Location: Garissa County
Conservation Area: Coast
Year of Establishment: 2007
Communities: Ishaqbin and Ndera
Wildlife Species: Hirola antelope, buffalo, lion, leopard, African wild dog, desert warthog, bush-buck, harvey’s duiker, topi , lesser kudu, Tana River Red Colobus, reticulated giraffe, elephant and Tana Mangabey
The Ishaqbin Conservancy is a community initiative in the Tana River Primate Reserve ecosystem in the coastal region of Kenya. Two communities, Ishaqbin and Ndera are collaborating with Kenya Wildlife Service through a memorandum of understanding for the development of a tourism facility within the conservancy. Tana River Primate Reserve was first gazetted as Game Reserve in January 1976 to conserve the remaining unique flood plain forest. The reserve straddles the Tana River so that 49% of its area is on the West Bank and 51% is on the East Bank. The Ishaqbini community Conservancy is located adjacent to the Tana River Primate Reserve on the Eastern Bank of the Tana River. The conservancy covers about 19,000 hectares with about 1/3 of this area falling under the gazetted Tana River Primate Reserve under the jurisdiction of Kenya Wildlife Service. The conservancy was established in the year 2007 with the key objective of conserving the approximately 200 endangered Hirola antelopes that reside in the area. The area is also home to a number of large mammals including Elephants, Giraffe, Topi and buffalo as well as a wide variety of other biological resources. The two communities have been working with the Northern Rangeland Trust (NRT) since the inception of the conservancy. The Trust which is a Biodiversity Conservation NGO based at Lewa Downs in Isiolo, has facilitated the development of several crucial administrative structures for the conservancy.
Community wellbeing and sustainable Livelihoods
With the completion of the construction of the tourism facility the conservancy will begin to receive direct benefits out of sustainable wildlife conservation by setting aside the 19,000hectares of their land for conservation. So far, the community members have benefited from wildlife conservation education programs which led to the formation of the conservancy. In addition, the following are other benefits which have greatly improved the livelihoods of the communities:
- A conservancy Headquarters with office buildings and community rangers accommodation;
- 2 land cruisers and a motor bike for patrols;
- A conservancy manager, accountant, 21 community rangers for Ishaqbin and 10 community rangers for Ndera community;
- Purchase of Modern VHF radio communication
- Constriction of an airstrip at the conservancy Headquarters; and
- Purchase of high quality Mobile Camping gears for scouts
The conservancy supports about 6,000 members from the communities. A tourism facility to be constructed within the conservancy, which is a first within this ecosystem will open up the area both for the social and economic development of the people of this area.
The conservancy will form a buffer to the Primate Reserve and moderate the level of human interference inside the reserve. The conservancy is also a habitat and home to about 200 endangered hirola antelopes and therefore an important wildlife conservation ecosystem for the country. The conservancy covers the area outside the East bank of the Primate Reserve and covers 3 locations of Hara, Korisa and Kotille within the coastal region of Kenya. Management plans and reports for the Tana Primate ecosystem have cited the need for tourism development as a means of securing the conservation agenda with the communities around the Reserve. The site for the development of the tourism facility spills into the eastern bank of the reserve and therefore the need for collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service in sustainable conservation and management of the area. A prospectus for the project has already been produced and several investors had assessed the area positively. With this collaboration the communities will benefit from improved security and technical assistance from Kenya Wildlife Service whose core mandate is wildlife conservation and management
This tourism circuit on which the conservancy lies is currently in focus by the government for development through the County government and is likely to be a priority project for this particular county.
The site also falls under the jurisdiction of KWS which manages the Primate reserve. The delineated area for the conservancy is strategically located on the shores of a seasonal ox-bow lake, surrounded by a high canopy riverine forest within the reserve. The conservancy which was established in the year 2000 on the other hand is managed by various committees with the core management team currently being financed by Northern Rangelands Trust. This consists of a manager, an accountant, 15 scouts and 5 Kenya Police Reservists. Other committees exist that handle matters such as livestock grazing, finance and tourism.
The role of the conservancy has been to educate and enforce the park regulations and control the human activity taking place in both the conservancy and the reserve. With Kenya Wildlife Service as a long term partner and the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU), the sustainability and expansion of the conservancy which is part of a strategy to increase space for wildlife through community involvement is guaranteed.
The Ishaqbin wildlife conservancy brings together two indigenous communities of the Ndera and Ishaqbin. This partnership was forged to venture into sustainable wildlife conservation as a land use option for improved livelihoods.
