Ol Kinyei Conservancy
As one of the sixteen conservancies that make up the renowned Maasai Mara National Reserve, Ol Kinyei Conservancy is a pristine wilderness area characterised by open savannah plains, riverine forest, springs, rivers, and rolling hills. Ol Kinyei Conservancy has grown to 18,500 acres and is owned by a Maasai community who set aside the property for wildlife conservation in exchange for practical benefits that would help them improve their lives and become less reliant on cattle.
The conservancy is run with the goal of generating revenue for the community through employment and land leasing. The landowners are compensated per acre of leased property as well as a charge every occupied bed-night, and the camp’s workforce is made up of 90% community members.
Ol Kinyei, which is part of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, is known for its unspoilt and breathtaking environment, with broad savannah plains on one hand and rolling hills on the other. The region is home to a vast diversity of animal species due to the abundance of water supplies in the form of springs, streams, and rivers, as well as breathtaking vistas across the Mara plains.
Many indigenous species have returned to the region since the Conservancy was established. The Conservancy presently has a diverse range of species, including a resident pride of more than 30 lions. Several leopards have territories within the conservancy, and guests frequently see them. Cheetahs are common, and large herds of giraffes, Cape buffalo, and elephants are not uncommon. There are also around 300 different bird species. In addition, when cattle from the eastern plains of Loita join the migration to the Mara Reserve, they pass through Ol Kinyei.
In 2005, the Ol Kinyei Conservancy formed a partnership with landowners and tourism operators, with both parties sharing equal responsibility for the Conservancy’s maintenance. Their goal was to create a wildlife habitat that was protected and allowed for vegetation regeneration, as well as to boost wildlife populations so that eco-tourism could be done and cash made for the local community through land leases and jobs. This cooperation has established a stable conservation platform and ensured a fair distribution of conservation benefits among its landowner community members, fostering a deeper feeling of ownership, respect, and knowledge of the importance of Kenya’s wildlife heritage.
Since 2005, the conservancy has progressively grown to 18,500 acres, with one of the greatest lion concentrations in the world. The cheetah population has steadily increased, with numerous families and several young cubs now living on the property. The conservancy is also one of elephants’ most important ecological connection corridors. Ol Kinyei Conservancy was identified as one of the critical corridors for elephant dispersal and feeding in a 2016 study on elephant mobility.