Great Plains Conservation “When we started on this incredible journey, we didn’t feel like we were eco-tourism operators. Most eco-tourism companies are primarily involved in the business of travel, occasionally getting involved in conservation initiatives to help sustain their tourism operations. But Great Plains is first and foremost a conservation organization that uses eco tourism as a tool to sustain conservation programs. We even coined a new name for what we do – “Conservation Tourism”. We define it as the use of quality led tourism experiences that are environmentally sound, with the benefits going specifically into making the conservation of an area viable and sustainable.
It is important to us that this is done without any negative influence on the land, on any species that uses that land, or, indeed, on any individual animal. We do not do conservation by triage, killing some to save the rest, because this is a defeatist and disrespectful way of interacting with nature. Our philosophy is grounded in the fundamental appreciation of the good in life… Good people, good staff, good decisions, good things we share and enjoy, but most of all we try to extend that “goodness” to our interactions with you, with wildlife, with nature and with the local communities which so depend on them.” Great Plains Conservation
Click on a camp or lodge name below for more!
Mara Plains Camp “One of only five camps on the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, guests at Mara Plains have unrivaled access to more than 100,000 acres of exclusive, low-vehicle density tourism land, home to extensive areas of important habitat for a vast number of wildlife species, while still having unfettered access to the Maasai Mara’s additional 375,000 acres.”
Mara Expeditions Camp is located within the famous Maasai Mara National Reserve. “Set at ground level and shaded by the forest canopy, the tents forego fancy amenities but still leave you wanting for nothing. With flushing toilets, bucket showers and hot-and-cold running water, each tent is decorated with an eclectic yet coordinated assembly of what early explorers may have carried with them – brass chandeliers, old Indian campaign chests, rich leather and hardwood furniture – combined with rich textiles and soft cottons. But it’s out on the plains of the Maasai Mara and the adjacent Mara North Conservancy that guests really connect with Africa and live the explorer experience, surrounded by wildlife. The camp is in prime leopard territory and the annual wildebeest and zebra migration passes literally in front of your tent, offering you the chance to witness one of the miracles of nature first-hand from the comfort of your verandah.”
Many may think of Mara Nyika as a “tree top” camp, with the walkways from tent to the main area giving a feel of a tree house under canvas, but the camp’s ethic and inspiration is still one of exploration and adventure – a sense of impermanence in this ever-changing world. Privacy in this camp is the key to understanding it. Privacy to live, think, explore, be romantic and be pampered – all the while with one of the most spectacular backdrops Africa can provide. Guest’s stay enables us supporting over 500 Maasai families with a sustainable livelihood through the payment of conservation fees and which ultimately ensures the conservation of the wildlife in this vital corridor of the Maasai Mara eco-system. The Mara Naboisho Conservancy is now the second largest conservancy in the greater Masai Mara region.”
ol Donyo Lodge “Wedged between Kenyas Tsavo East and Amboseli National Parks in the heart of the Chyulu Hills, this is a place of timeless wild beauty presided over by the magnificent summit of Africa’s greatest icon – Mount Kilimanjaro. Set on the Mbirikani Group Ranch – 275,000 acres of immaculate, private wild Africa bordering the foothills of the Chyulu Hills National Park – ol Donyo Lodge blends contemporary design with the rich culture and history of the people of this area – the indomitable Maasai. The group ranch is owned by 4,000 Maasai and is leased from them by Great Plains Conservation. The full lease fee as well as a per person conservancy fee goes directly to this community on the understanding that they will ensure the conservation of the ranch and the wild animals which call it home. The result is an area rich in wildlife, where some of Africa’s last giant elephant bulls roam freely, where the haunting calls of leopards interrupt the night and where lion are being pulled back from the brink of annihilation.”