One of the things that first brought me to the Ruaha area was the idea of taking local people into the park; to have the same experience as a tourist and to see what their national park has to offer. This is one of the most direct ways you can show local people what they have on their doorstep, why foreigners want to come and see it and why it is worth protecting. I have been on many such trips myself with Wildlife Connection (who are still doing park trips for local people every week) and later Mkuyu Guide School and it is great to see the smiles on people's face when they see their first elephant or giraffe, many of whom may have lived adjacent to Ruaha their entire lives. Beyond just being a day out, all you have to do is let Ruaha do the talking, you can see the light go on as people look out across the landscape or watch a lion walk past the car.
So, earlier this month we got talking to Letty at the Children of Iringa Orphanage and she mentioned how much the kids there would love to visit Ruaha national park. Letty has put in an incredible effort setting up the orphanage, securing a safe home and getting the kids off the streets. Just like anywhere in the world, there are a lot of very disadvantaged kids in Iringa and they need all the help they can get. Congratulations to Letty and the kids at the orphanage and we wish them all the best for the future.
If you would like to know more about the orphanage then please visit this website http://streetchildreniringa.wixsite.com/maisha
Below are some photos from the safari, safe to say everyone enjoyed themselves!