Volunteering in the Maasai Mara
Make a difference to conserve the wildlife of the Maasai Mara
Why Volunteer in the Maasai Mara, Kenya
Dubbed as the inspiration for the Disney feature ‘The Lion King,’ prepare yourself to enter a region recognized as the “true” home of African wildlife and get ready for the ‘only in Africa’ sights and experiences that will amaze you beyond your wildest expectations.
Welcome to the land of the magnificent, world-famous Maasai Mara, where nearly 2 million wildebeest and zebra migrate in their sheer numbers, as part of Greatest Wildlife show on the planet”, one of Africa’s most extraordinary cycles of life. The vast density of game between Kenya’s Maasai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti is incredible, and sightings of these exquisite creatures come thick and fast.
Home to Africa’s greatest predators and endangered species including the vulnerable Black Rhino that are hanging on to existence by a thread. The Maasai Mara promises an unforgettable wildlife adventure you will never forget!
Maasai Mara Volunteer Projects
Big Cats Research & Conservation
Play a massive part in the research of the big cats in the Maasai Mara. Help find a solution to ensure their place on this planet.
Location: Maasai Mara, Kenya
Duration: 2 – 12 Weeks
Why Volunteer in the Maasai Mara?
The magnificence of Kenya’s wildlife is solely due to one of Africa’s most innovative and successful conservation communities. Although sometimes considered tough, methods to punish poachers and to protect the most precious wildlife are in place: there is a strong anti-poaching unit in place, who is out in force, to protect rhinos, elephants and other species. Globally-recognized models for wildlife protection & management combined with sustainable tourism means you will see amazing wilderness and free-roaming wildlife.
The Maasai Mara is Africa´s conservation hub, hosting private and community conservancies that blend tourism with community development and wildlife conservation to the max, with outstanding results.
There is no better place to make your mark in conservation and to get involved with the incredible initiatives in place. It’s your turn to ‘Go M.A.D’ (Make a Difference) on this incredible continent.
Fun Facts about the Maasai Mara
- The Maasai Mara is home to one of the earth’s most specular events of nature, the annual great migration, where almost two million wildebeest and zebra travel from the Serengeti up to the Maasai Mara. This event is dubbed as the greatest wildlife show on the planet.
- The Mara’s ecosystem stretches over around 3,000 sq km.
- The number of elephants in the Maasai Mara is on the rise.
- The Maasai Mara is named in honour of the Maasai people. The ‘Mara’ translates to ‘spotted’
- The Maasai Mara was originally established in 1961, as a wildlife sanctuary.
- All the members of the iconic ‘Big 5’ resided in the Maasai Mara. This consists of the lion, the elephants, the rhino, the leopard and the buffalo.
- The Maasai Mara National Reserve is the most famous conservation area, but not the largest.
- The Maasai Mara is also home to large populations of zebra, giraffe, hyena, cheetah, gazelle and a huge bird population.
- The Maasai Mara lies in the Great Rift Valley which is 5,600 km long, from Ethiopia’s Red Sea, through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and into Mozambique.
- The Maasai Mara is a major research centre for the spotted hyena.
- The Mara is known as the ‘Kingdom of Lions’ as they dominated the grasslands.
- The Maasai people within the Maasai Mara do their best to live in harmony with the wildlife. They rarely hunt these animals and respect them as fellow residents.
Maasai Mara Highlights & Excursions
The Maasai Mara offers some of the best safari experiences the world has to offer. Below you will find 6 of the best excursions you might want to experience while on a volunteer project.
Maasai Mara Game Reserve Safari
Discover the hype around one of Africa’s most iconic national parks, home to the black rhino, one of the few species you won’t see on a project and an abundance of Big 5 game.
Experience a world-class safari from an angle like no other- the sky! With this half-day hot air balloon safari over the Mara Reserve, you will see idyllic Africa in an incredibly unique way. Champagne breakfast included.
Walk through the conservancy guided by local Maasai wildlife experts at either sunrise or sunset, the best time to see the animals at their most active.