Since inception of the wildlife conservancy in the year 2007, the two communities have been in partnership with the Northern Rangeland Trust (NRT) towards realization of this activity. The Trust, a Biodiversity Conservation NGO based at Lewa Downs in Isiolo in northern Kenya, has facilitated the development of several crucial administrative structures for the conservancy which include, community mobilization and conservation education, Construction of conservancy Headquarters and game scouts accommodation, purchase of a 4x4 land cruiser and a motor bike for patrols, employment of a conservancy manager, accountant, 15 game-scouts and 5 Kenya Police Reservists, training of scouts on wildlife monitoring, purchase of Modern VHF radio communication and purchase of high quality Mobile Camping gears for scouts
Kenya Wildlife Service on the other hand has been working in partnership with the communities since the gazettment of the reserve in 1976. KWS has been performing its wildlife conservation mandate of community conservation and education awareness, problem animal control and security for the communities against wildlife menace and training of the members of the communities to carry out conservation activities within the conservancy.
The initiative by both the Ishaqbin and Ndera communities has greatly influenced changes in the land use activities in this ecosystem. The communities have now embraced wildlife conservation and tourism as a land use option as opposed to agriculture and livestock farming within the 19,000 hectraes that they have set aside specifically for wildlife conservation with special emphasis to the endangered Hirola antelopes. The conservancy acts as a buffer for the Tana Primate National Reserve and its development will greatly contribute to the livelihoods of both communities since the initiative will create open up the area for tourism and other economic investments in the region
Location: Kajiado County, Southern Conservation area.
Year of Establishment: August 2006
Population: 450 people
Communities: Maasai people
Wildlife Species: Wildebeest, Zebras, Gazelles, Elands
The Olerai community wildlife conservancy is an area of 9.35km2 located within the Kipeto Location, Ngong Division of Kajiado County. It is situated to the west of the Kiserian-Isinya (pipeline) road and about 20 kilometers west of Nairobi National Park (NNP) ecosystem and historically acted as a dispersal area for wildlife that freely abounds within its plains in what is commonly referred to as the Kitengela Game Conservation Area due to abundance of wild animals. The area is characterized by a combination of open grasslands, wooded grasslands and Acacia Seyal – Balanites woodlands.
Olerai Conservancy has been established through a partnership between the eleven Sorimpan brothers and seven like-minded adjacent land owners. The Conservancy is composed of individually owned parcels of land of varying sizes totaling amount to 3295 acres of the formerly members of the larger Keekonyokie Group Ranch situated in Kipeto Location. The main purpose for the establishment of the conservancy was to maintain the Olerai Conservancy’s diverse habitats and ecosystems, and the wildlife they support, culture and history; promote the sustainable utilization and development of a vibrant wildlife/nature based tourism industry and for improved social economic development of the local community for the present and future generations
The area surrounding the Conservancy has traditionally been characterized by movements of both livestock and wildlife in a north-south direction depending on the time of the year as the environmental conditions change. During the dry season, migrating animals such as wildebeest and zebras gather in NNP where there is permanent water and browse material. At the onset of rains, animals move south and east of the park into the open Kaputiei dispersal area. For many years, the local Maasai, their livestock and wildlife have shared these open grasslands. This was made possible by the fact that land parcels were very large under the group ranch land tenure system introduced by the government in the 1960’s. The group ranch concept was aimed at increasing the productivity of pastoral areas, pre-empting landlessness and stemming environmental degradation due to overgrazing.
Proximity to the city of Nairobi has spurred the growth of satellite cities and settlements in Kitengela, Ongata Rongai and Kiserian, taking up more land which was previously available for livestock and wildlife. As competition for land and water increases, more land owners have started selling their land for all sorts of developments leading to accelerated fragmentation of the once open landscape, which occurred due to the absence of an approved Local Physical Development Plan, thus bringing about serious land use conflicts in the area. Recurring drought has also become a common phenomenon in recent years with serious impacts on livestock keeping especially pastoralism as a source of sustainable livelihoods, a problem made worse by the constriction of the grazing range due to land sub divisions and fragmentation.
These factors coupled with the potential that exists within the conservancy for a wildlife based tourism industry have motivated the Olerai community to start thinking of alternative livelihood activities such as wildlife based tourism. With the support of the Kenya Wildlife Service and other stakeholders, the Olerai community has decided to establish the Olerai conservancy. It is part of the KWS strategy towards community participation in sustainable wildlife conservation. The creation of the conservancy will form the model for KWS for future development across targeted landscapes in the country.
