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Born Free Responsible Guiding Award – Kenya

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Applications are now in for the Born Free Responsible Guiding Award 2009. The award is again sponsored by the international wildlife conservation charity, and long-term friend of Kenya, the Born Free Foundation, demonstrating this organisation’s continued commitment to wildlife conservation in the Masai Mara. We would also like to thank Robin Pope SafarisNorman Carr Safaris and Flatdogs Camp for hosting the winning guide during his trip to Zambia.

Launched last year, this prestigious award is the first of it’s kind in Kenya and is a collaboration between Tribal Voice Communications, who founded and organise the Award, and the Mara Conservancy. The Award aims to recognise and celebrate best practices in responsible safari guiding in the Mara Triangle.

The winning guide will receive an all expenses paid 2-week trip to South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, a wildlife tourism destination internationally recognised for the quality of its safari guiding. Here the winner will have the unique opportunity to exchange knowledge with, and work alongside, some of Africa’s top safari guides.

This year’s competition is in three stages:

1. Nomination – All lodges and camps that conduct game drives in the Mara Conservancy are invited to nominate their most responsible resident safari guide, as measured against TVC’s Safari Guiding Checklist. Each lodge/camp is permitted to nominate one guide only by 12 noon 1st December 2009.

2. Short-listing of Finalists – The nominations will be reviewed by the Mara Conservancy, Tribal Voice Communications and the Born Free Foundation and a short-list of finalists selected. This stage will draw on the information supplied in the nomination forms and the Mara Conservancy’s Cheetah vehicle patrol records (anti-animal harassment unit).

3. Mystery Game Drives – The short-listed finalists will be assessed by two ‘Mystery Visitors’ during normal game drives (unbeknown to the guide) against the Safari Guiding Checklist. These ‘visitors’ are conservation / guiding professionals. The winner will be the guide who obtains the best average score across these two drives.

The Born Free Responsible Safari Guiding Award 2009 will be announced in early 2010.

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