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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in Kenya

Support community and conservation work in the Maasai Mara

Your stay with us helps to fund projects like local schools, health clinics and conservation programmes….

By Julius Karia
Community and Conservation Officer, Governors’ Camp

Mara Rianda community in the Maasai Mara

Since Governors’ started nearly 50 years ago, we’ve been working closely with the local communities around our camps, offering support with education, health and jobs. I’m a native Maasai person, I grew up here, so I can see how much things are changing thanks to initiatives like these. When I was younger, for instance, school lessons were simply held under a tree, but today children have proper classrooms. Everything that we’ve managed to achieve so far has been with the help of our guests.

Your stay with us helps to fund projects like local schools, health clinics and conservation programmes. You can also offer support directly by visiting the local Mara Rianda community, who live in a manyatta village of circular huts set around a cattle enclosure. You’ll pay an entrance fee which goes to the Maasai people and has a huge impact on their livelihood. There’s also a chance to shop for traditional beadwork made by local women, many of whom have never been to school, yet are now able to make an income. It’s very empowering for them.

What Governors’ is trying to do is really bring the local people in so that everyone benefits and no-one feels left behind. So, in terms of education, we built new school classrooms and continue to provide learning materials and pay some of the teachers’ salaries. We offer scholarships for further study and have funded training for local people to become teachers, medical staff or to work in tourism. In fact, around 60 percent of our staff at Governors’ are, like me, from the local community.

You can also visit the Mara Rianda medical clinic, which helps treat common problems in the Maasai Mara, like malaria and eye disease. Before the clinic opened, we had to travel a long way to access any treatment, so the clinic has really changed lives. Women now have safe maternity services and since opening in 2013, the clinic has provided regular immunisations and HIV care. Covid has been a particularly critical time for the community, so we’ve been running regular food drives – often funded by donations from guests overseas – to help with the crisis.

Protecting the landscape and wildlife in the Maasai Mara is just as important. We support conservation work like the Mara Meru Cheetah Project, which has been really successful. There are now three or four famous cheetahs in our area, there was even a mother who had six cubs and all of them survived, which is very unusual. We also work closely with the Maasai Mara National Reserve to create rules for ethical wildlife viewing on safaris. We want visitors to understand that this isn’t a zoo, it’s a reserve, you have to respect the animals and keep your distance.

A big part of conservation work is managing conflict between wild animals and the Maasai cattle. Now, for instance, there’s compensation if cattle gets killed by a wild lion. The Maasai people are also realising that it’s important to take care of wild animals because they bring tourists to the Mara. One of the other challenges we’re facing is landscape destruction. Many indigenous trees are destroyed by high concentrations of elephants in the Mara, so we have tree planting projects that guests can get involved with. You can even drop a seed ball over the Mara while on a balloon safari, which helps to replant native trees.

Categories

  • Community
  • Culture
  • Trips to take

Available in these itineraries…

Alfred & Julius Karia

Julius Karia hails from the Maasai Mara and grew up in a village on the reserve. He's been working at Governors’ Camp since 2013 as a naturalist, conservationist and community liaison officer. Julius is currently implementing programs that create a balance between wildlife conservation and pastoralism while also creating a livelihood for communities living in the Maasai Mara.
Julius Karia, Governors' Camp community projects

Alfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Annette, who's travelled extensively in Kenya. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the rangers who'll ensure you'll spot the best wildlife in the Mara, the village chiefs who'll give you a genuine insight into local life and the camp managers who can recommend the very best spot for your sundowner.

Freephone an expert 01306 744 656