MARA NORTH CONSERVANCY
Like Your Own Private Safari
Lions? Leopards? And Chimps
Bordering Kenya’s richest collection of wildlife at the Masai Mara Reserve, this specially protected enclave invites you to a private and personal safari. As with its neighboring national park, you’re certain to see all of Africa’s Big Five – including lions and leopards. But the experience here is different – for Mara North Conservancy strictly limits the number of tourists and vehicles that can travel over its plains and hills.
Moving through the bush in your 4 x 4 safari Jeep, you may feel like you have this private wilderness of 61,000 acres to yourself. The number of visitors is held to one bed per 350 acres or one tent per 700 acres. This is all by design – the low density protects the wildlife, the land, and its original inhabitants – the hundreds of Maasai people, who are partners in this great conservancy experiment.
You’ll benefit as well, enjoying many activities not permitted in the nearby national reserve. With a guide, you can go off-road, enjoying a walking safari, or explore the animal-rich terrain at night. The adventurous can venture into the wilds with a guided camping experience, complete with bush dinners and/or bush breakfasts. This private conservancy promotes an immersive safari journey.
The Wildlife and the Great Migration
It’s the greatest spectacle of animal movement on the planet – migrating from the Serengeti into the Masai Mara and Mara North, the Great Migration is an annual rush of millions of wildebeests, gazelles, and zebras on a pilgrimage for more sustainable grasses. Waiting for them are prides of lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, wild dogs, and crocodiles. This is the eternal dance of life and death played out in the Mara.
The conservancy is also the site of an unusual ravine known as “Leopard Gorge” named for the leopards here that are attracted to gazelles, warthogs, and impalas drinking at the nearby rivers. You can spot the leopards above in the trees, stealthily eyeing the gorge for their prey.
The Conservancy’s Promise
So if the conservancy isn’t part of the neighboring national park, whose land is it? The answer is it belongs to over 800 of the native Maasai tribespeople who created the conservancy in partnership with thirteen safari camps and lodges. The arrangement promised low-impact tourism, which means better conservation for land with controlled grazing. In turn, the wildlife is protected from poaching, while the Maasai people receive regular payments from their camp and lodging partners.
In this win for everyone, strict environmental policies are followed by the camps as well as the herders. The result is that Mara North has become one of the largest community conservancies in the world. It’s the first time the Maasai people have received direct payment from their herding, improving their lives and also fostering improvements to the land.
Sharing this land flocked with distinctive acacia trees are the Maasai people, nomadic herders from whom the park takes its name. They construct traditional villages surrounding the reserve and live as they have for eons, herding their cattle and pushing back at an ever-encroaching modern world.
Known for their brightly colored shukas and deft beadwork, the Maasai are a living link to a past that stretches back beyond colonial Africa, to an era when the entire continent was wild and untouched.
Guided Walking Safari – Though not permitted in neighboring Masai Mara Reserve, here in Mara North you can take a walking safari with an armed guide to fully immerse yourself in the bush and savannah. Learn close-up, about the land and nearby animals from your guide who is a wellspring of natural facts and knowledge.
Night Safari – There’s nothing quite like finishing dinner at your camp and jumping into the 4 x4, setting out in the evening’s fading light. You’ll encounter a different cast of wildlife roaming about on their nighttime hunt.
Bush Camping – This is the real deal – just you, the land, the wildlife… and of course, your guide. In the conservancy, you can adventure out on a private camping trip. You’ll enjoy a bush dinner at your own campfire and fall asleep to the sounds of the nearby animals.
The Maasai People – The original people of this area (and your landlords!), the pastoral Maasai are herders, tending their cattle for eons. You can visit one of their nearby communities on a cultural visit and learn about their lifestyle and customs, close-up. You might even get called to participate in a ceremonial dance!
These reserve-based projects help the livelihoods of the nearby rural communities.
- Education for local students, including computer skills training
- Healthcare – providing medical supplies to the local health centers and mobile clinic
- Energy – providing hundreds of local families with energy-efficient stoves – reducing the need for firewood.
Ol Pejeta Eco-Facts
- Sanctuaries to protect endangered chimpanzees, oryx, hartebeest, Grevy’s zebra, and bat-eared fox
- Home to the world’s last remaining northern white rhinos
- The largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa – the rhino population has increased by over 100 in the last 25 years.
Be a Partner
Member camps and lodges formed Mara North back in 2009 with the Maasai landowners to create long-term sustainable practices in land management, protection of the wildlife, and low-impact tourism. All parties have benefitted as will you when staying at one of these member accommodations:
Safaris Unlimited, Richard’s River Camp, Offbeat Riding Safaris, Neptune Mara Rianta Luxury Camp, Mara Plains Camp, Saruni Mara Lodge, Royal Mara Safari Lodge, Kicheche Mara Camp, Alex Walker’s Serian, Elephant Pepper Camp, Mara Bush Houses, Offbeat Mara Camp, and Karen Blixen Camp.
Getting there: You can Book a tour with Africa Kenya Safaris. And you’ll go in style – a specially outfitted 4 x 4 safari Jeep.
This is Mara North Conservancy
Place yourself in the richest animal ecosystem in the region while avoiding the more touristed national reserve. Go on guided hikes or a night safari to enjoy special insights into this untrammeled and protected piece of the Mara.
Let’s Get Started