Join our team on the edge of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya for a rare chance to conduct wildlife research on 3 of Africa’s most iconic big cats – lions, leopards, and cheetahs. This program gives you a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the wild hinterlands of East Africa and witness spectacular displays of wildlife while conducting important wildlife research that contributes to long-term wildlife conservation and reserve management plans.
This volunteer program is ideal for big cat lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, and aspiring conservationists or zoologists
AS A VOLUNTEER, YOU WILL GET TO:
- Conduct wildlife research in a reserve that is famous for its unrivaled big cat and wildlife encounters
- Witness the legendary beauty of Africa on daily safari game drives through Naboisho Conservancy
- Get your hands dirty by doing physical conservation work such as removing invasive species
- Contribute to community development by teaching young Maasai locals at Koiyaki Guiding School English and other skills that will help them become safari guides
- Get involved with education workshops that help locals understand the importance of wildlife conservation
- Spend time with Maasai warriors, learning about their unique culture and hearing tales about their lives and life in Kenya
- Live in the middle of the untamed African bush and experience some of the most authentic wildlife experiences the continent has to offer
Big Cat Monitoring
Koiyaki Guiding School
Koiyaki Guiding School is a facility that provides a quality education in guiding and conservation to local Maasai youth who want to get involved in the tourism industry by becoming safari guides. Through the school, Maasai guides can obtain certification with the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association. Over the last decade, hundreds of Maasai youth have graduated and found employment in the ecotourism industry.
Through teaching, you will help open up employment opportunities for community members, promote and encourage conservation of the Maasai Mara ecosystem, and meet and talk to locals who will offer intimate insight into their community, culture, and country. Some of the topics volunteers cover include customer service, guiding principles, languages and culture, and many more.
Community education and empowerment are inextricably linked to efforts to protect wildlife. There are several schools in the vicinity of the conservancy, but many of them lack basic facilities and are plagued by a shortage of teachers. Volunteers engage with students at the local primary schools to raise awareness on the importance of conservation.
Volunteers develop teaching plans and implement them at Wildlife Club at the primary schools every week. This has led to a 70% increase in participation by students in their school wildlife clubs – thus instilling a passion for wildlife in the next generation.
Things to do in Kenya
Unique Bush Experiences
The Maasai Mara National Reserve is your playground during your time in Kenya.
Spend your free time going on safari through its wild landscapes in search of elephants, lions, rhinos, and other iconic African wildlife. Or witness Mara from the sky on a hot air balloon safari for an experience you will never forget!
Stay at one of the luxury safari camps for a truly unique safari camping experience.
Exotic East African Beaches
Kenya is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Africa.
Over weekends you can head to the coast and enjoy the sun kissed sand and warm waters of the Indian Ocean at Mombasa Beach, Watamu Beach, and Diani Beach.
Mombasa Beach is excellent for swimming and feasting on fresh seafood at the seafood beach shacks, while Watamu Beach offers incredible snorkeling and scuba diving expeditions.
Sheldrick Elephant & Rhino Orphanage
Catch a 50-minute flight to Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, and visit Sheldrick Elephant & Rhino Orphanage, a rescue and rehab center for orphaned elephants and rhinos.
The orphanage is open to the public for 1 hour every day, during which time you can watch the orphans getting bottle fed and taking a mud bath. You will also learn about the threats facing elephants in Kenya and the work Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is doing to protect them.
About the Destination
Your home during your stay in Kenya is a unique location in the middle of the African bush. You will live at our volunteer base in Naboisho Conservancy, a vast savannah wilderness that is part of the Serengeti / Maasai Mara ecosystem. This special ecosystem is a wildlife hotspot, so you can expect to fall asleep to the sound of lions roaring, hyenas laughing, and thousands of wildebeest and antelope roaming the great plains.
Naboisho Conservancy is located in the Great Rift Valley in the South Western region of Kenya and shares a fenceless border with the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Mara, as it is known, has the highest densities of wildlife on the continent, including all of Africa’s big cats and significant elephant and giraffe populations. Naboisho Conservancy is home to rare species such as aardvarks, caracals, aardwolves, and honey badgers.
Your accommodation is a truly authentic and comfortable rustic safari camp enveloped by nature. You have a choice of shared dormitories, large safari tents, or private 1-person safari tents. Meals are prepared by a chef from the local community and there is an outdoor area where you can socialize with other volunteers as the wild sounds of Africa fill the air around you and warm blue skies stretch for miles overhead.
Dates & Rates
Our project fee includes:
- Accommodation throughout your stay
- 3 meals a day cooked by a local chef (weekdays only)
- Airport pick-up and drop-off
- Transport to and from project
- 24/7 support from experienced international and local staff
- Full orientation to ensure you contribute responsibly
- Project equipment and resources
Our project fee excludes:
- Flights (we can assist you with this)
- Travel insurance (we can assist you with this)
- Visa-related costs
- Weekend trips or tours not on the itinerary
- Snacks, soft drinks, gifts, and souvenirs
“Two weeks that I will never forget. Having always wanted to go on safari, I have managed to do just that and so much more for a fraction of the price, whilst contributing to wildlife research. Seeing such a variety of wildlife in their natural habitat is something that money can’t buy and it was amazing to get so close.”
Shashi Kapur, UK
“I had such an amazing experience on this project. Of course, the wildlife was incredible and I thoroughly enjoyed the monitoring and game drives. What made the biggest impression on me, though, are the incredible people I met while there—both on staff and in the community.”
Melissa Hanlan, USA