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Round the campfire with Steve Carey
There’s plenty in the media these days about ethical safaris…You won’t find a section on our website dedicated to these trips, because responsible tourism – supporting conservation projects, sustaining local communities and partnering with camps and organisations who follow an ethical path – is at the heart of everything we do.
To celebrate this we thought we’d put some of the champions of eco tourism in the spotlight, starting with Steve and Annabelle Carey at Sosian Ranch in Laikipia, Kenya.
Steve Carey is a professional guide from Zimbabwe and has spent the last 20 years leading walking safaris and running camps and lodges in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Kenya. His wife Annabelle is a cook and together they run Sosian Ranch in Laikipia, where they offer every activity under the sun from game-drives (day and night), walking safaris, running, horse riding, camel safaris, fly-camping under the stars, jumping off waterfalls and tracking animals on foot.
The Carey Family
When did you first come to Sosian?
SC: January 2007
What was your greatest challenge at that time?
SC: Getting to know everyone in the area and all the staff, and learning Swahili
What’s been your most memorable experience in the bush?
SC: Crawling up to African Wild Dogs on our tummies and photographing them up close and being allowed by them to do so.
Tracking lions on foot and being growled at initially, then accepted and even allowed to sit down and watch them from 20 metres.
What drew you to Kenya and what keeps you there?
SC: The incredible landscapes and wildlife, intact culture and friendly people
What do you love most about Laikipia and why?
SC: It is like nowhere else in Africa in that there is so much freedom, it is a series of private ranches which form a vast conservation area, you can walk, ride, climb rocks, sleep under the stars, swim in the rivers, and it is an incredibly beautiful and wild area
What’s been your greatest challenge in terms of running Sosian as an eco-friendly lodge?
SC: Balancing client’s expectations with what is truly eco-friendly, i.e. doing away with plastic mineral water bottles and minimising plastic, decanting mineral water into re-used and locally beaded wine bottles. Most people are supportive and happy with this but some are still nervous and like everything sealed and wrapped in plastic.
And the greatest achievement?
SC: Employing 90% of our staff from the local area and implementing the policy that this is ultimately better for the area to employ people from around here and train from scratch as they will directly benefit and thus preserve the area and its wildlife for their children.
The team at Sosian
What do you love most about your job?
SC: Dealing with clients from all around the world and local staff, a pretty big mixture of people. Also the surprise element, you never know who is going to walk in the door next and what their story will be.
And personally, drifting silently on horseback with clients after herds of Grevy’s zebra and Giraffes, and seeing the expression on their faces as we melt into the herd…