The Mara Training Centre (MTC), Masai Mara, Kenya
The MTC was set up as a learning facility to deliver courses with a focus on the sustainable management and conservation of community land that lies peripheral to the Masai Mara National Reserve. Holistic grazing plans are developed and implemented to demonstrate ways that the Maasai can continue to practice cattle herding as part of their cultural heritage in ever-shrinking rangelands. These holistic grazing plans, in turn, benefit the surrounding wildlife by sustaining healthy, contiguous grasslands. Now, guiding courses, provided by EcoTraining, are also conducted in MTC’s facilities such as the 28-day Kenya Safari Guide course and the 5, 7 and 14-day Masai Mara EcoQuest course.
The Enonkishu Conservancy lies at the extreme northern edge of Mara’s community conservation landscape. It acts as a literal buffer between varying land-use models – pastoralism and wildlife conservation to the South and East versus crop agriculture to the North and West. These areas form part of vital wildlife corridors and dispersal areas on the northern edge of the greater Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. As a result, EcoTraining students get the opportunity to experience fantastic wildlife viewing and a unique perspective of modern conservation policies in action. Genuine cultural interaction with the local Maasai and Kipsigis communities is also part and parcel of each course, with regular visits to the local schools, and villages, and contact with cattle herders.
The MTC facility is situated in an oxbow of the eminent Mara River. Brand-new classrooms, en-suite ‘bandas’ and a great lounge, known as the ‘Cow Shed’, create an ideal learning environment. Unlike the other EcoTraining unfenced bush camps located across South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, the MTC camp is fenced off from all potentially dangerous wildlife, except for the occasional hippo that comes out of the river to graze at night. Therefore, this place is perfect for daytime exploration, bird-watching, and physical exercise.
The Borana Conservancy, central Kenya
For the past three years, EcoTraining has also run courses on the Borana Conservancy, in central Kenya. Privately owned, this 35,000-acre property lies in the shadow of Mount Kenya and has become a leading example of the successful integration of holistic cattle management and wildlife conservation. In 2014, 20 black rhinos were translocated into Borana and since then the population has grown through a number of births and the walking-on of white rhinos from neighbouring Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The critically endangered grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe and regular sightings of the striped hyena also make for special sightings. Borana’s fantastic wildlife densities include healthy lion, cheetah, buffalo and elephant populations. Its much hillier landscape also lends itself to spectacular vistas and great walking opportunities.
The EcoTraining 28-day Kenya Safari Guide Course
The EcoTraining Kenya Safari Guide Course adapts the standards and modules of the excellent Field Guides Association of South Africa (FGASA) curriculum to a Kenyan context while adding some focus to the unique conservation practices found in the region, across private, public and community conservation landscapes.
Subjects you will expect to cover in the Kenya Safari Guide Course include;
- Field guiding as a profession
- Basic 4×4 driving
- Navigation and orientation
- Comparative conservation policies
- Geology and soil
- Weather and climate
- Anticipating animal behaviour
Should you want to experience the magic of Kenya, enquire about the courses, contact [email protected] or contact the office at +27 (0)13 752 2532.