Tarpo Events: The Bad Boys of Camping
With a large stock of glamping equipment, over the past few years, Tarpo Industries’ Events Team has been a key partner in some of the biggest events in Kenya. These include Rhino charge, Lewa Marathon and the Amazing Masai. This time, we partnered with the organisers of the Sandbox Global Summit that was hosted in Kilifi.
Sandbox is a mobile society of trailblazers uniting a community of young entrepreneurs, once a year, who empower each other to build a better world at a geological period, wherein human activities have a powerful effect on the global environment. This event is designed for personal and professional growth.
The last Sandbox Global Summit was held in Croatia with people from over 47 countries. This year, the summit was held in Kilifi at Beneath the Baobabs, a 30-minute drive from the Vipingo Ridge Airstrip. A 20 acre pristine land on the edge of a valley. The site is host to wild secret orange and lemon orchards, bamboo forests and monumental thousand-year-old baobabs. The amenities are handmade by the local talent with natural materials that are available like the trees, grass, and so much more.
The biggest challenge for Beneath the Baobabs’ team going into hosting the summit, was finding a service provider that took the reins and eased the stress off of them in terms of setting up for the accommodation. For a while, they had to search for someone who had enough tents in order to handle the number of people turning up for their festivals. These festivals include their main event, with Kilifi New Year festival attended by more than 2,000 people each year.
“We did look at quite a different options,” says Jonah Doyle, one of the founders of Beneath the Baobabs and producer of Kilifi New Year. “But it turned out that not only did Tarpo have the most tents, but they were also the biggest and most beautiful.”
The Tarpo Events team, boots strapped and optimism stamped, arrived for the set up on Monday, 24th September. This provided plenty of time to tackle the set up before the day of the event on 3rd October. Unexpectedly, it was raining in Kilifi, but the Tarpo events crew is composed of seasoned travellers so a little rain couldn’t stop them.
“Our biggest challenge when setting up for an event like Sandbox is usually the adaptation to climate changes,” says John Mutuku, the field supervisor at Tarpo for the last 10 years who has overseen the construction of temporary camps all over Kenya and South Sudan. “Coming into Kilifi, we expected warm weather and prepared for it, even debating on whether or not we needed blankets, only to be hit by the cold.”
The outpour on arrival delayed the team for a day. Fortunately, all these challenges are planned for beforehand in order to meet the client’s deadline in case of any challenges. Once at Beneath the Baobabs camping ground, the work had to begin on the second day. They assess the environmental sustainability of the area and optimize the resources while still preserving it.
Our experience in the lodging business allows us to have the best functional equipment to give our clients an exceptional experience in the middle of nowhere. For the Sandbox Global Summit, the set up is for 90 accommodation tents, including the solar showers, drop toilets and lighting solutions for all the tents. The coveted Il Ngwesi tents have a bathroom extension, spacious and private. The team took the opportunity to test out Tarpo’s new creation known as the Barsaloi tents, a younger sibling of the existing Il Ngwesi, which is smaller in size to cater to those who love the Il Ngwesi but often feel its size is challenging. For the Kizingo, the washroom is not an extension of the tents and it is spacious enough to walk around.
“Since you guys have arrived on site, I have been here quite a few times to have a look but I haven’t had to organize anything,” says Jonah. “It’s all been done under your own team. That is exactly what we had been looking for, a third party that could manage themselves and provide what we wanted.”
Firmly established, Tarpo events team has developed the right skill and know-how to work and deliver in remote areas in short lead times. The provision of functional products is not our only focus. Tarpo focuses on the service just as much. For most events, the staff in direct contact with the clients have to be on the ground to show their commitment to the project.
The team sets aside time for themselves once the day comes to an end. Recuperation and laughter are as important as getting the work done on time. They make their own meals and eat together, talking about stories of their experiences both at work and at home. Here is the beauty of being part of a team: you will know things together that no one else will know, events that exist only in the commingling and exchange of memories.
For Tarpo Events, bringing the vision of our clients to life is more than just a job, it is our passion. On the eve of their first event with Tarpo, the Beneath the Baobabs team are already looking forward to a long-lasting partnership.
We share the same vision for a global future, in alignment with our community values. We both believe in the conservation of our environment. One of the first lessons you learn while working with or for Tarpo is: Never leave a mark. The environment is part of what we do. Everywhere we go, Tarpo has to make sure that when we leave nobody can tell that we’ve been there.
“Conservation is and should be everyone's responsibility,” says John Mutuku.