Through USAID funding, KWS is developing a management plan (to be uploaded on the web soon) for the conservancy with the following specific aims:-
- Ensure the conservation of the Olerai community wildlife Conservancy area as important biodiversity
- Improve on a sustainable basis revenue for the land owners for enhanced livelihoods and natural resource management needs
- Provide a practical management tool for the conservancy managers in carrying out their day-to-day management responsibilities.
Olerai Wildlife Conservancy in collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service is currently looking for prospective investors and developers to construct and manage an eco-lodge, in the following area:
Type of Facility
Proposed Lease Yrs
Ngong division, Kajiado district
Location: Coast Conservation Area
Year of Establishment: 1995
Population: 3,500 people
Communities: Digo and Duruma
Wildlife species: Elephants, zebra, warthog, bushbuck, waterbuck, baboons, leopard, porcupine, mongooses, bush babies, some birds, reptiles and invertebrates.
The Golini-Mwaluganje Community Conservation Ltd operating under the name Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary was registered as a company in 1994 and become operational in 1995. It is a northern extension of the Shimba Hills National Reserve in Kwale District, Coast Province approximately 35km south West of Mombasa and north of Kwale town, covering an area of 36km2 and is almost entirely fenced. It lies at an altitude of 440ft.a.s.l. The Golini Escarpment serves as the eastern boundary of the sanctuary. Mwaluganje Forest Reserve to the east is a plateau of approximately 30km2 and 500ft a.s.l. The average annual temperature of the area is 24.2C while the rainfall pattern is bimodal with two peaks between April and July (long rains) and November (short rains). Mean annual rainfall is 1150mm and there is presence of morning mist and fog.
Mwaluganje is a dispersal area (corridor) for elephants from Shimba National Reserve to Mwaluganje forest. Communities living adjacent to the corridor were farming in the corridor and this gave them right to the land. This resulted in crop destruction, injury and death to humans by elephants. As a conflict resolution measure, KWS through education programs proposed land-use change from farming to creation of a sanctuary. A memorandum and Articles of Association for the management of the sanctuary was developed. This required the landowners to give ‘legal rights of vacant possession of their parcels of land’ to the Corporation and agree not to dispose off their land or use it for collateral without the consent of the corporation. By 1995, two hundred families living within joined the corporation; the sanctuary was fenced, game viewing tracks established and an entry gate constructed with the assistance of KWS.
The area is important at international, national and local level. It supports threatened lowland coastal forest which contains a rich diversity of flora and fauna including several rare and endemic species.
It serves as one of only 3 coastal refuges for elephants in Kenya; it is an important water catchment area, it contains a sacred Kaya, and is sufficiently close to the coast and can therefore attract large numbers of visitors
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has in recent years been keen in involving local communities in the management of wildlife resources in their areas. It is now common knowledge that for local communities to protect their natural resources, they must obtain some benefits from these resources as a means to improving their livelihoods.
In 1997 the Mwaluganje Board of Trustees distributed about one million Kenya shillings (over $16,000) to shareholders being proceeds generated from the sanctuary’s tourism activities. Payments ranged from Kshs 60,000 to Kshs. 200,000 (about US $1000 to over $3000) to each family holding title to their donated land.
KWS is therefore keen to assist and partner with communities to identify and develop optimal land uses (those that have high conservation and livelihood values). In a bid to achieve this objective, KWS has been involved in organizing studies and exposure tours for the local communities. This has often involved taking members of the local communities to visit and learn from similar successful community based conservation initiatives elsewhere which results to the target communities seeking ways of also benefiting from wildlife through initiation of similar projects.
Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary Area
The Elephant Sanctuary, which measures 60,000 acres, was established in 1995 to create a corridor for movement of elephants between Mwaluganje Forest reserve to the north and the Shimba Hills National Reserve to the South. Elephants need this corridor in order to access important areas of their range at different times of the year. The Sanctuary also protects people from the dangers of crop raiding and potentially dangerous free-ranging elephants. In 1993 the Golini Mwaluganje Community Conservation Corporation was created with an objective to reduce human-elephant conflict and generate benefits for community members while permitting the movement of elephants through the corridor.
During the 1998 elephant census about 350-400 elephants were counted for the whole Shimba ecosystem. The 1999 elephant census registered between 400-500 elephants in the same ecosystem. Within the Mwaluganje sanctuary there are more than 100 elephants.
