Kenya Sand River

The Sand River – Eastern Mara Region is the area between the Maasai Mara National Reserve and the highland Sacred Forest of the Lost Child (Naimina Enkiyio), near the Kenya-Tanzania border.

It links and encompasses areas with incredible biodiversity. In fact, in 2021 some of you helped us to sponsor the team that travelled a 100 mile stretch across the Mara, Sand River, Sacred Forest and down into the Rift Valley, and broke the world record for the most number of distinct mammal species seen in 24 hours anywhere on earth. Proving how biodiverse this area really is, and just how important it is to preserve it.

Several elephant movement routes through this area have been recorded using geographic and elephant GPS collar data collected by the Mara Elephant Project (MEP), and this area is part of what keeps the Serengeti, Mara, Great Rift Valley and Amboseli Ecosystems connected. Keeping these ecosystems connected is critical because it allows wildlife and communities to access different resources and maintain ecosystem health and resilience to changes in climate.

The area has traditionally been communally owned rangelands belonging to semi-nomadic pastoralist Maasai communities, but recent government policy changes mean the landscape is being subdivided and shared out into small individual titles. Parts of this area have already been fenced and converted into unplanned patchworks of small farms, which restrict connectivity and increase human-wildlife conflict.

As part of a wider strategy to protect this area for the benefit of all who share it, together we are:

– Investing in land use planning and mechanisms to enable communities’ governance and protection of their natural resources.

– Helping to create safe and sustainable livelihood options through our Sand River Soccer Leagues Project and Beekeeping project which don’t conflict with wildlife or restrict connectivity.

– Investing in research and monitoring through the Mara Elephant Project.

– Continuing to support advocacy efforts for this area.

A few of you have already been on safaris in this area with our RAS Partners, which have contributed to these efforts, and some of you have very generously donated in addition to this. We are so grateful for your support, and we look forward to continuing to keep you up to date as this project progresses.


You can donate to this project through our Royal African Foundation. 100% of your donation will go to the project you choose. Please contact us if you have any questions.


Photo credits, MEP, Indi Bilkhu and Sophia Balunek

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