History of Ol Kinyei Conservancy
The Ol Kinyei Conservancy was the first conservancy to be established within the Great Masai Mara Ecosystem. The conservancy is the result of partnership between 171 Masai landowners and a safari operator. Wildlife is free to roam the conservancy without having to circumnavigate fences or other man made barriers between the various Masai properties. All Masai cattle is now forbidden within the conservancy giving the land a chance to regenerate and recuperate from years of overgrazing. The conservancy’s conservation efforts have resulted in a thriving population of wild animals. It’s home to everything from gazelles to buffalos and from leopards to lions. With a little luck you may even spot a rare wild dog during your stay in the conservancy.
The Great Migration in Ol Kinyei
One of the annual highlights in Ol Kinyei is the arrival of the great migration. Countless gazelles, zebras and wildebeests generally trek through the conservancy sometime between June and October. In January, during the lesser known Loita Hills Migration, 100,000 to 250,000 pass through the Ol Kinyei Conservancy en route to the Naboisho Conservancy and the Olare Motorogi Conservancy. They pass through this area on their way back to the Loita Hills. Obviously, the exact arrival of the Loita Hills Migration can differ from year to year and the number of wildebeest and buck that migrate annually isn’t an exact science. However, if you plan on travelling to the conservancy this time of year and the migration takes place during your safari visit – you are in for a treat. If you arrive a month or two later in February or March you may just stumble upon the annual wildebeest calving season.
One of Ol Kinyei Conservancy’s most inviting features is the fact that it offers one of the lowest densities of tourists of the entire Mara ecosystem. There are only two safari camps in operation within the conservancy. Each of the tented camps offers guests a very luxurious accommodation option complete with all modern-day creature comforts. Each camp offers guests a wide variety of safari activities led by Masai guides and trackers with profound knowledge of the land and the animals that inhabit it. The camps are very exclusive and small-scale, offering accommodation to a maximum of twelve guests in total. Both camps also follow sustainable eco-principles and one of the camps (a semi-permanent camp) was even awarded a gold eco-rating by Ecotourism Kenya.
Activities in Ol Kinyei Conservancy
There’s more to Ol Kinyei than the land and the creatures that roam it. The Masai guides and trackers working within the conservancy have lived in the region all their lives and so have their ancestors. These men and women have profound knowledge of the region and enjoy sharing it with safari travelers visiting the conservancy. Whether you head on a thrilling game drive by 4x4 or on a guided nature walk, the Masai guides and trackers will take you to the best spots to spot leopards, hippos, buffalos, impalas, topis and other grazers. They are world-renowned for tracking and finding wildlife out in the savannah and in the bush and will even teach you how they do it.
There are plenty of enjoyable activities to take part in while staying at the Ol Kinyei Conservancy. A great way to add incredible memories to your safari experience is to visit a local Masai Manyatta (a Masai village). There’s no better way to get a taste for authentic Masai culture and traditions while learning about their lifestyle and ceremonies that have been practiced by the Masai for generations. Another much anticipated activity during a Kenyan safari in the Masai Mara is having a sundowner. So what’s a sundowner? A sundowner is a late afternoon ritual involving wonderful drinks and treats. During your game drive your guide will find a scenic place to take a break to watch a stunning African sunset. Sip on your favourite fine wine while enjoying the sights and sounds of the wild.
Additionally, there are a variety of other activities at hand to make your safari extra special, for instance:
- Bush breakfast – start off the day with a bite to eat out in the savannah during a morning game drive.
- Game drive with bush picnic – while you’re out and about on a riveting game drive, your guide will make sure you can sit down to a lovely bush picnic.
- Night safari – at night the sights and sounds of the wild are unlike anything you’ve experienced during the daytime.
- Hot air balloon flights – a birds-eye view and an incredible highlight during a Kenyan safari.