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Vipingo Ridge: Conservation at its core

Posted by Focus On Property on June 12, 2019
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On a hillside overlooking the Indian Ocean lies a gated community in which people from all over the world live, laugh and play amid a beautiful coastal landscape. Envisioned in the early 2000s, the development was built on the ideals of a luxury lifestyle, and whilst it is these founding principles that have resulted in benefits such as unrivalled security, privacy and comfort, it is the conservation initiatives put in place from the outset that has made Vipingo Ridge the extraordinary place it is today. To anyone that has played the PGA-accredited Baobab Course or simply spent time among the lush gardens on the Ridge, it’ll be difficult to imagine the derelict sisal plantation that occupied the same 2,500 acres just 13 years ago. Back then, in 2006, the early decision was made by developers to bring back the natural vegetation where possible in a bid to create a truly idyllic environment. At the time, the scorched earth meant that only invasive exotic species had survived and there was virtually no tree cover at all. The long-term aim was to reintroduce trees and shrubs to help mitigate the damage that had been caused by the tree-felling and charcoal-burning that had previously taken place across the estate. An indigenous tree nursery was first established by collecting the seeds from trees in the wider region and by 2009, approximately 35,000 seedlings had been strategically planted on bare land or interspersed among the existing scrubland.

Due to its incredible success, this planting programme continues to this day and will do so for many years to come. Some of the original seedlings are now fully-grown trees standing at over 60 feet tall and an impressive skyline of natural greenery can be seen in every direction. Back in 2006, the arid land meant that the quantity and variety of birds were disappointingly small despite the wild nature of the estate. Once the replanting efforts began to flourish and the seedlings had grown into trees tall enough for them to roost, birds returned to the area in their flocks. Vipingo Ridge also introduced a management programme for the Indian House Crow, which saw a reduction in numbers of this dominant and highly intelligent bird that preys on others’ eggs and chicks, giving indigenous species a chance to breed and thrive. Now, as you sit on the veranda of the Clubhouse, you can hear the typical African sound of the Crested Francolin’s call above the collective song of the many different birds that now live here. The original abandoned sisal estate was a magnet for men with dogs to hunt whatever they could find, anything from Bushbuck to Guinea Fowl. When the land was purchased, a wall was built immediately around the development to preserve what was left of the flora and fauna on the premises. This quick action had modest success with several wild animals now calling Vipingo Ridge their home: Bushbuck, Duiker, White Tailed Mongoose, Genet, Bush Pig. Today, there is a long-term plan to introduce more species to the Ridge to create a small wildlife conservancy, adding a whole new dimension to life within these walls. Further to the conservation initiatives implemented on the Ridge, each month homeowners and residents contribute a percentage of their membership fee to help fund the activities of the Kuruwitu Conservation and Welfare Association (KCWA), a sustainable, community-managed marine conservation project. The KCWA was set up in 2003, long before Vipingo Ridge was built, by members of the community who were concerned about the degradation of their seas. A deadly combination of over-fishing, climate change and uncontrolled fish and coral collection by the aquarium trade had damaged the local marine ecosystem almost beyond repair but the KCWA was set up to address these issues before it was too late. A management plan for sustainable fisheries was established as well as alternative income generating enterprises and in 2005, they took the unprecedented step of setting aside a 30-hectare Marine Protected Area (MPA) -the first coral-based Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) in Kenya. 14 years later and the whole area has made an incredible recovery. With fishing now prohibited within the MPA, exotic fish stocks have grown in abundance, size and diversity with a spillover effect into surrounding areas that sees fishermen reaping the rewards of better catches. At the same time, this improved biodiversity has made Kuruwitu a destination for eco-tourism, creating jobs for guides, boat captains and rangers and offering world-class snorkelling and diving opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Through local partners, the KCWA’s activities also include turtle monitoring and rehabilitation, invaluable marine research, community welfare projects such as water and shelter provision and, finally, education to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the environment and training in the management of marine resources.

The long-standing partnership with Vipingo Ridge means that KCWA has the necessary income to continue their incredible dedication to both supporting local communities and preserving the ecosystem upon which they rely so heavily. So, whether you’d prefer to dive among the coral underworld, take a hike through the butterfly-filled mango forest or simply relax with a book under the canopy of leaves, Vipingo Ridge is an award-winning development that offers an abundance of natural wonder. With conservation at its core and deep-rooted responsibility at every turn, this is a place bursting with compassion, sustainability and care.

Experience these wonders for yourself and book a viewing of the estate by calling +254 734 611 009 or email the sales team on sales@vipingoridge.com.

www.vipingoridge.com

 

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