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CAMPI YA KANZI
Where: Southern Kenya
The pitch: Environmentalist and co-owner Luca Belpietro, an Italian, built Campi ya Kanzi on the savanna near Mt. Kilimanjaro in 1996. The lodge is run by local Maasai tribesmen.
Green factor: First-rate eco-management is the rule here. Rainwater is collected from roofs, gray water is cleansed by septic filters before it's used in the garden, and recyclables are sent to Nairobi for processing. Food is cooked with an eco-friendly charcoal made from coffee husks, low-energy dishwashers save water, and for every day you spend at the camp, a $40 conservation fee is set aside for the Maasai. Even rare black rhino have recently moved onto the ranch—probably a result of the 30 game rangers hired to prevent poaching.
Creature comforts: The place is like a Ritz campout on the savanna: stone-walled shelters with thatched roofs, hot water, fine Italian linen, colonial furniture, daily fresh flowers, and verandas overlooking 400 square miles of open wilderness. The camp holds only 14 lucky guests at a time, each with his or her own Maasai attendant. The cooks whip up homemade pasta, risotto, and gelato, all served alfresco with wine from Belpietro's family vineyard in northern Italy.
Eco-activities: In a twist on the classic game drive, guests team up with a Maasai to track game on foot while learning about medicinal plants, animal behavior, and village life.
Green rule of thumb: "Avoid off-road game drives, a common practice that has a terrible impact on the environment," says Belpietro.
Campi ya Kanzi
Tel: 254 45 622516
Suites from $640, which includes all meals, drinks, fees, and excursions