Magnificent Maasai Mara! Paxton images photo and copyright.

Magnificent Maasai Mara! Bring full batteries and empty memory cards. Paxton images photo and copyright.

When the Sun rises over the great mosaic of grassland and Acacia trees of Kenya’s Maasai Mara, as it has done since the dawn of mankind, the experienced eyes of wildlife rangers are alert for signs of poaching activities that threaten to set the country backwards.

One such ranger, is Collins Ochumbe, who also serves the public as a paramedic and as Secretary to the new Chake Community Conservancy of Narok. Collins is also an expert safari guide with Shavicol Safaris. He and his companions walk the talk of community conservation, combining a love of the land and its people with the love of the rich native wildlife and vegetation that sustains them. In their outreach, Shavicol staff also advocate for female rights and against female genital mutilation as well as reducing human wildlife conflict. 

Before the Zoonotic COVID pandemic struck it had been calculated that every live elephant in Kenya was worth over a million US Dollars in travel and tourism revenue to the country. That’s far more valuable to the whole economy than a dead elephant is worth to the poachers that try to kill them. The global pandemic has hit ecotourism hard and thus threatens environmental conservation activities too, see Ecotourism Aids Biodiversity Conservation for more info.

Covid restrictions had cut off the valuable foreign ecotour visitors, so Shavicol has diversified into providing safari experiences for locals, experiential development courses for local business staff and even art in nature sessions

Collins believes that environmental education is an essential element of conservation and he regularly posts excellent information about the local East African wildlife. Check out Shavicol’s Facebook post on Elephants! It’s full of interesting statistics, some sad ones, but also some cause for hope for the future.

Think African wildlife experience and Kenya’s Maasai Mara leaps to mind! Surely these mighty grasslands are one of the world’s most magnificent wildlife photography hotspots. One day I hope to see the Kenyan savanna wildlife for myself.

As an ecotourist, I have learned to appreciate the value of experienced guidance in the field!  It’s possible to self-drive the game park in a hired vehicle, but that would mean missing out on the fascinating indigenous knowledge of rangers like Collins. I think its far better to enjoy safari experience with the phenological experts.  Experienced guides like Collins know where and when to look for what you want to photograph, and this means you’ll likely get better pictures and memories. This also has the benefit of contributing to the local economy and the people who are actually sustaining the wildlife that you want to see.

 

Check out Shavicol Safaris’ Easter Weekend trip to Naivasha with hike at Hell’s Gate on their FB page. April 3rd, 2021 they offer boat riding, Camel/Horse riding, fish eating, Hippo Watching and hiking! Sounds like fun!

US Disclaimer: Author Charles Paxton made the website for Chake Conservancy. He received no remuneration for this article.