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Kenya - Masai Mara Lion and Wildlife Conservation

Volunteer in an exciting conservation project. Make connections within the local community and help to bridge the gap between the growing tourist industry and the local population. Learn about serious conservation from leading specialists in a sustainable fashion.



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 TransfersAirport pickup upon arrival
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. Kenya has ethnic diversity and cultural vibrancy.

This project is situated in the newly established Naboisho Conservancy, in the heart of the Masai Mara eco system 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 incredible attraction of the famous migration over the Masai Mara has brought with it some conflict in competition for resources such as predators preying on local livestock and the Masai people not being as involved in the tourism project as would be hoped. The aims of this project are to ensure that the Mara remains a valuable source of income for the country and to increase local community involvement in the tourism process.

Additionally, the project aims to monitor and research some of Africa's most endangered wildlife, and in partner with a Big Cat Monitoring project, volunteers will help monitor the movement of prides of lions, leopards, and cheetahs within the conservancy, as well as the interaction between lions and the local communities.


Volunteer Work and Contribution

You will be involved in three main 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
  • 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 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 is sometimes on seasonal break. At these periods, the volunteers focus on wildlife research and other community activities. 


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: 3 meals will be provided daily.

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.

Laundry: laundry services included.


Travel Highlights

There are many optional travel and excursion options that volunteers will be able to arrange once on site. These include the following (prices and availability are subject to change):

  • Walking safaris - USD30 per person
  • Night out in the bush - USD90 per person
  • Excursion to Masai Mara Game Reserve - USD130 per person (park entrance fees not included)
  • Balloon safaris - USD440 per person
  • Dorobo Bush Camp overnight including guided walk - USD225 per person (park entrance fees not included)
  • Lamu getaway - USD995 per person (park entrance fees not included)
  • 2 night stay at Basecamp Masai Mara overnight including game drives in National Reserve- USD300 per person (park fees not included)
  • Overnight stay at Basecamp Wilderness - USD 100 per person (full board excluding game drives)

At present, National Reserve park fees are charged at USD60 per person per day.


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)


Important Notes

We encourage all volunteers that sign up for this project to enroll in with AMREF (also known as Flying Doctors) as well as being insured from their home country. This is to care for an emergency airlift evacuation due to the location and nature of the project. Full details will be sent upon registration.

Photo Credits: Thank you to the Basecamp Foundation for all photos. Photos: Ole Bernt Frøshaug, Basecamp


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, Volunteer October 2010

"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, Volunteer July 2010

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, Volunteer June 2011


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