Using only natural resources such as soil, clay, wood, stone, sand, termites and the dung from cows and donkeys together with the assistance from the Maasai women of Ngabobo and local craftsmen, we built the Africa Amini Maasai Lodge and opened its doors in spring 2013. The basic structures of our 7 bungalows are made from eucalyptus and the roof decorated with local lemon grass. Nonetheless, all our bungalows are comfortably furnished with modern rain showers and water toilets using 24h solar power to cater for the needs of our guests.
Our natural pool is an essential element of our permaculture concept. Often we were asked if such a pool is reasonable out here in the Maasai steppe where water is the most precious resource, the answer is Yes! Besides its recreational function for our guests at the lodge, the pool provides water for our birds and insects most prominent amongst the latter our bees! A filtration pond with an effective micro-organisms cleaning mechanism filters the water constantly. After a long day on safari our guests are invited to jump in for cooling or to relax their muscles in our rock heated sauna.
Every lodge starts and ends with its kitchen, we at the Africa Amini Maasai Lodge cultivate our own vegetables, fruits and herbs in our food forest gardens. Water is rare and we had to improve the quality of the soil with mulch and biomass assisted by a system of shade providers from our tree nursery and the compost pit facilities. Even under the very challenging natural conditions on site, with the help of the Maasai people we were able to create an oasis of local flora and fauna. At the same time all members of our local staff are now students of nature applying the principles of permaculture in their own communities.
We want to demonstrate to our local and international students how it is possible to cultivate the soil even in very dry climatic zones. Local communities such as the Wameru and the Chagga here in Tanzania did so centuries ago. With a complex system of sills and dams, they gathered and channeled the rain water where ever they needed it in their forest gardens. Since using this system at Africa Amini Earth, we are gifted with lush guava, fig trees, citrus, mulberry and pomegranate supported by nitrogen providing ground-cover plants and trees such as leucanea.
In order to make our project sustainable for future generations, together with the Maasai of Ngabobo we agreed on a waiver of pastoral farming on the ground of our permaculture gardens for the next centuries.