Next Adventure Managing Director Kili McGowan and her guide Jackson in Kenya. Photo: Next Adventure

This story is brought to you by Next Adventure, a Berkeley company specializing in one-on-one custom safari arrangements.

Next Adventure, Inc., a photographic safari specialist founded in Berkeley in 1996, is proud to present an exclusive free screening of a new documentary film by National Geographic explorers-in-residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert: Tribe vs Pride, in which an ancient Maasai culture meets Africa’s iconic cat.

Tribe vs Pride tells the extraordinary story of the complex relationship between wildlife conservation initiatives and age-old cultural traditions.

Fifty years ago, an estimated 450,000 lions lived alongside communities throughout the African continent. As lions learned to prey upon the Maasai’s precious livestock, a coming-of-age ritual developed at least 600 years ago where groups of young men set out to prove themselves by hunting and killing a lion. Today, the numbers have changed dramatically with only 20,000 lions left in the whole of Africa and over 2 million Maasai.

How can lions survive a growing human population and a shrinking habitat? How does an ancient culture change one of their proudest and most defining traditions? Can the Maasai people, who have protected their communities from lions for centuries, be the key to saving one of the wild kingdom’s fiercest predators?

“Collaboration is key”, says Kili McGowan, whose parents, Dick and Louise McGowan, founded Next Adventure in their Berkeley home more than 20 years ago. “And, collaboration starts with relationships: finding the best partners, sustaining good communication and focusing on a shared goal.”

In 2008, a group of Maasai elders from the Amboseli, Chyulu and Tsavo communities of southeastern Kenya chose to work together to address a rapidly declining lion population. Facing centuries of tradition, they organized the first Maasai Olympics: a unique combination of conservation and sport featuring bouts of athletic endurance, skill and strategy all with a clear goal in mind: the conservation of lions.

This bi-annual event is the culmination of two years of smaller, regional gatherings where Maasai Warriors compete in athletic events and learn about the value of protecting their environment through educational conservation activities. The goal is to celebrate Maasai tradition and encourage conservation at a local level.

The Maasai Olympics are beginning to have a lasting impact on big cat conservation in Kenya. In a survey conducted in 2016, nearly 90% of Maasai Warriors felt that the Maasai Olympics made them less interested in killing a lion, more willing to support lion conservation, and that the event had raised awareness about lion conservation in their community.

Next Adventure is offering an exclusive opportunity to attend this year’s Maasai Olympics first hand. Photo: Next Adventure

“For us at Next Adventure, conservation and tourism go hand-in-hand. Neither can be successful without the other, and they both rely on teamwork and optimism”, says Jeremy Townsend, Next Adventure’s Marketing Coordinator. “We like to say that travel is a hopeful project, and we’re honored to showcase the inspiring work being done by our partners.”

With the support of partners like the Joubert’s, Great Plains Conservation and Safari Professionals, Next Adventure is offering an exclusive opportunity to attend this year’s Maasai Olympics first hand with a 3-4 night stay at ol Donyo Lodge between December 13-17, 2018 with a full day at the Maasai Olympics on December 15.

“Of course, travelers want to go on safari to experience Africa’s big game, but our clients always come home with stories of the people they met and the amazing work being done,” says Kili. “That’s why we think of ourselves as a company that’s filling the world with positive news about Africa, and this film is a great example of what can happen when people work together on a big idea.”

What: Free screening of Tribe vs Pride
Date: Sunday April 22, 2018
Time: 2:30-3 p.m.: Mingling and snacks; 3 p.m.: show time
Where: East Bay Media Center, 1939 Addison St., Berkeley 94704
Register: The film runs 55 minutes followed by a Q&A and photo print raffle. Space is limited, RSVP now.

This story is brought to you by Next Adventure, a Berkeley-based company specializing in one-on-one custom safari arrangements in Africa. Visit Next Adventure’s website for more information.