Two growing cheetah learn to hunt under mother’s watchful eyes.
Photo courtesy and © Marc Mol.
Naboisho is a newly formed 50,000 acre conservancy that borders the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and the successful 30,000 acre Olare Orok Conservancy (OOC) (Naboisho is immediately east of the OOC and north of the Mara Reserve). Naibosho came about through the efforts of many – including the founders of Rekero, but also very notably the Basecamp Foundation.
The Naboisho Conservancy is part of a larger ongoing effort to conserve crucial pieces of wildlife habitat bordering the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. Guaranteed conservation fees and employment opportunities will mean that the land yields a very attractive return for the Maasai landowners for the first time.
In my view, the Conservancy movement is the key to conserving the overall Mara system. There are simply too many tourists using the proper Masai Mara Reserve with an estimated 4,000 beds utilizing the Reserve area. Comparatively, the Mara Reserve is small compared to other notable safari areas, yet it is incredibly rich, especially for big cats.
The formation of conservancies are extending the useable area dedicated to wildlife and these enlarged areas are limiting camps/beds to ensure that the vehicle traffic is low, providing great refuge for the animals. Just as importantly, the Conservancies are doing a much better job of transferring the economic yield from tourism to the local Maasai than the public Reserve does. With financial reward being generated from wildlife tourism, it creates workable partnerships with the local people who finally have an incentive to conserve the land.
Wild Source Clients in Masai Mara
Recently we had clients inside the Masai Mara Reserve. They were keen to observe a coalition of three cheetah that are well known from the Big Cat Diaries. At one point they counted 34 vehicles around these boys and unfortunately they witnessed them attempt to hunt 4 times with poor guides interfering and preventing the hunts.
Conversely, when I stayed at Mara Plains inside the Olare Orok we had exceptional leopard, cheetah, and lion viewings and had them largely to ourselves and never with more than 3 vehicles. This kind of refuge is essential for these animals to thrive so I’m excited that a new Conservancy has formed.
A young cheetah in the Olare Orok Conservancy escapes the vehicle pressure found inside the Masai Mara.
Photo © Bill Given
Naboisho Camp will be an 8-tented camp that will be similar in style and management to Rekero Camp. This is good news as Rekero has an earned reputation for focusing on a true bush experience with an emphasis on outstanding guiding. In camp offers a traditional experience of great hosting, service and food. It features comfortable tents yet doesn't chase the over the top luxury and hotel amenities that so many new camps are offering.
It’s good to see a new camp open with keeping bush roots. Tents will be spacious with comfortable beds, flush toilets, safari/bucket showers, and verandas with chairs to enjoy the bush setting. Partnering with Rekero is Asilia, one of Tanzania’s best camp operators and this is their first step out of Tanzania. They are also dedicated to great guiding and have sent their guides down to Southern Africa before to polish their skills. One of my favorite safari itineraries is to combine time in the Serengeti with a camp in a private conservancy in the Mara region and I think Asilia’s Olakira and Dunia Camps will be great compliments to Naboisho Camp for those that want to pursue a Serengeti/Mara safari.
Guest tent interior at Rekero Camp.
Naboisho Camp tents should be similar in size and style.
Photo courtesy of Rekero Camp.
A huge advantage of staying in Naboisho Conservancy is off road driving, night drives, and walks are all allowed due to the low tourism density. This makes for a much better experience than staying inside the Mara Reserve - or it can be complimentary with a stay in the Mara.
Off Road and Night Driving Benefits
To me off road driving is a huge benefit for photography and even for finding more elusive animals. Night drives allow the opportunity to witness many fascinating nocturnal species that will not be seen during the day. After dark is also when a lot of predators become active. The flat cats you see during the day may become skillful hunting lions at night. Thus being situated in a Conservancy provides a much more complete safari experience.
Naboisho Camp Dates and Reservations
Naboisho Camp will open June 1st and has started taking bookings. Due to the reputation of Rekero and Asilia it is sure to be a popular new camp. In early March I will be guiding a safari to Mara Plains in the neighboring Olare Orok Conservancy. I plan to visit the area to see where Naboisho Camp is being built and get a general feel for the habitats and wildlife in the area.
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