Tag Archives: Safaricom

Off to the races; Maralal Camel Derby

Best Known as Kenya’s most prestigious camel race, the Maralal Camel Derby is an annual event that normally takes place just outside of Maralal town, a remote desert outpost in Samburu county. Initiated by the late Malcom Gascoigne, who was the proprietor of Yare Camel Camp, this derby has been ongoing for 23 years now with the support of the Samburu community who participate fully in the running of the event. The event has so far attracted numerous organizations taking the sponsors role; the Kenya Tourist Board, Safaricom (largest mobile phone service provider), Kenya Commercial Bank, Samburu County Council, and many others.


Maralal derby has grown into a great social event and is now recognized as a serious international sport with participants from New Zealand, Mexico, America, Canada, Australia, England, France, Spain, Japan, China, Sweden, Holland, Italy,  South Africa, amongst many other countries having raced over the years. The event also brings together several nomadic pastoralist ethnic groups; the El molo, Dassanech, Boran, Pokot, Samburu, Turkana among others. These communities engage and discuss about the various challenges that face them as pastoralists such as education and environmental issues.

Camel Derby, Maralal

This year’s Maralal Camel Derby  took place from 30th August to 1st September under the “Promoting peace through culture and sports” theme.  The event featured camel races for amateurs and professionals, peace marathons, bike competitions, traditional dances, cultural shows (cultural manyattas and traditional ceremonies displays), culinary show, stalls showcasing curios and handicrafts among other cultural exchanges from a wider array of traditional neighboring ethnic groups. The derby serves to educate people on the many benefits of camels therein promoting better camel husbandry among the Kenyan people. It also helps in conservation of nature by creating awareness of the rapid onset in the desertification of Kenya. The local community has not been left behind either, the Maralal camel derby  has helped sensitize them towards diversification of livelihoods thereby highly boosting their economy.


The fun-filled derby is primarily a camping weekend however those not so keen on camping, Yare, Maralal Safari Lodge, and many other hotels in the town provides you with alternative accommodation. The races are often flagged off by local dignitaries with jockeys making sure their camels don’t steer off the course into other directions as many normally do. Along the race route, supporters line up to cheer on their jockeys with many awaiting at the final stretch. The derby has grown to include a 10km and 5 km fun run; the latter is for the physically challenged, and a cycling race – with mountain bikes racing over a demanding course. The cycle race also attracts its share of dedicated professionals on world-class bikes, as well as local amateurs on bikes that in some cases never see the end of the race.


The Maralal Camel derby is quite a refreshing cultural festival and if you are visiting Kenya around the derby time, don’t miss out!


Lewa Wildlife Conservancy; Safaricom marathon

The 14th edition of the Lewa Safaricom marathon took place last week, 29th of June attracting a myriad of participants. Through the partnership of Safaricom Ltd, Tusk Trust and the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, the world-renown marathon event which began in the year 2000 has grown from 180 runners in 2000 raising $50,000 to 1000 runners in 2012 raising $574,000. Regarded as one of the toughest marathons in the world, the annual Lewa marathon was this year host to 1000 runners from over 20 different countries. Participants are comprised of those who are just in it for fun, walkers as well as professional athletes. The event is a blend of both fun and social responsibility giving the runners a chance to enjoy some of Africa’s most breath-taking scenery as well as giving back to society at one go.




The Lewa marathon features a half (21km) and full (42km) marathon; half marathon being a team event featuring a minimum of  five and a maximum of ten runners per team whereas the full marathon is an individual event. The course is set on dirt roads that take the runners  through the reserve, across savannah plains, along river banks and through acacia woodland before finishing close to Lewa’s headquarters. Half Marathon runners complete one loop of the course, Full Marathon runners, two.


Safaricom marathon 2005 116

The route is watched over by a large and experienced team of armed rangers, with two helicopters and a spotter plane in the air throughout the race. Water stations and first aid points are situated every 2.5km along the course. Medical support at the finish is provided by AMREF – the flying doctors, the Kenya Red Cross and local hospitals. On completion of the race each runner is presented with a medal and goody bag. Prizes for race and age group category are awarded at a prize giving ceremony at the end of the event.




Since its inception the event has raised over $3.8 million. The event is organized annually by Tusk Trust as their flagship fundraising initiative to support pre-defined conservation, education and community projects supported by Tusk in Kenya. This year’s event, held under the banner “Run Wild, for the Wild” aimed at raising Sh60m, most of which will go towards conservation efforts against a backdrop of increased poaching. Last year, education and healthcare projects got Sh5.46m and Sh3.78m respectively whereas a further 35% of the revenue was invested in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy which is home to a variety of large African wildlife including lions, elephants, rhinoceros, the Cape buffalo amongst others.




Safaricom has been the marathon’s Title Sponsor since its inception in 2000 over which time the amount of sponsorship has risen to the current level of Ksh 9.6m. Additional co-sponsorship arrangements roughly double the overall sponsorship secured by the event. A unique aspect of the event has been its ability to bring together the business community in Kenya. Many companies use the event as a team building opportunity, which engenders a real sense of camaraderie amongst staff, as well as a healthy dose of inter-company rivalry!


As an example the following Kenyan based companies kindly provided valuable co-sponsorship towards the event in 2012: Andy Forwarders, Braeburn Schools, British Airways, Broadband Communication Networks Limited, Cisco Systems, DHL, Ericsson, Forward Mobiles, G4S, GlaxoSmithKline, Highlands Water, Huawei Technologies, The Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists, Kenya ICT Board, Land Rover, Nokia Siemens, Pesa Point, Radio Africa, RedSky, Safarilink, Samsung Electronics, Sea Submarine Communications, Standard Chartered Bank.


In addition, the event has attracted teams from major international companies who have sent teams out to Kenya from the UK and US (including Black Rock, Deutsche Bank, Elephant.co.uk, Investec, and Artemis Investment Management). These overseas teams have raised a substantial proportion of the funds for the good causes.

Lewa Marathon, One of the 10 “must do” marathons in the world.

Portraying Kenya’s Magnificence; Safaricom

Nafurahia undugu na ukoo wetu (I rejoice our brotherhood and family)…these are the first words that welcome you to this enchanting ad and with a spectacular view of Mount Kenya to top it. Despite lots of talk regarding Niko Na (title of the ad)…taking a glance at it for the first time one would need no persuasion placing it in the tourism sector right? Not only is this not a tourism ad (it would be awesome if it was), it comes to many a surprise as a mobile network operator’s ad. Safaricom went on a level high on this one ( Qantas controversy aside) showcasing Kenya’s beauty and all the magnificence it has to offer.

From here the ads could only be expected to go a notch higher, then comes the current ad Naweza (I can)…a continuation of the previous…Hence Niko na Safaricom, Naweza (I have Safaricom, therefore I can). Many can surely attest to the fact that had it not been for the ads, they would still be in oblivion to some of the regions showcased existing in Kenya.

The ads take only a minute or so, but the work behind that magical minute, we can only try to comprehend the energy, dedication and manpower that goes in to all that. Kudos! Safaricom for the beauty portrayed…Kenya Tourism Board should definitely borrow a leaf. Below we take a look at the making of the ads and how much goes into producing perfection.