Apart from the sanctuary being famous for its elephants, there are plenty of other attractions including other species of wildlife like zebra, warthog, bushbuck, waterbuck, baboons, leopard, porcupine, mongooses, and bush babies and in addition to a rich diversity of birds, reptiles and invertebrates. Another attraction of the area is the diverse landscape which ranges from the dry baobab bush land to moist deciduous forest on the hills and riverain forest along the streams.
Currently KWS is working with the Board of the Sanctuary to look for an investor for the development of three (3) tourism facilities within the sanctuary as indicated below:
Type of Facility
Proposed Lease Yrs
Mwaluganje - Manolo loop site
Mwaluganje - Manolo lunch hut
Mwaluganje - campsite
Location: Next to Rimoi National Reserve-Kerio Valley
Conservation Area: Central Rift
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has in recent years been keen in involving local communities in the management of wildlife resources in their areas. It is now common knowledge that for local communities to protect their natural resources, they must obtain some benefits from these resources as a means to improving their livelihoods. KWS is therefore keen to assist and partner with communities to identify and develop optimal land uses (those that have high conservation and livelihood values). In a bid to achieve this objective, KWS with the assistance of USAID has been involved in organizing studies and exposure tours for the local communities. This has often involved taking members of the local communities to visit and learn from similar successful community based conservation initiatives elsewhere. This has resulted in the target communities seeking ways of also benefiting from wildlife through initiation of similar projects.
Keiyo County Council (KCC), a Local Authority charged with conservation and management of wildlife and their habitats within the National Reserves manages the Reserve in Kerio Valley Other than wildlife attractions, areas of natural beauty within and outside the protected area provides tourist attractions and form bases for various recreational activities.
Keiyo county Council in conjunction with KWS is stepping up its efforts to develop the tourism industry in the area as a key to ensuring nature conservation and offering alternative sources of income for the communities in the area. Hence the need to develop and maintain sufficient and appropriate accommodation targeting the middle and upper levels of the domestic market as well as international tourist market.
Although elephants are the main mammalian herbivores, others include waterbuck, buffalo, bush buck, warthog, yellow baboon, impala, leopard, civet, genet, Serval and striped hyena in addition to a rich diversity of birds, reptiles and invertebrates.
Rimoi National Reserve
This Reserve provides unique geological scenery & biodiversity and is one of the few protected areas within the spectacular Kerio Valley. Attractions include a remnant population of Elephants, Buffalo, Impala, nocturnal mammals and hundreds of bird species. The Reserve is located, 30 km from Iten town on the floor of the Kerio Valley.
Kenya Wildlife Service in collaboration with the County Council of Keiyo wish to invite prospective investors and developers to construct and manage tourism facilities in the following areas: -
Type of Facility
Proposed Lease Yrs
Rimoi 1 (former campsite)
Outside Rimoi N.R, Kerio Valley
Rimoi 2 (Cheptarit hill)
Outside Rimoi N.R, Kerio Valley
The successful developers will construct and operate the facilities in accordance with KWS regulations on tourist facilities in Protected Areas.
Located near the Cheptarit Primary School, this isolated hill overlooks the expansive Kerio Valley. The area is rich in culture and history. Geological features and an amazing birdlife are some of the key attractions in the area. The area has a steady supply of sparkling spring water.
This hill site is located at an old campsite. It has a 360 degree view of the Kerio Valley. Opportunities exist for eco-tourism by integrating camp activities with those of the local community. Water supply to the camp already exists.
The areas are remote and far from the beaten path. They offers tranquil Wildlife watching, a guided walking circuit. They are also quite close to the internationally recognized high-altitude training centres in Iten town. The wildlife includes crocodiles, elephants, primates, buffaloes, among others. From the breathtaking Kabarnet escarpment to the Biretwo junction is about 50Km. A cultural museum is set to be established at this junction. The sites lie about 15-20km from this junction along an all-weather murram road. The sites can also be accessed from Iten town.
The property will consist of an eco-lodge with maximum of 24 beds on a maximum acreage of 25 acres. Operators will be free to offer self-catering or full catering services depending on their target market. The operators will be permitted to run a curio shop in conjunction with the community members.
The area has unique species of wildlife and ecosystems that will be attractive to both local and international tourists. The main attraction is the groups of elephants, Culture and scenery of the Kerio valley.