Masai Mara Conservancies: Everything to Know Safaris + Reviews

the secret entrance to the Masai Mara conservancies’ greatest areas.

Today, there are very few locations where you can still see unspoiled, natural beauty and wildlife. places that arouse your senses and give you a chance to enter a world populated by lions that are mighty, elephants that are majestic, and darting gazelles. Welcome to the Masai Mara conservancies, which may be the world’s most abundant wildlife preserves.

Safari in the Conservancies of the Masai Mara in Kenya – Roaring lions

What is a Conservancy?

A conservancy is a highly particular kind of wildlife and land conservation where landowners lease their property to safari companies. This means that in the Masai Mara, thousands of small-scale farmers and locals with modest land holdings band together, pool their holdings, and enter into agreements with safari operators in exchange for monetary compensation and other assistance, which may include anything from educational and healthcare programs to livestock management and grazing management.

A concession, which is typically when a safari company rents a parcel of land from the state or government, is not the same as a conservancy.

Conservancies are not pristine parcels of land because they have sustained agriculture and have had people live there (and some still have sizable villages). But it’s astonishing how rapidly wildlife bounces back once the cows, goats, and humans have left. The conservancies surrounding the Mara region frequently provide some of Kenya’s most dependable and thrilling predator sightings.

Maasai Mara Conservancies vs The National Reserve

Between the conservancies in the Mara and the nearby Masai Mara National Reserve, there are a number of significant variations.

  National Reserve Conservancies
Wildebeest Migration yes no
Night drives no yes until 10pm
Vehicle limit at sightings no as open to public yes
Off-roading no yes but infrequent
Fly-camping no yes
Guided walks no yes
Limit on new camps no yes 1 bed per 350 acres limit average

Travel Tips:

  • You may rest confident that most lodges in conservancies provide wildlife drives in the national reserve if you wish to watch the Great Wildebeest Migration. To increase your chances of seeing the river crossings, you might choose to pay additional park fees and enter the reserve again. If you want to do this, we advise a stay of at least 4 nights.
  • The public and other safari operators are not permitted in the conservancies, although conservation vehicle access is permitted into the national reserve. If low car counts and uncrowded observations are essential to you, then this is crucial.
  • Because the conservancies maintain a stringent restriction of roughly 350 acres per visitor (700 acres for a 2-person tent), there are very few lodges and campgrounds there. As a result, the lodging often sells out, particularly during the busy mid-year period, so it is recommended to make reservations as soon as you decide to travel.
  • Conservancies make an effort to hire as many personnel from the neighborhood as they can. The Maasai people are completely engaged in the safari industry, even if it does mean that certain staff members may not speak English well.

What do Conservancies do for Local Communities?

MMWCA – Growing & Strengthening Mara Conservancies.

The Maasai people are gainfully employed and deeply interested in the safari industry, even though this may indicate that some staff members don’t speak English well.

Generally speaking, conservancies are success stories in conservation because:

  • They give habitat defense against mining, logging, the production of charcoal, and other forms of “developments
  • They engage in a lot of anti-poaching efforts.
  • When necessary, they offer assistance with criminal prosecution.
  • By providing sustainable grazing rights and predator-proof bomas or fences, they aid in the preservation of livestock

The Best 4 Masai Mara Conservancies

1. Mara North

Founded: 2009
Size: 74 000 acres
Density: 1 tent per 700 acres or 1 guest per 350 acres
Ownership: 788 lease agreements of between 5 and 15 years each

Unique features:

  • Forestry school
    Location for BBC’s Big Cat Diary series that followed the Acacia and Gorge prides
    The Lemek Hills are a refuge for wild dogs
    The Loita Hills see part of the December to May Great Wildebeest Migration

Where to stay: Elephant Pepper Camp, Kicheche Mara Camp, Saruni Mara

2. Naboisho

Founded: 2010
Size: 50 000 acres
Density: 1 tent per 700 acres or 1 guest per 350 acres
Ownership: 500 Maasai landowners

Unique features:

  • Controlled grazing for cattle
  • Home of the prestigious Koiyaki Guiding School (KGS)
  • Healthcare, water access and female empowerment projects
  • Private Naboisho / Ol Seki airstrip
  • Enesikiria or KGS pride of 70 to 100 lions

Where to stay: Encounter Mara, Naboisho Camp

3. Ol Kinyei

Founded: 2005
Size: 18 700 acres
Density: 1 tent per 1 000 acres or 1 guest per 500 acres
Ownership: 171 private Maasai landowners paid per acre leased and per bed night

Unique features:

  • Livestock exclusion zone
  • 90% of lodge staff are from the community
  • Among highest lion density in the country
  • At least 330 bird species

Where to stay: Porini Mara Camp, Porini Cheetah Camp

4. Olare Motorogi

Founded: 2006
Size: 32 9000 acres
Density: 1 tent per 700 acres or 1 guest per 350 acres
Ownership: 277 Maasai landowners

Unique features:

  • Olare Orok and Ntiakitiak Rivers plus extensive escarpment
  • Snare removal and beekeeping projects
  • Integrated livestock management
  • Secured against incompatible land usage such as wheat farming
  • Wild dog and rhino sometimes sighted
  • Home of the Enkoyanai lion pride

Where to stay: Kicheche Bush Camp, Mahali Mzuri, Porini Lion Camp

Maasai Mara Conservancies Reviews

metaxanorway | Norway17 contributions

Lots of animals to see and experience
Feb 2023
We highly recommend Mara North as a safari destination. We were there in February so the grass is low and it’s easy to see all animals. The Masai tribe seems to do a lot to keep the area preserve its authenticity, and it’s not crowded with tourists.

msnform | Carlsbad, CA70 contributions

Great collaboration between competing assets
Sep 2022
The Mara North Conservancy offers the local farmers a chance to keep their livestock and help promote the wildlife–Win-Win for all. This beautiful country is enhanced and nurtured by this marvelous relationship. Game viewing was OUTSTANDIN!

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