(Extended) Family Fortunes

8th March 2024

I’m lucky to work with so many inspiration women, but this year, on International Women’s Day, I’m celebrating a lady that’s not only transformed her Kenyan farm, but also the land around it, and community she lives amongst.

A lot has changed in 15 years. In 2009, when Lippa and Tarquin Wood married on the family farm, on the edge of the Maasai Mara, it was surrounded by problems. The neighbouring land was barren and overgrazed, biodiversity was poor, human-animal conflict was a big issue. So the newlyweds decided to take a leap of faith, and make a pioneering switch from agriculture to ecotourism and conservation.

They’d always been passionate about the environment and sustainability, and no one was in any doubt that when Lippa married Tarquin, it wasn’t to become a helpful wife behind the scenes, but an absolute powerhouse by his side. Working tirelessly together, this dynamic duo co-founded the innovative Enonkishu Conservancy, a community-driven conservation project where the land has been rewilded, Maasai pastoralists practice sustainable grazing and biodiversity is flourishing. They also created House in the Wild, a boutique lodge set within this thriving space.

“We decided to refocus on sustainability and conservation,” Lippa explains. “The community were not benefiting from the wildlife, and we were keeping biodiversity out of the farm. We were saddened by the forests being cleared around us and animals being killed due to human/wildlife conflict. We felt there was a better way to use the land, where wildlife could be protected and communities could be inspired to conserve it.”

And the community element was key. Lippa and Tarquin have three gorgeous children of their own but Enonkishu is about serving their ‘extended family’ – the local people. Improving the livelihoods of those that live and depend upon the land is one of the couple’s key aims; the conservation work they undertake is always considered from a community perspective.

“Communities who could previously see no value in the wildlife are now part of our conservation efforts, and are protecting wildlife habitats,” Lippa says. “Ecotourism goes hand in hand with conservation and community development.”

This means that, as well as creating an incredible safari lodge, they’ve also built a school where they aim to ignite an early passion for conservation – “the future of wildlife lies in the hands of these children,” Lippa says. They run the Wild Shamba, an organic garden that supplies produce for the lodge but that’s also used to teach locals how to grow organic crops. They support Women in the Wild, an initiative empowering local women via skills such as tree-planting and candle-making using local beeswax, and have seen this initiative thrive over the last few years.


The couple employ a large number of local people too, many of whom used to work on the commercial farm – bean-pickers have become housekeepers, waiters, guides. Lippa is a woman who believes in her team and urges them to develop and aspire to greater things: “We work hard to train people and build their confidence” she says “we employ so many incredible women, and learn as much from them, as they do from us”

Her proudest achievement? “It’s the transformation of our farm into a thriving sanctuary, where we have successfully rewilded the land and witnessed the incredible transition from a monocrop of French beans to a flourishing habitat where lions and elephants now roam freely, protected by the community they live amongst,” Lippa says. “It’s a coexistence that is not only an incredible experience for guests, but most importantly enables wildlife to flourish, and puts tourism dollars into the hands of the landowners. Critically we’ve done it hand in hand with the local community. Everyone wins.”

Tarquin and Lippa are a team, and what they’ve achieved, they’ve achieved together. But International Women’s Day is about celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. And whilst she’ll always deflect attention, instead shining a light (quite rightly) on the incredible team around her, there is little doubt that it’s the dreams, drive, talent and vision of this hugely inspirational woman that has resulted in the empowerment of so many more.