Lumo is community owned conservation area in Taita. It is bordered by Taita Hills and Tsavo National Park. On the other side Lumo is connected to Sarova Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. Lumo is 50 000 hectare area owned by more than 5000 local people. Funds Lumo is able to gather by wildlife tourism is shared with local people. Most money goes to pay school bills for those children that would not be able to go to school otherwise.
Besides school bills, Lumo also supports local community by any means they have by having bank day, delivering firewood and food to schools, helping in fencing and so on.
Lumo is strikingly beautiful savanna. Heart of the Lumo is Lions Rock. A rock formation that is popular among large cats, lions and leopards.
I spent four weeks in Lumo in 2018 as a volunteer. It was a five star safari with Lumo rangers. Accommodation was more moderate than what your would have expected in five star safari, but very good for me. We even had our own chef.
There is abundant wildlife in Lumo. Elephants, hartebeest, giraffe, water buffalos, zebras, grant gazelles, impalas, cheetahs, lions. All except the rhino.
I saw many very small baby elephants in Lumo in March 2018. Baby elephant was so small that they must have been born in Lumo.
Dedicated rangers of Lumo are heroes of conservation. I have enormous respect on the work that they do every day, year after year. Many rangers in Lumo have worked there for 20 years. During this time poaching has been minimized.
Lumo ranger patrol the area by foot and by car. This is important way to keep poaching away and observe possibly injured animals. Population numbers of animals are calculated with GPS locations. University of Helsinki also does research in the area.
There are cattle grazing areas inside Lumo. As Lumo was founded all cattle farmers in the area didn’t join. Too many cows have caused serious erosion in the grazing area. The number of cows is too many. Markets for beef are small, and cows are living until old age, having young each year. Owners of the cows are not the ones that herd them.
Having too much livestock has caused serious erasion in grazing areas. However having livestock inside conservation areas is not all bad. In fact humans have kept cattle in Africa for thousands of years. Many ungulates, zebras and impalas for example, prefer to eat shorter grass. In shorter grass nutrient level is higher. Cattle keeps grass low. In areas where there is no grazing hay may grow up to one meter high. These tall grass areas are usually quite empty of wildlife, as this tall grass is very low in nutrients.
In March 2018 “cattle prison” was founded in Lumo. Now cattle found grazing in non grazing areas are herded to this fenced area. Owner of the cattle has to pay to get his cattle back. I was there when it was made, and there was not even a gate installed before first herd was in! Owner had to pay about 500 euros to get the cattle back. It changed the situation completely, and now there is no grazing inside areas dedicated for conservation. Lumo has also worked with local community to improve markets for different products made of cattle, like meat, skins, even bones can be used as jewelry. Goal is to decrease number of cows and improve lives of local people.
More information about Lumo, including how to volunteer from their website bellow. If you are interested in volunteering I suggest that you contact Lumo directly. There are several agencies that act as middle man, however they take much of the money themselves. In Lumo great work is done with minimum funding.