Sir Richard Branson is celebrating the opening of Mahali Mzuri, the latest addition to the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio, by participating in a traditional Maasai ceremony.
The ceremony, which comes 6 years after Richard originally became a recognised tribal Maasai Elder in 2007, took place on the plains near Mahali Mzuri and began with opening prayers.
Along with eight elders, Richard blessed Mahali Mzuri with prayers, honey and a little beer!
A ceremonial fire using traditional fire sticks and olive branches was placed onto the fire to produce the smoke, which drifted through the camp as a sign of blessing.
This was followed by the local Maasai community singing and dancing around the fire before leading the crowd in a march back up to the plains where they enjoyed a blessing feast.
Branson commented: “It was an honour and so much fun to participate in the ceremony.
“It’s a fantastic way to celebrate the official opening of Mahali Mzuri and I’m thrilled that so many of the local community have made it here today to observe and take part in what was a beautifully traditional and fitting way of launching our new safari camp.
“I’ve recently been pleased to add my voice to supporters of the tourism industry in Kenya and we see this opening as a symbol of our confidence in its long term future.”
Joining Richard for this special opening ceremony were Kenyan president Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and cabinet secretaries of tourism and transport & infrastructure, Hon. Phyllis Kandie and Hon. Michael Kamau.
Kandie said: “We are extremely delighted to welcome Mahali Mzuri into the staple of great tourism establishments in Kenya.
“This new camp is a testimony of how international investors like Sir Richard Branson continue to have faith in Kenya.”
Mahali Mzuri is situated within the Olare Motorogi Conservancy in the Maasai Mara ecosystem of Kenya, about 240km due west of Nairobi.
Mahali Mzuri consists of 12 sleeper tents and can cater for a maximum of 24 guests at any one time.
It is a joint partnership between Sir Richard Branson and the Gehlot family, who run the Intex Group of companies in Kenya.
Members of the Gehlot family joined Sir Richard Branson for the opening ceremony.