This reserve is an important buffer for the Masai Mara National Reserve and for the preservation of the animals’ migration corridors.
It is located North of the Masai Mara National Reserve, just above the Musiara sector, West of the Mara North Conservancy and was created in 2012 by merging two previous conservation areas: the Olare Orok and the Motorogi; it has a size of 133 square kilometers and encompasses the land of 277 Maasai and hosts 6 structures between lodges and tented camps.
Within this conservancy is the lower section of the Olare Orok river and the Ntiakitiak river valley, both sides are covered with rainforest; here there is also the Ntiakitiak Gorge, a very important wooded area from an ecological point of view, that is located immediately below the 12 km escarpment.
The Maasai have created a buffer zone where they do not lead their cattle to pasture, here there are, in fact, the corridors paths for many animals leaving the Masai Mara National Reserve in search for new pastures, including herds of wildebeests and zebras during the Great Migration; they are also using the land in an environmentally friendly way, applying controlled grazing policies that allow to not take advantage of the terrain while keeping healthy livestock.
The reserve is managed in partnership between the Maasai, who own the land, and the managers of the accommodation facilities, also deals with the protection of animals and their habitat, and this commitment is giving the first results: since the Conservancy was formed animals increased by number and species that have been sighted have also increased.
Here you can spot elephants, giraffes, buffalos, wildebeests, zebras, gazelles and many species of antelopes, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, black-backed jackals and, with a little luck, wild dogs, black rhinos and 50 species of raptors.
The revenues of the Conservancy are invested in conservation and community projects; this conservancy is an example of integration between local communities and accommodation facilities and tourism especially for its commitment to the environment conservation.
Before the establishment of two reserves in 2009 here there were human settlements and grazing land for cattle, the ecosystem was hyper exploited and the habitat was being destroyed.
However, since they were established, the two private reserves, then merged into one, the situation has radically changed and all, local people, managers of the accommodation facilities and the environment in general, have benefited.
The goal of the Conservancy is to maximize the benefits for all parties involved, as well as for the environment; managers also collaborate with the Kenya Wildlife Service for conservation and some foundations such as Living with Lions and the University of Colorado and also with a project for putting radio collars to lions.
Education and training programs have been set up for the local populations focused on conservation and to teach a craft that can be source of income; furthermore, a system has been designed to manage the Masai cattle in a compatible way with conservation, in particular the rotation of grassland has been implemented, to prevent overgrazing and an irrigation system has been, as well, implemented to allow rotation.
Finally, projects were implemented to improve the living conditions of the Maasai, such as the implementation of solutions for renewable energy, for clean water and for the eco wood collection; the production of honey has also been introduced as an alternative source of income and projects for women have been created.
The existence of reserves such as this, represents a real hope of preservation for the entire Great Masai Mara ecosystem.

Conservancies of the North Zone of the Masai Mara

  • Mara Naboisho Conservancy
  • Mara North Conservancy
  • Olare Motorogi Conservancy
  • Ol Kinyei Conservancy
  • Ol Choro Oiroua Conservancy
  • Lemek Conservancy

Masai Mara National Reserve Map Conservancies Kenya

Maasai Mara National Reserve and neighbouring Conservancies - Illustration Credits: Marco Dal Molin -