Today, 15 wildlife conservancies have been established in areas surrounding the National Reserve. Though they are all unique in natural habitat, size, and structure, all share in the philosophy that both wildlife and local people to thrive.
Enonkishu is situated on the northern most point of the Greater Mara Ecosystem covering an area of 5,928 acres, two tourism partners and 42 landowners. The main focus of the conservancy is livestock improvement through innovative cattle management programs, running alongside novel tourism projects. Indeed, the name Enonkishu – Maa for healthy cattle – was chosen by community elders as the description of the ideal livestock herd.
The habitat comprises wooded acacia savannah with open plains on flat plateaus, riverine acacia forest and rocky, undulating hills which provide a varied habitat for browsing and grazing ungulates, as well as hideout thickets for the predators. The Mara River runs alongside the conservancy.
There is a large number of giraffe and resident buffalos that live close to the Olerai boundary along the Mara River. Elephants frequent the conservancy and there is a pride of lion that is based on the edge of Enonkishu and Ol Choro Oiroua. There are many hippos and crocodiles in the section of river that borders the conservancy and the riverine forests provide an area popular with leopards. Rare species such as Aardvark, Caracal, serval cat and Aardwolf are occasionally found. Colobus monkeys have been spotted in the valleys on the Kileleoni Hill and there have also been sightings of wild dogs in the conservancy.
Lemek Conservancy was initially part of the Koiyaki Lemek Community Wildlife Trust established in September 15th 1995. Later, Lemek members felt the need to break away from the Trust and formed Lemek Conservancy, registering it in 2009.
Covering 6,027 acres with 480 landowners, Lemek Conservancy is one of the high wildlife density areas with Great Plains offering pleasant scenery and best wildlife viewing areas of the Maasai Mara ecosystem. It is home to the big cats namely Lions, Leopards and Cheetahs and occasionally large herds of Elephants can be spotted. Others include Hippo, Warthog, Buffalo, and several species of Antelope, and numerous bird species. The Conservancy comprises open savannah and a tree-lined section of the Mara River with high concentrations of plains game and the wildlife numbers are particularly intensified during the annual wildebeest migration.
Mara Naboisho conservancy is more than 52,000 acres made up of land contributions from 636 landowners. Located adjacent to the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Naboisho is home to the big cats – in impressive numbers – and herds of elephant, giraffe, and wildebeest. The density of lions within Naboisho is one of the highest in the world, with a population of more than 70 identified lions who use Naboisho as their home territory.
Rare species such as Aardvark, Caracal, Serval cat, Aardwolf, and Ratel are occasionally found. Naboisho is a bird watcher’s paradise with several bird species rarely seen elsewhere in the Mara such as White-Headed Buffalo-Weavers, Northern White-Crowned Shrike, Pigmy Falcon, Von Der Deckens Hornbills, Bush Pipits. The conservancy strictly monitors the number of tourists who enter the area, reducing the number of vehicles and the human impact on the environment and wildlife.
The Mara North Conservancy (MNC) is a stunning wilderness area of 69,160 acres. It’s the largest conservancy and a vital part of the Maasai Mara ecosystem as it forms the north-western zone, bordering the Maasai Mara National Reserve. It states its aim as to create a best practice, world-class conservancy with long-term commitments to the environment, wildlife, and local communities. The Conservancy is a partnership between fourteen member camps and 666 landowners.
The Conservancy is one of the most populated wildlife areas within the Maasai Mara. It is home to the Leopard Gorge, a vital birthing and maternity ground for the big cats, as well as the scenic Lemek Hills, an important refuge to highly threatened African wild dogs. During the Loita Hills migration (December to May), thousands of local wildebeest come to the Mara North Conservancy.
Established in 2016, Nashulai is a Maasai founded, directed and run conservancy protecting a critical migratory corridor and wild elephant nursery. It covers 6,000 acres and has 71 landowners.
Olare Motorogi Conservancy (a combination of Olare Orok and Motorogi conservancies) covers an approximate area of 33, 386 acres and is a strategic buffer zone for the Maasai Mara National Reserve and key wildlife migration corridors. Built upon a partnership with 288 landowners, Olare Motorogi management has worked with the local people who agreed to move their homes and only allow carefully managed cattle grazing, leaving the wildlife completely unimpeded.
The conservancy offers pleasant and exclusive tours in a pristine environment, with a rich and diverse wildlife population of both predators and herbivores, including the Mara’s famous big cats and many elephants. Rhino and wild dog have also been sighted, and it is becoming a very viable habitat for these two highly endangered species, given the right sort of protection through sensitive tourism development.
Olarro North and South Conservancies together cover 24,500 acres and are a partnership between 2,200 landowners and 2 tourism camps.
Olchorro Oirowua Conservancy covers 15,765 acres and is a partnership between 170 landowners and 4 tourism camps.
Founded in 2005, Ol Kinyei is a pioneering and award-winning conservancy in the Mara eco-system covering an area of 18, 641 acres. The conservancy is a partnership between 177 local private landowners and four tourism parties. Since the formation of the Conservancy, many indigenous species have returned to the land. The Conservancy is now home to a wide variety of wildlife including resident prides of lions, leopards and numerous other animals as well as over 300 species of bird.
Olderkesi Conservancy is adjacent to the southeast corner of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, just north of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. The conservancy is managed by two trusts: Cottar’s Wildlife Conservancy Trust (CWCT) and Olderkesi Wildlife Community Trust (OCWCT). These two groups have worked closely together over the past 20 years to create a vital, truly sustainable conservancy management plan. Olderkesi Conservancy is owned by the Maasai, who are the OWCT, but it is rented by Cottar’s Wildlife Conservancy Trust.
Oloisukut Conservancy covers 23,000 acres and is a partnership between 65 landowners and 2 tourism camps.
The Pardamat Conservation Area is premised on a mixed conservation model to ensure the survival of the greater Maasai Mara ecosystem and generation of economic benefits for local communities. Through this model, Pardamat community’s 850 landowners have legally registered their 26,000 hectares of land as a wildlife conservation area.
The Pardamat area is important to the wellbeing of the greater Mara ecosystem. It is adjacent to Naboisho, Olkinyei, Lemek and Mara North conservancies and serves as a migration route from the Loita plains that connects the four established conservancies to the Mara Triangle and then to the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Additionally, its hilly and forested terrain is cherished by elephants for browsing as well as open spaces, against rising threats, like unplanned development and settlements as well as fencing.
Siana Conservancy covers 10,000 acres and is a partnership between 1,517 landowners and 15 tourism camps.
A cultural landscape where communities and partners secure wildlife and sustainable livelihoods for a better future.
To conserve the greater Maasai Mara ecosystem, through a network of protected areas, for the prosperity of all – biodiversity and wildlife, the local population, and recreation and tourism for the nation of Kenya.