Who we are
Dorobo’s real niche is providing a source experience for clients that connects with local people who are close to the land. What this entails is long-term partnerships with local communities that are fair and transparent and allows for structured but un-staged encounter. The areas have a wilderness character so that visitors (and we ourselves) have the privilege of learning about wildlife, nature, and the land through a synergy of traditional and scientific knowledge.
We specifically design safaris that cater for individual groups and therefore don’t have set itineraries. While we organize all sorts of safaris, our other niche which fits with above but not exclusively, are safaris that have at least some element of walking. Walking in the bush provides a great complement to the amazingly close encounters one has on traditional vehicle game viewing drives. In addition to walking in community wilderness areas, we are now able to offer great walks in the Serengeti, Tarangire and Ruaha National Parks.
Another niche is student groups. We run more than a dozen a year. These range from high school student groups who start out working for a couple of weeks on a community service stint building a classroom or clinic or whatever the community priority is. They end then with a safari that runs from a week to two.
We also host University groups including University of Delaware, Lewis & Clark University, Univ. of Wisconsin; Gustavus Adolphus College; St Lawrence that are field trips in which students are evaluated and given credit.
This Dorobo website has only existed since June 2013. For all these 30 years we have depended on word of mouth marketing by satisfied customers. While we firmly believe this to be the very best way to market, we have bowed to the changing world so that all people who search for information have access to it.
What this means is that folks hear about us from other safari goers or from a reference in a book or where ever and contact us. We then work out a trip tailored to the season, duration and any specific interests. Our goal for this website is to expose the types of experiences Dorobo has to offer allowing us to design the ideal experience that will best serve you.
Dorobo promoting community-based conservation through tourism
Dorobo Safaris was started in the mid-1980′s, in the early days of the development of Tanzanian ecotourism. Then, as now, Dorobo focused on developing unique and personal experiences ‘off the beaten track’ involving local cultures, ecosystems, and wilderness areas. Even at this time it was clear that numerous threats from expanding human populations and economic activities, such as agriculture and charcoal burning, posed a threat to sustainable livelihoods and to conservation of northern Tanzania’s extraordinary biodiversity and wildlife. By 1991, Dorobo Safaris had worked to initiate the first joint venture agreements with local Maasai villages providing payment in exchange for access to village lands for tourism. These involved the villages setting aside large concession areas where agriculture and charcoal burning were prohibited, but other activities such as seasonal livestock grazing could continue. The original contracts remain in place, after innumerable meetings, re-negotiations, and amendments, nearly twenty years later.
By the mid-1990’s, despite these initial steps to reconcile conservation with community livelihood interests, those at Dorobo Safaris had become convinced that a broader and more holistic approach was needed. The core issue that had become apparent was that communities needed support to carry out land use planning, build their capacity for natural resource management, consider the underlying issue of population growth and address the constant struggles over resource rights and land tenure that villagers across Tanzania were facing. Dorobo Safaris felt a new community-based organization was needed to help local communities address these resource management and governance issues. For over a decade they had watched as ineffective conservation and development projects failed while millions of dollars were spent by international organizations.
It was time to try a different tack. Several Maasai activists who had worked with KIPOC, one of the first official Maasai NGO’s formed in the early 1990′s, were recruited. These committed individuals had roots in the communities and experience facilitating local development processes. In order to channel philanthropic funds, the Dorobo Fund, a 501 C3, was registered in the US and a locally implementing Trust, the Ujamaa Community Resource Trust (http://www.dorobofund.org/ucrt) was born in Tanzania in 1997.