Ol Kinyei was the first, the pioneer of the private conservancy movement in the Mara eco-system and a multiple award winner as well! The landscapes of this region are blessed with green rolling hills, springs, rivers, streams, and enough displays of wildlife to satisfy safari-goers of any age and experience. Sightings of big cats are common, and you are likely to see large numbers of giraffes, Cape buffalos, and elephants as well.
Established in 2005 as a partnership between 171 Maasai landowners and Porini Safari Camps, just 8,000 acres were designated as cattle-free zones to encourage wildlife conservation and to further recovery and protection of the land. The venture was a success and many indigenous animals have returned including a pride of over 30 lions, plus leopards, cheetahs and over 300 types of birdlife.
Ol Kinyei has also expanded to its now 17,500 acres, attracting many new local landowning partners. Its success serves as a model and inspiration for newer conservancies in the Mara eco-system and has even garnered several awards. It was honored with the “Community Conservancy of the Year 2011 and 2012” by Ecotourism Kenya’s Eco-Warrior Awards.
Offering just two small camps, Porini Mara Camp and Porini Cheetah Camp, with only 12 guests each, the conservancy offers one of the lowest densities of tourists for a truly exclusive safari experience. Following Ol Kinyei’s sustainable eco-principals, Porini Mara Camp was awarded a Gold Eco-Rating by Ecotourism, Kenya. This camp is not a permanent site, lessening its impact on the environment.
Guests have reported many sightings of leopards in the evenings from their decks at the Porini Mara Camp as well as on morning game drives. Other wildlife spotted on the plains and even on the campgrounds are hippos, impalas, buffalos, zebras, and topis, amongst other grazers.
Perhaps the most memorable aspect of your stay in the Mara-ecosystem and Ol Kinyei is the sighting of the vast hordes of migrating wildlife. In this Great Migration, uncountable gazelles, wildebeests, and zebras move through the Mara (usually June to October) on their annual cycle of survival and sustenance. Here in the conservancy, there is yet a second migration to watch for. Around January, this smaller migration advances into Ol Kinyei from the Loita Plains prior to the Great Migration.
This is the season of the annual wildebeest calving which occurs during February and March. During this time, the plains of Ol Kinyei are flowing with wildebeests before moving on to the Mara Reserve in July.
It’s not only the land and the wildlife that make the safari but also the guides. At Ol Kinyei your Maasai guides are special. They have lived on these lands as have their ancestors for generations and their immense knowledge of the animals and the flora that you’ll come upon is unsurpassed.
So too is your guide’s ability for tracking and finding wildlife in the bush and savannah. You can even learn to track animals as the Maasai do, observing their time-honored methods for reading the natural signs all about.
Your guide can also arrange a visit to a local Masai village for an up-close cultural encounter with the Maasai people. You’ll get a taste of the indigenous lifestyle, customs, and ceremonies dating back centuries or more.
Perhaps one of safari culture’s most anticipated moments is the sundowner. Sometime in the late afternoon, you’ll pause from your game drive at a scenic location. Your guide will break out a kit from the 4 x 4 and commence pouring drinks, as you enjoy another dazzling African sunset – a safari tradition going back to the days of the early explorers.
And if you have time, there’s nothing that compares for thrills like a hot air balloon ride over the reserve for an unforgettable perspective of the wildlife and this incredible landscape.
Another wonderful benefit of spending your time on the conservancy is the variety of unique activities available here that are not allowed on the public lands of the reserve.
Bush breakfast – a delicious break from an early morning game drive. Settle in on the savannah and partake of breakfast amidst the wildlife.
Picnic with game drives – what’s more fun than a game drive? A game drive with a wonderful picnic lunch or dinner. Your host camp will set it up – all you have to do is arrive and be served.
Guided Nature Walk – Just you and your Maasai guide taking a guided walk in the Ol Kinyei bush. Learn close-up about the insects, birds, and perhaps some nearby grazers.
Night Safari – It’s another world where night-time species appear, full of eerie ghost-like images and exciting nocturnal sounds. This is a great opportunity to spot a leopard, looking back at you from its perch on a branch above.
At Ol Kinyei Conservancy the game viewing is active, varied, and sometimes surprising. Spot some neighboring animals from your tent or verandah – campground visits are also common. Your stay here helps the local community, preserves these beautiful lands and supports the Mara’s wonderful wildlife population. All of this in an exclusive setting with few other visitors.
Natural World Kenya safaris is Member No.FA/440 - Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) bonding scheme. The scheme is insured to guarantee your holiday safari in the unlikely event that a bonded KATO member ceases operating.