacia. This important woodland which links with the western part of the wildlife corridor between Hell’s Gate and Lake Naivasha and the Oserian Nature Conservancy forms and attracts a variety of game species. There can be few if any more attractive locations in Kenya to learn about the environment or carry out conservation programmes and environmental research.
Lake Naivasha is the highest elevated lake, and the only freshwater one in Kenya’s Rift Valley. It is internationally important and, as a result of it’s biological diversity, it was designated a Ramsar site in 1995. The lake provides diverse habitats for a variety of mammals, birds and fish, though the introduction of several alien species – especially water hyacinth, but also Salvinia, and Nile cabbage as well as copypu, American crayfish and several foreign fish species have seriously disturbed the natural ecosystem.
Nevertheless more wetland bird species (more than 450 species on Lake Naivasha) live here than at any other location in Kenya. Surrounding most of the lake, especially around Elsamere are forests of the Yellow fever tree, which is home to families of Colobus monkeys, vervets and baboons. The lake also supports a significant population of hippo, and attracts plenty of large game such as zebra, buffalo and giraffe which are often founds on our lawns.
The Centre has four self contained rooms for teachers/facilitators/team leaders and three self-contained dormitories which can accommodate a total of 60 students/adults. Delicious meals are prepared by fully trained chefs in our own kitchens using locally sourced supplies whenever possible. Breakfast is usually served between 7.00-8.00 am, lucnh at 1.00-2.00 pm and dinner from 7.00-8.00 pm though these times can be changed to suit guests’s preferences. Teas/coffee/and chocolate with light snacks is served between main meals.
The centre provides extensive conferencing facilities for a range of groups including colleges, schools and other institutions, churches and research teams and is ideal for educational touris, team-building and leadership course, and family holidays. Our modern wi-fi enabled conference rooms have excellent audiovisual equipment including a large wall mounted screen, digital and overhead projectors, flip charts, access to DSTV channels and other stationery materials that may be required. The Dr Keith Eltringham room accomodates 50 people; the George Adamson room, 20.
The Centre has a 31 seater coach and a 15 seater minibus for hire; these are available to transport students to surrounding areas of environmental interest including the Olkaria geothermal development, large-scale biogas (and soon, solar PV) at Gorge Farm Energy Park, a permaculture/sustainable agricultural centre and a variety of environmentally-friendly schools. It may also be possible to collect your students to bring them to Elsamere. Please call us to discuss your requirements or confirm a reservation. We offer spectacular boat trips guided by our experienced coxwain/naturalist for bird/hippo watching around the lake and visits to Crescent Island (landing fee payable). Our boat may also be used by researchers working on the ecology of the Lake.
We have our own solar-powered weather station whose 7 sensors measure different weather parameters (solar radiation, relative humidity, air temperature, wind speed and direction, and rainfall. Visiting groups collect and review data to learn about changing weather patterns as part of their studies on climate change.
We maintain our own large tree nursery, a fish pond, keep rabbits, have a “museum” collection of skulls and bones, make fuel brickettes, and supply gas to our kitchens from a portable Flexi Biogas system (which also generates fertiliser for our vegetable gardens.