A breath-taking hike, right up to a nearby peak, overlooking the conservancy and all its glory. Your guide will be a local Maasai, with a span of knowledge of the surrounding area, who will take you on a challenging but worthwhile trek!
Encounter Mara overnight stay
Luxury doesn’t get better than this. This stunning tented camp at the heart of Mara Naboisho conservancy is the perfect balance between luxurious comfort and incredible nature! Your stay will include your meals and accommodation, with your daily activities at an additional cost. Take a moment to sit back in style and enjoy your surroundings at this exclusive camp with tents overlooking the savannah and the exclusive lounge area overlooking a salt lick. You will have excellent camp staff at your service during your stay.
Eagle View Camp overnight stay
This luxury tented camp, nestled in the Naboisho conservancy offers a sense of luxury to your unique wildlife experience. As part of your stay, you can enjoy full-board accommodation with selected non-alcoholic beverages, 2 game drives, optional walking safari and night game drive.
You will be based at our quintessential African Safari camp, were waking up to the sound of roaring lions is just the norm, ahead of your early morning game drive. Our volunteer base strikes the perfect balance between authentic Africa and comfort.
We have a variety of accommodation types on offer, from inclusive large tents to accommodate many, to smaller, more private individual tents.
Enjoy the true taste of home cooking with three wholesome meals a day, prepared by our fantastic camp chef, providing you with plenty of fuel for your day. The camp will become your home, with plenty of social facilities and outdoor spaces.
Know Before You Go to the Maasai Mara
Code of Conduct
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Maasai Mara safe?
Organised tours in parks and reserves in the Maasai Mara are very safe and the area is a tourist hotspot. While on a game drive or out in the bush, please ensure you follow all instructions given. Do not leave the vehicle unless advised otherwise.
You will be accompanied by highly trained and experienced guides, who are there not only to provide you with knowledge but also for your safety. It is important to be aware that you will be around wild animals, so it is essential that you remain calm and listen to the instructions given. We encourage you to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings, wherever you are in Kenya.
Check out our safety tips for more advice on keeping safe, during your incredible safari experience.
How do I get to the Maasai Mara?
The Maasai Mara National Reserve is about 280kms from Nairobi.
It is about a 6-hour drive from Nairobi to the Maasai Mara, but a very scenic one across Kenya’s countryside. You will also pass the Great Rift Valley and the escarpment’s viewpoint at Mai Mahiu.
The most common point of entry into Kenya for a safari is Nairobi, which is one of Africa’s biggest transport hubs, with a multitude of international direct flights. The main airport is Jomo Kenyatta International (NBO.)
There are many airlines that offer direct flights to Nairobi, including:
- Kenya Airways: London- Nairobi
- British Airways: London- Nairobi
- South African Airways: Johannesburg – Nairobi
- Qatar Airways: Doha – Nairobi
- Emirates: Dubai – Nairobi
- Air France: Paris – Nairobi
- KML: Amsterdam to Nairobi
What is the currency in Kenya/ Maasai Mara?
The official currency in Kenya is the Kenyan shilling (KSh.) You can use most major credit cards in many of the resorts, lodges, bars and restaurants, such as MasterCard or Visa.
Is there malaria in the Maasai Mara?
Due to the high elevation of the Maasai Mara and Nairobi, malaria is a very low risk as mosquitos do not live at those elevations. However, there are other regions of Kenya, so we recommend you speak to your doctor about the right medication before travelling.
What is the weather like in the Maasai Mara?
- Best time to visit – June to October and January to February
- High Season – July to November (during the migration) and January to February
- Low Season – March to May
- Best Weather – June to October (little to no rainfall)
- Rainy Season – March, April and May
June to October (Dry Season)
This is one of the best times to visit the Maasai Mara. Not only is the weather considered to be the best during this time, but this is also when the Great Migration is in full action. The migration is determined by the seasonal rains and the availability of grazing. The migration commences after the rainy season. The dry season also allows for better wildlife spotting opportunities, as the bush is less dense, but also as water becomes less available, therefore wildlife congregates around the waterholes and rivers. There is little chance of rain. However, you can expect to see large crowds of people, as this is one of the most popular times to come to the Maasai Mara.
