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Kenya - Masai Mara Lion and Wildlife Conservation

Volunteer in an exciting conservation project in the heart of the Masai Mara. Make connections within the local community and help to bridge the gap between the growing tourist industry and the local population while making valuable contributions to conservation efforts, mainly with lions and elephants.



Fast Facts

Location of ProjectMasai Mara, Kenya
Project LengthMin 2 weeks - Max 6 weeks
Arrival AirportNairobi (Jomo Kenyatta International Airport)
Volunteer WorkLion monitoring, conservation efforts, teaching environmentalism
Number of ParticipantsUp to 16 international volunteers
Age18 - 80

What's Included

AccommodationShared dormitory rooms located within the bush
Food3 meals daily
Orientation KitFull project details will be sent following registration
TrainingAll necessary training and introductions provided upon arrival
SupportLocal in-country team and 24hr emergency support
Airport TransfersIncluded on arrival and departure
Sim Card Kenyan SIM card provided upon arrival
Insurance Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage

What's Not Included

Flights, personal expenses, airtime for cell phone or internet, and entry visa (approximately $50 USD).


The Masai Mara in Kenya is known as one of Africa's finest safari destinations, most famous for its annual wildebeest and zebra migration, which has been called "the greatest wildlife show on earth." This area has one of the highest densities of carnivores in Africa, as well as supporting a range of endangered species. Kenya itself is located on the equator on the eastern coast of Africa, boasting a range of ethnicities and cultural vibrancy.
This project is situated in the newly established Naboisho Conservancy, in the heart of the Masai Mara and just north of the National Reserve. This conservancy area is geographically linked with a number of conservancies as well as the Masai Mara National Reserve, encouraging wildlife to move over large areas.


About the Project

The aims of this project are to ensure that the Masai Mara remains a valuable source of income for the country as well as to increase local community involvement in the tourism industry.
As a volunteer on the Masai Mara Project you will help to preserve a balanced relationship between the local Masai communities and the threatened species in the area.  You will be involved in exciting conservation and wildlife research activities in a new and spectacular Masai Mara conservancy area. You will also be assisting at the Koiyaki Guiding School to train up local Masai guides to promote sustainable tourism in the area.


Volunteer Work and Contribution

You will be involved in three primary initiatives: wildlife monitoring and conservation efforts, environmental education at a local primary school, and developing resources/helping to educate future local tour guides at a guiding school. Activities can include but are not limited to:
  • Lion research and data collection
  • Elephant monitoring and research
  • Diverse data collection, particularly during the Great Migration in the summer months (game drive routing, road identification, species recording, and wildlife monitoring)
  • Running an environmental club and develop English skills at a local primary school
  • Help out at a tour guiding school for local residents to become more involved in the tourism process surrounding Masai Mara. This may include teaching English, cultural lessons, building/repairing facilities, etc.
The guiding school and primary school are sometimes on term break. During these periods, the volunteers focus on wildlife research and other community activities. 
Holidays: Please note that the project will be closed for a Christmas break from 19 December, 2016 and reopening 1 January, 2017

Living Arrangements

Accommodations: During the volunteer's stay, they will be provided with housing in basic but comfortable dormitories at the guiding school, in the heart of the bush. Dormitory rooms are single sex and include an outside eating and kitchen area. Toilets are basic, and hot water will be limited, but available at night. Towels and mosquito nets will be provided, as well as weekly laundry service, and daily housekeeping.
Food: You will be provided with three meals a day. Breakfast is served after the early morning drive or activity. Lunch and dinner are full meals, and will be prepared for you. Packed lunches are provided when out for the day. 
Internet: volunteers who would like to use the internet need to bring a laptop and purchase a 3G modem in the airport in Nairobi.
Keep in mind: cell phone reception is sometimes patchy, and although volunteers will be provided with a sim card, they will need to purchase airtime.


Travel Highlights

There are many optional travel and excursion options that volunteers will be able to arrange once on site. (At an additional fee) These include the following:
  • Walking safaris 
  • Night out in the bush 
  • Excursion to Masai Mara Game Reserve 
  • Balloon safaris 
  • Dorobo Bush Camp overnight including guided walk 
  • Lamu getaway 
  • 2 night stay at Basecamp Masai Mara overnight including game drives in National Reserve
  • Overnight stay at Basecamp Wilderness 
Please note these excursions may change according to availability and that entry in to the park is not included in the overall cost.


Minimum Requirements

  • Min age 18
  • At least 1.55 meters tall (5 feet 1 inch)
  • Police clearance form
  • Volunteers MUST travel with proof of a Yellow Fever Vaccination
  • Good level of English
  • Motivation to learn about conservation
  • Motivation to work with children and/or adults
  • High level of independence and flexibility
  • Full travel & medical insurance
  • Immunizations (please consult your doctor)





Here's an excerpt of Marion's experience:

  "The program allowed me to immerse myself in both environmental and cultural aspects of the area. I also had the chance to do some safaris in Africa.  Being so close to nature and people, I realized how people have to live on a day to day basis, in a sometimes harsh environment..."
Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!


Here's an excerpt of Stephanie's experience:

  "The first day of the plain count I remember looking over the list of the 30 or so wild animals. I thought, “Yea right, like we are really going to see all these? I doubt it!” Then I thought, “How am I supposed to count something I have never heard of before in my entire life?”  Each creature was pointed out and explained in vivid detail to us. I had seen more beautiful creatures on that day than I had ever seen in any zoo anywhere. And I have been to quite a lot of zoos in my life.  I was shocked, excited and ready for more."
Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!

Check out our Volunteer Blog at blog.goeco.org to read experiences written by GoEco volunteers from all over the world!

"This program is a real conservation and community program. Both targets equally reached. You help identifying the cats, tracking them, counting the other animals... you're fully involved in all steps and you come very close to the cats. So many exciting moments! You share your experience and culture with the Masai students and spend some time with the women's goup. You are fully immersed in the mara and its bush life. You are reminded of how valuable water is. You get back to your roots, living in complete harmony with nature. An experience I will keep in my heart forever.. and I hope to be able to come back very soon." 

- Sonia Rehm, France

"This project is amazing. I loved how it was diverse, with conservation work, teaching young children and also students around my age, and the opportunity to see outreach work. There was still a good balance and we were not stretched too thin across these different activities. I have learned so much about wildlife and the struggles that accompany conservation in the Maasai Mara ecosystem, and so much about Maasai culture and their way of life. Especially important is the interest I’ve developed for these topics. And, of course, the friendships made are extremely rewarding and valuable to me." 

- Kyla Tempest, Canadian

It was really special to be able to see lions that haven't been exposed to much human contact and to be able to help photograph and identify the individuals in the prides was very rewarding. It was also special to be able to visit the local Masai primary school and promote the wildlife and conservation efforts hopefully will make a real difference in the future of the Masai Mara.
- Carla Young, Australia


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