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The Mara Ecosystem

The Maasai Mara is part of Africa's most diverse and spectacular ecosystem.

Bordering the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, this area of southwest Kenya is named in honor of the Maasai people and their description of the area when looked at from afar: "Mara" means "spotted" in the local Maasai language of Maa, due to the many trees which dot the landscape.


A diverse group of animals call the Maasai Mara home, including Africa's "big five" (the African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, African lion and African black rhino). Cheetahs, wildebeests, gazelles, zebras, hyenas, giraffes, crocodiles, hippos, more than 500 bird species and many more residents can also be found across the reserve.

The only sustainable way to halt the dramatic loss of these iconic species is for the local communities who live alongside them to see the benefit. By increasing the benefits that local communities receive from conservation, perceptions of wildlife are improved.


All of our projects have the slogan “tenkaraki ing’uesi” which is Maa for “because of the wildlife.”  We believe that helping the wider community receiving and acknowledging the importance of conservation in development is the only way to ensure the survival of the Maasai Mara ecosystem.

We are very aware that this development must be socially and culturally appropriate and all of our initiatives are bottom-uxp, based on ethnographic research with the communities involved.

The Mara Ecosystem

We work to increase the benefits of wildlife and conservation to Maasai families so that they appreciate, and contribute to the protection of, wild animals on their land.


How We Work

The Trust

Unlike many organisations working in remote areas of Kenya, we are a permanent presence on the ground in the Maasai Mara and we directly oversee all of our projects. While we strongly encourage communities to take ownership of projects upon completion, we continually monitor our work, and we are on hand should they need advice or guidance with repairs or maintenance issues. 


The Maa Trust is ensuring the sustainability of the Maasai Mara ecosystem for generations to come.

How We Work

About Mara Conservancies

There are currently fifteen unfenced wildlife conservancies in the Mara ecosystem covering 347,011 acres. The total land now protected in this way has doubled the wildlife habitat of the Mara ecosystem, bringing substantial income to thousands of Maasai people.

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