November to May (Wet Season)
Despite being the rainy season, the wet season brings new opportunities in the Maasai Mara. The scenery is beautiful and green and due to the rains, this is one of the quietest times of the year to visit. You can expect to see more new-born animals and in general, you can still see plenty of wildlife, without the crowds you can expect to see in the dry season. With the exception of March, April and May, rain is usually short, sharp showers in the afternoons or evening, therefore are unlikely to disturb your safari experience. However, from March to May, rain can be continuous.
What electrical plugs are used in Maasai Mara / Kenya?
The majority of pocket sockets found in Maasai Mara and Kenya are Type G, as found in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
What Languages are spoken in the Maasai Mara?
The two official languages spoken in Kenya are English and Swahili. The other two widely spoken regional languages in Kenya are Kikuyu and Luhya.
What animals are found in the Maasai Mara?
The Maasai Mara is one of Africa’s most famous and iconic national parks. Known as Kenya’s flagship park, the vast amounts of game and home to the ‘Big 5,’ the elephant, the lion, the leopard, the rhino and the buffalo. Sightings of the Big 5 are pretty much guaranteed and nowhere else in the world can offer the same sort of idyllic African wildlife experience as the Maasai Mara. Wildebeest and zebra migrate in their astonishing numbers between the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara, creating the setting for the ‘Greatest Wildlife Show on the Planet.’
Volunteering Safety Tips
- Avoid travelling alone, especially at night.
- Don’t walk around the campgrounds at night.
- When travelling, keep all important documents and valuables in a safe place like a hidden pocket or money belt.
- Do not carry excessive amounts of cash on you. Only bring what you need for the day.
- Don’t wear expensive jewellery or watches.
- Be wary of people who seem too friendly too fast.
- Keep your camera out of sight and always keep bags and purses in your sight. Do not leave unattended.
- Don’t get too close to wildlife and don’t feed them. Remember, you will be living around the wild game.
- Be aware of your surroundings and that the animals you will be researching are wild. Remain calm at all times and listen to our highly experienced guides.
- Use the safe spaces provided for you and don’t leave valuables lying around the lodge, your room or in an open space.
- You will be working outdoors, in a new and different community and environment. Ensure you listen to project staff and respect the local rules and customs at all times.
- We recommend you do not share your contact details with anyone.
- Save the emergency numbers of the Project Team in your phone.
- Provide us with a copy of your emergency contact person at home.
Please consult with your private physician or doctor in regards to what immunizations or vaccinations are needed.
Yellow Fever: A Yellow fever vaccination and the Certificate are compulsory for Kenya. You WILL NOT be allowed to enter the country without it.
We ask you to consult your doctor with regards to other vaccinations. Below are details of what is likely to be recommended.
Tetanus: A recent tetanus injection is highly recommended
Hepatitis A&B: Recommended
Please travel with copies of your vaccination certificates!
Malaria: We advise you to bring ample supply of anti-malarial tablets for your entire time in Kenya. Ask your doctor to prescribe the ones most suitable for you.
NB: we do not recommend Larium (sometimes known to cause hallucinations) or Doxycycline (many people have had bad reactions to the sun when they use this prophylactic).
A simple First Aid Kit will be available on-site, but we recommend you pack your own kit too. There are doctors located within an hour’s drive at large safari camps and for serious medical issues, you will need to evacuate to Nairobi.
We strongly recommend you bring a supply of sunscreen cream for the hot African sun – SPF 30 and above. We also suggest you bring a hat and a water bottle with you, as you will be in the sun for a good portion of the day. Even if the sky is overcast, the sun is strong enough to cause burning.
It is very possible to get dehydrated during your time with us due to the strong sun. Don’t let that be you – please, please, drink lots of water!