How the Private Conservancies of the Maasai Mara Work

The Creation of the Private Conservancies of the Maasai Mara

Kenya is blessed with some of the most abundant wildlife in Africa and beautiful scenery such as that found in the Maasai Mara. It’s easy to imagine in our minds that all of Kenya’s wildlife resides in well-protected game reserves and wildlife sanctuaries out of reach of poaching and conflict with human settlements.

Unfortunately, much of Kenya’s wildlife lives in unprotected areas outside of national parks and game reserves, in areas of agriculture and community life. Prior to the introduction of conservancies surrounding the Maasai Mara, the land bordering the reserve was divided into small pockets of land and used for cattle herding, village communities and crops.

The creation of the private conservancies of the Maasai Mara have greatly advanced the conservation efforts that are at the very core of our principles. Conservancies serve to extend the land protected by government, more than doubling the total % of land in Kenya set aside for conservation.

The Mara private conservancies are a brilliant and all too rare approach to wildlife management, working with the local Maasai communities and landowners so that they too can benefit from conservation. Land that was once used for grazing and crops has been allowed to return to its natural state, in turn attracting prey animals and Kenya’s carnivores.

Robert Marks Safari_Masai Mara Herd

Why Should You Choose to Visit the Private Conservancies of the Maasai Mara?

If you aren’t keen on visiting the crowded plains of the Maasai Mara, a safari in the private conservancies might be just your cup of tea. They restrict the maximum number of visitors and rooms, so you are much less likely to encounter ‘traffic’ compared to the public reserve. Lower levels of human presence also means that animals are more likely to flourish as they would without human contact.

The private conservancies surrounding Maasai Mara National Reserve also offer a more extensive range of activities than what is allowed in the reserve, including night drives, guided walking safaris and off-road driving.

Not only have the private conservancies encircling the Mara contributed to greater wildlife protection, but many advantages have come to the landowners and local communities who share in the rewards from tourism to their area. The lodges and camps within the conservancies offer exclusive safaris, away from the crowds of the Mara, which generate revenue for the landowners and safari operators. Portions of this revenue go to local community projects in the Maasai Mara such as medical facilities, schools and financing local entrepreneurs, thus enhancing development of local towns, and the area overall.

Robert Marks Safari_Imipalas in Brown Grass

Private conservancies of the Mara: Olare Motorogi  and Mara Naboisho

Within the Mara are Maasai community-owned conservancies that offer special safari experiences, high-end accommodation and stunning scenery.

The Olare Orok and Mara Naboisho Conservancies, as examples, border the northern section of the reserve and are two of the largest conservancies in the Maasai Mara ecosystem. Mara Naboisho was established in 2010, when 425 Maasai landowners set aside 50, 000 acres of land. The communities now benefit from revenue generated by accommodation and park fees, and have a vested interested in protection of the wildlife on the conservancy.

The private conservancy extends the outer areas of the Maasai Reserve, increasing wildlife protection and safe-guarding critically important migration corridors and shared habitats. You can see elephants, giraffes, hippos, lions, cheetahs, hyenas and many more animals within the quieter protection of these two wonderful conservation areas.