In Kenya, a Maasai community burned by ecotourism gives it another shot

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By Eve Driver When luxury safari hotel Shompole Lodge opened in Kenya in 2000, it was an overnight sensation. For $630 a night, guests could gaze at elephants and zebras while soaking in an infinity pool. Ten thousand hectares, nearly 25,000 acres, of communally-owned Maasai land had been set aside for an experiment in “community-based conservation,” and 30% of the venture’s shares were owned by the Shompole Maasai, who also made up the majority of the lodge’s employees. It was the first of its kind: a joint venture conserving land with no government mandate. The Shompole community was promise…

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