Today we visited Olare Orok Conservancy, 30,000 acres of privately leased lands adjacent to the Masai Mara Reserve. Here’s an explanation from their website:

Olare Orok Conservancy is an intriguing new conservation concept on land-use. Just three years old it has set what is to become the blue-print for sustainability of the greater Masai Mara eco-system. Prior to 2006 the Olare Oroks 30,000 acres of prime grasslands, riverine forests and Acacia woodlands were populated by rural homesteads and grazed in an uncontrolled manner by large herds of cattle, sheep and goats. The eco-system was over-grazed and sustainability of the habitat for both people and wildlife being destroyed. After many workshops with the local Masai it was agreed that a new community conservation vision should be tried. To address sustainability of their land and to add value in both income and conserving vegetation, so that a combination of wildlife tourism and sustainable rotational grazing would create a win-win situation for both the Masai landowners and the wildlife of the Masai Mara eco-system.

James gave us a tour and answered our questions, then showed us their latest project — mowing the fields for hay bales to help generate income, make the land more attractive to certain herbivore grazers, and help balance out the lean times of the year for cattle. The towers of hay serve as a perfect backdrop for a group photo.

Smile! / Teeku Patel