PARKS AND RESERVES
Parks and reserves managed by KWS
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OLERAI COMMUNITY CONSRVANCY
Location: Kajiado County, Southern Conservation area.
The Olerai community wildlife conservancy is an area of 9.35km2 located within the Kipeto Location, Ngong Division of Kajiado County. It is situated to the west of the Kiserian-Isinya (pipeline) road and about 20 kilometers west of Nairobi National Park (NNP) ecosystem and historically acted as a dispersal area for wildlife that freely abounds within its plains in what is commonly referred to as the Kitengela Game Conservation Area due to abundance of wild animals. The area is characterized by a combination of open grasslands, wooded grasslands and Acacia Seyal – Balanites woodlands.
Olerai Conservancy has been established through a partnership between the eleven Sorimpan brothers and seven like-minded adjacent land owners. The Conservancy is composed of individually owned parcels of land of varying sizes totaling amount to 3295 acres of the formerly members of the larger Keekonyokie Group Ranch situated in Kipeto Location. The main purpose for the establishment of the conservancy was to maintain the Olerai Conservancy’s diverse habitats and ecosystems, and the wildlife they support, culture and history; promote the sustainable utilization and development of a vibrant wildlife/nature based tourism industry and for improved social economic development of the local community for the present and future generations
The area surrounding the Conservancy has traditionally been characterized by movements of both livestock and wildlife in a north-south direction depending on the time of the year as the environmental conditions change. During the dry season, migrating animals such as wildebeest and zebras gather in NNP where there is permanent water and browse material. At the onset of rains, animals move south and east of the park into the open Kaputiei dispersal area. For many years, the local Maasai, their livestock and wildlife have shared these open grasslands. This was made possible by the fact that land parcels were very large under the group ranch land tenure system introduced by the government in the 1960’s. The group ranch concept was aimed at increasing the productivity of pastoral areas, pre-empting landlessness and stemming environmental degradation due to overgrazing.
Proximity to the city of Nairobi has spurred the growth of satellite cities and settlements in Kitengela, Ongata Rongai and Kiserian, taking up more land which was previously available for livestock and wildlife. As competition for land and water increases, more land owners have started selling their land for all sorts of developments leading to accelerated fragmentation of the once open landscape, which occurred due to the absence of an approved Local Physical Development Plan, thus bringing about serious land use conflicts in the area. Recurring drought has also become a common phenomenon in recent years with serious impacts on livestock keeping especially pastoralism as a source of sustainable livelihoods, a problem made worse by the constriction of the grazing range due to land sub divisions and fragmentation.
These factors coupled with the potential that exists within the conservancy for a wildlife based tourism industry have motivated the Olerai community to start thinking of alternative livelihood activities such as wildlife based tourism. With the support of the Kenya Wildlife Service and other stakeholders, the Olerai community has decided to establish the Olerai conservancy. It is part of the KWS strategy towards community participation in sustainable wildlife conservation. The creation of the conservancy will form the model for KWS for future development across targeted landscapes in the country.
Through USAID funding, KWS is developing a management plan (to be uploaded on the web soon) for the conservancy with the following specific aims:-
Olerai Wildlife Conservancy in collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service is currently looking for prospective investors and developers to construct and manage an eco-lodge, in the following area: