Stunning images and ideas of Africa are usually depicted from one of Disney’s most loved movies, “The Lion King.” Kenya was in fact the inspiration behind this and recognized as the rightful home of African wildlife; where those ‘only in Africa’ sights and experiences are part of everyday life and are guaranteed to amaze you beyond your wildest expectations.
One of the most incredible wonders of Kenya; the great open plains of savannah grasslands; home to overwhelming volumes of world-class wildlife, the Masai Mara. Very few destinations can rival the simply stunning landscapes and scenery that give the Mara it’s undiluted magic. Every year, nearly 2 million wildebeest and zebra migrate in their massive herds, as part of “greatest wildlife show on the planet,”one of Africa’s most extraordinary cycles of life.
The vast destiny of game, between Masai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti, is incredible and sightings of these exquisite creatures, come thick and fast. By visiting between July and October, you could be lucky enough to witness this work of nature for yourself!
With Africa’s greatest predators roaming the plains freely, including critically endangered species including the vulnerable Black Rhino (who as a species are hanging on to existence by a thread), conservation in Kenya is leading the way with a globally-recognized model for wildlife protection and management. With tough methods to protect their most precious resident wildlife, the Mara marks the conservation hub of Africa, with private and community conservancies blending tourism with community development and wildlife conservation to the max, with outstanding results.
This is where the Big Cat & Wildlife Research project comes in. This project is at the forefront of securing Africa’s precious wildlife the future it deserves, by conducting vital research & lending an important hand in the important physical conservation work. But that’s not all. They are following Kenya’s example and highlighting the importance of community work to achieve our conservation goals.
The success of preserving and managing Kenya’s wildlife is largely due to one of Africa’s most innovative and successful conservation communities. Kenya is leading the way in demonstrating how conservation can only be achieved with the consistent support of the local communities who live along side it.
Community Engagement, as well as the project's role within the Koiyaki Guiding School, empowering and facilitating the next generation of local guides; is a huge part of the meaningful work they strive to carry out.
The volunteers are also making their impact with their involvement in the Wildlife Club at the primary schools every week. This has led to a 70% increase in participation by students in their school wildlife clubs – instilling a passion for wildlife in the next generation!
Our volunteers are lucky enough to call Naboisho Conservancy their home away from home, while on project. Located in the Great Rift Valley, Naboisho shares a fenceless border with the Masai Mara National Reserve, so wildlife roam freely into the conversancy. You will soak up the real wilderness of this unique location, in our authentic safari tented camp. Often some of the best wildlife encounters happen when we least expect them and often as wildlife roam right through the camp!
Living right in the heart of the African bush maximises your chances of unexpected but incredible sightings! But that’s not all, Naboisho boasts one of the highest density of lions in Kenya and worldwide; there’s no better place to carry out big cat-monitoring!
Your days will be varied with a mix of the different project impacts (no two days are ever the same!). Your days will involve monitoring some of Africa’s most iconic cat; lion, leopard and cheetah! The data collected is used directly in conservancy management. Consistent and accurate data on wildlife numbers in the conservancy is absolutely essential; volunteers are also fully involved in regular game counts of other species as well.
It’s not all research on this project and another project impact area is getting your hands dirty with some physical conservation work, such as road repair, erosion control and alien plant removal. Along with some community involvement work, the project offers an insight into an all-rounded conservation model, that Kenya is renowned for and that strives to not only benefit precious wildlife, but also the communities that live alongside them.
Don’t just take our word for it, check out what our volunteers have to say!
“I first came to the project, in 2012 and fell in love, and have returned seven times.” – Karoline, United States.
“My time on this project really was a dream come true, living in the middle of the bush, surrounded by so many incredible animals and such beautiful surroundings. All the staff were so welcoming and friendly and just genuinely lovely people. The guides were amazing, always offering lots of information about Kenyan wildlife during the drives. I would definitely recommend this project to someone who loves wildlife and being surrounded by nature. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget!” – Helen, United Kingdom.
Coming to Kenya as a volunteer was one of the best and most memorable experiences I have had. Having traveled all over the world, this was my first time being a volunteer. I had no idea what I was getting myself into and have to say it was the best decision I have made. The people I met, the time spent and the local surroundings were all incredible. I will take this moment with me for the rest of my life. And I cannot wait to come back and bring friends with me.” – Mikey, United States.
Learn more about the Big Cat & Wildlife Research in Kenya.