Elephant Reserch Project

Big Cat, Elephant & Community Volunteer Project

Project Location:

Situated on the equator on Africa’s east coast, Kenya offers beautiful landscapes, amazing wildlife, with an ethnic diversity that has produced a vibrant culture. This project is situated in the newly established Naboisho Conservancy, in the heart of the Maasai Mara Ecosystem and just north of the National Reserve. This conservancy area is geographically linked with a number of conservancies as well as the Maasai Mara National Reserve, encouraging wildlife to move over large areas.

Project Age Limit:

Minimum 18 years, maximum decided on potential participants’ health.

Project Highlights:

• Lion research and Elephant monitoring
• Diverse data collection guided by experienced field staff. This is particularly exciting during the months of July-October during the Great Migration
• Learn from experienced Maasai guides about life in the African bush
• Work alongside local Maasai expert instructors in training and educating students from the surrounding Masai community to be safari guides
• Assist in efforts to empower the local Maasai communities to value their environment through conservation education
• Be involved in helping and improving the facilities of a Maasai school located on the edge of the Maasai Mara ecosystem
• Get a taste of the Kenyan / Maasai culture; learn a bit of Swahili & Masai (Maa)!
• Make friends for life
• Live in the heart of the finest safari destinations in the world!

Conservation Projects

Big Cat Monitoring Project – this project is run in partnership with Basecamp Foundation.

This project aims to monitor the lion, leopard and cheetah populations and movements of prides within the conservancy, as well as the interaction between lions and the local communities. Volunteers will be involved in taking pictures of the big cats, identifying each individually and creating its own profile, while building the database of cats within the conservancy.

There is also a great need for the consistent and accurate collection of data on the Conservancy, including regular censuses of the wild animal population in the area. Under the guidance of the experienced conservancy team, you will assist in the regular collection of this data in order to empower the conservation efforts further and measure the progress of the conservancy.

Conservation projects will also include game drive routing, road identification and crossing marking, species recording and wildlife monitoring, depending on the needs of the conservancy.

Elephant Research Project

Elephant Research Project aims to build a community of people sharing their knowledge about the elephants of the Maasai Mara ecosystem and working together to monitor and protect them. Volunteers will be responsible for taking ID photos of elephants, getting to know them individually and collecting observations on the location, size and composition of elephants groups in Naibosho and sorrounding areas. Through your work you will help to build up knowledge of the Maasai and contribute to their conservation.

Olesere Primary School

Olesere Primary School has approximately 250 students enrolled, ranging from pre-school to grade 6. The school itself is very basic and there is much potential to develop the facilities further. Thanks to the Headmaster, there is noticeable pride in the school by both the community and the children. The school has five classrooms and a pre-school unit.

Volunteers will be involved in running an environmental club once a week with select students at the school, encouraging learning about the environment and conservation through interactive methods. These students will then be responsible for transferring their learning and skills to other students at the school through workshops and presentations.

Koiyaki Guiding School

85% of the tourism guides in the Masai Mara are not from the area, with only a handful of the local people benefiting from the multi-billion shilling tourism business due to a lack of the required skills.

The Koiyaki project is an initiative to place guiding in the Mara in the hands of the local people – after all, it is their own “back yard”. The school and wilderness camp is owned by the Koiyaki community (Koiyaki Group Ranch is situated north of the Mara reserve) and is now under the guidance of the Basecamp Foundation.

Goals of Koiyaki guiding school and camp:

• To enhance conservation of the Masai Mara wildlife by converting this region into an economically viable conservation area
• To equip local people with the professional skills needed for them to participate in and promote conservation and wildlife management
• To improve the facilities at the Koiyaki guiding school (e.g. building dormitories, dining area and kitchen)
• To reduce encroachment of wildlife habitat by farming communities and thereby reduce man-wildlife conflict
• To provide financial benefits from tourism to the local communities thus underpinning advantages of conservation for their own lifestyle

What do they learn?

In three terms of full time residence training of 8 weeks each, the students will cover the following diverse and interesting modules:
• Culture, Anthropology, History, Customs
• Animal Behaviour
• Visitor Handling
• Photography
• Environment and Wildlife Management
• Natural History
• Camp Management and Cuisine
• First Aid
• Driving Skills
• Placements: Students will be placed either in the company that sponsors them, or other safari companies. Each student will spend time working in every sector of tourism employment (i.e. not just guiding), as part of their training.

Please be advised that volunteers will also be involved with the practical construction of additional facilities at the Koiyaki Guiding School, improving resources and developing the school as a whole.

If you are willing to help and to work with “BIG CATS” and “CONSERVATION” click on the links below to get more information.


Project Costs: Volunteering in 2012
2 Week Placement: £ 1035 | US$ 1860 | EUR 1345
4 Week Placement: £ 1685 | US$ 3025 | EUR 2185
6 Week Placement: £ 2275 | US$ 4095 | EUR 2960

Volunteer for 14 days
Volunteer for 28 days

We look forward to seeing you in the Mara.

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Big Cat, Elephant & Community Volunteer Project

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