Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy, a place of peace.
It’s here, at the foot of the Matthews Mountains where one of the world’s most successful community conservation movements have come to life.
Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy is situated in Kenya’s northern frontier. The Conservancy surrounds the beautiful Matthews Mountain Range – home to the proud, indigenous Samburu people, a group of semi-nomadic pastoralists who have for long shown tolerance for the wildlife that co-exists alongside their cattle.
Namunyak is recognised as being some of Kenya’s best-untouched wilderness –
When elephants and black rhino roamed in abundance, Namunyak used to be a predominantly open grassland – a little like the Maasai Mara is today, which interestingly enough used to be mainly forest, but that’s another story.
In the 80s during the beginning of the Somali civil war, many Somali migrants inhabited the area and along with the Samburu at the time, who, by their own admission hadn’t given conservation a second thought, killed off the population of black rhino and many of the elephants in the area, who were seen as a nuisance and fair game for bush meat.
Formation of Namunyak
Following two decades of unprecedented poaching, the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy was established in 1995 to promote wildlife conservation and to assist the Samburu community to benefit from tourism, in return for protecting the wildlife species living on their land.
The Trust is represented by a democratically elected Board of Trustees, representing the different units (areas) of the 850,000 acre conservancy.
Opening of Sarara
Two years later, in 1997 Sarara Camp opened. The first guest’s at Sarara would be lucky to catch a glimpse of any wildlife!
The following 25 years would see one of the most profound and effective community conservation movements in the world come to life.
With their immense wisdom and intelligence, elephants began to trust again and recognize that they were now protected. Other wildlife followed suit.
A place of peace
Today, Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy is a treasure trove of rare and often uncatalogued species.
It is home to the rare and beautiful De Brazza colobus monkey and the IUCN red-listed sub species of the Cycad, Encephalartos tegulaneus.
Namunyak serves as a critical wildlife refuge for many species and holds important northern populations of reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, leopard, African wild dog, impala lion, greater kudu and many bird species.
The conservancy is particularly important for elephant as they move seasonally between the Mathews Range and the Mt. Kenya and Ngare Ndare Forest, a route they have been using for decades.