Micato Musings


Posts Tagged ‘AmericaShare’

World’s Best Safari Outfitter…Nine Times and Counting!

  • July 12th 2012

The results are in!

For a record ninth time, the readers of Travel + Leisure have named Micato Safaris the #1 World’s Best Safari Outfitter. For the past eight years, our winning title has been Worlds Best Tour Operator and Safari Outfitter but, interestingly, this year Travel + Leisure separated the categories of Tour Operator and Safari Outfitter—perhaps because we monopolized the double title for the past eight years!

Micato offers a singular African experience that’s authentic, luxurious, adventurous, personal, and life-changing. These words have always been synonymous with “safari” in our book, so our new title suits us just fine.

The Micato founders, the Pinto family, were born and raised in Kenya, and from the beginning crafted an experience like no other. Micato Safaris was the first safari outfitter of note to hire local African safari guides—breaking the myth of the “great white hunter” guide and setting the precedent for sustainable safari guiding, and ensuring a future for the bright graduates of African wildlife guide colleges.

Micato was also the first safari outfitter to integrate itself into desperately impoverished “informal settlements”—which Americans refer to as slums—and make a difference by building a community and training centre, sending orphaned  and vulnerable children to school, initiating community outreach and educational programmes, and providing much-needed services such as a fresh-water bore hole and a library. Our non- profit arm Micato-AmericaShare has been serving the community in this way for 25 years.

We were also the first company to travel between camps and game parks via bush flights, saving valuable game-viewing time and offering guests a chance to view the breathtaking sweep of savannah, mountains, rivers and plains (occupied by herds of elephant, buffalo, wildebeest and giraffe) from the sky.

From Micato’s very inception, we were the first and only outfitter to invite all of our travellers home to dine with the founders of Micato Africa, Felix and Jane Pinto, or at the home of their close friends in Cape Town for South African travellers. This was also a first, and is still something unique to Micato.

Our most important and exciting innovation? We are the first and only operator to set up a sustainable program that funds one child’s education for every safari we sell: we call it our One for One Commitment, and it changes lives.

Ground-breaking giving and innovative travel: these features have come to define us over the years. And this year, we’ve revolutionized the safari experience yet again…

Now Micato offers the virtually unprecedented luxury of including all tips during your trip—even to Safari Directors and Driver Guides—a feature rarely offered anywhere in the world. Micato guests can simply relax and leave the tipping to us. It’s that simple.

Through the years, we’ve kept pushing boundaries, and our growing list of “firsts” is no doubt part of the reason why our travellers consistently name us #1 World’s Best. Tour Operator, Safari Outfitter… either way, we’re simply proud to be exceeding our guests’ expectations every day.

One for One Strikes a Chord for Canadian Woman’s Magazine

  • May 19th 2011

Of all the great things we get to do every day – scout for hidden gems of lodges in the bush, find new ways to deepen our definition of the word luxury, help people create the adventures of their dreams – our One for One Commitment tops the list. It’s simple: for every safari we sell, we send one African child to school.

We’re thrilled when our passion for educating children ignites a similar passion in others, so you can imagine our delight when we learned that Chatelaine (one of Canada’s leading women’s magazines), was inspired to write about our One for One programme in the Travel section of their most recent issue.

The travel destination of this particular issue was Kenya, so it is not surprising to see Micato Safaris featured – it is, after all, our home. The feature mentions our devotion to luxury, attention to detail, and our hot-air balloon safaris that end in champagne breakfasts. But the focus is on giving back, not just with One for One, but also through the efforts of our nonprofit arm, AmericaShare, and the kind and generous gifts of some of our travellers.

Chatelaine quotes our founder Felix Pinto, saying: “Tourists come to Africa for the animals, but it’s the people they remember when they leave.”

They often do more than just remember, and Chatelaine pointed out two of our favorite examples of selfless generosity: the $100,000 gift from one couple that allowed us to build the Harambee Community Centre in the Mukuru slum, and the young boy who donated all his Bar Mitzvah money – enough to build a basketball court for the Mukuru children!

We are very often humbled by the generosity of our guests, and we appreciate Chatelaine for illustrating so well all the good that they do. We all go on safari hoping to return with photos of lions, zebras and elephants, but more and more of our guests seem to come home with even more – a dedication to a brighter future for African children. We’re overjoyed to be able to help.

Read the full Chatelaine article here.

Micato’s Charitable Work featured in The New York Times

  • February 18th 2010

Micato’s nonprofit arm, AmericaShare, is at the forefront of a life-changing initiative in Africa—and it appears The New York Times has taken notice!

Tuesday’s New York Times featured an article about one of our projects designed to keep African girls in school every day of the month. The project is the creation of reusable sanitary napkins for impoverished girls in the slums. An unfortunate reality is that school-age girls typically miss one week of school each month when menstruating since disposable sanitary napkins are beyond the reach of poor families.

The Micato-AmericaShare Harambee Centre is the headquarters for this remarkable project. Washable and reusable sanitary napkins are being sewn by our women’s group and packaged into kits that include eight pads, three pair of underwear, washing soap, plastic storage bags and a pamphlet about safe sex and HIV/AIDS.  These kits are being distributed free of charge to girls via the Kenyan Girl Guide Association. The expectation is that this project will be replicated throughout Africa at other community centers serving impoverished populations.

The project was launched by Huru International, an organization that was founded by Micato’s own Lorna MacLeod, the executive director of AmericaShare. The word ‘Huru’ means ‘freedom’ in Swahili and the organization’s mission is to empower girls by providing them with the knowledge and resources they need to develop into healthy, economically secure women.  Huru International’s partners are the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Johnson & Johnson and Warner Brothers, amongst others.

All of us at Micato are immensely proud of our involvement in this meaningful endeavour.  We hope you will take a moment and read all about it.